Special Report

Towns Reporting Massive Declines in Petty Crime

Of all the most serious crimes tracked by the FBI – known as Part I offenses – larceny is by far the most common. There were 4.6 million cases of larceny-theft reported in the United States in 2020, accounting for nearly 60% of all Part I offenses, which also include murder, assault, robbery, vehicle theft, and burglary. 

Larceny is a classification of crime that includes all nonviolent theft, with the exception of motor-vehicle theft. Common examples of larceny include purse snatching, pick pocketing, shoplifting, and bicycle theft. According to the FBI, larceny-thefts result in billions of dollars in losses annually.

Though larceny-theft is relatively widespread in the United States, reported incidents of larceny have been declining for years. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the number of reported larceny cases fell by 11%, or, adjusting for population, 171 incidents for every 100,000 people. The national decline is being led by steep reductions in larceny offenses in some American towns. 

Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. determined the 50 towns where the larceny-theft rate is falling fastest. Towns – defined as places with populations between 2,500 and 25,000 – are ranked by the change in the number of larcenies reported for every 100,000 people between 2019 and 2020. Among the towns on this list, the larceny rate fell anywhere from 1,375 to 14,238 incidents per 100,000 people. 

Larceny – along with motor vehicle theft and burglary – is one component of the overall property crime category. Partially due to a falling larceny rate, the overall property crime rate also declined in every town on this list with available data. Here is a look at the towns where property crime is soaring.

The largest share of towns on this list are in the South, including seven in Texas alone. Despite declining larceny rates, the larceny-theft rate remains higher than the national rate of 1,398 per 100,000 people in nearly every town on this list. Here is a look at the city with the most larceny thefts in every state

Click here to see towns reporting massive declines in petty crime
Click here to see our detailed methodology

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