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What Military Branch Has the Highest Crime Rate? (Top 4)

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

what military branch has the highest crime rate

It is hard to imagine that crimes occur in the military. After all, it is the very place tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding an entire nation. However, it is true that many crimes are indeed carried out in the military. In this article, we will tell you the most common crimes that happen and deliver an answer to, “What military branch has the highest crime rate?”.

Crimes on Military Bases

To start, we will look at the common crimes that happen on bases and military crime statistics:

1. Murder

This includes shootings and other homicide acts. It is typically the most publicly reported crime.

Here are three specific cases, commonly cited:

  • November 2009

Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire In Maj, killing 13 people, of which 12 were soldiers.

  • April 2014

At Fort Hood, Army specialist Ivan A. Lopez executed a mass shooting. He killed 3 soldiers and injured 12 people.

  • April 2020

20-year-old Army soldier Vanessa Guillén was killed at Fort Hood base by a hammer. She was missing, and only dismembered remains were found about a month later along Leon River. The perpetrators were Aaron David Robinson and Cecily Anne Aguilar, wherein Aaron was a fellow soldier and Cecily was his girlfriend.

A quick search on homicide at Fort Hood will tell you that these cases aren’t uncommon.

Between 2010 and 2013, an FBI study found that 43 people were injured and 27 were killed in 5 shootings on military grounds. And in 2019, there were at a minimum – 7 shootings.

2. Suicide

Suicide rates are high across military bases. But they are rarely openly talked about. As a result, a stigma is formed, fueling and perpetuating a vicious cycle. In 2020, it was found that the death by suicide rate for young military personnel was over 2x the rate for civilians of the same age. It, in fact, was higher than all civilian age demographics.

  • In 2020, the number of active-duty soldier suicides rose by 10% from 2019.
  • In the same year, the total number of suicides across service members rose by 15%.
  • In the National Guard, the rise was 32%, and in the Reserves, 18%.

To help you grasp these numbers better,

  • Approximately 7,057 service members died during operations since 9/11
  • Approximately 30,177 service members died by suicide since 9/11

That’s 4 times as many!

3. Domestic Abuse & Violence

This is a serious but often overlooked crime on military bases as it is generally deemed a crime committed by military personnel. In 2017, a survey by Blue Star Family reported that about 15% of military family members did not feel safe in their relationship(s) because of domestic violence. And domestic abuse was only just recently added as a crime under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

4. Sexual Assault & Rape

This refers to rape, forcible sodomy, and other unwanted physical contacts with a sexual nature. It has been a pervasive problem in the military for as long as anyone can remember, but it was not until the late 1980s did military rape laws emerge.

  • ~20,500 service members were sexually assaulted in 2018. Of this number, 13,000 were women and 7,500 were men.
  • Most sexual assault cases are not reported. In 2018, 76.1% of victims revealed that they did not report the crime.
  • 64% of women who reported an assault faced retaliation. ⅓ of victims were discharged within 7 months of reporting, and 24% separated under non-fully honorable conditions.

Sexual Crimes in the Military – What Military Branch Has the Highest Crime Rate?


1. The U.S Navy

According to a Pentagon report published in 2018 based on 2014 data of over 140,000 surveys from active-duty service members, the Navy is the branch with the highest sexual assault risk.

More specifically, the riskiest place in the Navy for sexual assault is aboard the ships. This is for both men and women:

  • 1 in every 25 men was sexually assaulted on one of the Navy’s ships
  • Over 10% of all women were sexually assaulted at each high-risk ship over 1 year
  • Over 15% of all women were sexually assaulted at two

Ships that are assigned to the 96671 FPO Code are associated with risk exceeding 100 percent of the Navy’s average installation-specific risk.

2. The U.S Army

Despite being the oldest branch, in terms of the risk of sexual assault, Fort Drum is considered one of the most dangerous bases for both men and women in the Army.

The following top 2 risky locations for U.S Army women are

  • Fort Huachuca in Arizona
  • Fort Riley in Kansas

The following top 2 risky locations for U.S Army men are

  • Fort Myer in Virginia
  • Fort Benning in Georgia

Note Outside of the U.S, Osan Base in Korea and Rose Barracks in Germany are also high-risk.

Lowest risk installations in terms of sexual assault for Army women are

  • Fort George G. Meade
  • Lackland Air Force Base
  • Fort Shafter
  • Fort Belvoir
  • Postal Area 7
  • Postal Area 9
  • Shaw Air Force Base
  • Wiesbaden in Germany
  • Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy

Lowest risk installations in terms of sexual assault for Army men are

  • Landstuhl Med Ctr in Germany
  • Fort George G. Meade
  • Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy
  • Lackland Air Force Base
  • Peterson Air Force Base
  • Fort Shafter
  • Fort Detrick
  • Hunter Army Airfield

3. The U.S Air Force

Air Force male and female personnel are most at risk for sexual assault at undergraduate pilot training bases.

The top 5 risky locations for U.S Air Force women are

  • Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma
  • Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma
  • Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas
  • Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas
  • Columbus Air Force base in Mississippi

The top 5 risky locations for U.S Air Force men are

  • Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma
  • Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas
  • Joint Base Anacostia – Bolling in Washington
  • C Luke Air Force Base in Arizona
  • Columbus Air Force base in Mississippi

4. The U.S Marine Corps

Among the top 5 most dangerous places for male and female Marines in terms of sexual assault risk is California’s Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty Nine Palms. For men, other risky assignment locations are Afghanistan, Korea, and Japan. For women, high-risk bases are Marine Corps Air Force Station Beaufort, Marine Corps Air Station New River, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, United States Marine Corps Mobile, and Marine Logistics Group (3rd).

Check this guide to know more branches accept felons to join the military.

Military Towns


Based on findings from, here are the top 10 safest and most dangerous towns:

10 Safest Military Towns

  • Quantico Military Reservation Marine Corps (Marine Corps) – Quantico, Virginia
  • Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg Base (Navy) in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania
  • Hanscom Air Force Base (Air Force) in Bedford, Massachusetts
  • Naval Weapons Station Earle Base (Navy) in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey
  • Patrick Air Force Base (Air Force) in Satellite Beach, Florida
  • Picatinny Arsenal Army Base (Army) in Rockaway, New Jersey
  • Lakehurst Maxfield Field (Navy) in Lakehurst, New Jersey
  • Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (Navy) in Oak Harbor, Washington
  • Pine Bluff Arsenal Army Base (Army) in White Hall, Arkansas
  • Air Station Cape Cod Coast Guard Base (Coast Guard) in Sandwich, Massachusetts

Moreover, here are the 6 safest branches in the military you need to know!

10 Most Dangerous Military Towns

  • Anniston Army Depot Base in Anniston, Alabama
  • Fort Polk Army Base in Leesville, Louisiana
  • Coast Guard Yard, Surface Forces Log Coast Guard in Baltimore, Maryland
  • ISC Miami Coast Guard Base in Miami Beach, Florida
  • Camp Atterbury Army Base in Edinburgh, Indiana
  • ISC Cleveland Coast Guard Base in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Camp Beauregard Army Base in Pineville, Louisiana
  • Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Red River Army Depot Army Base in Texarkana, Texas
  • MCLB Albany in Albany, Georgia used to identify over ~300 active bases, then looked at the FBI 2017 Uniform Crime Reporting data for the areas, and focused on the crime rates per capita for the city the bases were located in.


Congrats! Now, you know the answer to, “What military branch has the highest crime rate?” We hope that you found this article helpful. Leave any thoughts and questions for us below! Thanks!

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