Battlefield America: America’s most dangerous cities and the world’s smallest wars
Exactly how dangerous is America? As of this writing there have been 77 mass shootings in 2023 alone and 5,212 since 2013. According to the firearms statistics website everystat, an average of 15,343 people are killed by firearm homicide every year. Those numbers seem excessively high, but it’s hard to get a sense of just how high they are.
US murder-homicide rates have skyrocketed in recent years (data from the World Bank)
In the top 5 most dangerous cities in the United States, the homicide rates are so bad that they’re comparable to the casualties suffered in some wars. To clarify: a war is a series of battles fought over a long period of time, usually several years. To have more deaths in a single city in peacetime truly says something about the quality of life there and city hall’s crime policies.
695 people were killed in Chicago in 2022, giving the city some of the highest homicide numbers in the United States. The murders are concentrated around the Englewood and West Chicago areas, with some shootings occurring near downtown tourist hot spots. The city is so violent that it’s earned the dark moniker “Chiraq.” Ironically, there were more dead Chicagoans in 2022 than dead Iraqis in 2021.
When the Russians invaded South Ossetia in 2008, conservative casualty estimates place the combined number of dead on both the Russian and Georgian sides at 659, including the casualties suffered by the various mercenaries and foreign volunteers who took up arms for either side.
The City of Brotherly Love is ironically one of the most dangerous cities in America, with 516 homicides in 2022. According to a report by the New York Times, 1,400 people had been shot by August of 2022, which is odd for a city which is trying its best to regulate its citizen’s guns. Violence is usually concentrated in North and West Philadelphia, so a lot of the city is safe for tourists, and local ride-shares will usually be knowledgeable enough to tell you which places are no-go zones. However, the gas stations and 7-11s throughout the city that are frequent targets of carjackings and muggings make it almost mandatory to carry a weapon for self-defense.
Philadelphia’s high homicide count is comparable to the total casualties suffered during the world’s shortest war: the Anglo-Zanzibar War. In 1896, the tiny Zanzibar Sultanate dared to stand up to the Royal Navy. In response, two British cruisers and three gunboats off the coast shelled until it surrendered. The entire affair lasted just 38 minutes and resulted in approximately 500 casualties.
Known for its large homeless population and violent crime, the City of Angels has never quite lived up to its name. With the majority of violent crime concentrated in the city center, Los Angeles reported 382 homicides in 2022. Some, like Captain Paul Vernon of the LAPD, believe this high homicide rate is due to the political hamstringing of the police force. The popular “defund the police” movement has led to some LAPD officers afraid to do their jobs, and there has been a decreased police presence in high crime areas. The lack of badges has emboldened criminals, leading some criminals to do “walk up” shootings in the middle of broad daylight, knowing that police will be reluctant to stop them for fear of being labeled as “racist” and losing their jobs.
Meanwhile, down in Mozambique, the country’s Marxist government was challenged over the results of the 2014 general elections, in which they narrowly defeated the conservative, anti-communist RENAMO party. Conservative forces waged an on-and-off guerrilla war on the communist government. This war, which lasted from 2014 – 2019, resulting in approximately 327 casualties, less than the number of people killed in Los Angeles every year.
The media is rife with stories about Detroit, making it out to be an urban hellhole worse than even its fictional counterpart in the Robocop movies. The city now synonymous with gun violence was once the auto manufacturing capital of the world. When production shifted overseas, the city which once had two million people now has a population of 640,000 and shrinking. Thanks to the lack of jobs and high crime rate (caused by the lack of jobs), Detroit will continue to be a city in decline until its leadership does something to crawl out of its economic crisis. 309 people were killed in Detroit 2022, mostly as a result of gang wars and violent crimes.
Compare that number to number of people killed in the entirety of the Second Afar Insurgency. This relatively unknown 28-year-long ethnic conflict lasted from 1995 until 2018 in an area the size of New Mexico. During that entire time period, battlefield casualties are estimated to be anywhere from 275 to 569 in total, miniscule compared to the combined 8,796 murdered people in Detroit during those same years.
The Home of the Blues also happens to breed some of the toughest people in America. Shootings and murders are a regular occurrence in the city, and many children fall asleep to the soothing tones of police sirens and gunshots. The city’s old money and lack of upward mobility has been a death sentence for the large minority population struggling to pull itself out of poverty. As a result, its high crime claimed the lives of 302 people in 2022, and it shows no signs of stopping. Locals know where not to stay after sunset, and Memphis police has lowered its entry standards, no longer required college credits, military service, or previous law enforcement experience, and merely asked for two years work experience – any work experience. Memphis police has gotten so desperate that it has considered hiring officers with criminal backgrounds.
It may be hard to believe, but Memphis has suffered more deaths than the entire Ghost Dance War. This event, burned into the collective memory of the Lakota people and all Native Americans, lasted from 1890 – 1891. What started as a native religious revival erupted into violence as US troops attempted to confiscate Native weapons and land. The entire war was over in about a month, with approximately 300 natives killed.
If you live in any of these cities, it would be in your best interests to consider affordable personal protection, especially if you work in the security field. The most common round used in gun-related crime is the 9mm, and BulletSafe’s comfortable, concealable NIJ-Certified VP3 vests are available for only $299.99. Capable of defeating most handgun calibers up to .44 Magnum. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.