Vermont is one of the safest states in the country, with a murder rate of 2.2 per 100,000 people in 2020, the fourth lowest among states. However, not all cities in the Green Mountain State are equally peaceful. According to the latest FBI crime data, one city has been named the murder capital of Vermont: Burlington.
Burlington’s Murder Rate
Burlington, Vermont, is not only the largest and most densely populated city in the state, but it also has the highest incidence of violent crime. In 2020, there were a total of 173 reported violent crimes, including 4 homicides, in the city, which had an estimated population of 42,899 in 2019.
This means that Burlington had a murder rate of 9.3 per 100,000 people, which is more than four times higher than the state average and surpasses the national average of 6.5 per 100,000 people.
Among cities in Vermont with a population of at least 10,000, Burlington has the highest murder rate. Rutland comes in second with a murder rate of 6.7 per 100,000 people, followed by Barre with a murder rate of 5.6 per 100,000 people.
The Causes and Consequences of Burlington’s Violence
Burlington’s high murder rate can be attributed to various factors, including poverty, drug abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, gang activity, and the availability of guns. While some of these factors are present in other parts of Vermont, they may be amplified by the city’s urban density, diversity, and social dynamics.
The consequences of Burlington’s violence extend beyond the victims and their families, impacting the entire community. It affects the city’s reputation, economy, tourism, and overall well-being. Additionally, it places a burden on the city’s law enforcement, healthcare, and social services.
Burlington’s Efforts to Reduce Violence
Burlington’s authorities and residents are actively addressing the city’s issue of violence through a variety of measures. These include:
- Increasing police presence and patrols in areas with high crime rates.
- Implementing community policing and outreach programs to foster trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the public.
- Offering support and resources for victims and witnesses of crimes.
- Strengthening prevention and intervention programs for youth and families at risk.
- Promoting education and awareness regarding the dangers and consequences of violence.
- Building partnerships and collaboration among local, state, and federal agencies and organizations.
These initiatives have yielded some positive outcomes. Burlington’s murder rate has decreased from 11.8 per 100,000 people in 2019 to 9.3 per 100,000 people in 2020. However, there is still significant room for improvement, as Burlington’s murder rate remains higher than the Vermont average and above the national average.
How Burlington Residents Feel About Crime and Safety
Based on a 2020 survey conducted by the Burlington Community Justice Center, it was found that most residents of Burlington feel secure in their neighborhoods and in the city as a whole.
The survey showed that 86% of participants felt safe or very safe in their neighborhoods during the day, and 64% felt secure at night. Similarly, 82% felt safe or very safe in the city during the day, with 55% feeling safe or very safe at night.
However, the survey also highlighted some areas of concern and discontent among residents. For instance, 40% reported experiencing or witnessing a crime in the past year, and 28% said they had been a victim of a crime during that time.
Furthermore, 42% expressed dissatisfaction or strong dissatisfaction with the police response to crime in their neighborhood, while 36% felt similarly about the police response to crime in the city.
The majority of respondents expressed support for these approaches, and indicated a preference for more investment in prevention and intervention over enforcement and punishment.
Burlington is a charming and lively city with a wealth of attractions and opportunities for both its inhabitants and guests. Nevertheless, it grapples with a significant issue of violence, which jeopardizes its safety and overall welfare.
Through a collective effort to comprehend the roots and effects of violence in Burlington, and by collaborating to diminish it, the city can aspire to realize its complete potential, transforming into a more tranquil and thriving environment for all.