The 2023 Lineup of West Virginia’s Most Dangerous Cities

Many West Virginians have come to acknowledge that the Mountain State harbors some rather precarious crimes. Is it the hefty tolls pushing people to the edge, or perhaps the scarcity of jobs and meager wages? Indeed, it’s a combination of all three and more.

West Virginia has its own assortment of hazardous cities. Take a look.

Beckley: Beckley, rooted in the coal industry’s early 20th-century history, showcases its past through the nearby Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. In recent decades, economic challenges fueled rising crime, with Beckley ranking 4th in violent crimes in the state.

Charleston: Charleston, West Virginia’s capital and largest city with 46,038 residents, grapples with high burglary rates and 424 violent crimes, including 11 murders. Despite crime challenges, Charleston features riverfront parks, museums, and the State Capitol.

South Charleston: Located south of Charleston, South Charleston ranks as the 3rd most dangerous spot in West Virginia. The urban area faces high rates of car theft and larceny but also boasts historical attractions like the Criel Mound.

Huntington: As West Virginia’s second-largest city, Huntington claims the title of the state’s fourth most dangerous. Ranking fifth in violent crimes, it records the fifth-highest rate of rape cases and has a high burglary rate, averaging more than one break-in per day.

Wheeling: Once West Virginia’s capital during the Civil War, Wheeling has seen a population decline to around 26,222. It grapples with a high crime rate, including a notable number of sexual assaults, 31 rapes, and 330 total violent crimes.

Clarksburg: Clarksburg, once a contender for the state capital, now ranks 6th in danger. With a population of 15,092, the city faces high rates of larceny and arson, with recent attention drawn to a case involving suspicious deaths at a VA Medical Center.

Parkersburg: Once a commercial and industrial hub, Parkersburg’s economic shift resulted in a crime problem. With a population of around 29,096, it faces alarming rates of sexual assaults and arson, along with common occurrences of burglary and car thefts.

Dunbar: Situated along the Kanawha River, Dunbar faces a severe robbery problem, reporting the highest rate in West Virginia. Despite its crime concerns, Dunbar has a rich history and was established as a center for the glass manufacturing industry.

St. Albans: West of Charleston, St. Albans ranks ninth in danger, with residents having a 1 in 43 chance of being a victim of property crime in 2020.

Fairmont: Known as the “pepperoni roll capital of the world,” Fairmont ranks as the 10th most dangerous place in West Virginia, facing significant challenges, including violent crimes among its 18,352 residents.

While West Virginia presents crime challenges in certain areas, it’s essential to recognize that these statistics don’t define the entire state. Many communities are safe and full of hardworking individuals committed to improvement.