As it stands, the nationwide violent crime rate today is about half what it was in 1993. While the United States is a much more peaceful place than it has been in decades, millions of Americans still live in relatively violent areas.
How peaceful or violent a given state is depends on more than the violent crime rate alone. Some violent crimes are more egregious than others, and factors such as the incarceration rate and the presence of firearms can also reflect how violent or peaceful a given state is.
> Violent crime rate: 390.9 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
> Median household income: $70,628 (6th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 4.2% (23rd highest)
Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws of any state. Massachusetts law prohibits certain semiautomatic assault weapons and requires gun owners to pass a number of background checks and complete a gun safety course. Gun violence is relatively uncommon in Massachusetts. Firearms are used in just 21% of all suicides in the state, less than half the 51% national figure. Additionally, there were just 1.2 gun-related homicides reported per 100,000 Massachusetts residents in 2015, the 10th least of any state.
Despite the lower gun violence in Massachusetts, there were 391 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2015, slightly more than the national rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans. According to one of the state’s district attorneys, crime in Massachusetts is at a 41-year low.
24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index to identify the most violent and the most peaceful states. Though there are a handful of exceptions, more violent states tend to be in the South, while the most peaceful states are concentrated in the Northeast.