West Virginia's crime rate
There were 34,050 crimes reported in West Virginia in 2019, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, West Virginia's crime rate is 1,900 crimes per 100,000 residents.
How does West Virginia compare?
Crime is less common in West Virginia than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,489 per 100,000 people is 31% higher. Of the 50 states, 36 have a higher crime rate than West Virginia.
Crime rates nationwide range from 1,361 per 100,000 in Maine to 3,945 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.
The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2019. This share was slightly lower in West Virginia, with property crimes accounting for 83% of all crimes reported in the state.
There were 28,376 property crimes reported in West Virginia in 2019, or 1,583 per 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 2,110 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the 13th lowest rate of the 50 states.
Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,086,096 reported incidents nationwide in 2019 accounted for 73% of all property crime. West Virginia's rate of 1,120 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,550 per 100,000 and is the seventh lowest among states.
An estimated 5,891 break-ins were reported in West Virginia in 2019, or 329 per 100,000 state residents -- the 25th lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,117,696 break-ins nationwide, or 341 break-ins per 100,000 people.
Motor vehicle theft
Across the U.S., there were 721,885 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2019, a rate of 220 per 100,000 people. West Virginia's rate of 135 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was lower than this national rate and the 13th lowest rate compared to all states.
Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In West Virginia, violent crimes account for 17% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.
While West Virginia has the 14th lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 23rd lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 317 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 379 per 100,000. There were 5,674 violent crimes reported to West Virginia law enforcement agencies in 2019.
Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 821,182 aggravated assaults in 2019, accounting for 66% of violent crimes across the country. In West Virginia, 4,464 aggravated assaults were reported in 2019. West Virginia's rate of aggravated assault of 249 per 100,000 people is roughly the same as the national rate of 250 per 100,000 and is the 24th highest of all states.
Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 378 robberies reported in West Virginia in 2019, or 21 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is just a fraction of the national rate of 82 robberies per 100,000 people, and the sixth lowest robbery rate among states.
There were 754 reported rapes in 2019 in West Virginia. The state's rate of rape of 42.1 per 100,000 residents is similar to the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. West Virginia has the 20th lowest rate of rape.
In 2019, there were 78 murders reported to law enforcement in West Virginia. The state’s murder rate of 4.4 per 100,000 residents is slightly lower than the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. West Virginia's murder rate is the 25th 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 West Virginia
The city with the highest total crime rate in West Virginia is Huntington, with a crime rate of 4,646 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.
Because property crimes are much more common than violent crimes, often the city with the highest total crime rate in a state has an especially high property crime rate but not the highest violent crime rate. However, this is not the case in West Virginia. Not only does Huntington have the highest total crime rate in the state, but it also has the highest property crime rate at 3,923 per 100,000 and highest violent crime rate at 722 per 100,000. The city's violent crime rate is more than double the statewide rate.
Crime over time
National historical trend
The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This 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 2,489 per 100,000, a 58% decline in 28 years.
West Virginia's historical trend
In 1960, West Virginia's crime rate was 721 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 2006 at 2,918 per 100,000, an increase of 305%.
Crime changes 2014-2019
Over the five years since 2014, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 15.2%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 37.0%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 11.3% between 2014 and 2019.
With a decrease of 20.4%, West Virginia's crime rate has fallen faster than the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 48 states over this time period, but in most of them, it declined slower than in West Virginia.
How West Virginia has compared to other states historically
Since 1960, West Virginia has always had a lower crime rate than the majority of states. Over these 60 years, the state has been among the 10 states with the lowest crime rates in 48 of them, but never among the states with the highest crime rates. Notably, West Virginia has been the state with the lowest crime rate in the country in 31 years since 1960, by far the most of any state.
All cities in West Virginia
Here are all West Virginia cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2019 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.