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The 1st is not a state so it doesn't count. This is just how they ordered it. They are ranked by murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants. US national rate is 5.6. These numbers are not percentages.

2007

1. District of Columbia 30.8
2. Louisiana 14.2
3. Maryland 9.8
4. Alabama 8.9
5. New Mexico 8.2
6. South Carolina 8.0
7. Georgia 7.5
7. Nevada 7.5
9. Arizona 7.4
10. Mississippi 7.1
11. Michigan 6.7
11. Arkansas 6.7
13. Florida 6.6
14. North Carolina 6.5
14. Missouri 6.5
16. Tennessee 6.4
16. Alaska 6.4
18. California 6.2
19. Oklahoma 6.1
20. Texas 5.9
20. Illinois 5.9
22. Pennsylvania 5.8
23. Indiana 5.6 **US National Rate**
24. Virginia 5.3
25. Kentucky 4.8
26. Ohio 4.5
27. New Jersey 4.4
28. New York 4.2
29. Delaware 4.3
30. Kansas 3.9
31. Nebraska 3.8
32. West Virginia 3.5
33. Idaho 3.3
33. Wisconsin 3.3
35. Colorado 3.1
35. Wyoming 3.1
37. Connecticut 3.0
38. Massachusetts 2.9
39. Washington 2.7
40. Minnesota 2.2
40. Utah 2.2
42. South Dakota 2.1
43. North Dakota 1.9
44. Vermont 1.9
44. Oregon 1.9
46. Rhode Island 1.8
47. Hawaii 1.7
48. Maine 1.6
49. Montana 1.5
50. Iowa 1.2
51. New Hampshire 1.1

http://www.infoplease.com/us/statistics/crime-rate-state.html

And if you want more specifics, click here

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_05.html

*** The South isn't as safe as some think it to be ***
 
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