After adding about 900,000 residents between the 2010 and 2020 Census reports, North Carolina officially passed 10 million in population for the first time. The resulting 10 percent population increase, while still in the double digits, was North Carolina’s slowest 10-year Census growth rate since at least 1910.

Still, many people may be interested in relocating from other states to North Carolina, while those who already live in the state may be in the market for a change of scenery. That’s why understanding how common property crime is in North Carolina is important.

While violent crimes tend to get the publicity for understandable reasons, property crime is far more common, and the average person is much more likely to be victimized by theft than by assault.

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At A Glance:

    • With #1 being the best, North Carolina is ranked #33 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
    • You have a 2.36% chance of being a property crime victim in North Carolina in the next 12 months.
    • North Carolina’s property crime rate is 12% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
    • Indian Beach has the highest property crime rate in North Carolina (176.5 incidents per 1,000 people).


  • Indian Beach is a largely tourist community with just over 100 permanent residents. The town is on Bogue Banks, which is a barrier island just off North Carolina’s coast. The tiny resident population and large tourist volume are the biggest reasons why the community has a high property crime rate, with a total of 21 incidents contributing to its rate.


North Carolina’s average property crime rate is below-average compared to all other Southern states, and it’s lower than all neighboring states with the exception of Virginia.

North Carolina’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • North Carolina average:: 23.57 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

Like most states, North Carolina has seen property crime become less common over the past 10 years. In fact, only two states (Alaska and North Dakota) saw property crime rates rise. Additionally, the decline in North Carolina (32 percent) is slightly higher than the average decline for all states where the rate dropped (27 percent).

North Carolina’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • North Carolina 10-year average: 28.94 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 North Carolina from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2011 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in North Carolina?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in North Carolina was 2011 (35 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2018 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in North Carolina?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in North Carolina was 2018 (23.44 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.

North Carolina’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in North Carolina over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 19.4 crimes per 1,000 people.
        • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 8 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 19.4 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 1.6 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 North Carolina.
      • +10% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • All four types of property crime have dropped, but the lowest decline was in vehicle theft (10%).
      • -52% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • Burglary fell by 52 percent, the highest rate of decline.


What factors contribute to higher or lower property crime rates? While that’s a question easier posed than answered, many researchers have pointed to socioeconomic and geographic factors as being linked to property crime rates.

So, how does North Carolina stack up in those areas? While it’s a mixed bag, the state does have the 11th highest rate of residents who live below the poverty line, nearly 14 percent, so there could be some signs of correlation between poverty and property crime in North Carolina.

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Of course, examining state-level statistics only tells part of the story because crime, in addition to being complex, is intensely local. Property crime rates vary dramatically across the state, which means towns like Southern Shores have exponentially lower crime rates (about six incidents per 1,000 people) than others with high rates, like Bald Head Island, with the second-highest rate in the state (132 per 1,000).

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

  • Southern Shores, North Carolina (Dare County)
  • Holly Springs, North Carolina (Wake County)
  • Windsor, North Carolina (Bertie County)
  • Elon, North Carolina (Alamance County)
  • Pinehurst, North Carolina (Moore County)

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

  • Indian Beach, North Carolina (Carteret County)
  • Bald Head Island, North Carolina (Brunswick County)
  • Pineville, North Carolina (Mecklenburg County)
  • Biscoe, North Carolina (Montgomery County)
  • Whiteville, North Carolina (Columbus County)

* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported