Among the Most Violent Cities in Texas, There Is a Place With a Crime Rate Similar to Mexico
Before we dive into the list of the most dangerous cities in Texas for 2023, it’s crucial to make a few things clear:
Texas may be a great place with many safe towns and cities having crime rates lower than the national average, comparable to those in European nations.
Texas is a Wonderful Place, But…
Living in Texas isn’t inherently risky, but certain areas do pose a higher threat. In the following sections, you’ll find cities with some of the highest crime rates in both the state and the entire United States. In these places, the likelihood of falling victim to a crime, particularly violent crime, is significantly higher than the national average.
Previously, we’ve published guides on violent crime rates that stirred quite a bit of discussion and controversy:
- The 8 Safest Big Cities in the US and the Safest Metro Areas in 2023.
- The Most Dangerous Cities in California (Based on FBI Data)
- The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan in 2023
- The Most Violent Cities in Pennsylvania
- The Most Dangerous Cities in Europe in 2023
- The Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico & Their Similarities
So, if you live in Texas or plan to move there, stay tuned for crime statistics that could impact your decision on where to reside.
The Criteria Used to Define the Most Dangerous Places in Texas
We’ll be covering both violent crimes per 100,000 people and homicide rates per 100,000 residents, helping you gauge the safety of a city.
First of all, we considered only cities with more than 30 thousand residents.
While this threshold may look random, there is a reason for it: small towns may have very distorted crime rates from one year to another.
This happens because one rare event, like a hostage situation during a bank robbery that has fatalities, can make a once-peaceful small city look dangerous, even though it happened that particular year and is unlikely to happen again.
This kind of single incident seldom impacts statistics in big cities. The crime rate in a city that is large doesn’t move considerably unless there is a citywide change, causing a real decrease in crime overall.
The violent crime rate per 100,000 residents is the measure we used (in other articles we used per 1000 people but here we opted per 100,000 since it is easier to handle smaller numbers). The rate is proportional to the number of people in the area. Violent crime is a set of offenses that includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault
The fact that all of the crime rates are calculated by 100,000 people guarantees a fair comparison between cities of distinct sizes.
All the data about Texas comes from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program and from the FBI (most specifically, from the UCR). Most of them come from the years 2021 or 2022 (we may update this when new data is available). The number of homicides from 2021.
The data for the comparison with other countries comes from the World Population Review.
The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Texas
For comparison purposes, have in mind that the US national average numbers are:
- Violent crime rate per 100,000 residents per year: 395.7
- Homicide rate per 100,000 residents per year: 6.9
10th – Mesquite
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 489
The Violent crime rate in Brownsville is 23.58% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 9
A country with a similar homicide rate: Russia
There are a number of factors that have contributed to Mesquite’s rising crime rate. One factor is the city’s proximity to Dallas, which is a major urban center with a high crime rate.
Another factor is the city’s growing population, which has put a strain on resources and led to an increase in social problems.
Neighborhoods such as the downtown area, Big Town, and Motley are especially fraught with risks.
9th – Killeen
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 619
The Violent crime rate in Brownsville is 56.43% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 12
A country with a similar homicide rate: Uruguay
Areas such as Downtown Killeen, North Killeen, and the region surrounding Rancier Avenue are problematic. In these zones, instances of assault, robbery, and drug-related crimes are disproportionately high.
In addition to the areas listed above, there are a number of other areas in Killeen that are considered to be high-crime areas. These areas include:
- The area around the Killeen Mall
- The area around the Central Texas Marketplace
- The area around the Killeen Amtrak station
8th – Port Arthur
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 739
The Violent crime rate in Port Arthur is 86.76% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 11
A country with a similar homicide rate: Costa Rica
The violence in Port Arthur spiked in the early 2000s. This was due in part to the crack and cocaine epidemic, which led to an increase in gang activity, coinciding with economic downturns and demographic shifts. With a diverse population that includes sizable minority communities, the city also contends with gang activity, including groups like the Bloods and Crips.
Specific neighborhoods in Port Arthur have become epicenters of criminal activity. Areas such as El Vista, Griffing Park, and Sabine Pass harbor frequent instances of robberies, burglaries, and drug-related offenses.
7th – Amarillo
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 746
The Violent crime rate in Amarillo is 88.53% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 7
A country with a similar homicide rate: Nicaragua
Notable gangs like the Barrio Azteca and Aryan Brotherhood have established a presence in Amarillo, amplifying the risks of drug trafficking, robberies, and violent assaults.
Certain sections of Amarillo, particularly neighborhoods like North Heights, San Jacinto, and East Amarillo, are particularly problematic.
6th – San Antonio
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 751
The Violent crime rate in San Antonio is 89.79% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 12
A country with a similar homicide rate: Uruguay
San Antonio is a city famed for its rich history, but unfortunately also struggles with significant safety issues. A surge in violent crimes has been observed since the mid-2010s, surpassing national averages in many categories.
The city has a diverse demographic, but certain minority neighborhoods bear the brunt of crime disproportionately. Gang activity, including the presence of groups like the Mexican Mafia and Tango Blast, exacerbates crime in San Antonio, contributing to increased drug trafficking and violent altercations.
Certain districts in San Antonio, such as the East Side, West Side, and certain parts of the Downtown area, are particularly rife with criminal activity
5th – Dallas
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 864
The Violent crime rate in Dallas is 118.35% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 17
A country with a similar homicide rate: Namibia
The violence in Dallas spiked in the early 2020s. This was due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to an increase in unemployment and poverty.
Contributing to this volatile mix are gang activities from groups like the Crips, Bloods, and MS-13. These criminal organizations are deeply involved in drug trafficking and violent offenses, adding a layer of complexity to an already problematic situation.
High-crime areas such as South Dallas, Pleasant Grove, and certain sections of Oak Cliff are especially vulnerable. These communities, many of which are economically disadvantaged and home to minority populations, suffer from elevated rates of robberies, assaults, and burglaries.
4th – Corpus Christi
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 879
The Violent crime rate in Corpus Christi is 122.14% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 6
A country with a similar homicide rate: Tanzania
A noticeable increase in violent crimes, particularly in the late 2010s, has plagued Corpus Christ. Various gangs, including the Mexican Mafia and Texas Syndicate, operate within Corpus Christi, contributing to the proliferation of drug trafficking and violent offenses. The gangs’ activities not only heighten insecurity but also serve as a grim reminder of the city’s ongoing struggle with crime.
Areas such as the Westside, Northside, and Central City have become focal points for criminal activities.
Most dangerous parts of Corpus Christi:
- Downtown area
- West side of town
- The area around Interstate 37
3rd – Lubbock
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 1085
The Violent crime rate in Lubbock is 174.20% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 10
A country with a similar homicide rate: Uganda
Lubbock is best known for its role in agriculture and education, but the city faces a distressing reality when it comes to crime and public safety. The city has witnessed a spike in violent crimes, notably since the early 2010s, rates that are concerning when compared to national averages
Particularly vulnerable areas include the neighborhoods of East Lubbock, Arnett Benson, and Chatman Hill.
2nd – Beaumont
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 1089
The Violent crime rate in Beaumont is 175.21% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 7
A country with a similar homicide rate: Paraguay
Beaumont was once known for its hard-working communities and family-friendly neighborhoods, but it has undergone a significant transformation over the years.
Today, it bears the dubious distinction of being labeled the “most dangerous city in Texas,” (although this is not completely true, since the numbers put Beaumont in the 2nd place). This title is not just a statistical anomaly; it reflects the grim reality faced by residents daily.
Drug activities and property crime in Beaumont have seeped into the very fabric of the city, affecting both affluent and less affluent areas alike. Even neighborhoods once considered “safe” are now plagued by criminal activities, including drug manufacturing. A recent incident involved a hazmat team being called to clear a house in an upscale neighborhood where methamphetamine was being produced. This incident underscores that the issue is not confined to any particular racial or socio-economic group.
Parkdale Mall, which used to be the commercial hub of Jefferson County, has become a hotspot for robberies, assaults, and kidnappings. Social media platforms are awash with residents sharing harrowing experiences, cautioning others about the dangers that lurk in public spaces. The city’s nightlife is no less perilous, with frequent overnight shootings reported at nightclubs and on the streets.
Between Beaumont and its equally unsafe neighbor, Port Arthur, the smaller towns of Nederland and Port Neches are still considered good places to raise families. However, the escalating crime rates in the surrounding areas cast a shadow over their future.
1st – Houston
Violent Crime rate per 100,000 people: 1240
The Violent crime rate in Houston is 213.37% higher than the US national average.
Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents: 20
A country with a similar homicide rate: Central African Republic
Unlike cities with formal zoning laws that segregate residential and commercial areas, Houston’s lack of such regulations creates a fluid environment where affluence and poverty coexist within minutes of each other. This juxtaposition makes it challenging to define “safe” and “dangerous” neighborhoods in traditional terms.
Two of Houston’s neighborhoods, Sunnyside and Greater Third Ward, have earned spots on the FBI’s list of most dangerous areas in the nation, ranking 6th and 15th respectively.
However, the city’s complexities go beyond these statistics. In Houston, it’s not uncommon to transition from a street lined with mansions to an area rife with abandoned factories and open drug use within a matter of minutes. Similarly, one can exit a high-end shopping center and almost immediately encounter apartment complexes that frequently make headlines for crime.
This fluidity complicates the usual safety guidelines that work in other cities, such as avoiding specific neighborhoods or streets after dark. In Houston, even areas considered “safe” can have pockets of high crime, while so-called “dangerous” neighborhoods may house blocks of relative tranquility.
The city’s unique urban layout, combined with its high crime rates in certain areas, makes it a place where traditional safety norms are constantly challenged, requiring residents and visitors alike to be ever-vigilant.
Key Takeaways – From San Antonio to Dallas, a High Crime Rate Is Still a Reality in 2023 for Certain Neighborhoods
|City||Population||County||Violent Crimes per 100K People/Year||% Above US National Average||Homicides per 100K People/Year|
|United States – National Average||395.7||0.00%||6.9|
Texas is a state of contrasts, known for its rich history and diverse landscapes. However, it’s also home to some of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Cities like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio have high violent crime rates, significantly higher than the national average. In Houston, the crime rate is a staggering 213.37% higher than the U.S. average, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the state.
The Texas Panhandle city of Amarillo also has its share of problems, with a violent crime rate of 7.18 per 1000 people. This rate is 88.53% higher than the national average. Amarillo’s crime issues are exacerbated by the presence of gangs like the Barrio Azteca and Aryan Brotherhood.
In the southern side of Texas, Corpus Christi experiences high violent crime rates, particularly on the west side of town. The city’s port contributes to its crime issues, including drug trafficking. Corpus Christi has a violent crime rate of 879 per 100,000 people, which is 122.14% higher than the U.S. average.
Lubbock, home to Texas Tech University, is another city that ranks among the most dangerous. With a violent crime rate of 1085 per 100,000 people, it’s 174.20% higher than the U.S. average. Areas like East Lubbock and Arnett Benson are particularly vulnerable to crime.
In summary, while Texas has many safe and wonderful places to live, it also has cities that are more dangerous than others. High violent crime rates in cities like Houston, Amarillo, and Corpus Christi make them among the most dangerous in the state.
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Levi Borba is the founder of The Expatriate Consultancy, creator of the channel The Expat, and best-selling author. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, meaning that the author will have a commission for any transaction.