10 Most Dangerous Cities in Arkansas

Updated On October 10, 2023

Just a tad over three million people call Arkansas home.

200,000 of them live in Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas.

In comparison to a state like California, which has 40 million citizens, it may not sound like a lot.

However, Arkansas has built a reputation as a quiet place full of green spaces.

After all, it’s not called The Natural State for nothing. 

But does it live up to the peaceful hype found in the forests?

Come along with us as we discover the most dangerous cities in the state. 

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Arkansas

 Helena, AR, USA
Helena, AR, USA

1. Helena

Helena is actually half of a city. Half as in it used to be joined with another part, which is now called Helena-West.

For this analysis, the two halves are combined to make one dangerous city.

Driving through it, you’d likely be shocked to find out the truth about the danger going on behind the scenes here.

That’s because it just gives off a small-town feel with even several majestic century-old homes that are on the registry for historic houses. 

What’s going on behind closed doors is a bit darker.

The crime rate is 118% higher than in every other city in Arkansas.

On top of that, Arkansas is already 179% higher than the rest of the country.

That means Helena has one of the highest crime rates nationwide.

Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, Arkansas

2. Hot Springs

Just hearing the name Hot Springs, it might be confusing to see this place on the list.

This rings true even more if you’ve actually been to the city that is the hometown of former president Bill Clinton.

Along with the busy strip of Main Street and the gorgeous views of Lake Hamilton, crime is prevalent. 

Hot Springs is part of an area that is on the list of the 50 most dangerous in the nation. 

583 acts of violence were committed that we know about, for every 100,000 residents last year alone.

Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas

3. Little Rock

It’s probably not super surprising to see a capital on the list.

After all, larger accumulations of people often lead to crime.

This is also where the airport lives, as tiny as it is, and the Clinton Presidential Library.

While it’s commonly viewed as one of the most affordable major cities in the country, it comes with a price tag.

1 in 55 residents becomes a victim of a violent crime. 

Jacksonville, Arkansas
Jacksonville, Arkansas

4. Jacksonville

In a confusing twist, Jacksonville is lauded as one of the best places to live in Arkansas.

The city has a healthy economy and stuff to do, which seems innocent enough.

Even with these glowing reviews, the crime rate is 1,160 per 100,000.

That adds a stain to the town as having one of the highest rates for similar-sized areas in America. 

Blytheville, Arkansas
Blytheville, Arkansas

5. Blytheville

About an hour away from the border of Tennessee, Blytheville stands out.

Between the metro area of Little Rock to Memphis, there’s a whole lot of nothing.

At least, that’s what it seems.

In the middle of that is Blytheville with a crime rate of 51 per every 1,000 citizens. 

The rate of violent crimes is staggeringly high, coming in at 71.

Property crimes are 95.

Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas

6. Fort Smith

Being on the Oklahoma border makes Fort Smith a popular place to live and visit.

Driving down the strip, you might be fooled into believing you drove through a portal to Europe.

Quaint ambiance does not equate to safety, however.

Fort Smith’s crime rate is over two times higher than all of the US.

Violent crime is 41 for every 1,000 residents and property crime is at 76.

Osceola, Arkansas
Osceola, Arkansas

7. Osceola

Don’t walk alone here at night.

The city is known for playing a big part in the blues.

If you live here, you might be singing right along.

The violent crime rate is 90 per 1,000. 

You have a 1 in 36 chance of being a victim of such a crime.

There’s also a 1 in 24 chance of having your property vandalized.

El Dorado, Arkansas
El Dorado, Arkansas

8. El Dorado

Hailed the Entertainment Capital of the South, El Dorado is named after the famed Latin American city thought to be the lost city of gold.

As lofty as those sights are set, the realization of El Dorado’s danger can’t be ignored.

Violent crime here is 50 out of 1,000.

Newport, Arkansas
Newport, Arkansas

9. Newport

Nice and snug against the Ozarks, Newport is deceiving.

While most in Arkansas would vote it as a safe place to live, the town has some unsavory activity going on. 

Aggravated assault and theft are the most common crimes to happen here.

West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis, Arkansas

10. West Memphis

Most of the country has no idea that the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, as well as rhythm and blues, has a sister city.

Directly across the Mississippi River is West Memphis. 

To the untrained eye, you might drive right through and not think much of it. 

It’s best to be careful, though. 

Individuals have a 1 in 40 chance of being on the receiving end of violent crimes here.

The violent crime rate is 81 for every 1,000, which is painfully high in comparison to the national average of 23.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Arkansas

1. Don’t Acknowledge Strangers

Sure, you’ve heard this advice a million times since childhood.

Kind of.

Acknowledging and talking are two different things.

When someone approaches you, there’s no need to even act like you notice they are there.

In bigger areas like Little Rock or touristy places like Hot Springs, you’ll find people trying to make eye contact.

Avoid making eye contact.

It’s used as an invitation for often unsavory people to come up and take advantage.

The more you keep your eyes forward and stay busy talking to other visitors you’re with, the easier it will be to avoid strangers.

2. Leave Car Doors Locked

This is specifically pertaining to gas stations.

One trick for vehicle thieves is to pretend to be homeless at a gas station.

They sit on the sidewalk or in front of the shop.

At first, these people may appear in need.

The reality is, they are just being observant and patient.

While you start fueling a vehicle and running inside, these criminals will run up and try to jump into your car.

If the door is unlocked, there have been many reports of the car being stolen right from the pump. 

3. Don’t Carry Cash

At least, don’t admit to it if you do.

The reason why is this is another scam that is being run on visitors and citizens of Arkansas. 

Especially in touristy areas, it’s not uncommon to have someone come up and ask for money.

They will often give you an overly detailed rundown of their particularly dire situation.

It usually has something to do with a broken down car, several children to feed, and they have no way home. 

They proclaim only $20 or anything you have will be such a big help.

In reality, there is no car.

Money is the name of the game here.

4. Don’t Take Anything From Anyone

The extremely dangerous drug fentanyl has spread like wildfire across Arkansas. 

Children up to seasoned drug addicts have died and continue dying each year due to the toxic effects it has.

Unfortunately, it’s so thick in the culture that the substance, along with others, isn’t hard to come across.

In fact, recreational drugs have been known to be laced with fentanyl. 

Which, of course, is another reason why so many are dying from it.

Traces alone have been known to have an impact.

You never know what other people have been handling.

5. Keep Quiet About Winnings

Arkansas has legal casinos.

This is a big draw for desperate people looking to make an easy take.

Whether you win big or lose hard, keep that information to yourself.

Be as discreet as possible when it comes to actual cash.

If given the option, don’t get cash until you’re inside the casino and are in view of security.

Arkansas Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Arkansas Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the safest city in Arkansas?

According to crime rates, Bentonville shows up as the place in Arkansas where you’re least likely to become a victim of a crime.

Bentonville is followed closely by Maumelle.

Unfortunately for both cities, there’s not a lot to do in either location.

So, while you’re probably not spending a whole vacation in these cities, they will be safe to drive through or visit with family.

How safe is Arkansas?

Arkansas is mostly made up of rural towns and lots of beautiful landscapes.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean much when it comes to crime.

When compared to the other 49 states of the US, Arkansas came in at number 48 on the list.

Only two states have worse crime rates.

Of course, the list isn’t crime based alone.

However, it is interesting to note the population of the bigger cities in Arkansas seems to have a higher percentage of crime.

That is, in comparison to cities or states that one might assume had worse criminal activity.

What are the top crimes being committed in Arkansas?

Drugs have been running rampant across the state in recent years.

From tiny, Mayberry towns to big cities, illegal substances have found their way into all walks of life.

What’s been determined by officials is that drugs are leading to bigger and very serious crimes.

In recent years, the crimes reported the most are larceny, burglary, grand theft auto, aggravated assault, and robbery.

Coming up closely behind are rape and murder.

As far as property crimes go, there were 2,110 committed for every 100,000 residents of Arkansas last year.

That’s the fifth highest in the country.

5 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Arkansas

  1. S
    Steve margossian says:

    WTH- how is this tolerable? The national guard should be deployed,, I was attracted to home pricing in Helena— 1 in 14 chance of Violent CRIME!! You couldn’t pay me enough to Consider visiting much more bringing my family to “live” Send the border refugees

  2. A
    Alyssa Davidson says:

    These numbers emphasize the importance of community engagement and support in making Arkansas a safer place for everyone.

  3. A
    Amelie Patrick says:

    Arkansas is a beautiful state, but these statistics shed light on the need for collective efforts to make all areas safer for residents.

  4. F
    Fiona Baldwin says:

    It’s alarming to see how crime rates have increased in some areas. Safety should be a top priority for everyone.

  5. B
    Bria Elliott says:

    Living in Arkansas, I’ve noticed some areas facing challenges with safety. It’s hard for local authorities to address these issues effectively.

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