By the FBI’s measures, property crime is well down the list of severity. It does not involve killing or even injuring a person. The FBI describes property crime as including “the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.” There is no force or threat of violence against another person in this type of crime.
Yet, property crime happens more often than most other crimes the FBI tracks. It is 80% of all “serious offenses” the FBI reports on. A total of 6.5 million property crimes were reported in the United States in 2020, including the theft of tens of billions of dollars worth of property. Only a fraction of that has been recovered. In some U.S. cities, property crime is a particularly serious problem.
Larceny, the unlawful taking of property, is the most common form of property crime in the United States. Pickpocketing and shoplifting are two common examples. Burglary, which is the illegal entry of a structure to commit a crime, such as theft, is the most severe form of property crime tracked by the FBI. Vehicle theft, meanwhile, is a crime that can be either the theft or the attempted theft of a vehicle, such as a car, motorcycle or ATV.
In every city we examined to determine the city with the most property crime, the rates were more than double the national rate of 1,958 incidents per 100,000 people. The largest share of cities on the list are in the South, including five in Arkansas and another five in South Carolina.
The city with the most property crime is South Salt Lake, Utah. Here are the details:
- 2020 property crimes per 100K people: 9,203.6
- Total property crimes: 2,376 (290th most of 1,361 cities)
- Total larceny-thefts: 1,679 (300th most)
- Total burglaries: 235 (tied for 430th most)
- Total vehicle thefts: 462 (189th most)
- Population: 25,017
Methodology: To determine the city with the most property crime, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed property crime figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report. The cities examined have more than 25,000 people, based on five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Limited data were available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Illinois, though these areas were not excluded from the analysis.