Where you live can determine where your kids go to school, what jobs you can get, who you’ll make friends with — and whether or not you’re likely to be burglarized.
According to data from the FBI, the 15 states listed here had the highest burglary rates in the nation. Just another reason to avoid money stress by moving someplace safer.
What is burglary?
The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) considers any illegal entrance into a building with the intent to commit theft to be a burglary.
Break-ins can (and often do) happen as part of a burglary, but burglary isn’t the same thing as breaking and entering. Casually strolling into someone’s open garage and removing a racing bike is burglary, and so is smashing a window to steal an Xbox.
In 2021 (the most recent year national data is available from the UCR), Texas experienced almost 393 burglaries per 100,000 people. While that number is high, it represents a 4.6% decline in burglary rates year over year.
That follows the nationwide decades-long trend of declining burglary rates. In 2020, burglary in Texas was down 5.1% compared to 2019.
Even though Texas itself has fewer burglaries per capita than the other states on our list, four Texas cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin — make the top 10 list of the worst cities for burglaries.
And at 14,644 burglaries in 2021, Houston is first in the nation in terms of burglaries per year.
Arizona only has around seven million residents to Texas’s 28 million, but its burglary rate is higher (394.3 per 100,000 people). Phoenix experienced the most burglaries of any Arizona city (9,471 reported in 2021). That makes sense since it’s the capital and the largest city in the state.
No other city in Arizona comes close to Phoenix. With 2,497 burglaries, Tucson has the second-highest total number of burglaries in Arizona.
Missouri experienced 430.4 burglaries per 100,000 people in 2021. While burglaries in the state decreased by 3.7% between 2020 and 2021, Missouri is one of just two states that had a burglary decline of less than 4%.
At a difference of 15.6%, Washington state had the steepest decline in burglary rates last year of any state on our list.
Tennessee residents reported just over 437 burglaries per 100,000 citizens last year, a drop of almost 12% compared to the previous year.
Along with being the 12th-highest state for burglary, Tennessee also ranks 10th in the nation in terms of property crime per capita, which includes vehicle theft and larceny.
At 453.6 burglaries per 100,000 people, Washington is the only state on the Pacific Coast to make it into the top 15 worst states for burglaries.
Interestingly, Seattle doesn’t have the highest property crime rate in the state, and neither does the capital city, Olympia. Cities including Spokane and Tukwila experience much higher property crime rates than Seattle in spite of being much, much smaller.
With just 731,000 people, Alaska has the smallest population of any state in the top 15. Unfortunately, Alaskans experience 487.2 burglaries per 100,000 people, but that number is trending downward.
Overall crime in Alaska dropped more than 15% between 2020 and 2021, leading to the lowest number of recorded crimes in the state since the mid-1970s.
With 503.5 burglaries per 100,000 people, Nevada is the first state to break 500 in our top 15. While crime rates in Las Vegas are definitely high, Vegas doesn’t actually have the highest crime rate in the state.
Instead, the tiny city of Elko (population just over 20,000) has a property crime rate above 50% compared to Vegas which is a little over 40%.
Apart from New Mexico, the remaining states on our list are all in the South. At 529.1 burglaries per 100,000 people, North Carolina has the lowest burglary rate of the southern states in the top ten.
Alabama’s rate of 531.9 burglaries per 100,000 is definitely higher than the national average, but like most of the states on our list, its burglaries (and crime rates generally) are dropping.
Alabama’s rate decrease of nearly 10% is certainly something to celebrate, but Alabama still has work to do. Birmingham consistently ranks in the top five most dangerous cities nationwide.
Like its northern counterpart, South Carolina’s high rate of 533 burglaries per 100,000 people represents a year-over-year decline. With a 9.5% drop, South Carolina beats North Carolina’s decrease of 6.2%
With a drop of 13.8%, Louisiana experienced the highest decrease in burglaries of any state in the top 10 — and the biggest drop among any of the top 15 states apart from Washington.
Louisiana’s biggest cities don’t contribute as much to the state’s burglary rate of 579 per 100,000 people. Small cities like Opelousas (population 16,000) and Hammond (population 20,000) have higher property crime rates than Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Arkansas has just under 600 burglaries per 100,000 people and experienced an overall burglary decrease of 7.5% last year.
Even though Arkansas has an above-average property crime rate, Arkansas law enforcement managed to recover almost 27% of goods stolen in the state, which is pretty close to the national average of 28.9%.
Mississippians deal with 627 burglaries per 100,000 people. It’s also one of the smallest states on our list population-wise, though New Mexico and Alaska also have high burglary rates and populations smaller than 3 million.
As a whole, Oklahoma averages 671.7 burglaries per 100,000 people. But Oklahoma City in particular had the sixth-highest number of total burglaries of any city in the nation last year.
In contrast to most other cities and states, Oklahoma City’s burglaries went up 2.85% between 2020 and 2021.
New Mexico is the only landlocked Western state on our list — and it’s also the worst place to live if you want to avoid a burglary.
In 2021, New Mexico’s average burglary rate was 696.8 per 100,000 people. Believe it or not, that’s a 9.4% decrease over the state’s average burglary rate in 2020.
How to protect your home
Whether you live in one of the 15 worst states for burglaries or elsewhere in the nation, it pays to know how to protect your home from burglary.
Start by locking all your doors and windows before leaving the house, especially if you’re about to leave on vacation. Make sure your property looks occupied even if you’re not there.
And if you do get burglarized, having the right home insurance policy can help. Home insurance can cover the value of most (if not all) of the property you lose in a burglary — but only if you choose a solid home insurance provider with a good rate and good coverage. To learn more about your options, check out our list of the best home insurance companies.
Here’s the good news: No matter where in you live in the U.S., burglary has been trending downward year over year.
While you’re more likely to experience a burglary if you live in the states on our list, you’re not particularly likely to be burglarized at all no matter where you live. Especially if you take the crucial steps we listed above to protect yourself and your property.
Compare Quotes Benefits
- Get quotes in 60 seconds
- Compare rates from top insurers
- Coverage you need at an affordable price
- It's free and fast to compare quotes