Oregon added about 400,000 new residents between the 2010 and 2020 Census reports. While that equates to an 11 percent increase, one of the 15 fastest among all states, the growth rate was a slight decrease from the gain Oregon posted in the 2010 Census.
Still, it’s clear many people may be considering making the move to Oregon from another state, while others who already live there may be weighing a jump to a new community in Oregon.
What should people who already live in Oregon and those considering relocating to the state know about property crime, which is far more likely to affect them than violent crime? Where does Oregon stand when compared to other states, and how do property crime rates vary across Oregon?
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At A Glance:
- With #1 being the best, Oregon is ranked #43 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
- You have a 2.73% chance of being a property crime victim in Oregon in the next 12 months.
- Oregon’s property crime rate is 29% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
- Warrenton has the highest property crime rate in Oregon (70.5 incidents per 1,000 people).
- Warrenton is a city of about 5,700 people, which doesn’t make it exactly small. In many states, the community with the highest property crime rate is one with few permanent residents, which makes for a statistically significant property crime rate. In the case of Warrenton, its position as a tourist draw — it’s billed as the last stop on the Oregon Trail — is likely the biggest contributor to elevated property crime rates.
Oregon’s average property crime rate is more than six points higher than the overall U.S. rate. It’s also one of the highest in the West and about four points above the regional average. Only seven states and the District of Columbia have higher property crime rates than Oregon.
Oregon’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)
- Rate of Property Crime
- Oregon average:: 27.3 crimes per 1,000 people
- National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people
Though Oregon does have one of the highest property crime rates in the U.S., the good news is that property crime is on the decline in the state. Like most, Oregon has seen property crime fall over the past 10 years. In fact, all but two states (Alaska and North Dakota) had lower property crime rates in 2019 than in 2010. While it’s undeniably good news that property crime has fallen in Oregon, the state’s decline was modest, just 10 percent. The average drop in property crime was 27 percent.
Oregon’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Average Rate of Property Crime:
- Oregon 10-year average: 30.25 crimes per 1,000 people
- National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
- -10% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
- There was a 10% decrease in property crime in Oregon from 2010 as compared to 2019.
- 2012 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Oregon?:
- The highest rate of property crime in Oregon was 2012 (32.4 crimes per 1,000 people)
- 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Oregon?:
- The lowest rate of property crime in Oregon was 2019 (27.3 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.
Oregon’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Which type of property crime occurred the most in Oregon over the past decade?
- Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 22.6 crimes per 1,000 people.
- Average property crime rate by category
- Average burglary rate: 4.6 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average larceny rate: 22.6 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average vehicle crime rate: 3 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average arson rate: 0.3 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 Oregon.
- +51% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
- Vehicle theft rose in Oregon by 51% over the past 10 years.
- -33% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
- Burglary declined by 33%.
Why is property crime more common in Oregon than the average American state? There are, of course, no simple answers to that question, with researchers tending to tie crime rates to socioeconomic factors like poverty, unemployment, income, and urbanization.
Considering these factors doesn’t necessarily bring clarity, at least as far as Oregon is concerned. That’s because while the state has a slightly above average unemployment rate, its urbanization rate is equal to the U.S. rate, poverty is slightly less common, and household income is above average.
Additionally, the hyperlocal nature of crime complicates matters and means that crime rates vary dramatically across the state. Vernonia, for example, has the lowest property crime rate in Oregon, about three incidents per 1,000 people, while Warrenton’s rate of about 71 per 1,000 is the highest. While Warrenton is a small community, Portland, the state’s largest city, has one of the five highest property crime rates, which can’t be chalked up to a statistical anomaly.
Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data)*:
- Vernonia, Oregon (Columbia County)
- Gervais, Oregon (Marion County)
- Columbia City, Oregon (Columbia County)
- Molalla, Oregon (Clackamas County)
- Pilot Rock, Oregon (Umatilla County)
Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Warrenton, Oregon (Clatsop County)
- Ontario, Oregon (Malheur County)
- Roseburg, Oregon (Douglas County)
- Phoenix, Oregon (Jackson County)
- Portland, Oregon (Multnomah County)
* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported