Property Crime Statistics (2023)
What is Property Crime?
Criminal activities fall into two broad categories: violent and property crimes. In a property crime, property is stolen or destroyed without the use or threat of force against the victim.
People commit most property crimes - burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, embezzlement, shoplifting, or intellectual property theft - for financial gain. Other property crimes - graffiti, vandalism, or arson - are committed to deface or destroy the property itself.
Interestingly, robbery doesn't belong to the property crime category because robbery implies using force against the victim, thus it is categorized as a violent crime.
In this post, part of our real estate stats roundup, we’ve collected the most recent U.S. property crime statistics. Here’s the summary of what you’ll find:
- Property Crime Rates in the U.S.
- Property Crime by Demographic
- Safest and Most Dangerous Places
- When Do Property Crimes Occur?
- Probability of Experiencing a Property Crime
Key Property Crime Stats
- There were 6.4 million property crimes in the U.S. in 2021, including 4.6 million larceny-theft offenses.
- Texas has the most property crime cases of any state.
- Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of larceny-theft offenses out of all districts and states. New Mexico has the highest burglary rate, Colorado has the highest motor vehicle theft rate, and Illinois has the highest arson rate.
- Property crime rates have declined over the past 20 years; however, most Americans perceive crime as rising.
- Overall, only 13% of property crimes are cleared compared to over 50% clearance for violent crimes.
- White males between the ages of 21 and 40 account for most property crimes.
- St. Louis, MI, is the most dangerous, and Honolulu, HI, is the safest city in the United States.
- Most property crimes occur during daylight hours between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- The odds of personally experiencing a property crime stands at 1.9%.
Property Crime Rates in the U.S.
Publicly available U.S. crime data is collected and reported by the FBI. The bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program divides property crime into four categories - burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
According to the latest available FBI data, 6.4 million property crime cases were reported in the U.S. in 2021, a rate of 1,933 offenses per 100,000 population.
Of the different forms of property crimes, larceny-theft is the most common, with more than 4.6 million reported cases in 2021. Among larceny-theft offenses, theft from motor vehicles is the most common type.
- There were 899,700 burglary cases reported in the U.S. in 2021, a rate of 271 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- New Mexico has the highest burglary rate of any state at 649 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- New Hampshire has the lowest burglary rate at 103 reported cases per 100,000 population.
Larceny - Theft Rates
- There were 4.63 million larceny cases reported in the U.S. in 2021.
- U.S. larceny-theft rate is 1,394 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- Washington, D.C. has the highest larceny-theft rate of any district or state at 2,741 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- Massachusetts has the lowest larceny-theft rate at 804 reported cases per 100,000 population.
Motor Vehicle Theft Rates
- 890,200 motor vehicle theft cases were reported in the U.S. in 2021.
- The U.S. motor vehicle theft rate is 268 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- Colorado has the highest motor vehicle theft rate of any state at 524 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- Vermont has the lowest motor vehicle theft rate at 42 reported cases per 100,000 population.
- In 2021, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported 22,893 fire-related incidents, including 6,645 cases of incendiary arson.
- By state, Illinois has the highest number of arson cases (1,116), followed by Texas (689) and Florida (649). These three states accounted for 38% of the country's arson cases in 2021.
Property Crime Rates 2001 - 2021
The property crime rate in the U.S. has been declining year-over-year for the past 20 years, as shown by the graph below.
Here’s the breakdown of reported property crime cases per year for 2001-2021:
|Year||Property Crimes / 100K People|
Despite property crime rates declining annually (this is also true for violent crimes), most Americans persistently believe that there is more crime in the current year than a year prior.
Here are some interesting findings from the 2022 Gallup survey that tracks the frequency of personal worry about violent and property crimes:
- 78% of Americans believe there is more crime in the U.S. than the prior year.
- 56% of Americans feel that the local crime is up by at least 5 points, 28% think there is less crime, and 14% believe the crime is about the same as the prior year.
Property Crime Clearance Rate
One of the reasons one may commit a property crime is the low likelihood of being caught and charged. Only 13% of reported U.S. property crimes are cleared, compared to over 50% for violent crimes.
- Burglary clearance rate - 13.5%
- Larceny-theft clearance rate - 19.2%
- Motor vehicle theft clearance rate - 13.7%
- Arson clearance rate - 21.1%
Arson has the highest clearance rate of 21.1% of different types of property crime. (Among violent crimes, murder has the highest clearance rate of 61.6%.)
Property Crime by Demographic
Because most people commit property crimes for financial gain, the crime rates are higher in the areas with higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and vice versa.
- Washington, D.C. has one of the highest poverty rates in the country - 18.6% - compared to the 12.8% national average. The D.C. area also has the highest larceny-theft rate of all the states and districts.
- With the third-highest poverty rate nationwide at 18.4%, New Mexico has the highest burglary rate in the country.
- According to research by the University of Chicago, a 1% decline in unemployment leads to a 1-5% decrease in property crime.
Property Crime by Ethnicity
- Based on FBI arrest data, White Americans account for over half of property crimes in every category - arson (71%), burglary (67%), larceny-theft (66%), and motor vehicle theft (65%).
Here’s the breakdown of 2021 arrests for property crimes by type and ethnicity:
|Ethnicity||Arson||Burglary||Larceny - Theft||Motor Vehicle Theft|
|Black/ African American||1,127||18,359||91,896||12,835|
|American Indian/ Alaska Native||114||1,259||6,173||926|
|Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander||21||194||815||125|
Property Crime by Gender
- In 2021, men accounted for 483,840 arrests, and women accounted for 217,107 arrests for property crimes.
- Women also accounted for a smaller percentage in each property crime category - burglary (10%), motor vehicle theft (12%), larceny theft (24%), and arson (43%).
Here’s the breakdown of 2021 arrests for property crimes by type and gender.
|Gender||Arson||Burglary||Larceny - Theft||Motor Vehicle Theft|
Property Crime by Age
- The age groups between 21-30 and 31-40 accounted for 29% each of all property crime arrests in 2021, while those between 11-20 and 41-50 accounted for 17% and 15%, respectively.
- The age group of 10 & under accounted for 731 arrests or 2% of all property crime arrests in 2021. The charges included 392 vandalism offenses, 173 larceny-theft offenses, 101 burglary offenses, 24 arson offenses, and 13 motor vehicle theft offenses.
Here are the 2021 arrests for property crime offenses by age group:
|Age Group||Arrests||% of Arrests|
|10 & under||731||0.1%|
|61 & older||17,290||2.5%|
Safest and Most Dangerous Places
Property Crime by State
- Texas reported 946,717 property crime offenses in 2021 - the highest number of all the states. Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, and Ohio rounded up the top five states with the highest property crime numbers for that year.
- South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska, and Florida were the top five states with the lowest property crime rate for that year.
Here’s a breakdown of 2021 property crime offenses by state:
|State||Reported Property Crimes|
Safest and Most Dangerous U.S. Cities
For the past three years, MoneyGeek has issued annual reports of the most dangerous and safest U.S. cities based on the cost of crime per capita.
The cost of crime methodology allows for a uniform ranking across cities with different types of crime. Additionally, it provides a reliable indicator of crime’s economic impact on the area - people living in cities with high crime costs see depressed values of their properties and pay extra for home and auto insurance.
What are the biggest surprises in the MoneyGeek 2022 report? The absence of large cities on the most dangerous list and the inclusion of cities commonly presumed to have high crime rates - such as New York or El Paso, TX - into the safest city category.
2022 Most Dangerous U.S. Cities
- St. Louis, MI
- Birmingham, AL
- Baltimore, MD
- Memphis, TN
- Detroit, MI
- Cleveland, OH
- New Orleans, LA
- Shreveport, LA
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Little Rock, AR
- Oakland, CA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Kansas City, MI
- Philadelphia, PA
- Richmond, VI
2022 Safest U.S. Cities (Population over 300,000)
- Honolulu, HI
- Virginia Beach, VI
- Henderson, NV
- El Paso, TX
- New York City
- San Diego, CA
- Mesa, AZ
- Charlotte, NC
- San Jose, CA
- Boston, MS
- Raleigh, NC
- Arlington, TX
- Santa Ana, CA
- Omaha, NE
- Austin, TX
When Do Property Crimes Occur?
Property crimes happen all day, every day. According to the latest FBI Crime Clock, a property crime occurs in the U.S. every 4.4 seconds. A burglary occurs every 25.7 seconds, a larceny theft occurs every 6.1 seconds, and a motor vehicle theft occurs every 42.2 seconds.
Peak Times for Crime by Metropolitan Area
The home security company Vivint recently published a 2022 public crime data study for 13 major metropolitan areas. Based on their findings, 9 out of 13 cities experienced the most crime incidents from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Here’re the most active hours for crime in each metropolitan area and the percent of criminal activity during those peak times.
- Atlanta: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (23.1%)
- Boston: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (24.4%)
- Chicago: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (21.1%)
- Dallas: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (22.7%)
- Detroit: 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (19.8%)
- Los Angeles: Noon to 3 p.m. (21.7%)
- Miami/Fort Lauderdale: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (24.8%)
- New York: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (23.3%)
- Philadelphia: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (26.0%)
- Phoenix: Midnight to 3 a.m. (21.0%)
- San Francisco: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (22.5%)
- Seattle: Midnight to 3 a.m. (20.6%)
- Washington, D.C.: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (24.4%)
Peak Times for Property Crime by Type
Except for arson that peaks during the night hours, most property crimes occur during the day, between noon and 7 p.m., when people are at work or occupied by other day-time activities.
Below are the most active hours by type of property crime and the percentage of crime during those hours.
- Arson: Midnight to 3 a.m. (27.6%)
- Burglary: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (20.4%)
- Fraud: Noon to 3 p.m. (27.4%)
- Larceny: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (23.8%)
- Motor vehicle theft: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (22.6%)
- Theft: Noon to 3 p.m. (25.2%)
Probability of Experiencing a Property Crime
According to the latest published FBI data, the U.S. property crime rate is 1,933 reported cases per 100,000 of the population. Assuming every instance of property crime occurs to a different person, we can translate this into a 1.9% probability of experiencing a property crime personally.
For comparison, the probability of experiencing a property crime in 2001 was 3.7% (3,657 reported property crime instances per 100,000 population). Thus, the odds of personally experiencing a property crime today are about half of what they were twenty years ago.