This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Oregon

Oregon is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, progressive politics, and welcoming atmosphere. However, beneath the picturesque surface lies a darker reality, with certain areas grappling with elevated levels of crime and violence. In this blog post, we will delve into the city that has earned the disconcerting title of Oregon’s murder capital, based on the latest available data and statistics.

Identifying the Murder Capital

Determining the murder capital involves identifying the city with the highest number of murders or the highest murder rate per capita in the state. Our analysis draws upon FBI crime data for 22 Oregon cities with populations exceeding 6,000 residents, comparing the 2024 figures with previous years to discern trends.

According to the FBI data, Portland claimed the highest number of murders in Oregon in 2024, registering 94 cases—an alarming increase from the prior year’s 55. Additionally, Portland ranked second in murder rate per capita, with 14.9 murders per 100,000 people, more than three times the national average of 4.4.

However, the city with the highest murder rate per capita in 2024 was Lincoln City, recording 19.8 murders per 100,000 people. Despite only two murders in 2024, the city’s smaller population of 10,110 contributed to this elevated rate. Notably, Lincoln City experienced a substantial spike from zero murders in the previous year.

Hence, based on FBI data, Lincoln City emerged as the murder capital of Oregon in 2024, followed closely by Portland.

Unraveling the Causes

Lincoln City, situated in Lincoln County along the Oregon coast, is renowned for its scenic beaches and cultural events. Despite these attractions, the city grapples with a shadow of crime and violence, the specifics of which are not publicly disclosed for the two murders in 2024.

Several potential factors contributing to the heightened murder rate include:

  • Drug Abuse and Trafficking: Lincoln City faces a significant issue with drug abuse and trafficking, particularly involving methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office reported that drug-related crimes constituted 40% of all arrests in the county in 2023.
  • Domestic Violence: The city has a notable incidence of domestic violence, a factor that can escalate to fatal outcomes. In 2023, Lincoln County ranked third in the state for domestic violence victims per 1,000 residents, with 13.6 victims.
  • Limited Resources and Opportunities: Lincoln City, characterized by relative poverty and isolation, offers limited resources and opportunities. In 2019, the median household income was $38,571, below the state average, contributing to a 7.9% unemployment rate in December 2023.

Mitigating the Issue

Addressing Lincoln City’s elevated murder rate demands concerted efforts and strategic interventions:

  • Law Enforcement and Prevention: Increased police presence, along with investment in crime prevention initiatives such as community policing and youth mentoring, can foster collaboration between law enforcement and residents. Combating drug trafficking and expanding treatment options for drug users is crucial.
  • Social Services and Support: Enhancing social services for vulnerable populations, including domestic violence victims, low-income families, and the homeless, is imperative. Providing shelters, counseling, legal aid, and financial assistance can contribute to a safer community.
  • Opportunities and Development: Creating educational and employment opportunities is vital for improving the city’s economic landscape. This includes enhancing schools, and vocational training programs, and attracting businesses to diversify the economy.


While Lincoln City boasts natural beauty and charm, the designation as Oregon’s murder capital in 2024 underscores the pressing need for comprehensive solutions. Tackling issues such as drug abuse, domestic violence, and economic disparities requires a collaborative effort from government entities, law enforcement, the community, and individuals. By implementing strategic measures, Lincoln City has the potential to transform into a safer and more prosperous community.

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