Property Crimes That Go Unreported

Table of Contents

There are few things as scary to a homeowner or renter as property crimes. In fact, the safety of your neighborhood was probably a big factor in where you chose to live, whether in a city, the suburbs or out in the country. Unfortunately, many property crimes go unreported every single day. As you can see in the below infographic, a whopping 19% of American homeowners would considering not reporting a minor property crime to the police. How many property crimes go unreported in your state? Keep reading to find out!

Property Crimes That Go Unreported

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What Is A Property Crime?

What is a property crime?
What is a property crime?

As defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, property crimes include:

  • Burglary
  • Larceny theft
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Arson.

These crimes specifically do not include any force or threat of force to people, just their money or property. Arson is included because it’s destruction of property, although victims of arson might also be subjected to force as a byproduct of the arson.

Property Crime Statistics


The FBI also provides some property crime statistics using the most recent data from 2010, like:

  • There were over nine million property crimes committed in the United States in 2010.
  • From 2009 to 2010, property crimes decreased by 2.7%. From 2006 to 2010, there was a 9.3 decrease in property crimes.
  • In 2010, there were an estimated 2,942 property crimes for every 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Larceny-theft made up 68.1% of property crimes in 2010.
  • Total losses from property crimes committed in 2010 came in at about $15.7 billion.

How To Prevent Property Crimes

Preventing Property Crime
Preventing Property Crime

Of course, we don’t mean to scare you with these statistics. Still, you should be educated about the crimes that occur every day in the United States, with the knowledge of how to keep yourself safe, as well. Here are some tips for preventing all kinds of property crimes, from burglary to arson.

Preventing Burglary

Installing the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery
Installing the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery

In contrast to larceny-theft, the FBI defines burglary as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft”, so it has to occur either at a commercial or residential property. Unfortunately, 73.9% of all burglaries in the 2010 data set occurred at residential properties, so you should focus on keeping your home safe first and foremost. Here are some things you can get to make burglars go away:

  • Home security system: If you have a security system with smart, motion-activated cameras and sensors that hook up to your phone, you can be alerted whenever there’s movement, whenever a door or window is opened or closed, whenever your camera detects a person, you name it. To explore your options, check out my picks for the best home security systems this year.
  • Smart light bulbs: Smart light bulbs can be put on schedules to turn off and on periodically throughout the day, which makes it seem like you’re home. Most people either leave their lights on or off for the entirety of their absence, which can be a bit of a signal to robbers in the area. Read about your options in my review of the best smart light bulbs of 2019.
  • Video doorbells: In the same vein as smart light bulbs, video doorbells make it seem like you’re home when you’re not, allowing you to see and speak to your visitor remotely. Burglars are much less likely to strike if they think you’re home, so this is a simple way to never miss a visitor…or a burglar. Check out the best video doorbells of 2019 to see the top products on the market.

Preventing Larceny-Theft

How to Prevent Larceny-Theft
How to Prevent Larceny-Theft

In 2010, there were over six million larceny-thefts across the nation, down 2.4% from 2009. Unfortunately, there isn’t more recent information available from the FBI, but thanks to an article from the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department, I have a few tricks up my sleeve:

  • Keep your purse closed and hidden: It’s easy to put your purse under the table and forget about it during a fun meal out with friends, but try to make sure it’s either on your lap or between your feet. Even if it’s on the back of your chair, that makes it much easier for people to steal!
  • Never leave your items unattended: Jumping off of that, you should never leave your purse or wallet alone, even if you’re just going to the bathroom or going in a fitting room.
  • Maintain a list of your bank cards: In case any of your credit or debit cards to get stolen, you should have a list of your card numbers as well as each company’s customer support numbers so you can quickly close the account.

Preventing Motor Vehicle Theft

How to Prevent Motor Vehicle Theft
How to Prevent Motor Vehicle Theft

“Dude, where’s my car?” is never a question that you want to ask in real life, no matter how much you like the movie. Every year, over 770,000 people are victims of vehicle theft, according to an article from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the United States Department of Transportation. The total cost of all the cars stolen in 2017? A whopping six billion dollars. Here’s how you keep your car safe and secure:

  • Don’t leave the key in the car: This one may seem obvious, but a shocking amount of people will leave their key in or on their vehicle if they’re just running into a store for a few minutes. Don’t be like them; take your key with your instead.
  • Lock all doors and windows: Another common sense measure, make sure all doors and windows are locked before leaving your video, no matter how hot the sun is!
  • Park in bright areas: If possible, try to find a parking spot that would make a robbery conspicuous and therefore unlikely of actually occurring.
  • Hide valuables: You’d be surprised how many people leave wallets, phones, fancy electronics, and other valuable stuff in their cars! If you need to leave an item of value in your car, either put it in the trunk, in your glove compartment or else hidden from the outside, so robbers think there is nothing to steal.

Preventing Arson

How to Prevent Arson
How to Prevent Arson

Arson involves setting properties on fire, or as the FBI puts it, “any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property, etc.” Nearly half of all arson crimes involved structures, be them residential, public, or for storage, which the average loss per arson at a devastating $13,196. So what you can you do to make sure that your home or car isn’t next?

According to an article from the Cheshire, United Kingdom’s Fire & Rescue Service, there are a few things you can do to prevent arson:

  • Report anti-social behavior: Since anti-social behavior is linked to arson, you should always report it to your local police station or neighborhood watch team.
  • Outdoor security cameras: Especially if they have person detection, smart outdoor security cameras are a great way to keep track of the outside of your property, with alerts as soon as your camera detects a person and infrared night vision. Read our review of the best outdoor security cameras of 2019 to see some of our top picks.
  • Lock all doors: Make sure all internal and external doors are locked, all trash is put away properly and your security system is on.

Recap Of Property Crimes That Go Unreported

That’s it for my article on property crimes! If you have anymore questions, feel free to leave them below and I’m sure to answer soon.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.