Crime is alive and well in the United States. As a nation, we have some of the highest levels of crime around the world. Even so, the crime rates in the United States have thankfully seen a sharp decline ever since the early and mid-1900s.
The American government categorizes crime in two ways. A criminal act is either a violent crime or a property crime. The four criminal behaviors that fall into the category of violent crime include...
- Aggravated assault
- Homicide, whether intentional or accidental
In 2016, the most common type of violent crime committed in the United States was classified as aggravated assault. Robbery was the next type of violent crime to take place most often, and although homicide rates have always been pretty high in America, they still only accounted for about five cases per 100,000 people. Property crime is another category of crime in America, and the specific crimes that fall into this category are...
- Motor vehicular theft and damage
Collective Crime Rates in the United States in 2016
The average crime rates in America during the year 2016 were…
- Homicide, 5.3 deaths per 100,000 people
- Robbery, 102.8 cases per 100,000 people
- Aggravated assault, 248.5 instances per 100,000 people
- Burglary, 468.9 cases per 100,000 people
- Theft of property, 1,745 cases per 100,000 people
- Motor vehicle theft, 236.9 cases for every 100,000 people
In 2017, the nation saw a 0.2% decline in crime across the country compared to the crime rates from 2016. However, this is not as good of news as it sounds like at face value. Even with this decrease in crime in mind, there were still over seventeen thousand murders in the country, which amounts to approximately 5.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
The fact that the United States saw lower crime rates in 2017 is good news, but it also isn’t that impressive when you look at the numbers. Take a look at the values below for crime that involved guns and criminal activity that resulted in murder, if that wasn’t the goal in the first place. These numbers are still quite large, and they are evident of the reality that the United States still has a long way to go before crime becomes abnormal instead of the norm.
Crime rates vary significantly between states based on a number of factors, including population density and economic factors.
States with the Lowest Crime Rates
Maine has the lowest crime rate of 112.1 incidents per 100,000 people. In 2018, the total number of crimes reported in Maine dropped for the seventh straight year. Since 2009, the total number of reported crimes has fallen more than 40%. Law enforcement credits the community for working closely with them to achieve this.
Utah has the second-lowest crime rate of 172 incidents per 100,000 people. Some factors that have been attributed to this are the absence of gangs, lack of “bad areas,” and a low unemployment rate, which has been found to be a big factor in the likelihood of crime.
New Hampshire has the third-lowest crime rate in the United States of 173.2 incidents per 100,000. New Hampshire’s safest cities boast crime rates that are less than 100 incidents per 100,000 people. New Hampshire, however, does have a higher-than-average reported rape rate of 49.4 per 100,000 people. Researchers are not sure whether this reflects a culture of sexual assault or a culture of accurate reporting.
Vermont has the fourth-lowest crime rate in the United States with a crime rate of 200 incidents per 100,000 people. Vermont’s most concerning issue is digital security and the top violent crime is robbery. Seven out of the state’s 10 safest cities reported a violent crime rate that was less than one incident per 1,000 people.
Connecticut is the fifth-lowest crime rate in the United States with a crime rate of 207.4 incidents per 100,000 people. Previous Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy stated, “Connecticut has proven to the rest of the nation that smart reforms deliver results by focusing on second chances rather than permanent punishment and stigma.”
States with the Highest Crime Rates
Alaska has the highest crime rate in the United States of 885 crimes per 100,000 people. The state’s rate of sexual assault is 161.9 incidents per 1000,000 people, nearly four times the national rate. The most common violent crime reported in Alaska is aggravated assault, followed by rape. Property crime, however, makes up about 79% of crime in Alaska and violent crime makes up about 21%.
New Mexico has the second-highest crime rate of 856.6 incidents per 100,000 residents, more than twice the national average. New Mexico also had one of the highest property crime rates in 2018 of 3,420 incidents per 100,000 people. Albuquerque, which is home to more than a quarter of the state’s population, reported slight decreases in both violent and property crime.
Tennessee has the third-highest crime rate in the United States of 623.7 incidents per 100,000 people. Tennessee’s property crime rate is also the ninth-highest in the country. The state’s high crime rates are likely skewed by the very high violent crime rates in large cities like Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, where it ranges from 525.5 to 1,142.5 per 100,000 people. Other cities, such as Germantown, have crime rates as low as 79 incidents per 100,000 people.
Arkansas has the fourth-highest crime rate of 543.6 incidents per 100,000 people. Property crime is the state’s main safety concern, with a property crime rate far above the national average of 3,996 incidents per 100,000 people. Like other states with high crime rates, this is likely skewed due to some cities with very high crime rates, such as Little Rock and Pine Bluff.
Nevada has the fifth-highest crime rate of 541.1 incidents per 100,000 people. Nevada’s most problematic crimes include robbery, motor vehicle theft, and aggravated assault. Law enforcement reports that most of the crime comes from the mass amounts of tourists that visit Las Vegas, Reno, and other cities with casinos and entertainment.