Property crime has declined in recent years but still remains extremely prevalent in the United States. There were nearly 7.7 million reported property crimes — which include larceny thefts, burglaries, and motor vehicle thefts – in 2017. This is more than six times the number of violent crimes over the same period.
Larceny thefts, which include crimes such as shoplifting, were the most common type of property crime, accounting for 71.7% of total property crimes. Burglary is the second most common, accounting for 18.2% of total property crimes, and motor vehicle theft for 10.0%. Overall, property crimes cost Americans an estimated $15.3 billion in 2017.
No American city is completely crime free, and every state has at least one city where crime is far more prevalent than in others. To find the city with the highest property crime rate in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of property crimes reported for every 100,000 residents in U.S. cities of 20,000 people or more. For context, there were approximately 2,362 property crimes for every 100,000 Americans in 2017. Property crimes across U.S. cities range from slightly more than 200 offenses per 100,000 people in North Chicago, Illinois, to more than 13,000 offenses per 100,000 people in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Property crimes require both criminals and targets, such as people, businesses, and cars, and cities with high rates of property crime tend to have some imbalance. And so do cities where it frequently occurs. Coastal city Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination that attracts millions of visitors each year. College towns are also frequently rife with property crime due to the presence of more care-free students with above average wealth, as are cities with inordinate income inequality, such as San Francisco.
Of course, there must also exist a subset of the population to commit these crimes. Of the cities with the worst property crime in each state for which data is available, all but one – Bismark, North Dakota – have poverty rates that exceed the national rate. All but four of the cities have median incomes below the national median. These economic conditions may lead to higher incidence of illegally taking of money or property. Property crime is highest in some of the worst cities to live in the country.
To identify the cities with the highest property crime rate in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of property crimes reported per 100,000 people in cities with populations of 20,000 or more from the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report. Property crime includes burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicle theft. Population figures and state crime data also come from the FBI.
Poverty rates and Gini coefficients, which measure income inequality, come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 5-year American Community Survey.
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