Georgia’s population grew by just over one million, according to results of the 2020 Census, which represents an increase of about 11 percent. While that’s in the top quarter when it comes to population growth among the states, it also represents Georgia’s slowest 10-year population expansion since the 1950 Census.
One potential reason that population growth in Georgia is slowing is that the state has one of the highest rates of property crime, such as theft and burglary. How common is property crime in Georgia, and which communities have the highest (and lowest) rates?
At A Glance:
- With #1 being the best, Georgia is ranked #35 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
- You have a 2.38% chance of being a property crime victim in Georgia in the next 12 months.
- Georgia’s property crime rate is 13% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
- Morrow has the highest property crime rate in Georgia (90 incidents per 1,000 people).
- Morrow is a city of just under 7,000 in Clayton County. It’s part of the Atlanta metro area and is home to Clayton State University, a public university with an average enrollment of about 6,800. Morrow’s state-leading population-adjusted rate of property crime is based on about 700 incidents; for comparison, Marietta had nearly 2,000 property crimes in 2019 but because its population is more than 61,000, the rate at which these crimes occur (31 per 1,000 people) was about one-third Morrow’s rate.
Only 15 states and the District of Columbia have higher property crime rates than Georgia, and the state’s rate puts it barely behind No. 16 Texas (23.90). Georgia’s rate is higher than neighboring Florida and North Carolina, but it’s lower than several other nearby states, including Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
Georgia’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)
- Rate of Property Crime
- Georgia average:: 23.76 crimes per 1,000 people
- National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people
Georgia, like all but two states (Alaska and North Dakota), has seen its property crime rate fall over the past 10 years. The rate of decline in Georgia (35 percent) is larger than the average decline (27 percent), and 2019 had the lowest property crime rate of the past 10 years. Those factors all point to property crime taking a welcome downward trend in the Peach State.
Georgia’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Average Rate of Property Crime:
- Georgia 10-year average: 31.1 crimes per 1,000 people
- National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
- -35% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
- There was a 35% decrease in property crime in Georgia from 2010 as compared to 2019.
- 2011 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Georgia?:
- The highest rate of property crime in Georgia was 2011 (36.40 crimes per 1,000 people)
- 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Georgia?:
- The lowest rate of property crime in Georgia was 2019 (23.76 crimes per 1,000 people)
What incidents fall under the umbrella of property crime? Burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson are the four major property crime categories reported by the FBI. In every case, if the incident involves violence or threats of violence, it no longer is a property crime and is classified as a violent crime.
Georgia’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Which type of property crime occurred the most in Georgia over the past decade?
- Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 21.6 crimes per 1,000 people.
- Average property crime rate by category
- Average burglary rate: 7.03 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average larceny rate: 21.6 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average vehicle crime rate: 2.68 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average arson rate: 0.11 crimes per 1,000 people
- Note: There were no FBI estimates for arson rates, so we used all available data that was reported by individual cities in Georgia.
- +24% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
- All categories of property crime have become less common in Georgia since 2010, but larceny’s decline was the slowest, 24%.
- -63% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
- Burglary crime has fallen the most – falling 63% over the past decade.
While property crime in Georgia appears to be trending in the right direction, several of the factors that researchers typically tie to high crime rates are of great concern in the state.
Poverty and urbanization are considered two of the biggest driving factors in high property crime rates. Just over 13 percent of the state’s residents are below the poverty line, which is about one percentage point higher than the U.S. rate overall. And since the 1980s, the urbanization rate, meaning the percentage of people who live in urban areas, has climbed by about 20 percent.
Still, statewide trends tell only one side of the story. After all, crime is a hyperlocal issue, and while we’ve already discussed the high property crime rate in Morrow, several other cities in the state have much higher rates than Georgia overall, including College Park (68 crimes per 1,000 people), Nashville (59 per 1,000), and Douglasville (58 per 1,000). On the flip side, the lowest property crime rate is in Franklin Springs (less than one incident per 1,000 people); it should be noted that this rate is based on a single incident.
Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data)*:
- Franklin Springs, Georgia (Franklin County)
- Canon, Georgia (Franklin and Hart counties)
- Coolidge, Georgia (Thomas County)
- Mount Zion, Georgia (Carroll County)
- Oxford, Georgia (Newton County)
Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Morrow, Georgia (Clayton County)
- College Park, Georgia (Fulton and Clayton counties)
- Nashville, Georgia (Berrien County)
- Douglasville, Georgia (Douglas County)
- Americus, Georgia (Sumter County)
* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported