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The Cost of Property Crime: A 10-Year Retrospective

Key takeaways

  • New Mexico had the highest burglary rate from 2011-2021 (7,244 per 100,000 residents).
  • New York residents lost the most to property crime from 2011-2021, with nearly $1.7 trillion in value stolen and only 8% recovered.
  • Santa Ana is the most dangerous city at night, with burglaries occurring 34% more at night than during the day.
Burglar in a home.

Exploring property crime in the U.S.

No matter where you live, property crime is a persistent issue in communities nationwide. Understanding statistical trends regarding particular crimes in your area can help guard against becoming a victim. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of property crime in the U.S. over a decade.

Using the FBI Crime Data Explorer, we analyzed national, state, and city data from 2011 to 2021 to identify property crime trends. Join us as we shed light on where your belongings are the most—and least—safe, so you can know how to defend yourself and your loved ones against these crimes.

A decade of property crime nationwide

Starting with the big picture, let’s look at property crime rates across the country and the cost of the items that criminals often target.

Information about property crime rates in the United States.

Overall, the most common type of property crime was larceny, defined as the theft of personal property without the use of force. Larceny accounted for 68% of reported property crime incidents. Burglary, defined as unlawful entry with the intent to steal, was the next most common property crime at 19%.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: From 2011 to 2021, the overall property crime rate in the U.S. decreased by 50%. Even then, the value of stolen goods and assets during this period was astounding, totaling around $1.8 trillion. Unfortunately, victims recovered less than 10% of those losses.

Let’s take a closer look at that $1.8 trillion and see exactly what criminals stole during this period and the cost of these crimes.

Knowing what criminals often target for theft is one of the first steps in crime prevention. This data implies that preventing car theft should be at the top of Americans’ safety precautions list. Motor vehicle theft reached over $6 billion from 2011-2021, accounting for the most expensive property crime loss. Currency theft was the next highest loss at $1.6 billion, followed by jewelry theft at $1.2 billion.

The state of property crime

Let’s next look at how property crime varies across the states, highlighting the most dangerous areas where property is more at risk for theft.

Information about the top ten most dangerous, safest states.

Among all 50 states, Louisiana, Georgia, and New Mexico had the highest overall property crime rates between 2011 and 2021. Louisiana’s property crime rate was a staggering 58,616 per 100,000 residents, followed by Georgia with 57,007.

Illinois, New York, and New Hampshire had the lowest overall property crime rates per 100,000 residents during the same period. Property was safest in Illinois, with just 1,064 property crimes per 100,000 residents.

Breaking the data down by type of crime, New Mexico had the highest burglary rate, with 7,244 incidents per 100,000 occurring in the state. Nevada had the highest rate of robbery, defined as theft including threats or violence, at 1,422. Meanwhile, Idaho took the lead with the highest motor vehicle theft rate at almost 38,000, and Louisiana had the highest rate of larceny at just over 21,000 per 100,000 residents.

Information about which states report the most stolen property.

Surprisingly, despite having a relatively low crime rate, New York residents suffered the most significant financial losses due to property crimes, with $1.7 trillion in stolen value and only 8% recovered. Other states had less loss but were more successful at recovering property value. Among the states with the most stolen property, California and Florida had the highest recovery rates at 30% each.

Property crime capitals

Finally, we drilled down to the local level to identify the most dangerous and safest U.S. cities regarding property crimes.

Information about the top ten most dangerous, safest cities throughout the United States.

Among individual cities, Glendale, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; and St. Louis, MO, had the highest overall property crime rates per 100,000 residents. Glendale’s overall property crime rate was just under 170,000 per 100,000 residents, and its motor vehicle theft rate was over 133,000 incidents.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas had the highest burglary rate at 17,960, Baltimore had the highest robbery rate at 6,972, and Honolulu had the most larceny at 55,101. Residents in these cities may want to be proactive and find ways to improve their home’s security.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh, PA; Jacksonville Beach, FL; and Chicago, IL, boast the lowest overall property crime rates. Among them, Pittsburgh had the lowest property crime rate at just 468 crimes per 100,000 residents.

Information about which cities are the most successful, least successful at recovering stolen property.

Are crimes more likely to occur in the darkness of night? It depends on your location. We determined that Santa Ana, CA, was the most dangerous city at night, with burglaries occurring 34% more in the dark than in the light of day. St. Paul, MN, followed closely behind at 33%, and Fresno, CA, ranked third most dangerous during nighttime at 30%.

For some good news, San Francisco successfully recovered the majority of stolen property, with an impressive 70% recovery rate. Newark, NJ, and St. Petersburg, FL, also had high recovery rates, at well over 50%.

Combatting property crime together

Despite property crime decreasing in the U.S. overall, you shouldn’t let your guard down when it comes to protecting your belongings. Certain areas still have higher rates of property crime, and the success in recovering stolen items or their monetary value varies widely. By staying informed and taking proactive steps, we can collectively combat property crime and help make our communities safer.

Let’s be neighbors.

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We collected 10 years of property crime data from the FBI Crime Data Explorer to analyze property crime trends over the years. National, state, and city data from 2011-2021 was used for this analysis.

Fair use statement

Looking for ways to increase safety in your neighborhood? We encourage you to share the findings of this property crime analysis for noncommercial purposes as long as you provide a link back to this page for our full analysis and methodology.

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