Special Report

The American City With the Most Property Crime in Every State

Pennsylvania: Pottstown
> 2019 property crimes per 100,000 people: 3,105 (state: 3,113)
> Number of property crimes in 2019: 705 (0.4% of state total)
> Burglaries in 2019: 108 (0.5% of state total)
> Vehicle thefts in 2019: 41 (0.3% of state total)
> Poverty rate: 18.8% (state: 12.4%)

Pottstown, Pennsylvania, is a small municipality of about 23,000 residents in the southeastern corner of the state. Though it has the highest property crime rate of any city or town in the state home to at least 20,000 people, the local property crime rate is closely in line with the comparable rate across the state as a whole. There were 3,105 known property crimes for every 100,000 people in Pottstown in 2019, compared to 3,113 per 100,000 across all of Pennsylvania.

Still, both Pottsville and Pennsylvania as a whole have a considerably higher property crime rate than the national average.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Rhode Island: Providence
> 2019 property crimes per 100,000 people: 3,011 (state: 1,734)
> Number of property crimes in 2019: 5,413 (33.3% of state total)
> Burglaries in 2019: 715 (30.8% of state total)
> Vehicle thefts in 2019: 474 (34.9% of state total)
> Poverty rate: 25.5% (state: 12.4%)

Property crime is generally less common in Rhode Island than it is across the U.S. as a whole. Still, there are parts of the state where this is not the case. In Providence, the property crime rate stands at 3,011 incidents per 100,000 people, compared to the statewide rate of 1,734 per 100,000.

Property crimes are typically committed for monetary gain, and many Providence residents are struggling financially. The local poverty rate of 25.5% is well above both the 12.4% state and 13.4% national poverty rates.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

South Carolina: Myrtle Beach
> 2019 property crimes per 100,000 people: 11,234 (state: 1,771)
> Number of property crimes in 2019: 3,916 (2.6% of state total)
> Burglaries in 2019: 304 (1.1% of state total)
> Vehicle thefts in 2019: 228 (1.5% of state total)
> Poverty rate: 21.6% (state: 15.2%)

Myrtle Beach is a city along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast. Popular tourist destinations like Myrtle Beach can often have inflated crime rates as visitors can be both the victims and perpetrators of criminal activity but are not counted in the population total. Of the 23 cities in South Carolina that are tracked by the FBI and are home to at least 20,000 people, Myrtle Beach has the highest property crime rate. There were 11,234 incidents reported for every 100,000 people in 2019, more than six times greater than the statewide property crime rate of 1,771 per 100,000.

As is often the case in areas with high property crime rates, Myrtle Beach also has a high poverty rate. Across the city, 21.6% of the population live below the poverty line, compared to 15.2% of the state population and 13.4% of all Americans.

Source: peeterv / Getty Images

South Dakota: Rapid City
> 2019 property crimes per 100,000 people: 3,214 (state: 1,373)
> Number of property crimes in 2019: 2,454 (15.7% of state total)
> Burglaries in 2019: 488 (18.4% of state total)
> Vehicle thefts in 2019: 320 (18.2% of state total)
> Poverty rate: 16.2% (state: 13.1%)

There are five municipalities in South Dakota with populations of at least 20,000 and crime rates that are tracked by the FBI. Of them, Rapid City’s property crime rate of 3,214 incidents per 100,000 people is the highest. Across the state as a whole, the property crime rate is far lower, at 1,373 incidents per 100,000.

Burglary, a specific category of property crime, is especially common in Rapid City. Though the city is home to just 8.6% of South Dakota’s population, 18.4% of burglaries in the state in 2019 were committed in Rapid City.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Tennessee: Memphis
> 2019 property crimes per 100,000 people: 6,128 (state: 2,653)
> Number of property crimes in 2019: 39,860 (22.0% of state total)
> Burglaries in 2019: 7,833 (26.2% of state total)
> Vehicle thefts in 2019: 4,046 (21.1% of state total)
> Poverty rate: 25.1% (state: 15.2%)

The property crime rate in Memphis of 6,128 incidents per 100,000 people is the highest of any city or town considered in Tennessee and more than double the state property crime rate of 2,653 per 100,000 — which itself is well above the comparable national rate.

Not only are property crimes relatively common in Memphis, but so too are more serious, violent offences like robbery and homicide. There were 1,901 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Memphis in 2019 — many times more than both the state and national violent crime rates, which stand at 595 per 100,000 and 367 per 100,000, respectively.

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