Louisiana named the least peaceful state in the U.S.
Make it 11: That's the number of years in a row now that Louisiana has been ranked the least peaceful state in the Institute for Economics & Peace's annual United State Peace Index. Releasing the 2012 index this morning, the institute defines peace as "absence of violence," and Louisiana's notoriously high violent crime rate just can't offset its more peaceful attributes. Maine is ranked the most peaceful state. Overall, the index shows the United States is a more peaceful place than at any time during the past 20 years; it was first issued in 1991. The five criteria used in the ranking are the number of homicides per 100,000 people, number of violent crimes, incarceration rate, number of police employees, and availability of small arms. The latest survey finds that the United States improved in all five categories over 2011, including a 3.2% drop in homicides and a 5.5% dip in violent crimes; however, it also finds that the decrease in officially recorded violence has been partially offset by increases in violence in prison. New Orleans is ranked as the second-most violent U.S. metro area in the index; Detroit bears the distinction of being the nation's most violent city. See the interactive global and U.S. peace index here.
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