Nebraska grew by about 135,000 residents between the 2010 and 2020 Census periods, which equates to a growth rate of about seven percent. While that’s in line with the average increase among states that got bigger over the past decade, it does represent an increase over Nebraska’s growth rate between the 2000 and 2010 Census reports.

Other states are growing faster, but Nebraska remains an attractive spot for many people who are considering a move, whether from outside the state or those who live there already. For those individuals, it’s useful to understand the state of property crime in Nebraska.

While violent crime rightly gets most of the headlines, property crime is much more common in Nebraska and across the country. So, we wanted to explore property crime in Nebraska, including trends and which areas of the state are most prone to incidents like burglary and vehicle theft.

Want to learn more about our data? Click here.

At A Glance:

    • With #1 being the best, Nebraska is ranked #23 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
    • You have a 2.04% chance of being a property crime victim in Nebraska in the next 12 months.
    • Nebraska’s property crime rate is 3% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
    • Nebraska City has the highest property crime rate in Nebraska (42 incidents per 1,000 people).
  • Nebraska City is a relatively small city with a population of just over 7,000. Larger cities tend to have the highest property crime rates, but Nebraska City’s dubious honor here may be related to its position as a tourist destination. It was Nebraska’s first incorporated city, and it is known as the home of Arbor Day.

Nebraska’s combined property crime rate is slightly lower than the overall U.S. rate, and the state is smack dab in the middle of its neighbors. Including the six states Nebraska borders, it ranks fourth in property crime, with Missouri having the highest rate (26.4 per 1,000) and Wyoming having the lowest (15.7 per 1,000).

Nebraska’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • Nebraska average:: 20.4 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

Property crime has declined in Nebraska since 2010, as it has in almost every other state, with the exception of Alaska and North Dakota. Nebraska’s property crime rate in 2019 represents the state’s lowest since 2010, while the rate has dropped by 24 percent overall.

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

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • Nebraska 10-year average: 24.23 crimes per 1,000 people
      • National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
    • -24% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
      • There was a 24% decrease in property crime in Nebraska from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2011 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Nebraska?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in Nebraska was 2011 (27.6 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Nebraska?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in Nebraska was 2019 (20.4 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.

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

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in Nebraska over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 18 crimes per 1,000 people.
        • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 3.8 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 18 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 2.4 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average arson rate: 0.11 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 Nebraska.
      • +31% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • Vehicle theft was the only type of property crime to increase in Nebraska since 2010, rising 31%.
      • -69% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • Arson fell 69%, posting the biggest drop of crime types that declined.

What factors make Nebraska a slightly better than average state when it comes to property crime? While that’s a complex question with few easy answers, researchers have found that high rates of poverty, unemployment, and urbanization tend to be correlated with higher rates of property crime. Looking at statistics in those areas, Nebraska does have lower than average rates, which could lend credence to the idea that those factors are tied to property crime rates. 

Nebraska’s most recent unemployment rate was just under three percent, tied for the best in the nation, while the state also has one of the lowest rates of poverty. About 10 percent of people in Nebraska live below the poverty line compared to just over 12 percent nationally. Finally, about 73 percent of Nebraskans live in urban areas, which is lower than the U.S. rate of 81 percent.

Crime is a primarily local issue, and communities across Nebraska have dramatically different crime rates. The property crime rate in Imperial is the lowest (1.9 incidents per 1,000 people), and it’s just a fraction of the rate in Nebraska City (about 42 per 1,000).

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

  • Imperial, Nebraska (Chase County)
  • Central City, Nebraska (Merrick County)
  • Cozad, Nebraska (Dawson County)
  • Emerson, Nebraska (Dakota, Dixon and Thurston counties)
  • Schuyler, Nebraska (Colfax County)

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

  • Nebraska City, Nebraska (Otoe County)
  • Omaha, Nebraska (Douglass County)
  • North Platte, Nebraska (Lincoln County)
  • Hastings, Nebraska (Adams County)
  • South Sioux City, Nebraska (Dakota County)

* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported