Aug 3, 2009
The following is a guest post by Collin
Palkovitz and Jason Latshaw of Elany
Arts, creators of an iPhone app called LETHAL
that tells you what dangerous things are lurking just around the corner,
or in any given location in the United States.
We scoured government databases and academic publications to find crime
rates, disease rates, disaster occurrences, and deadly wildlife ranges.
We then compiled our findings into one centralized database that pulls
those stats, combines the score into four categories, and gives you an
overall “LETHAL Index” for hundreds of locations.
The research for this project was both captivating and terrifying. It
was fascinating to learn about the different dangers that various locations
pose. Below are the most dangerous locations in each of our four categories.
Power Cinema [Flickr] (Yes, in Mobile, AL)
We were all surprised to discover the location in the United States with
the greatest number of deadly animals.
One might think that somewhere in Alaska with polar bears, grizzly bears,
AND great white sharks would take the prize, but no. (Even though the
possibility of meeting up with all three of those fearsome beasts does
make Alaska pretty exciting. But you’ll read later what keeps Alaska
from being all around completely awesome.)
Or maybe the Everglades, the only place in the world where crocodiles
and alligators are both native (in addition to bears, panthers, and poisonous
snakes! Seriously, think about that, they’re one tiger away from
being able to say “Oh my!”)? But again, no. The Everglades
aren’t it either.
Instead, welcome to Mobile, Alabama, the home of 19 – yes, nineteen
– deadly animal species. It’s like the Baskin Robbins of blood-thirsty
predators. Whether you are on the land or the sea, something here can
kill you. The sheer number of creatures you have to watch out for is impressive.
A day at the beach near Mobile may sound pleasant, but you should be prepared
to wind up fleeing the shark infested waters only to find yourself in
a land crawling with more kinds of poisonous snakes and spiders than anywhere
else in the country.
But I’m sure you’re wondering what the most BORING place
is when it comes to Wildlife? I know we were. Well, if you don’t
like the idea of being offed by something that you thought was lower on
the food chain, make immediate plans to move to North or South Dakota
or Nebraska. There, the only thing you’d have to watch out for would
be a couple of lame standbys that are just about everywhere else, too
– Dogs, Hornets, Black Widow Spiders, and Mosquitoes. Yawn!
The St. Louis Arch is there to distract tourists from the city’s dangers.
When it comes to crime in the U.S. you may think that New York or Los
Angeles sound like scary places, but compared to Detroit and St. Louis,
those cities are delightful locations for Sunday-school picnics.
St. Louis and Detroit battle it out for the title of “Which City
is More Likely to Annihilate You With Its Crime,” and quite honestly
this contest is going into extra innings with no end in sight.
St. Louis comes out of the gate and scores some quick points because
of its insanely high violent crime rate – 2,480 violent crimes per
100,000 citizens. But the Motor City comes right back – nearly tying
the match with its own hefty rate of 2419 per 100,000.
Maybe the Lions went 0-16 because they couldn’t focus on the game –
they were too busy looking over their shoulders to make sure they weren’t
going to get mugged or killed!
Speaking of getting killed, if you do decide to ignore the fear of being
mugged, stabbed, or beaten and decide to brave these Midtown Detroit streets,
you run the risk of being one of many yearly murder victims there –
people are killed at the gaudy rate of 61 per every 100,000 citizens.
When you realize that the national rate is a mere 7, you see how dangerous
this area is.
But before you fall out of your chair and start hyperventilating know
this: Downtown St. Louis has that rate beat – by a mile –
because 93 out of every 100,00 are murdered there. All of a sudden, Midtown
Detroit might be looking safe. But it isn’t.
Because St. Louis has one thing going for it in the crime department
– at least when it comes to Forcible Rape, it’s not Midtown
Detroit is not safe enough even for the Department of Public Safety.
The building has been abandoned …
Farr (Detroit Derek) [Flickr]
We’ll let you know just how bad Midtown Detroit is in the rape
department, but first a discussion about the stats we found for rape in
the US: When we were doing our research, we were horrified by Juneau,
Alaska. I don’t know what they’re drinking there, but 102.3
out of every 100,000 people are getting raped in the land of “Whatever
It Is People Do In Juneau,” Since the US average is a mere 33.1,
clearly they have a serious problem. (And actually, it’s kind of
widespread to the whole state of Alaska! That place has an unbelievably
high rate of 76 – that’s for the state on average. Sarah Palin,
what in the world is going on up there?).
Truly it can’t get worse than Juneau, right? Wrong. Sleepy little
beach communities Ocean City, Maryland and Key West, Florida made a baffling
and troublesome attempt to hang with the major cities by weighing in with
rates of 123.3 and 127.3, respectively. Think about that for a second.
If you had a NFL Football game in Ocean City, Maryland, about 127 people
in that crowd would be raped that year, on average. What’s going
on, Ocean City? Considering that New York City’s Rape rate is a
mere 13 per 100,000, one has to wonder if NBC should move the Special
Victim’s Unit to Ocean City, Maryland! Benson and Stabler, head
to the Shore!
Actually, no. If we’re going to be calling Benson and Stabler
anywhere, it should be to Midtown Detroit. While we were scandalized and
terrified by Key West, Ocean City, and Jeneau – we were absolutely
left in a state of disbelief by Midtown Detroits numbers. 181 rapes per
100,000 people. Yes, 181. Just about six times the national average.
So it looks like Midtown Detroit is more likely to rape you while Downtown
St. Louis will more likely just kill you. We can’t pick a winner.
But we know two areas we’ll be avoiding for the near future. (This
would be the time to point out that both Detroit and St. Louis have areas
that are very safe and lovely. But really, don’t go to Midtown or
Downtown without body armor and some pepper spray.)
We were shocked to learn which location ranked the highest for disasters.
The Mississippi River has a nasty habit of flooding in Memphis.
As it turns out, this unsuspecting town sits in the path of tornadoes
and is located in an area geologically prone to earthquakes, floods, and
landslides. There is also significant potential for wildfires in this
area. In addition to natural disasters, motor vehicle deaths, accidental
firearm deaths, and suicides are all above average.
But if you’re headed to the nation’s capital, you might want to
follow Obama’s lead and drive in a bullet proof SUV, because Washington
DC has the most gun related deaths per year – by far. A full 21%
more deaths than the runner up in this inglorious category, New Orleans.
And if you’re feeling a little down, you may want to steer clear
of Montana. There’s something about all that ranching and wheat
farming that must make you want to just up and end it all, because Montana
has the worst suicide rate in the nation. 22 out of every 100,000 Montanians
(I have no idea if they’re called that or not, but what’s
the alternative really… Montanites?) kill themselves every year.
US Naval Hospital Ship Mercy docked in San Diego in 2006.
Coincidence? I don’t think so … Photo: Jim
San Diego takes the cake (ew, what kind of cake would that be? Pro tip:
don’t eat it) for the most disease-ridden location in the United
States. It is a good thing that cancer, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s
are non-communicable; otherwise the entire city would have to be quarantined.
But it’s a city on the other side of the continent that takes the
unfortunate status of being the “AIDS capital of America.”
That would be Baltimore, with 37.7 AIDS related deaths per 100,000 citizens.
Its sister city Washington DC isn’t much better off in that department
at 37.1. Compare that to a mere 3.7 AIDS deaths per 100,000 in Oakland,
California or the very impressive virtual ZERO in Salt Lake City, Utah
and you’ll see that Baltimore and DC have to change something up.
Win a Free Download!
you’d like to score yourself a free copy of LETHAL
for your iPhone or iPod touch , be the first to answer ONE of the following
questions in the comments. We’re giving out 5 freebies here.
Can you guess what location has the highest overall LETHAL
Hint: it is none of the locations listed above. It is a city where a
moderately high score in all four categories reveals that it has the
most cumulative danger.
Can you guess what location has the least overall LETHAL
Hint: It also wasn’t mentioned.
Can you tell us which city comes in 3rd behind Detroit and
St. Louis with the Crime Index?
Which state should probably have its collective Drivers License
taken away because it has the highest automobile death rate?
What state has the highest rate of Occupational Fatality?
Yep, a whole lot of people seem to die on the job here… over 40%
more than the second most dangerous area in this category!
Please login and
use your Neatorama username (if you don’t have one, please register).
Place your guess in the comment. One answer per comment, though you may
enter as many guesses as you’d like. One free download per person.