Crime in Rhode Island

Rhode Island's crime rate

There were 19,878 crimes reported in Rhode Island in 2018, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, Rhode Island's crime rate is 1,880 crimes per 100,000 residents.

How does Rhode Island compare?

Crime is less common in Rhode Island than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,580 per 100,000 people is 37% higher. Of the 50 states, 38 have a higher crime rate than Rhode Island.

Crime rates nationwide range from 1,422 per 100,000 in New Hampshire to 4,276 per 100,000 in New Mexico, the states with the lowest and highest crime rates, respectively.

Here are the crime rates for all 50 states.

What types of crimes are being committed?

The FBI's crime rate includes seven crime categories: three property crimes -- larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, and four violent crimes -- aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

Property crime

The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2018. This share was slightly higher in Rhode Island, with property crimes accounting for 88% of all crimes reported in the state.

There were 17,561 property crimes reported in Rhode Island in 2018, or 1,661 per 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the 12th lowest rate of the 50 states.

Larceny

Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,217,055 reported incidents nationwide in 2018 accounted for 72% of all property crime. Rhode Island's rate of 1,250 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,595 per 100,000 and is the 13th lowest among states.

Burglary

An estimated 2,810 break-ins were reported in Rhode Island in 2018, or 266 per 100,000 state residents -- the 12th lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,230,149 break-ins nationwide, or 376 break-ins per 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle theft

Across the U.S., there were 748,841 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2018, a rate of 229 per 100,000 people. Rhode Island's rate of 145 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was lower than this national rate and the 12th lowest rate compared to all states.

Violent crime

Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In Rhode Island, violent crimes account for just 12% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.

While Rhode Island has the 12th lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the ninth lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 219 per 100,000 people is considerably lower than the national rate of 381 per 100,000. There were 2,317 violent crimes reported to Rhode Island law enforcement agencies in 2018.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 807,410 aggravated assaults in 2018, accounting for 65% of violent crimes across the country. In Rhode Island, 1,366 aggravated assaults were reported in 2018. Rhode Island's rate of aggravated assault of 129 per 100,000 people is nearly half the national rate of 247 per 100,000 and is the ninth lowest of all states.

Robbery

Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 454 robberies reported in Rhode Island in 2018, or 43 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is half the national rate of 86 robberies per 100,000 people, and the 14th lowest robbery rate among states.

Rape

There were 481 reported rapes in 2018 in Rhode Island. The state's rate of rape of 45.5 per 100,000 residents is slightly higher than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. Rhode Island has the 21st highest rate of rape.

Murder

In 2018, there were 16 murders reported to law enforcement in Rhode Island. The state’s murder rate of 1.5 per 100,000 residents is a fraction of the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Rhode Island's murder rate is the second lowest in the country.

Where are these crimes being committed?

Because crime is influenced by local circumstances, crime levels vary considerably within each state. Often a state’s dense urban areas will have higher crime rates than its rural areas. Even in a state with an exceptionally low crime rate, there is often at least one area where crime rates exceed the nation.

City with the highest crime rate in Rhode Island

The city with the highest total crime rate in Rhode Island is Providence, with a crime rate of 3,607 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.

While the city may have the highest total crime rate in the state, the rate is driven by property crime. Therefore, Providence is likely less dangerous than other cities in the state where more violent crimes are committed.

The most dangerous city in the state is Woonsocket. This city has the highest violent crime rate in Rhode Island, at 590 per 100,000 residents, more than two and a half times the statewide rate.

Crime over time

National historical trend

The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This nearly 60-year span, can be divided into three periods. Crime skyrocketed between 1960 and 1980, with the crime rate more than tripling in just 20 years from 1,887 crimes per 100,000 Americans to 5,950 crimes per 100,000 Americans.

Crime remained high in the 1980s and reached its second highest peak in 1991. Since that year, crime has fallen steadily nationwide, reaching its current rate of 2,580 per 100,000, a 56% decline in 27 years.

Rhode Island's historical trend

In 1960, Rhode Island's crime rate was 2,072 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 1980 at 5,933 per 100,000, an increase of 186%.

Crime changes 2013-2018

Over the five years since 2013, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 16.8%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 43.6%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 19.0% between 2013 and 2018.

With a decrease of 30.4%, Rhode Island's crime rate has fallen nearly twice as fast as the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 47 states over this time period, but in almost all of them, it declined slower than in Rhode Island.

How Rhode Island has compared to other states historically

Since 1960, Rhode Island has had periods of both relatively high and relatively low crime rates compared to the other states. Also, the state's crime rate ranking has varied much more than most states since 1960. In fact, Rhode Island has been among the 10 states with the highest crime rates and the 10 states with the lowest crime rates over the time period, one of only seven states where this was true.

All cities in Rhode Island

Here are all Rhode Island cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2018 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.

Click here to see a list of all city crime pages.

Click here to see a list of all state crime pages.