Minnesota grew by about 400,000 residents between the 2010 and 2020 Census periods, which equates to a growth rate of just over seven percent. That’s slightly above average, though it’s the state’s slowest growth rate since the 1990 Census.

Among other ways in which Minnesota mirrors national averages is when it comes to the prevalence of property crime, with Minnesota having a nearly identical rate as the U.S. overall.

Both homeowners and renters need to pay attention to property crime rates, as they vary dramatically by state and even town to town. Let’s explore in more detail Minnesota’s property crime rates and trends.

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At A Glance:

    • With #1 being the best, Minnesota is ranked #25 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
    • You have a 2.08% chance of being a property crime victim in Minnesota in the next 12 months.
    • Minnesota’s property crime rate is 1% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
    • Motley has the highest property crime rate in Minnesota (83 incidents per 1,000 people).
  • Motley is a town of fewer than 700 people in Cass and Morrison counties. In many states, communities with the highest property crime rates earn their distinctions by virtue of having a tiny population, and that appears to be at least partially the case in Motley.

While its property crime rate is similar to that of the U.S. as a whole, Minnesota’s crime rate is higher than all of its neighboring states — Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa. Of those, Wisconsin has the lowest rate, 14.7 per 1,000 people.

Minnesota’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • Minnesota average:: 20.8 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

Like most of the rest of the U.S., Minnesota’s property crime rate has dropped over the past 10 years, falling 19 percent. While that’s good news, the decline in Minnesota was lower than the average drop of 27 percent.

Minnesota’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • Minnesota 10-year average: 23 crimes per 1,000 people
      • National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
    • -19% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
      • There was a 19% decrease in property crime in Minnesota from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2010 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Minnesota?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in Minnesota was 2010 (25.7 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2018 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Minnesota?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in Minnesota was 2018 (20 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.

Minnesota’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in Minnesota over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 17.6 crimes per 1,000 people.
        • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 3.8 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 17.6 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 1.6 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average arson rate: 0.14 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 Minnesota.
      • +23% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • Vehicle theft increased in Minnesota over the past decade, rising 23% since 2010. That is the only type of property crime to become more common in Minnesota during that time.
      • -43% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • Arson fell by the highest rate (43%), while burglary dropped 39%, and larceny declined by 17%.

What factors play a role in property crime rates? There’s no easy answer to that question, but some researchers have connected high rates of poverty, unemployment, and urbanization to high rates of property crimes.

The impact of those factors in Minnesota is unclear, as in every case, the state has much lower-than-national rates:

  • Poverty: Minnesota’s poverty rate of nine percent is one of the lowest in the country, far below the national rate of 12.3 percent.
  • Unemployment: In April 2021, only about four percent of Minnesotans were unemployed, tying the state for 13th. The U.S. unemployment rate that month was about six percent.
  • Urbanization: Just over 73 percent of Minnesota residents live in urban areas, which represents an increase since the 1970s but is well below the U.S. rate of 81 percent.

Looking at local differences can reveal notable patterns. Often, communities that are relatively nearby can have property crime rates that are nothing alike. For example, both Paynesville and Waite Park are in Stearns County, just over 30 miles apart. But while Paynesville has the second-lowest property crime rate (0.39 incidents per 1,000 people), Waite Park has the second-highest — 82.9 per 1,000.

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

  • Osseo, Minnesota (Hennepin County)
  • Paynesville, Minnesota (Stearns County)
  • Nisswa, Minnesota (Crow Wing County)
  • Braham, Minnesota (Isanti and Kanabec counties)
  • Atwater, Minnesota (Kandiyohi County)

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

  • Motley, Minnesota (Cass and Morrison counties)
  • Waite Park, Minnesota (Stearns County)
  • Isle, Minnesota (Mille Lacs County)
  • Bemidji, Minnesota (Beltrami County)
  • West St. Paul, Minnesota (Dakota County)

* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported