Utah has experienced blistering population growth in recent years, according to the 2020 Census report, adding about 500,000 new residents since 2010 — a rate of 18 percent. While the fastest among the states, that’s Utah’s slowest rate since 1990 and represents a decline in the growth rate from 2010.

Still, with so many new families and individuals taking up residence in Utah, it’s clear the state is an attractive option for tens of thousands of people. Anybody considering a move to the state or within the state should understand how common property crime is in Utah.

Though violent crime garners far more media attention, the average person in Utah and across the U.S. is much more likely to experience property crime like auto theft, burglary or larceny. What should people know about how common property crime is in Utah?

At A Glance:

    • With #1 being the best, Utah is ranked #27 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
    • You have a 2.17% chance of being a property crime victim in Utah in the next 12 months.
    • Utah’s property crime rate is 3% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
    • South Salt Lake has the highest property crime rate in Utah (73 incidents per 1,000 people).

 

  • South Salt Lake, which is part of the Salt Lake City metro, has Utah’s highest property crime rate, while Salt Lake City isn’t far behind. South Salt Lake’s rate is based on almost 1,900 reported property crime incidents, which equates to a population-adjusted rate of 73 per 1,000 people. But while that puts South Salt Lake in the lead, Salt Lake City, home to about five times as many people, had more than 11,000 reported property crime incidents in 2019.

 

Utah is a fairly good stand-in for the nation as a whole when it comes to property crime, as the state’s rate is less than a point higher than the U.S. property crime rate. Utah also fares well when compared to other states in the Western region, where the average property crime rate is about 23.3 incidents per 1,000 people. In fact, Utah has a higher property crime rate than only two states in the region — Wyoming and Idaho.

Utah’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • Utah average:: 21.7 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

In addition to having a roughly average property crime rate, such incidents have fallen in Utah by 32 percent since 2010. That puts Utah in good company, considering that only two states — Alaska and North Dakota — have seen property crime increase in that time. 

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

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • Utah 10-year average: 28.36 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 Utah from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2010 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Utah?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in Utah was 2010 (31.8 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Utah?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in Utah was 2019 (21.7 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.

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

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in Utah over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 21.7 crimes per 1,000 people.
        • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 4.1 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 21.7 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 2.5 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average arson rate: 0.1 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 Utah.
      • +2% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • All types of property crime dropped in Utah over the past decade, but the decline in vehicle theft was the lowest, just 2%.
      • -49% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • Burglary fell at the most rapid clip, dropping 49%.

 

Researchers tend to link high crime rates to socioeconomic factors like wealth, jobs, and population density. However, looking at those metrics in Utah, one would assume the state would trail the nation when it comes to crime. Let’s take a closer look:

 

  • Poverty: Just under nine percent of Utah residents live below the poverty line, which is the second lowest rate. About 12 percent of Americans are in poverty.
  • Income: The median household income in Utah is $75,780, 12th highest and well over the national median of $65,712.
  • Unemployment: Just under three percent of Utah adults were unemployed in May 2021, the fourth lowest rate and well under the national rate of 5.5 percent.
  • Urbanization: Of the four socioeconomic factors we explored, urbanization is the only one in which Utah has a higher-than-average rate that might reinforce theories about property crime. More than 90 percent of Utah residents live in urban areas compared to 81 percent of Americans. That’s the ninth highest rate.

 

In the end, though, crime is a local issue, and we’ve already explored areas of the state with high property crime rates. But there are many Utah communities where property crime is extremely rare. Among cities and towns with at least one reported property crime, Salem has the state’s lowest rate. This community of about 8,800 people is part of the Provo-Orem metro area and its property crime rate was about three incidents per 1,000 people.


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

  • Salem, Utah (Utah County)
  • Mapleton, Utah (Utah County)
  • Enoch, Utah (Iron County)
  • Santaquin/Genola, Utah (Utah and Juab counties)
  • Naples, Utah (Uintah County)

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

  • South Salt Lake, Utah (Salt Lake County)
  • Riverdale, Utah (Weber County)
  • Murray, Utah (Salt Lake County)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake County)
  • Alta, Utah (Salt Lake County)

* Excludes cities with zero property crime reported