Vermont added about 20,000 new residents between the 2010 and 2020 Census reports, according to federal data. That equates to a growth rate of just three percent, which is below average among all states but is consistent with Vermont’s recent Census growth rates.

For small states like Vermont, adding what seems like a small number of residents is quite common, and individuals considering relocating to Vermont would certainly be interested to know that the state has one of the best track records regarding property crimes.

While violent incidents like assault and murder understandably garner more media attention property crimes like theft and burglary are far more common in Vermont and across the U.S. How common are such crimes in Vermont and which communities in the state have the highest and lowest rates?

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At A Glance:

    • With #1 being the best, Vermont is ranked #8 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
    • You have a 1.42% chance of being a property crime victim in Vermont in the next 12 months.
    • Vermont’s property crime rate is 32% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
    • Dover has the highest property crime rate in Vermont (69.1 incidents per 1,000 people).

 

  • Dover is a town of just over 1,000 permanent residents that is notable for being the location of Mount Snow, a popular ski resort that draws millions of visitors every year. In many states, tourism-friendly communities with low population levels have the highest property crime rates, and that appears to be the case with Dover. The town earned its dubious honor by virtue of 73 reported property crime incidents in 2019; for comparison, more than 1,000 property crimes were reported in Burlington, the state’s largest city.

 

The average property crime rate in Vermont is nearly seven points lower than the overall U.S. rate, and only seven states have lower rates. Six of the seven are other Northeastern states, and compared to others in the region, Vermont’s property crime rate is above average by nearly one point.

Vermont’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • Vermont average:: 14.2 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

Property Crime in Vermont had declined by 37 percent over the past 10 years, which puts the state in welcome-if-crowded company. All but two states have seen property crime rates decline since 2010, the exceptions being Alaska and North Dakota. Still, Vermont’s 37 percent decline is considerably higher than the average drop of 27 percent, and Vermont had the 10th largest decline in property crime.

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

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • Vermont 10-year average: 18.18 crimes per 1,000 people
      • National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
    • -37% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
      • There was a 37% decrease in property crime in Vermont from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2012 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Vermont?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in Vermont was 2012 (25 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2018 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Vermont?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in Vermont was 2018 (13.15 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.

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

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in Vermont over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 13.6 crimes per 1,000 people.
        • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 4.1 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 13.6 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 0.5 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 Vermont.
      • +7% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • Arson rose by 7%.
      • -62% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • Burglary declined by the fastest rate, dropping 62%.

 

Sociological researchers tend to connect high crime rates to factors like wealth, jobs, and population density. In each of those cases, exploring related statistics for Vermont would seem to lend credence to that theory.

 

Vermont’s unemployment rate in May 2021 (2.6 percent) was the second lowest, just behind neighboring New Hampshire, and both states were well below the national rate of 5.5 percent. The state’s poverty rate is below average (10.2 percent vs. 12.3 percent) and it has the second lowest urbanization rate. Only 39 percent of Vermont residents live in urban areas, which is less than half the national rate of 81 percent.

 

But in Vermont as in all other states, rates vary considerably depending on the community in question. In small states like Vermont, the distinctions are stark. For example, Richmond has the state’s third-lowest property crime rate, about three incidents per 1,000 people. Just 12 miles away is the city with the fifth-highest rate, South Burlington, where property crimes occur at a rate of 35 per 1,000 people, or more than 10 times higher than in Richmond.


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

  • Killington, Vermont (Rutland County)
  • Weathersfield, Vermont (Windsor County)
  • Richmond, Vermont (Chittenden County)
  • Royalton, Vermont (Windsor County)
  • Pittsford, Vermont (Rutland County)

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

  • Dover, Vermont (Windham County)
  • Brattleboro, Vermont (Windham County)
  • St. Albans, Vermont (Franklin County)
  • Berlin, Vermont (Washington County)
  • South Burlington, Vermont (Chittenden County)