Home Security Facts & Statistics

Home should be a safe place, but as the statistics show, for millions of Americans over the years, the security and safety of home has been fractured, whether by a criminal or because of an accident inside the home. What is your risk for experiencing something that disturbs the security and safety of the place you call home?

Property Crimes

Property crimes are the most common type of crime tracked by the FBI, with more than 7.1 million reported in 2018, the most recent year for which FBI data is available. This includes burglaries, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft, though it does not include robbery, since that crime is considered violent.

Both the number and rate of property crimes have fallen considerably over the past 20 years, with the total number of these crimes dropping by nearly one-third since 1999. And after adjusting for population differences, the prevalence of property crimes has fallen even more — a 41.2% decline between 1999 and 2018.

All types of property crime are more common in cities than in rural areas, though metro areas have lower rates of most property crimes than mid-sized cities.

The rate of property crimes is highest in the Southern U.S., with the combined rate of property crime in that region coming in at nearly double the rate of the next-highest region. But when looking more closely at individual types of property crime, the rates vary.

Another common property crime is arson, though the available data is somewhat sparse because of huge variations in how law enforcement and fire agencies report the data across the nation. But at least 36,000 arsons were reported in 2018, which represents a 9.8% decline from the previous year. Among all property crimes, arson is incredibly costly with an average loss of $17,406.

The most common structure to be the focus of arson is a motor vehicle, accounting for 22.7% of all arson fires in 2018.

Among the 50 states, the combined property crime rate is highest in New Mexico, though the District of Columbia has a considerably higher rate. Property crime is least prevalent in New Hampshire.

Reflecting broader trends across the country, the vast majority of states have seen their property crime rates fall over the past decade. Still, a handful of states posted modest gains in their property crime rates between 2009 and 2018, and one state (Alaska) had a double-digit increase.

Violent Crimes

While generally less common than property crimes, violent crimes nonetheless tend to draw more scrutiny because of the risk for loss of life. Like property crimes, the bulk of violent crimes have become much less common over the past two decades, but more than 1.2 million violent crimes were committed in 2018.

That number represents a decline of about 15% from the number reported in 1999, though the volume of violent crimes has risen from a 21st century low in 2014. After adjusting for population differences, the rate of violent crime has tumbled by 29.4% since 1999. Violent crimes include murders, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Overall, violent crimes are most common in the largest American cities, but aggravated assault and rape both are more common in mid-tier cities than large ones.

The rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people is highest in the South, including the overall violent crime rate as well as the rates of each individual crime under that heading.

Alaska has the highest violent crime rate of the 50 states, but the District of Columbia’s rate is more than 100 points higher, giving the district the highest overall rate of violent crimes after adjusting for population. After third-place New Mexico, there’s a considerable drop to No. 4 Tennessee. Violent crimes are least common in Maine.

Most states have seen their rates of violent crimes fall over the past decade, but 18 have actually seen violent crimes rise in prevalence, led by a huge surge in such crimes in South Dakota.

Robbery

More than 280,000 robberies occurred in the U.S. in 2018, which is the lowest number recorded over the past 20 years. The population-adjusted rate of robberies has declined by almost half in that time.

Robberies are more likely to occur on the street than in a home, with about 36.3% of 2018 robberies taking place on the street compared to 16.1% in homes. Another 16.1% occurred at commercial establishments like restaurants or stores.

While robberies of homes aren’t the most common, they are the most costly, with an average value of $4,600. Convenience stores are the least profitable, with an average value of $961.

A majority of robberies are strong-arm robberies, meaning the perpetrator does not have a weapon and instead uses their fists or other physical force or the threat of such to commit their crimes. But the rate of firearm use in robberies approaches that of strong-arm robberies.

Outside of Washington, D.C., Maryland has the highest rate of robberies of the 50 states, while Vermont and Idaho have the two lowest rates, separated by a fraction of a point.

Burglary

About 1.2 million burglaries occurred in the United States in 2018, a slight decline from 2017 but a huge drop of nearly 45% since the 20-year high recorded in 2008. Since 1999, the population-adjusted burglary rate has declined by more than 50%.

Residences are the most frequent burglary target, with the majority taking place during the day. Nearly two-thirds of all burglaries occur in residences, while 1 in 3 of all burglaries are in residences during the day. About 34.5% of burglaries took place in non-residential sites, such as stores or offices.

Robberies are more likely to occur on the street than in a home, with about 36.3% of 2018 robberies taking place on the street compared to 16.1% in homes. Another 16.1% occurred at commercial establishments like restaurants or stores.

Burglaries of homes are more common than other sites, but nonresidential locations tend to be more lucrative for perpetrators, with the average burglary of a nonresidence drawing $10,183 compared to $8,407 for a residence.

Burglaries involving forcible entry are more common than others, though nearly 1 in 3 burglaries involve unlawful entry, meaning the burglar did not need to use force to enter, such as coming in through an unlocked door or window.

New Mexico has the highest burglary rate, including all 50 states and the District of Columbia, followed by Mississippi and Oklahoma. The lowest burglary rate was posted by New Hampshire.

Home Safety & Accidents

Crimes are not the only potential threat to the safety and security of a home and the people who live there. Accidents, fires and other unforeseen events claim thousands of lives per year. Not all accidents occur outside the home, but given that the average person spends most of their day at home, a smart approach to home safety includes preventing things like fires or falls and ensuring quick emergency response when such incidents are unavoidable.

Nearly 30 million emergency room visits occur after unintentional injuries in a typical year in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unintentional injuries, which includes falls, poisonings and motor vehicle crashes, among other causes, are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.

West Virginia has the highest rate of deaths from accidents, and the state’s rate is about 25% higher than the No. 2 state, Ohio. California has the lowest accident mortality rate among the 50 states.

Fires represent another primary cause of injury and death inside the home, and about 3,600 people were killed by fires in 2017, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA. The 2017 death figure is the highest number recorded since 2008, though the population-adjusted rate of fire deaths has fallen by nearly 6%.

West Virginia had the highest population-adjusted rate of fire deaths in 2017 at 29.2 per 1 million people, while the lowest rate was New Jersey’s 4.6 per 1 million.

Note: Data for Delaware, Rhode Island and Wyoming were not included because fewer than 10 deaths occurred in each state.

Child & Elder Safety

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for American children and the seventh-leading cause of death for those 65 and older. Millions more suffer unintentional injuries that don’t prove to be fatal.

For both age groups, falls are particularly dangerous, accounting for the majority of nonfatal injuries for those younger than 15, while nearly 1 in 3 adults 65 and older have at least one fall in a typical year. Other injuries that are common among children include animal bites, insect stings and being struck by or against an object.

The total number of accidental injury deaths among those 10-19 fell between 1999 and 2016, but both the number and rate of these deaths have climbed since 2013.

Among older adults, about 7 million injuries from falls are reported in a given year, with about 30% of adults 65 and older having at least one fall, though the prevalence of falls of older people varies considerably across the country. Falls are most common in Alaska and least common in Hawaii.

Conclusion

If you think your home or family can’t be struck by a criminal or suffer a potentially devastating accident, the data we’ve seen here shows you should think twice.

References

Sources of data have been linked throughout this page, but you can dig deeper to further arm yourself with information about home safety and security:

Reviewed By
Travis Goodreau
Safety and Security Advisor
Travis is a retired Burglary Detective, having tallied 5,000+ burglary and theft cases throughout his career. He also served as an Arson Investigator, where he cracked the case of a serial arsonist, and made the arrest and prosecuted the would-be bomber of ABC-7 Studio in LA. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a Safety and Security Advisor. Learn more about Travis here

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