10 Most Dangerous Cities in Nevada (2023 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Nevada is home to some world-famous destinations such as Las Vegas, Reno, and the Hoover Dam. It has recently attracted people moving from California and has seen tremendous growth in its urban areas in the past decade. However, Nevada is also one of the least safe states in America in terms of crime, especially violent crime.
The statistics used in this article are primarily taken from the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division. This data is collected and made public every 3 years. The newest batch of data for this year is not yet available, so the statistics we are presenting here come from 2019, which should give us a fairly accurate idea of the situation in this state.
Here are the 10 most dangerous cities in Nevada, according to public crime data.
The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Nevada: A Quick Look
1. Reno, NV
|Median household income:||$58,790|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||1,419|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||27.75|
Reno is located in the northern part of the state, not too far from Lake Tahoe. Despite having far fewer people than Las Vegas, Reno has its own reputation for crime. Reno suffered 1,419 incidents of violent crime in 2019, which is a higher rate than Las Vegas. Accounting for population, Reno is producing 1.05 reported violent crimes compared to Las Vegas. That is not insignificant.
Reno’s crime rate is also far above the national average, and it has a violent crime rate of 5.66, which is higher than that of Las Vegas. For these reasons, Reno lands at the top of this list despite some stiff competition.
2. Las Vegas, NV
|Median household income:||$56,354|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||8,854|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||28.21|
Las Vegas is known as Sin City, so it is no surprise that it is rife with crime. Las Vegas has the largest number of reported crimes in all of Nevada. It tops the list for every category of violent crime, including murder, rape, assault, and motor vehicle theft. This is due in part to the fact that Las Vegas is by far the largest city in Nevada, but the crime rates are also higher than average. It has a violent crime rate of 5.36 which means you have a 1 in 190 chance of being the victim of violent crime while in the city.
Not only does Las Vegas have a high concentration of people, but it also has a high concentration of crime-inducing businesses, including bars, nightclubs, and casinos. All these aspects play into Vegas’s high crime rates and play into the theme of being Sin City.
3. North Las Vegas, NV
|Median household income:||$59,835|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||2,158|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||21.19|
Las Vegas’s closest neighbor, North Las Vegas, is also rife with violent crime. It had over two thousand reported incidents of violent crime logged in the FBI database, including 118 rapes and 1,565 reports of aggravated assault. The violent crime rate in North Las Vegas is twice that of the national average. The crime rates are slightly lower than that of Las Vegas proper, but they are still way above average.
The good news is areas like North Las Vegas have actually seen drops in crime over time. Starting in 2018, crime has started to slowly come down in these areas, which was a welcome development for law enforcement and residents alike.
4. Elko, NV
|Median household income:||$81,232|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||69|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||34.48|
Elko is a small town situated on Interstate 80, linking Reno to Salt Lake City. This highway town makes the list for a disturbingly high crime rate. For a town with less than 25,000 people, Elko suffers from a lot of violent crime. They have violent crime rates 25% higher than the national average and rates that are almost on par with Las Vegas. These numbers are being boosted by high numbers of rape (18) and motor vehicle theft (73) which are far higher than expected for a town of this size. These incidents are reflected in the crime rate, 34.48, which is higher than both Las Vegas and Reno.
5. Sparks, NV
|Median household income:||$64,645|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||450|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||23.94|
Sparks, Nevada, is a suburb of Reno lying just east of the #1 city on this list. Sparks is just four miles east of Reno, and as a result, it suffers from a lot of the same crime problems as its nearest neighbor does. Sparks is the fifth largest city in Nevada and therefore has a top-five crime load. The violent crime rates are similar to that of nearby Reno.
Despite the high numbers of violent crimes, Sparks suffers from very few murders. In 2019, Sparks had only one reported incident of murder or manslaughter, which is extremely low. In fact, that number puts it lower than Elko, a city with a quarter of the population of Sparks. It also boasts a higher household income than nearby Reno, so it is not all bad for Sparks.
6. Henderson, NV
|Median household income:||$74,147|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||543|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||17.13|
Henderson is the second-largest city in Nevada and is one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation. Henderson has posted growth rates above 30% for consecutive years. Despite the growth, the proximity to Las Vegas, and the overall population, Henderson is actually fairly safe. That is why it comes in the list at sixth. However, Henderson still has a violent crime rate of 10.7 for every 1,000 citizens, which is higher than other cities in Nevada. It also still posted over 500 annual incidents of violent crime in 2019. It ranks fourth for raw numbers of reported violent crime, which is two spots lower than its population suggests. It is still in the top five for most incidents of violent crime in the state of Nevada.
7. Winnemucca, NV
|Median household income:||$66,857|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||204|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||28.23|
Winnemucca is a mining town that is nearby to gold mining operations and the famous Nevada sand dunes. Winnemucca’s crime rates match the rugged surroundings of the region. The town has an unusually high crime rate for a place this small. While violent crime is actually way down in Winnemucca, property crime is up. Winnemucca had one of the highest rates of property crime in the state. It has higher crime rates than Sparks and Henderson, thanks in large part to the spike in property crime over the recent years.
For reference, it is hard to get a gauge on Winnemucca’s crime compared to the surrounding areas because it is the only incorporated city in Humboldt County. That means the rest of the county doesn’t report their crimes in the same way.
8. Carlin, NV
|Median household income:||$78,929|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||15|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||39.08|
Carlin’s official slogan is “Where the Train Stops And the Gold Rush Begins.” It is a small town along Interstate 80 between Elko and Winnemucca with less than 2,500 people. This small population makes the incidents of violent crime in the city appear very bad. The crime rate is 39.08, and the violent crime rate is double that of the national average. That is all despite having just 15 reported incidents of violent crime in 2019. There were no murders. However, there were 14 aggravated assaults and five motor vehicle thefts. Those numbers are a lot for a town with such a small population.
9. Lovelock, NV
|Median household income:||$41,896|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||6|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||63.45|
Lovelock is a tiny town located alongside Interstate 80. It is, for lack of a better phrase, in the middle of nowhere. It is an hour and a half northeast of Reno. Despite its tiny stature, the town has an outsized level of violent crime. The crime rate is one of the highest in the state. That is due in part to its tiny population, and one crime can jump the rate by quite a lot. But many towns with less than 2,000 people suffer from little to no crime, but that is not the case here. Part of the problem is that Lovelock has the lowest household income out of any city on this list, and it is not even close.
However, Lovelock’s crime rate is actually slowly declining over time, so there is hope that this small town might return to more acceptable levels in the near future.
10. Mesquite, NV
|Median household income:||$55,542|
|Violent crimes in 2019:||20|
|Crime rate per 1,000 people people:||12.26|
Mesquite, Nevada, is a small town located near the borders of Arizona and Utah. Its location near the border makes it a popular spot for people looking to gamble by just hopping over the border. The town features four decently sized casinos which is quite a lot for a place with less than 20,000 residents. Mesquite does not have the highest crime rates in the state, but its draw to non-residents drives crime. This out-of-area crime is reflected in the disproportionately high rate of rape in the town. Nevada has very few incorporated cities that report individual crime statistics, so it sneaks onto this list for those reasons.
What Are The Overall Crime Trends In Nevada?
Crime in Nevada has actually been trending downwards. The rest of the country has been experiencing a spike in crime since 2019, but Nevada’s crime has been steadily falling since 2018. That decrease in overall crime has also applied to violent crime as well. The number of reported incidents of violent crime has been down by 5,000 since 2018. The only violent crime that has increased was murder, which rose from 184 in 2020 to 220 in 2021. But that number is still far lower than a lot of other states.
Is Nevada A Safe State Overall?
Overall, no. Nevada has not been considered a safe state for the past decade. The last rankings named Nevada as the 40th safest state. Not the most glowing endorsement. However, the crime trends are pointing downward, which is an encouraging sign for a state which has a reputation for being a little rough around the edges. But when the biggest draw to your state is a place nicknamed Sin City, it is hard to shake the reputation of having a lot of crime.
How Best To Avoid Becoming The Victim Of Crime in Nevada
Know the area, and know the trends. The vast majority of crime is targeted or opportunistic. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of any crime is to avoid high crime areas and be aware of your surroundings. Do not make yourself a target for crimes of opportunity. If you do find yourself in a bad situation, retreat and call law enforcement. Do not try to engage or confront possible criminals. Your belongings can be easily recovered or replaced. Your health and well-being cannot be.
Nevada is an interesting state because it does not have very many incorporated cities compared to other states. Much of the land is empty county land which makes tracking crime statistics difficult. Nevada has some areas of high, dense crime like Las Vegas and Reno, alongside small towns that suffer from sporadic crimes that create high crime rates. The very low number of incorporated cities in Nevada makes this list narrow by necessity. The result is a patchwork that leaves Nevada as one of the most dangerous states in the nation.
Featured Image Credit: esudroff, Pixabay
- 1 The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Nevada: A Quick Look
- 2 What Are The Overall Crime Trends In Nevada?
- 3 Is Nevada A Safe State Overall?
- 4 How Best To Avoid Becoming The Victim Of Crime in Nevada
- 5 Conclusion