Missouri added about 165,000 residents between the 2010 and 2020 Census reports, which equates to a growth rate of just under three percent. Not only is that well below the national average, but it’s Missouri’s slowest growth rate since at least 1910.
Still, with affordable housing throughout much of the state, many people may be considering relocating from another state to Missouri, while some who live there may be interested in learning which areas of the state are the best investment.
While violent crime understandably gets the headlines, the average person is much more likely to be the victim of a property crime. How common are such incidents in Missouri and which areas of the state have the highest (and lowest) rates?
At A Glance:
- With #1 being the best, Missouri is ranked #39 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
- You have a 2.64% chance of being a property crime victim in Missouri in the next 12 months.
- Missouri’s property crime rate is 25% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
- Branson West has the highest property crime rate in Missouri 227.2 incidents per 1,000 people).
- Branson West is a small community of fewer than 500. It was formerly called Lakeview until the early 1990s, when city leaders, wanting to capitalize on the growing popularity of nearby Branson, changed the name to Branson West. Today, the town has the highest population-adjusted property crime rate in Missouri (227.2 incidents per 1,000 people), while Branson’s is the second-highest, 100.5 per 1,000. While both towns have relatively small populations, the Branson area is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the entire state of Missouri, with Branson dubbed the Live Entertainment Capital of the World. In both cases, small permanent population levels combined with large numbers of tourists are the primary reasons for high property crime rates.
Missouri’s combined property crime rate is more than five points higher than the overall rate for the U.S. The state also has a higher property crime rate than most of its neighbors, with the exception of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Missouri’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)
- Rate of Property Crime
- Missouri average:: 26.4 crimes per 1,000 people
- National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people
Like most states (except for Alaska and North Dakota), property crime has become less common in Missouri over the past decade. And 2019 represents the state’s lowest property crime rate since 2010.
Missouri’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Average Rate of Property Crime:
- Missouri 10-year average: 29.8 crimes per 1,000 people
- National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
- -21% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
- There was a 21% decrease in property crime in Missouri from 2010 as compared to 2019.
- 2010 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Missouri?:
- The highest rate of property crime in Missouri was 2010 (33.5 crimes per 1,000 people)
- 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Missouri?:
- The lowest rate of property crime in Missouri was 2019 (26.4 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.
Missouri’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Which type of property crime occurred the most in Missouri over the past decade?
- Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 21 crimes per 1,000 people.
- Average property crime rate by category
- Average burglary rate: 5.9 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average larceny rate: 21 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average vehicle crime rate: 2.9 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average arson rate: 0.23 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 Missouri.
- +28% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
- Vehicle theft rose by 28%, while rates of all other property crimes declined.
- -42% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
- Burglary crime has decreased the most, falling 42%.
What factors contribute to higher or lower property crime rates in certain areas? While the reality of crime is complex and changes constantly, many researchers agree that high rates of things like poverty, unemployment, and urbanization tend to trigger higher property crime rates.
For the most part, this doesn’t tend to hold true in Missouri, according to available data. The state is less urbanized than the nation as a whole, with about 70 percent of residents living in urban areas compared to 81 percent nationally. Missouri’s most recently reported unemployment rate was just over four percent, tied for 13th lowest. On the other hand, Missouri residents are slightly more likely than Americans in general to live below the poverty line. (13 percent vs. 12 percent).
But as we’ve explored, crime rates also depend on geography. Branson West and Branson have considerably higher property crime rates than Missouri in general, and their rates are exponentially higher than many other communities in the state. In fact, Sweet Springs’ property crime rate was about 1.4 incidents per 1,000 people.
Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data)*:
- Sweet Springs, Missouri (Saline County)
- Huntsville, Missouri (Randolph County)
- Alma, Missouri (Lafayette County)
- Tarkio, Missouri (Atchison County)
- Lakeshire, Missouri (St. Louis County)
Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Branson West, Missouri (Stone County)
- Branson, Missouri (Taney and Stone counties)
- North Kansas City, Missouri (Clay County)
- Cassville, Missouri (Barry County)
- Springfield, Missouri (Greene County)
* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported