Property crime is one of the most common forms of crime in the US. Still, it has been dropping steadily over the past decade. The following property crime statistics indicate changing trends in the way thieves operate and ways in which law enforcement agencies are combating this threat.
While many citizens may fall victim to property crime in their lifetime, most people are not aware of the extent of crime in their region — hence why having a good understanding is vital to staying safe and secure.
Read the following stats if you wish to know more.
Fascinating Property Crime Stats (Editor’s Choice):
- Property crime has decreased by more than 50% since 1993.
- Cash is the most difficult (stolen) item to get back, having only a 2% recovery rate.
- Larceny-theft accounted for 72.5% of all property crimes in 2018.
- Motor vehicles have the highest chance of recovery at 59.1%
- The city of Irvine, California, enjoys the lowest rate of property crime at 1.3%.
- Just one third (34%) of property crimes are reported to the police.
Property Crime and Theft Rates in the United States
Property crime has decreased by more than 50% since 1993.
(Source: Pew Research)
Data from the FBI reveals that property crime has decreased from 4,740 incidents per 100,000 people in 1993 to only 2,199 (per 100,000 people) in 2018. That’s a reduction of over 50% in less than two decades.
Just one third (34%) of property crimes are reported to the police, according to recent theft statistics.
(Source: Pew Research)
A BJS annual survey found that just one-third of all property crimes are reported, with the general feeling being that the police “would not or could not do anything to help.” Others felt that the crimes were either too trivial or more of a personal nature.
7.2 million property crimes were reported in the US in 2018.
This equates to 2,199 incidents reported per 100,000 citizens — or 2.2% of the population! That seems like a lot but this is actually down from 10.9 million just two decades ago. The number of reported cases has reduced consistently year after year since 2002.
That’s good news! But how many property crime cases are solved?
Less than 30% of stolen property is recovered in the US on a yearly basis.
(Source: Uniform Crime Reporting)
Nearly $14.5 billion worth of property was reported stolen in 2018, with only $4 billion recovered (28.4%). Compared to 2017 (29.2%), this is a small decrease; yet, compared to 2016, when only 27.6% of stolen property was recovered, this is a “noticeable” increase.
Surveys on property crimes and similar cases reveal 47% of Americans say they worry about crime and violence “a great deal.”
Almost half of all Americans worry about crime and violence a great deal according to a survey by Gallup. Only 25% said they worry about crime and violence “only a little” or “not at all.” Surprisingly, federal spending and affordable healthcare were rated as the biggest concerns amongst US citizens, even more so than hunger and homelessness.
But wait, it’s not all doom and gloom:
Motor vehicles have the highest chance of recovery at 59.1%, according to property crime statistics.
(Source: Uniform Crime Reporting)
Of the 5.5 billion motor vehicles stolen in 2017, 3.2 billion have been recovered. Cash, by comparison, is the most difficult stolen item to get back, with only a 2% recovery rate.
There were 35,128 incidents of arson in the US in 2018.
Arson is one of the most common types of vandalism but accounts for only a small percentage of all property crimes, according to recent vandalism statistics.
An estimated $16.4 billion was lost due to various property crimes (excluding arson) in 2018.
Thefts from buildings account for the highest average value of all the stolen property at $1,610, with pick-pocketing being the second-highest at $1,169. To no great surprise, shoplifting thefts have the lowest average value of all categories, at only $304 per incident.
The Latest Property Crime Rates in the US
The state of DC has the highest rate of property crime at 4.3%.
The rate of property crime in DC is 4,373.8 incidents per 100,000 citizens — or 4.3% of the population. New Mexico has the second-highest rate of property crime, with 3,419.7 incidents per 100,000 citizens.
On the other hand, New Hampshire is the state with the lowest rate of property crime at only 1.2%.
The property crime rate in New Hampshire is 1,248.5 incidents per 100,000 citizens — or 1.2% of the population. Massachusetts has the second-lowest rate of property crime with 1,263.3 incidents per 100,000 citizens.
Certainly sounds a lot safer than the following city:
Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the US city with the highest rate of property crime at 7.3%.
Data collated from various property crime articles, including the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports and the 2017 US Census, reveal that Albuquerque, New Mexico, suffers the highest rate of overall property crime. It had 7,365.84 incidents per 100,000 people (7.3%) in 2017 and is also the city with the highest individual rate of motor vehicle theft.
The city of Irvine, California, enjoys the lowest rate of property crime at 1.3%
According to the same data sources as above, the city of Irvine in California enjoys the lowest rate of overall property crime at only 1316.48 per 100,000 people (1.3%).
Perhaps a move to the west coast is in order?
US Larceny-Theft Statistics
Larceny-theft accounted for 72.5% of all property crimes in 2018.
Larceny-theft encompasses all forms of larceny, theft, petty theft, grand theft auto, and other similar crimes. It is the most common form of property crime but differs from robbery as robbery entails taking property from a person (mugging, etc.).
Incidents of larceny-theft have reduced by approximately 20% since 2008.
Statistics show that incidents of larceny-theft in the US have reduced from 6,586,206 incidents in 2008 to only 5,217,055 incidents in 2018. This is in line with the majority of other recent property crimes which have also been reduced.
Almost half (46%) of all larceny-theft crimes involve articles over the value of $200.
Moreover, incidents involving the theft of articles below $50 in value account for approximately 31% of all thefts.
More than one quarter (27.3%) of larceny-theft crimes involve thefts from motor vehicles.
Larceny-theft from motor vehicles is the most common form of larceny, more common than shoplifting (21.2%) or thefts from buildings (10.2%). Other minor forms of larceny-theft include pick-pocketing, bicycle thefts, purse-snatching, and thefts from coin-operated machines.
Spokane, Washington, is the US city with the highest rate of larceny-theft at 5.4%.
Spokane, Washington, has the highest rate of larceny-thefts at 5,408.03 per 100,000 people (5.4%), the latest larceny statistics reveal.
Conversely, Chula Vista, California, is the US city with the lowest rate of larceny-theft at less than 1%.
If you are thinking of moving, look no further than the peaceful city of Chula Vista, California, which has the lowest rate of larceny-thefts at only 915.5 per 100,000 people (0.91%).
Crime Trends in the United States
Over the past two decades, crime has steadily decreased every year (except for 2006 and 2012).
(Source: Global Security Experts)
Both property and violent crime in the US has decreased. Still, in 2006 crime rose by 1.6% and in 2012 it rose by only 0.7%.
But wait, there’s more:
Property crimes tend to be lowest during the spring, with 8% less crime than in the summer.
(Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics)
Property crimes and similar statistics show that they are at their highest during the summer months and lowest during either winter or spring. Between 1993 and 2010, on average, crime was only 3.1% lower during fall but 6.9% lower during winter. Burglaries are at their lowest during the winter months, with 10.5% fewer incidents than in summer.
14% of households report having a home, car or other property vandalized.
Vandalism stats from a Gallup survey suggest that there may be an increasing trend in household victimization in the US. As many as 14% of survey respondents reported some form of vandalism in 2016. Another 17% reported property or money being stolen from members of their households.
Making up almost three-quarters of the total, larceny-theft is the most common type of property crime.
What is the most common property crime? Larceny-theft. Property crimes include larceny-theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. However, larceny-theft consistently ranks as one of the most common forms of property crime on a yearly basis.
Notes and currencies are the most commonly stolen items, amounting to $1.36 billion in 2017.
(Source: Uniform Crime Reporting)
Naturally, money is the item thieves go for the most, with jewelry and precious metals a close second ($1.21 billion). Of the $1.36 billion in cash stolen in 2017, only a measly $26 million has been recovered (2%).
Countries with the Most Crime
Venezuela is the country with the highest crime rate in 2020, with a crime index of 84.86.
(Source: World Populations Review)
Which countries have the most crime? Well, Venezuela for one has a crime index of 84.86 due to its poor political and economic situation; Papua New Guinea is a close second with an index of 80.26. In addition, the US has an average crime rate index of 46.73.
Bulgaria suffers one of the highest rates of crime in Europe.
In the Eurozone, Bulgaria has consistently had the highest rates of crime between 2012 and 2017, although this has reduced recently. Iceland, Norway, and Croatia have some of the lowest rates of crime in the EU, EU property crime statistics reveal.
South Africa has the highest crime rate in Africa with an index of 75.39.
(Source: Ethiopian Gazette)
South Africa rates third overall on the global crime index and is the highest in Africa. Nigeria comes in second in Africa with a crime index of 67.78, though with a lowly 14th position globally. Despite the global perception of poverty, only two African countries appear in the top ten list when it comes to the highest crime rates.
Qatar has one of the lowest crime indexes in the world at only 11.86, according to global theft statistics.
The middle-eastern nation of Qatar is one of the safest in the world according to data from Numbeo. It even has a considerably lower index than the next safest country, Taiwan, at 15.65. It should be noted that the data was collected from only 129 countries in the world.
Tijuana has the highest number of murders in the world, at 138.26 per 100,000 people.
The Mexican city of Tijuana suffers extreme gang violence (drug cartels). As a result, it has the highest homicide rate in the world. Out of the top five most dangerous cities in the world by murder rate, four are in Mexico.
Property crime statistics cover a broad spectrum of crimes, including burglary, arson, theft, and vandalism. Even petty thefts like pick-pocketing fall under the property crime umbrella, so statistics are widespread and cover most non-violent crimes.
Hopefully, these stats helped you gain a better understanding of the different types of property crimes in the US and the wider world. Understanding statistical data is vital in helping both law enforcement and citizens to better protect themselves from crime.