The chance of being a victim of property crime has fallen. An analysis of the FBI's most recent data indicates that the average property crime rate nationwide dropped from 24.8 incidents per 1,000 people in 2015 to 20.3 in 2019. That’s an average rate of 22.7 per 1,000 people during that period.
But the broad decline in property crime didn’t always translate to the same decrease locally. In fact, property crime was more common in 2019 than in 2015 in 2,109 cities with a population of at least 6,415. Additionally, ValuePenguin found four cities with property crime rates higher than 100 cases per 1,000 residents, including Myrtle Beach, S.C., where people are 455% more likely than average to be victims of this crime.
Crime rates also tend to be higher in the country's largest cities. In cities with at least 100,000 residents, property crime rates are 36% greater than average. At the same time, though, 27% of these 190 cities — including New York — have crime rates that don't exceed the national average.
- The national property crime rate in cities decreased in each of the last five years for which data was available, averaging 22.7 property crimes per 1,000 residents during that period. Despite overall improvement, crime rates increased in 2,109 cities.
- Among the cities in each state where crime was most frequent, the property crime rate was 167% higher than the national average. Myrtle Beach has the highest property crime, while Wayland, Mass., claims the lowest.
- Across cities with at least 100,000 residents, property crime is 36% more frequent than the national average. However, 27% of these cities have lower-than-average property crime rates, including the most populated city in the U.S., New York.
- Being the victim of a burglary can result in a 25% increase in the cost of homeowners insurance. The states where burglaries are most detrimental to the cost of home insurance are Mississippi and Idaho, where post-claim rates are 37% higher than average.
The likelihood of experiencing property crime fell from 2015 to 2019, but crime rates were more than double the national average in 210 cities
People living in the U.S. were subject to lower property crime rates from 2015 to 2019. Each year, the rate of cases per 1,000 people fell. Property crime — ValuePenguin researchers included burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson, though the latter is only inconsistently counted by the FBI — occurred at a rate of 24.8 cases per 1,000 people in 2015 but dropped to 20.3 per 1,000 in 2019.
The average property crime rate during the last five years for which data was available (2015 to 2019) was 22.7 cases per 1,000 people.
While national numbers improved, figures at the local level varied. In all, property crime rates went up in 2,109 cities. At the end of the five years that researchers examined, 210 cities had property crime rates at least two times greater than the national average. Four of these cities had crime rates that exceeded 100 cases per 1,000 residents, or 1 in 10.
Which cities are included in this study? ValuePenguin analyzed crime data for cities included in the FBI's Crime in the U.S. database that had populations of at least 6,415 residents — the median of the dataset — in 2019. Further, ValuePenguin’s study only includes cities with five years of data to avoid analyzing data in cities or states that implemented new ways of tracking crime data partway through the duration of the focus period.
The cities with the highest average property crime rates are Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Branson, Mo.; Humble, Texas; and Bastrop, La. In Myrtle Beach, property crime occurred at an average of 126 cases per 1,000 people. This is 455% greater than the national average rate of 22.7. Branson's property crime rate of 116.6 per 1,000 people is also at least five times greater than average (414%).
City with highest crime rate
City with lowest crime rate
|South Carolina||Myrtle Beach||126.0||Bluffton||14.1|
|Minnesota||Waite Park||88.5||Big Lake||6.5|
|California||Commerce||86.7||Rancho Santa Margarita||6.1|
|Utah||Salt Lake City||75.5||Pleasant Grove||7.3|
Cities are displayed by crime rates in descending order.
The city with the lowest crime rate during this period is Wayland, Mass. Wayland's property crime rate is only 0.3 per 1,000 people, on average, 99% less than the average national five-year property crime rate of 22.7. Twelve other cities and towns have rates that are at least 90% less than average, including five that have the lowest crime rates in their respective states: Highlands, N.Y.; Oconomowoc, Wis.; Kinross, Mich.; Campton Hills, Ill.; and Weston, Conn.
Cities with more than 100,000 residents have an average property crime rate 36% higher than average — but crime isn't more common everywhere
ValuePenguin's analysis of property crime rates shows that the average number of cases in cities with at least 100,000 residents is 30.9 per 1,000 people. While this is more than a third higher than the national property crime rate, 27% of large cities with more than 100,000 people (190 in this study) have lower rates than average.
Carmel, Ind., has the lowest property crime rate of any of the country's most populated cities. There are 8.5 cases for every 1,000 people, 63% less than the national average and 73% less than the average for large cities. It's the only city with a crime rate that's at least 70% less than average. From 2015 to 2019, Carmel experienced 1.4 fewer property crime cases per 1,000 people.
Compared to national average
|210||Sterling Heights, Mich.||10.9||-52%|
|110||Port St. Lucie, Fla.||11.3||-50%|
|219||Thousand Oaks, Calif.||12.1||-47%|
|108||Santa Clarita, Calif.||12.5||-45%|
Cities are ordered in descending order by average rate of property crime from 2015 to 2019.
Of the most populated cities in the country, Springfield, Mo., has the highest average property crime rate (79.9 cases per 1,000). This is 252% more than the national average of 22.7 cases per 1,000. Springfield and Salt Lake City are the only cities that researchers found with property crime rates three times higher than the national average.
The largest cities tend to be more likely to have higher crime rates than average. The FBI had five years of consecutive data for 56 of the top 100 most populated cities in the country — unfortunately, data limitations mean that large cities like Houston, Philadelphia and Dallas had to be excluded from this study. Of these cities, just 15 had lower-than-average property crime rates. New York — the largest city in the country — has a crime rate that's 35% less than average. Property crime is also 14% less frequent than average in San Diego.
After San Diego, the next city with a better crime rate than average is Mesa, Ariz., the 35th most populous city in the country.
Being the victim of a burglary can raise the cost of homeowners insurance by 25%, though the highest rate increases aren't in the states with the most crime
From 2015 to 2019, thieves made off with an average of $2,511 worth of items per burglary. Apart from the value of stolen property, victims of burglaries could experience an increased cost of home insurance after making a claim for lost property.
Property owners in Mississippi and Idaho see the highest increases in home insurance rates after a burglary claim — a change of 37%.
Although the average rate increases following a burglary claim are highest in Mississippi, its crime rate is the 16th-highest in the country. In fact, there isn't a clear correlation between a state's property crime (especially its ranking relative to the rest of the country) and the percent rates go up after a claim.
For example, Idaho — which ranks 48th, at 1,220 thefts per 100,000 residents — experiences the second-highest surcharges after a claim. On the other hand, Hawaiians are charged 11% more after a burglary, despite ranking seventh for frequency.
Cost after burglary
Crime rate ranking
States ordered according to premium increase after one burglary claim.
While the rate at which premiums increased after a break-in differed, every state experienced some degree of higher costs. This is because thefts are one factor that insurers use to set insurance rates. In areas with more burglaries, rates tend to be more expensive since insurers take on more risk when writing a policy. Fortunately, there are some ways that consumers can reduce the cost of their home or renters insurance coverage.
Home insurance companies often offer discounts to customers who have outfitted their homes with security or theft prevention technology. Homeowners or renters who live in a property with security systems, burglar alarms or surveillance cameras often receive lower rates than others. But one can also get discounts from lower-tech options, such as thicker windows and stronger locks or doors.
ValuePenguin collected property crime data from the FBI's Crime in the U.S. annual database. Researchers aggregated this data from 2015 to 2019 in cities with at least 6,415 residents (the median figure in 2019), and where uniform data was made available by the FBI across all five years of this study's purview. This was an effort to avoid the pitfalls of analyzing inconsistently recorded data. This means that states where data isn't available for five consecutive years aren't included in this study. These states are:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
Data for the largest American cities examines property crime rates in places with at least 100,000 residents, per 2020 U.S. Census estimates. Our inclusion of cities was also based on available data.
Researchers also compared the cost of home insurance before and after a burglary. Rates reflect a single claim made in the last 12 months for property loss equaling $2,500 — which coincides with the average loss from a burglary, according to the FBI.
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only, as your quotes may be different.