Adding only about 300,000 people, the population of Indiana stayed relatively flat between the 2010 and 2020 Census reports. Indiana’s population expanded by just under five percent, the slowest growth rate for the state since the 1990 Census.
While Indiana hasn’t enjoyed rapid population growth since the 1970s, many people may be considering relocating to the state from elsewhere in the U.S., while others who already live there may be weighing their options amid a hot housing market.
What can we learn from FBI data on property crimes to determine how Indiana stacks up and which communities in the state are most and least likely to be the site of crimes like burglary and auto theft?
At A Glance:
- With #1 being the best, Indiana is ranked #21 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
- You have a 1.97% chance of being a property crime victim in Indiana in the next 12 months.
- Indiana’s property crime rate is 7% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
- Clarksville has the highest property crime rate in Indiana (58.4 incidents per 1,000 people).
- Clarksville is a city of about 21,000 in the greater metro area of Louisville, which includes Clark County in Indiana. Clarksville’s rate is about three times higher than Indiana’s.
Indiana’s combined property crime rate in 2019 was slightly lower than the overall U.S. property crime rate. Comparing Indiana to its neighbors, the Hoosier State’s property crime rate is lower than Ohio’s but higher than that of Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan.
Indiana’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)
- Rate of Property Crime
- Indiana average:: 19.7 crimes per 1,000 people
- National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people
Property crime is on the decline in Indiana, falling 36 percent over the past decade. While Indiana is in good company (only two states — Alaska and North Dakota — posted increases in property crime rates), the drop sets Indiana apart. The state’s decline was the 13th biggest in the country, just two percentage points behind neighboring Ohio (ninth biggest drop). Indiana’s high-water mark for property crime was in 2011, when the rate was more than 31 crimes per 1,000 people.
Indiana’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Average Rate of Property Crime:
- Indiana 10-year average: 26.41 crimes per 1,000 people
- National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
- -36% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
- There was a 36% decrease in property crime in Indiana from 2010 as compared to 2019.
- 2011 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Indiana?:
- The highest rate of property crime in Indiana was 2011 (31.62 crimes per 1,000 people)
- 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Indiana?:
- The lowest rate of property crime in Indiana was 2019 (19.7 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.
Indiana’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Which type of property crime occurred the most in Indiana over the past decade?
- Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 18.6 crimes per 1,000 people.
- Average property crime rate by category
- Average burglary rate: 5.6 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average larceny rate: 18.6 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average vehicle crime rate: 2.1 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average arson rate: 0.2 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 Indiana.
- +2% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
- None of the four property crime categories included in this analysis rose over the past decade, but vehicle theft dropped by the lowest rate, about 2%.
- -57% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
- Indiana’s burglary rate fell by 57%, the biggest decline of the four types of property crime.
Crime is a complex problem tied to myriad causes, but when it comes to property crimes, many researchers have tied high rates to three big issues — poverty, unemployment, and urbanization.
Related statistics for Indiana show there may be some validity to this argument, at least in the Hoosier State. Just under 12 percent of Indiana’s population live below the poverty line, which is lower than the U.S. rate of 12.3 percent; the state’s unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in April 2021 tied it for the 11th lowest; and about 72 percent of Hoosiers live in urban areas, lower than the U.S. rate of 81 percent.
Not only is crime a complex matter, it’s also a hyperlocal one, and property crime rates vary dramatically across Indiana. Hagerstown, a small community of about 1,700 in Wayne County, has Indiana’s lowest property crime rate, just over two incidents per 1,000 residents. Notably, that rate is based on just three incidents.
However, Zionsville in Boone County had the state’s second-lowest rate despite being home to nearly 28,000 people. The top five states combined had fewer than 150 incidents of property crime. On the other end of the spectrum, Clarksville is also not a tiny hamlet but still has the state’s highest population-adjusted property crime rate based on reports of nearly 1,300 incidents.
Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Hagerstown, Indiana (Wayne County)
- Zionsville, Indiana (Boone County)
- Loogootee, Indiana (Martin County)
- Porter, Indiana (Porter County)
- Ligonier, Indiana (Noble County)
Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Clarksville, Indiana (Clark County)
- Edinburgh, Indiana (Bartholomew, Johnson and Shelby counties)
- Seymour, Indiana (Jackson County)
- South Bend, Indiana (St. Joseph County)
- Evansville, Indiana (Vanderburgh County)