Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Cities with the most theft arrests

1/
Sundry Photography // Shutterstock

Cities with the most theft arrests

The Pew Research Center in 2019 found that Americans reported a perceived increase in crime in past decades, despite violent crime and property crime declining overall during that same time period. Reports from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics show violent crime decreased by 49–74% (depending on the report) and property crime dropped just as dramatically from 1993 to 2017.

Despite this trend, some cities in the U.S. have seen sustained or increased crime rates. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, some regions experience vastly different arrest rates for different crimes. For example, most cities see much higher rates of larceny-theft compared to burglaries and robberies.

The FBI defines larceny-theft as when someone illegally takes or rides away with someone else’s possessions. Burglary encompasses any unlawful entering intending to commit theft or another felony. Theft, along with burglary, is considered a property crime. Some of the most common types of larceny-theft in the U.S. include shoplifting, purse snatching, bicycle theft, and theft from cars. Robberies, however, are violent crimes, as they involve force or the threat of force when trying to take another person’s possessions.

To find the American cities with the biggest theft problem, Stacker analyzed the most recent FBI UCR data from 2018 (released Sept. 30, 2019) to compile a list of the 25 U.S. cities with the most theft arrests. Cities with populations of 25,000 or greater are ranked by the number of larceny-theft arrests made per 1,000 people, and ties were broken by the most burglary arrests per 1,000 people. Slides include larceny, burglary, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and total arrest rates per 1,000 people in each city.

From cities that frequently appear on “most dangerous” lists to popular tourist destinations, check out the 25 cities with the most theft arrests in America.

You may also like: Longest-serving members of Congress

2/
Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#25. St. Louis, MO

- Population in 2018: 306,875
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 12,413 (40.4 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 2,979 (9.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 1,452 (4.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 2,750 (9 arrests per 1,000 people)

Although St. Louis has high rates of theft arrests, the city’s residents may be more concerned about their city’s increasing violent crime. From January to August 2019, larceny was down by 7% compared to the same time last year, while homicides and aggravated assault are up 16.2% and 6.2% respectively.

3/
WorldIslandInfo.com // Flickr

#24. Kingsport, TN

- Population in 2018: 53,465
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 2,164 (40.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 348 (6.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 43 (0.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 289 (5.4 arrests per 1,000 people)

According to Kingsport police, vehicle thefts and car burglaries are on the rise in 2019. Like many other police departments around the country, police encourage residents to lock their car doors and use common sense in protecting their belongings.

4/
David T. Stephenson // Shutterstock

#23. Charleston, WV

- Population in 2018: 47,470
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,947 (41 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 660 (13.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 48 (1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 246 (5.2 arrests per 1,000 people)

In 2019, police in Kanawha County broke up a property theft ring made up of over a dozen thieves. At least five Charleston residents were arrested in connection with the crime.

5/
Ajmal M Shah // Shutterstock

#22. Houma, LA

- Population in 2018: 33,226
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,366 (41.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 173 (5.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 30 (0.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 86 (2.6 arrests per 1,000 people)

Local police in Houma, La., in 2019 began installing surveillance cameras on street corners to combat local crime. The action was part of a larger effort by the local police department called Operation Peace, or Police Eyes Against Criminal Engagement, a new policing approach being rolled out in the southern town.

6/
Taylor_A_Stewart // Shutterstock

#21. Mishawaka, IN

- Population in 2018: 49,310
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 2,032 (41.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 248 (5.0 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 48 (1.0 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 245 (5.0 arrests per 1,000 people)

There’s a 1-in-34 chance of falling victim to a property crime in Mishawaka, Ind., slightly higher odds than the state’s 1-in-41 probability, according to NeighborhoodScout. The overall crime rate in Mishawaka is over 90% of all cities and towns in Indiana, but that rate has been on a slightly downward trend for seven of the last eight years.

7/
TierneyMJ // Shutterstock

#20. Santa Monica, CA

- Population in 2018: 92,674
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 3,835 (41.4 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 662 (7.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 278 (3 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 235 (2.5 arrests per 1,000 people)

Santa Monica’s serious crimes—including but not limited to theft—rose by 8.8% in 2018 over the year prior, and 29% between 2015 and 2018. Those cases were largely for property crime and theft, with 373 more thefts in 2018 than 2017. The police chief in January 2019 urged residents to stay out of harm’s way by not leaving valuables in cars and announced the department hired 20 police officers to help enforce laws.

8/
JonesManagement // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Cleveland, TN

- Population in 2018: 44,954
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,908 (42.4 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 384 (8.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 32 (0.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 220 (4.9 arrests per 1,000 people)

In the southeast corner of Tennessee, Cleveland is home to over 44,000 residents. When shopping in the city’s limits, the Cleveland police discourage displaying large amounts of cash, and they recommend guarding one’s purse and being aware of the surroundings.

9/
Bill Golladay // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Warner Robins, GA

- Population in 2018: 75,668
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 3,258 (43.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 726 (9.6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 86 (1.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 216 (2.9 arrests per 1,000 people)

Warner Robins is one of only three cities from Georgia to make this list. The city has 6.8 fewer theft arrests per 1,000 people than the city in the state with the highest arrest rate.

[Pictured here: Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center.]

10/
Ahturner // Shutterstock

#17. Medford, OR

- Population in 2018: 82,800
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 3,633 (43.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 471 (5.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 93 (1.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 359 (4.3 arrests per 1,000 people)

Law enforcement in Medford take a different approach to handling first-time theft offenders. According to the Medford Municipal Court, first-time offenders can participate in the Theft Recovery Program, rather than go to jail. To take advantage of this program, offenders must report their thefts, take a polygraph test, and make restitution.

11/
Philip Rozenski // Shutterstock

#16. Dover, DE

- Population in 2018: 37,778
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,663 (44 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 58 (1.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 43 (1.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 89 (2.4 arrests per 1,000 people)

Dover is the only city from Delaware to make this list. Despite its high larceny-theft arrests rates, Dover police chief Marvin Mailey is prioritizing fighting violent crime after the city saw a 30% increase in violent crime in 2018.

[Pictured: Dover hosts Delaware’s First State Heritage Park where the constitution was adopted by the state.]

12/
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#15. North Charleston, SC

- Population in 2018: 112,840
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 4,985 (44.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 880 (7.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 302 (2.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 702 (6.2 arrests per 1,000 people)

North Charleston police offer residents and businesses alike tips and tricks to protect themselves against the threat of theft. Police encourage “hardening-the-target,” or making it more difficult for an individual to commit a crime. To do this, residents can leave their porch lights on and lock their doors, and businesses can install video surveillance.

13/
photosounds // Shutterstock

#14. Memphis, TN

- Population in 2018: 652,226
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 28,835 (44.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 8,494 (13 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 3,050 (4.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 4,450 (6.8 arrests per 1,000 people)

To combat property and violent crime, the police department in Memphis, Tenn., has several community safety programs for its residents. From neighborhood watch programs to the Citizen’s Police Academy, Memphis residents can get more informed about policing and ways to protect themselves and their community.

14/
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#13. Hot Springs, AR

- Population in 2018: 37,006
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,651 (44.6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 740 (20 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 46 (1.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 201 (5.4 arrests per 1,000 people)

Police in Hot Springs, Ark., are warning the community about a rise in mail theft. Thieves are reportedly stealing outgoing checks from mailboxes, forging them, and cashing them at local banks.

15/
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#12. San Francisco, CA

- Population in 2018: 889,282
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 39,675 (44.6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 5,322 (6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 3,165 (3.6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 4,217 (4.7 arrests per 1,000 people)

Despite growing concerns about safety in San Francisco, violent crime and property crime are down. From January to September 2019, larceny-theft is down by 8%, from 30,286 to 27,872, compared to the same time period in 2018.

16/
Kevin Ruck // Shutterstock

#11. Chattanooga, TN

- Population in 2018: 180,397
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 8,065 (44.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 1,441 (8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 310 (1.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 1,424 (7.9 arrests per 1,000 people)

According to the Chattanooga Police Department’s 2018 annual report, property crime is on the rise in the city. From 2016 to 2018, the total property crime incidents increased from 8,864 to 10,769.

17/
Andrew Zarivny // Shutterstock

#10. Salt Lake City, UT

- Population in 2018: 202,633
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 9,422 (46.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 1,601 (7.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 414 (2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 1,493 (7.4 arrests per 1,000 people)

To fight bike theft across Salt Lake City, residents can register their bikes for free with the city’s police department. Registering one’s bicycle may assist police in finding and returning stolen bikes to residents.

18/
Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Monroe, LA

- Population in 2018: 48,291
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 2,358 (48.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 749 (15.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 147 (3 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 171 (3.5 arrests per 1,000 people)

In recent years, Monroe has developed a reputation for being a dangerous city. Along with 61 theft arrests per 1,000 people, Monroe also experiences high rates of violent crime.

19/
Jonathannsegal // Shutterstock

#8. Little Rock, AR

- Population in 2018: 199,288
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 9,850 (49.4 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 2,079 (10.4 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 371 (1.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 1,120 (5.6 arrests per 1,000 people)

Little Rock’s police department is led by Police Chief Keith Humphrey. Under Humphrey’s leadership, Little Rock residents experienced 0.36% fewer reports of larceny and a 4.65% drop in motor vehicle theft from 2016 to 2017.

20/
Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

#7. Springfield, MO

- Population in 2018: 168,537
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 8,385 (49.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 1,975 (11.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 295 (1.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 1,470 (8.7 arrests per 1,000 people)

Police in Springfield have warned the city about pickpockets in the downtown and Jordan Creek areas. With increased foot traffic, thieves may stage commotions to distract unsuspecting people so they can steal a purse or wallet undetected.

21/
Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#6. Florence, SC

- Population in 2018: 37,819
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,935 (51.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 375 (9.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 72 (1.9 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 152 (4 arrests per 1,000 people)

Florence is one of three South Carolina cities to make this list. Theft victims can pick up their stolen goods from the local police department’s property division, but they must bring proof of ownership and an ID.

22/
Curtis Palmer // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Gadsden, AL

- Population in 2018: 35,204
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 1,831 (52 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 409 (11.6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 47 (1.3 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 255 (7.2 arrests per 1,000 people)

Gadsden has the highest proportion of theft arrests in the state of Alabama. The Gadsden Police Department encourages community members to get informed and get involved to help stop crime.

23/
Ron Reiring // Flickr

#4. Spokane, WA

- Population in 2018: 218,222
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 11,631 (53.3 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 2,130 (9.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 297 (1.4 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 1,678 (7.7 arrests per 1,000 people)

Along with high larceny-theft rates, Spokane has one of the highest motor vehicle theft arrest rates on this list. To help find stolen cars, Spokane residents can purchase anti-theft recovery systems to track their missing vehicles.

24/
Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Alexandria, LA

- Population in 2018: 47,238
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 2,694 (57 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 996 (21.1 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 128 (2.7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 283 (6 arrests per 1,000 people)

Alexandria is a relatively small city, however, its businesses and amenities often draw visitors from throughout the parish. When visitors and residents are shopping in Alexandria’s retail hubs, shoppers should avoid leaving purses unattended and showcasing large amounts of cash.

25/
Maxpixel

#2. Miami Beach, FL

- Population in 2018: 92,928
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 5,902 (63.5 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 646 (7 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 279 (3 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 399 (4.3 arrests per 1,000 people)

Another beach town to make the list, Miami Beach and its high theft rates mean residents and visitors alike should watch over their belongings carefully. In 2017 alone, the city experienced over 7,100 total theft and burglary arrests.

26/
James Willamor // Flickr

#1. Myrtle Beach, SC

- Population in 2018: 33,687
- Larceny-theft arrests committed: 2,883 (85.6 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Burglary arrests committed: 410 (12.2 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Robbery arrests committed: 129 (3.8 arrests per 1,000 people)
- Motor vehicle theft arrests committed: 260 (7.7 arrests per 1,000 people)

Myrtle Beach, known for its beautiful beaches and vacation resorts, takes the #1 spot on this list. During the summer, some beachgoers reported their possessions were stolen while swimming or taking a walk down the beach. Local police encourage people to leave their items hidden in their cars rather than unattended at the beach.

You may also like: Longest-serving members of Congress

2018 All rights reserved.