The population of Illinois declined slightly between 2010 and 2020, according to new Census figures, but the state remains one of the nation’s most populous, home to nearly 13 million people.

Population growth in Illinois had been slowing for several decades, with single-digit increases during every Census period since 1970. Still, many people may be considering relocating to the state from elsewhere, while other Illinois residents may be in the market for a change of pace.

The good news is that in most of Illinois, property crime is less common than in the U.S. overall. Let’s explore statistics and trends in Illinois around crimes like theft, burglary, and arson.

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At A Glance:

    • With #1 being the best, Illinois is ranked #18 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
    • You have a 1.85% chance of being a property crime victim in Illinois in the next 12 months.
    • Illinois’ property crime rate is 12% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
    • Bedford Park has the highest property crime rate in Illinois (644 incidents per 1,000 people).
  • Bedford Park is a tiny industrial community on Chicago’s southwest side. The town’s population is just over 600, and its population-adjusted crime rate is based on fewer than 400 incidents. For comparison’s sake, more than 2,000 property crimes were reported in Aurora, while Chicago proper had almost 81,000. 

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The combined property crime rate in Illinois in 2019 was nearly three points lower than that of the U.S. overall. Compared to its regional neighbors, Illinois’ property crime rate is just behind Kentucky’s and just ahead of Iowa’s. Bedford Park’s state-leading property crime rate, due to its tiny population size, is nearly 35 times higher than the state’s rate.

Illinois’ Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • Illinois average:: 18.5 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

Only two states (Alaska and North Dakota) have seen property crime rates grow over the past decade, and Illinois’ property crime rate dropped by nearly one-third. Additionally, 2019 represented the low-water mark for property crime in Illinois since 2010.

Illinois’ Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • Illinois 10-year average: 22.2 crimes per 1,000 people
      • National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
    • -32% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
      • There was a 32% decrease in property crime in Illinois from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2010 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Illinois?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in Illinois was 2010 (27.18 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Illinois?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in Illinois was 2019 (18.5 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.

Illinois’ Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in Illinois over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 16.2 crimes per 1,000 people.
        • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 4.2 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 16.2 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 1.7 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average arson rate: 0.13 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 Illinois.
      • +15% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • Every category of property crime had a lower rate in 2019 than in 2010, but arson’s decline was the lowest, 15%.
      • -55% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • All four types of property crime have become less common in Illinois since 2010, with burglary posting the largest drop, 55%.

The causes of all types of crime are numerous and complex, but many researchers have connected high rates of unemployment, poverty, and urbanization to creeping property crime rates. Comparing rates of those issues in Illinois produces a bit of a mixed bag.

On one hand, the poverty rate in Illinois (11.5 percent) is lower than the national rate (12.3 percent), but Illinois also had an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent in April 2021, 11th-highest in the country that month. Illinois is also more urbanized than the U.S. overall, as 89 percent of residents live in an urban area compared to 81 percent for the nation. That rate is 10th among the states (excluding the District of Columbia, which is 100 percent urbanized).

Of course, because crime is a hyperlocal issue, what’s true in Illinois overall isn’t necessarily true everywhere in Illinois. All five of the cities with the lowest property crime rates posted population-adjusted rates below 1 per 1,000 residents. Their rates were the result of a combined 13 incidents.

Meanwhile, Bedford Park’s state-leading rate was more than 200 points higher than that of Sauget, which had a property crime rate of 402 per 1,000 people. Sauget, which is just , has an even smaller population than Bedford Park, just 164. The city was founded by the Missouri-based chemical company Monsanto in 1926, and the community has remained almost entirely industrial since then.

Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data)*:

  • Moweaqua, Illinois (Shelby and Christian counties)
  • Campton Hills, Illinois (Kane County)
  • Auburn, Illinois (Sangamon County)
  • Kingston, Illinois (DeKalb County)
  • Danvers, Illinois (McLean County)

Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):

  • Bedford Park, Illinois (Cook County)
  • Sauget, Illinois (St. Clair County)
  • Hodgkins, Illinois (Cook County)
  • Rosemont, Illinois (Cook County)
  • West City, Illinois (Franklin County)

* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported