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South Carolina among top 10 states with highest rate of violent crime, Texas law firm reports

The Law Office of Jorge Vela in Austin said it looked at data from the FBI's Crime Data Explorer gathered in 2020.

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas law firm said data from the FBI found South Carolina to have one of the highest rates of reported violent crime based on data from 2020.

The Law Office of Jorge Vela, located in the state capital of Austin, said it looked at data found in the FBI's Crime Data Explorer to see which states were seeing more violent crime than others. The firm said on average across the country, about 400 crimes were committed per 100,000 people that year.

South Carolina ranked high on the list, reporting the seventh-highest rate of violent crime. In 2020, the Palmetto State had a population of about 5.1 million people, with almost 27,700 instances of violent crime reported that year. The violent crime rate in South Carolina ended up just shy of 530 crimes per 100,000 people.

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To note, the Vela firm said the FBI deems murder and nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault under the uniform definition of violent crime. The firm also said most violent offenses in 2020 were carried out by men aged 20-29 years old, with most crimes happening at residences.

“There is a considerable difference between the rates of recorded violent crime between the states that feature at the top and bottom of this list," said a spokesperson for the firm. "The statistics show that more than 1.3 million violent crimes were committed over one year, while on average during 2020 in the US there were 398.5 crimes for every 100,000 people.”

The impact of violent crime is felt even in seemingly remote Alaska, which landed at the top of the list. The Last Frontier's population in 2020 was just more than 731,000 people and saw more than 6,100 violent crimes reported. But the firm's data gathered from the FBI found that meant Alaska's violent crime rate was at nearly 838 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

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One other state with similar population numbers also ended up making the top of the list for violent crime rates: South Dakota at eighth place. While only about 4,500 such incidents were reported in 2020, the state's population that year hovered just below 900,000. Thus, the violent crime rate was at about 502 violent crimes per 100,000 citizens.

Other states that landed at the top include New Mexico (second), Tennessee (third), Arkansas (fourth), Louisiana (fifth), Missouri (sixth), Arizona (ninth), and Michigan (10th).

As far as the least violent states are concerned, the firm's data found Maine was the least violent of all, with a violent crime rate of about 108 crimes per 100,000 people in a state with a population close to 1.35 million. Neighboring states New Hampshire and Vermont also had low rates, followed by nearby Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, and Rhode Island. Further away from the Eastern Seaboard, low violent crime rates were reported in Wyoming and Idaho, with Hawaii rounding out the list of states with the lowest reported rate of violent crimes in 2020.

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