The crime rate mapping tool offers many features.
- State-level overview. The map is color-coded based on each state’s overall crime rate (criminal offenses per 100,000 residents) compared to the national average crime rate. Hover over each state to quickly see information about the area.
- Specific types of crime. View information about various types of crime—such as property crime, violent crime, and motor vehicle theft.
- City comparison. Compare the crime rate from different cities to see which has a better safety record. Use this when you have two locations in mind, and safety is a big concern when choosing.
Using the interactive crime map is simple. It starts with an overview of the U.S., giving you a big-picture view of the crime rate in the country.
To dig into a city’s data, select the state you want to examine to zoom in on the map. You can also use the search bar below the map to search for your chosen city directly.
Refer to the bar codes below the map to learn more about the crime rate. They appear on the left side of the screen and go into more detail about the location’s overall crime rate and individual crime rates.
You can access the comparison tool by looking to the right side of the tool below the search bar. You’ll find a button that says “compare to another city.” Click this button to find a comparison city and see the crime statistics side-by-side.
Understanding crime data and statistics
Crime tools collect crime statistics from many agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. One of the primary sources of information is the FBI Crime Data Explorer—compiled from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data. Crime tools also use statistics from local agencies and public records.
This data is much more than the overall crime rate. You can view specifics about the types of crime and compare them with the national average in the U.S. These comparisons are useful to see if there is a specific type of crime to worry about and take measures to protect yourself from those situations.
This data is also helpful for more than informing the public about crime. It’s also useful for research that helps law enforcement agencies and governments understand crime trends. It gives them somewhere to focus their efforts and see what type of crime prevention and control measures to implement.
National agencies (like the National Institute of Justice) also use this data for scientific research. It helps them understand the causes of crime and how effectively law enforcement controls it—which helps them understand local law enforcement problems and gives them insight into programs they could create to help.
The role of local law enforcement agencies
Local law enforcement agencies play a pivotal role in providing crime information to community members. They collect all the data necessary for the public to learn about their community, the type of crime it sees, and where that crime happens.
Police departments use technology like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map and analyze crime patterns. This data helps authorities find crime hotspots and helps communities better understand the cause of crime. Any community member that needs crime information can use a records request to get information using this system or any other method available to the community.
Local law enforcement also has a few other means at their disposal to help communities manage crime, such as:
- Community crime reports
- Neighborhood watch programs
- Crime alerts
- Social media accounts
- Online dashboards for crime information
These tools allow communities and police officers to get up-to-date open data about the crime level in their areas. The timeliness of this information allows people to make informed decisions at the moment and eases worries about outdated crime data.
Crime rates in major U.S. cities
Looking for a quick view of crime stats for a few major U.S. cities? Here are some interesting findings to consider:
- Boston, MA, had 5,334 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 2.3 times more likely than the national average to commit “intimidation."
- Houston, TX, had 593 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 1.82 times more likely than the national average to commit “burglary.”
- Las Vegas, NV, had 7,670 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 12.9 times more likely to commit “prostitution.”
- Memphis, TN, had 15,035 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 15.90 times more likely than the national average to commit “aggravated assault.”
- Portland, OR, had 9,143 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 1.32 times more likely than the national average to commit “shoplifting.”
- San Diego, CA, had 4,230 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 2.8 times more likely than the national average to commit “impersonation.”
- St. Louis, MO, had 13,063 reported crimes per 100,000 residents and was 7.48 times more likely than the national average to commit “homicide offenses.”
Enhancing public safety with community engagement
Community engagement plays a significant role in enhancing public safety. The community often acts as the first line of defense—with community members actively watching their environment to look for potential problems.
One way this happens is by staying informed about areas where crime is increasing or already high. Crime occurs in many areas because of a lack of opportunity, leading people to make decisions they would not make otherwise. Community efforts can make a big difference by offering opportunities like training, education, and jobs to those at risk of committing crimes or reoffending.
A community crime map is one of the tools available to improve public safety. It gives everyone in an area a way to see what crime is like—which lets them know which areas to avoid and where to put their future efforts to improve neighborhoods.
Of course, a community may need help tackling the problem, working with local authorities and other organizations to devise a plan to combat crime.
For instance, local government and police departments can work with community leaders to hold special events and initiatives in high-crime areas. You can hold job fairs to offer work opportunities for people who need jobs, after-school programs for kids that need something to do, and rehabilitation programs for offenders who need help getting their lives back on track.
Stay informed, stay safe
In today’s connected world, you have more opportunities than ever to learn how to stay safe—whether in your current community or when traveling or moving to a new location. Vivint’s Crime Spotter tool will help inform your decision-making, giving you a broad view of crime in a state or close-up at the city level. Also, consider using social media to hear directly from community members and check local news outlets to learn about the latest crime information. Combining all these tools will give you the most comprehensive view of an area’s crime and ensure you’re as safe as possible when heading to a new destination.