The Bayou State is strategically positioned on the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline, with New Orleans, its most populous and crucial port city.
To the west is Texas, to the east is Mississippi, and to the north is Arkansas, encapsulating Louisiana, which houses nearly 4.7 million inhabitants.
Louisiana represents a melting pot of various cultures and influences, combining a French base with hints of Spanish, Creole, African, and German elements.
Initially a part of French Louisiana territory, it was bought by the United States in the early 19th century.
Despite its rich history and culture, Louisiana has always had a darker underbelly, and the recent rise in overall crime rates might be attributed to migratory, social, or economic factors.
Property crime in the state is significant, with 123,575 incidents reported per 100,000, equating to a 1 in 37 chance of experiencing property loss.
Year-on-year, violent crimes in Louisiana have seen an upswing, with an alarming rate of 31,500 incidents per 100,000.
Regrettably, this historical crossroads of pirates and traders also has the highest murder rate in the country.
With over 820 murders reported, they constitute a substantial part of the crime increase. However, assaults remain the most frequently reported crime, double the national average.
On the whole, Louisianans have a 1 in 147 likelihood of experiencing a violent crime.
However, these figures should not lead to the conclusion that every city in Louisiana is inherently dangerous or riddled with crime.
In truth, a well-planned, mindful, and foresighted visit to iconic spots like Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo in the French Quarter or the historic Oak Alley Plantation can be safe and delightful.
And of course, you can satiate your yearnings for beignets and chicory coffee for another year.
10 Riskiest Places 2023
|City||Population||Violent Crime Rate per 100,000||Property Crime Rate per 100,000||Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X)||Chance of Property Crime (1 in X)|
|Opelousas||15,600||3,774||9,634||1 in 53||1 in 15|
|Alexandria||48,000||1,880||7,300||1 in 117||1 in 14|
|Monroe||47,284||2,631||5,616||1 in 38||1 in 18|
|Hammond||20,000||4,540||6,077||1 in 7||1 in 6|
|Marksville||4,946||1,467||5,600||1 in 63||1 in 18|
|Bastrop||9,500||1,457||7,800||1 in 73||1 in 13|
|Bogalusa||10,569||1,457||3,737||1 in 69||1 in 27|
|New Orleans||377,000||5,500||4,550||1 in 18||1 in 24|
|Gonzales||12,600||517||6,768||1 in 193||1 in 15|
|Ponchatoula||8,000||4,540||2,611||1 in 22||1 in 38|
Ponchatoula is a large rural Parish located near Hammond, north of New Orleans. Home to around 8,000 residents, it’s famous for its alligator tours and the annual Strawberry Festival.
But alligators aren’t the only predators in Ponchatoula. According to FBI data, property crimes significantly outnumber violent crimes. Residents face a 1 in 38 chance of having their belongings stolen, with reported incidents reaching 2,611 per 100,000.
Violent crime in Ponchatoula, calculated at 4,540 per 100,000, is quite high. However, the town reported no murders in recent years, showing a significant improvement. Yet, there is a higher risk of sexual assault in this town compared to the state or national average.
- Population: 8,000
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 4,540
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 2,611
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 22
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 38
A blend of rural and service-related small businesses, Gonzales is located around 30 miles east of Baton Rouge, bordering Interstate 10. Known for its upscale outlet stores, this growing rural community of around 12,600 residents is, unfortunately, one of the most dangerous towns in Louisiana.
Violent crime in Gonzales is relatively lower than the state average, with 517 reported incidents per 100,000, indicating a 1 in 193 chance of falling victim. However, property crime is much higher with 6,768 crimes reported per 100,000, the majority of which were petty thefts and shoplifting. This means there is a 1 in 15 chance of experiencing a property theft in Gonzales.
Crime rates differ within the town, with areas close to the freeway, like Southwest Gonzales and South Gonzales, witnessing higher criminal activity. In contrast, the more rural area of Duplessis tends to be safer.
- Population: 12,600
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 517
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 6,768
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 193
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 15
8. New Orleans
Famed for coffee and beignets, New Orleans offers more than just culinary delights. Home to unique urban parks and a population of 377,000, this city also holds a less favorable distinction – it’s one of the most dangerous cities in Louisiana and the nation.
The Big Easy, as it is known, has a high crime rate of 5,500 per 100,000 people, indicating a 1 in 18 chance of falling victim to a crime. Its murder rate has attracted significant attention.
However, it’s important to note that many reported crimes are concentrated in specific areas like SugarHill and the Venetian Isles. Areas like the Central Business District and the French Quarter see a higher number of petty crimes, owing to the large number of tourists.
Last year, over 3,500 auto thefts were reported in the city. With total property crimes, adjusted for population, listed at 4,550 per 100,000, this signifies a risk to vehicles in the city. Residents and visitors face a 1 in 24 chance of having their possessions stolen or vandalized.
Despite the crime rates, New Orleans offers a rich cultural experience. The trick to enjoying all the city offers is to be cautious and confident. Whether you’re visiting for Mardi Gras, the Jazz Festival, or just to soak in the city’s history, it’s wise to be discreet with your valuables and mindful of your surroundings.
- Population: 377,000
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 5,500
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 4,550
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 18
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 24
Bogalusa started as a timber town and gets its name from a Choctaw phrase for “smoky water.” Located north of Lake Pontchartrain near the Mississippi border, the town’s population has declined from 11,427 to 10,569 in recent years.
Regrettably, despite the decrease in population, Bogalusa remains one of the most dangerous cities in Louisiana. Although the murder rate has slightly decreased, it’s still significantly high compared to national averages, with a reported rate of 1,457 per 100,000.
Residents stand a 1 in 69 chance of becoming victims of violent crimes, including a notably high number of sexual assaults. According to FBI crime data, property crimes in Bogalusa also pose a substantial threat, with 3,737 incidents reported per 100,000.
Moreover, the city’s auto theft rate of 1 in 264 is higher than the national average, suggesting a level of insecurity for vehicles.
- Population: 10,569
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 1,457
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 3,737
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 69
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 27
Bastrop, located near the Arkansas border, is a small northern Louisiana town renowned for its plantation-style homes.
Despite its population of roughly 9,500, it carries one of the highest crime rates in both Louisiana and the country. A crime rate of 7,800 per 100,000 translates into a 1 in 13 chance of being victimized.
Regrettably, 99% of cities in Louisiana fare better in crime statistics than this border town. The overall rate for violent versus property crime is lower, standing at 1 in 73. Still, murder is unfortunately the most commonly reported crime.
Theft, outnumbering other property crimes three to one, means residents of Bastrop have a 1 in 13 chance of losing their personal belongings. Most crimes in Bastrop occur in Newhlock or Bastrop South, while the rural areas, particularly south and west of the city, are slightly safer.
- Population: 9,500
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 1,457
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 7,800
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 73
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 13
Marksville, a modest town of 4,946 residents, is located east of Alexandria and slightly northwest of the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Unfortunately, this petite town in Louisiana has earned a notorious reputation, ranking as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States and the fifth most perilous city in Louisiana.
Residents of Marksville face a 1 in 14 chance of being victims of a crime. According to the adjusted FBI database, violent incidences amount to 1,467 per 100,000.
Residents also stand a 1 in 63 chance of falling victim to a violent crime, most commonly assaults.
Property crimes in Marksville are not rare either, with petty theft being a significant concern. There’s a 1 in 18 chance that residents’ belongings could be targeted, which equates to 5,600 incidents per 100,000.
Interestingly, while wallets in Marksville might be at risk, cars tend to be safer. The city’s motto – “where everybody is somebody” – echoes a sense of optimism and might explain the slight downward trend in crime rates.
Still, if you’re passing through Marksville, whether for the Grand Paragon Casino or shopping at the Tanglewood Soap Company, staying alert and keeping an eye on your belongings is advisable.
- Population: 4,946
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 1,467
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 5,600
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 63
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 18
Situated north of New Orleans at the junction of Interstates 12 and 55, Hammond is a suburban town of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, comprising remote-working professionals and students from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Regrettably, in recent years, this modest city has climbed up the ranks and is now acknowledged as one of Louisiana’s most dangerous cities.
Per the FBI crime data, Hammond sees 1,345 incidents of violent crime per 100,000.
This rate suggests a 1 in 7 risk of encountering violence, thrice the national average.
Personal property is equally vulnerable, with a reported 6,077 incidents per 100,000, translating to a 1 in 6 risk of property damage.
- Population: 20,000
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 4,540
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 6,077
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 7
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 6
Monroe, nestled along Interstate 20, holds an education level close to the national average.
Among the 47,284 residents, 24% hold at least an undergraduate degree.
Regrettably, Monroe also has a reputation for its high rate of violent crimes.
It ranks as the fourth most dangerous city in Louisiana.
There were 2,631 incidents per 100,000, presenting residents with a 1 in 38 risk of victimization.
Monroe has the highest rate of violent crime in the state, with a 1 in 147 chance of experiencing violence.
If you’re visiting Monroe for attractions like the Biedenharn Museum, it’s advised to secure your belongings and vehicles, given the high rates of property vandalism and theft—5,616 per 100,000.
This statistic translates to a 1 in 18 risk of property loss, double the state’s 1 in 37 ratio.
- Population: 47,284
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 2,631
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 5,616
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 38
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 18
Alexandria, home to 48,000 residents, lies on the southern bank of the Red River, at the heart of Louisiana.
Despite being famous for the Alexandria Zoological Park and the Alexandria Museum of Art, this mid-sized city harbors a darker side.
The rampant criminality makes it one of the most hazardous cities in the state.
Alexandria extends along Interstate 49, with areas such as downtown, Sonia Quarters, and Southwest Districts being particularly risky and demanding frequent law enforcement attention.
Last year, Alexandria residents reported 7,300 property crimes per 100,000, nearly three times the state’s average.
Violent crimes were equally concerning, with 1,880 incidents per 100,000, including a disturbing number of assaults—675.
However, despite the crime rates, Alexandria’s education system stands on par with, if not superior to, the state’s average, particularly in terms of reading proficiency.
- Population: 48,000
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 1,880
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 7,300
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 117
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 14
Opelousas holds a history marred by misconduct.
This petite town in Louisiana was once a hub for gambling and prostitution, and traces of the criminal presence still linger.
Regrettably, Opelousas currently has the unfortunate distinction of being one of Louisiana’s most perilous cities – it holds the second spot.
Positioned a mere 25 minutes north of Lafayette, deep within Louisiana’s lower part, the town’s 15,600 inhabitants face a 1 in 53 chance of becoming a victim of assault or robbery.
In terms of sexual assaults, Opelousas is ranked 11th in the state, and for murders, it’s in the fourth place.
When it comes to securing your possessions, Opelousas tops the list for property crimes in the state with a 1 in 15 likelihood of occurrence.
Reports of minor thefts and vandalism last year were at 6,573 per 100,000.
- Population: 15,600
- Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 3,774
- Property Crime Rate per 100,000: 9,634
- Chance of Violent Crime (1 in X): 1 in 53
- Chance of Property Crime (1 in X): 1 in 15
- Secure Your Valuables: When traveling anywhere, but particularly to places with higher crime rates, it’s important to safeguard your valuables. This means keeping your vehicle locked and your belongings out of sight. Even in attended parking areas or while using valet services, it’s best not to leave valuables visible in your car. Also, remember to lock your hotel room doors and use the hotel safe for important items, if available.
- Maintain Situational Awareness: Always be aware of your surroundings. This means being vigilant and observant, whether you’re on a crowded street, in a public place, or stopping at a gas station. Avoid getting distracted by your phone or other devices, which can make you an easy target.
- Plan Your Trip: Knowledge is power, and in this case, safety. Before embarking on your journey, research the areas you plan to visit. Understanding the safer areas of a city or town, as well as the areas to potentially avoid, can help ensure a safer trip.
- Verify Your Rides: If you plan to use ride-sharing services, always double-check the license plates and driver profiles before getting in the car. Make sure the information matches what you see on your app. Also, let someone know where you’re going and who you’re riding with. Remember, never accept rides from strangers who approach you on the street offering transportation.
- Walk Confidently: Criminals often target individuals who seem lost, distracted, or vulnerable. Walk confidently and purposefully, even if you’re unsure of where you’re going. If you’re traveling solo, try to stay in well-populated areas. Remember, crime can occur at any time of day, so always stay alert and vigilant.
What are some notable tourist attractions in Alexandria despite its higher crime rates?
Alexandria offers attractions like the Alexandria Zoological Park and the Alexandria Museum of Art. Visitors can still enjoy these cultural landmarks by practicing caution and being aware of their surroundings.
How does the crime rate in Monroe compare to the national average?
The text mentions that Monroe has the highest rate of violent crime in Louisiana, with a 1 in 147 chance of experiencing violence. This rate is significantly higher than the national average, emphasizing the need for caution in the city.
Are there any particular safety concerns for visitors to Hammond?
Hammond, being one of the most dangerous cities in Louisiana, requires visitors to be vigilant and take precautions. It is advisable to secure personal belongings and vehicles due to higher property crime rates in the area.
What notable attractions can visitors explore in Marksville?
Visitors to Marksville can enjoy attractions such as the Grand Paragon Casino and shopping at the Tanglewood Soap Company. However, it is important to stay alert and keep an eye on personal belongings while engaging in these activities.
How does the crime rate in Bastrop compare to other cities in Louisiana?
The text states that Bastrop carries one of the highest crime rates in both Louisiana and the country. With a 1 in 13 chance of being victimized, the crime rate in Bastrop is significantly higher than the state and national averages.
Are there any safe areas within Bogalusa?
While Bogalusa remains one of the most dangerous cities in Louisiana, it is important to note that the town’s overall population has declined in recent years. However, specific safe areas were not mentioned in the text.
Which neighborhoods in New Orleans are generally considered safer for tourists?
While the Central Business District and the French Quarter experience a higher number of petty crimes due to the large number of tourists, other areas such as Garden District, Uptown, and Marigny are often considered relatively safer for tourists.
How does the crime rate in Gonzales compare to the state average?
While Gonzales is recognized as one of the most dangerous towns in Louisiana, the text mentions that its violent crime rate is relatively lower than the state average. However, property crime rates in Gonzales are significantly higher than the average, making it important for visitors to take precautions.
Are there any safety concerns specific to the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula?
The text mentions that Ponchatoula is known for its annual Strawberry Festival. While no specific safety concerns were provided, visitors attending large public events should be mindful of their belongings, stay aware of their surroundings, and follow any security guidelines provided by the event organizers.
In conclusion, Louisiana is a state with a rich history, diverse culture, and unique attractions. However, it also faces significant challenges in terms of crime rates, particularly in certain cities. The ten riskiest places in Louisiana for 2023, including Opelousas, Alexandria, Monroe, Hammond, Marksville, Bastrop, Bogalusa, New Orleans, Gonzales, and Ponchatoula, exhibit higher levels of property and violent crimes compared to the state and national averages.
While these crime statistics may be concerning, it is important to note that not every city in Louisiana is inherently dangerous. Many cities and towns in the state offer safe and delightful experiences for visitors and residents alike. By planning ahead, being mindful of their surroundings, and taking necessary precautions, individuals can enjoy the rich cultural heritage and iconic attractions that Louisiana has to offer.