Property crime – burglaries, larceny-thefts and motor vehicle thefts – is a $14.3 billion problem in the United States, according to the FBI’s 2014 edition of Crime in the United States, which reported approximately 8.3 million property crimes that year. For the 8.3 million crimes reported, police only made about 1.6 million arrests, which is why it’s important to be aware of crime rates and take steps to protect yourself.
Since property crimes are so prevalent throughout the nation, we at HomeInsurance.com found the 20 midsize cities in the West with the lowest and highest property crime rates. The Overall Property Crime Scores below are an unweighted average of instances of property crimes per 100,000 residents for the first six months in 2015.
The 10 Midsize Western Cities with the Lowest Property Crime Rates
1. Frisco, Texas
Frisco’s overall property crime score is 255.51. The city has a population of 141,940 and is located in the northeastern quadrant of the state. Frisco is rich in arts and culture. The Museum of the American Railroad puts railroad materials and structures on display and offers exhibits on the history of the local railways, and the Heritage Museum showcases the heritage and traditions of the city. Art can be found throughout the city at the Texas Sculpture Garden, a collection of 40 large-scale sculptures; the Bronze Cattle Drive Depictions, the longest bronze sculpture collection in the country; and the Public Art Collection, a program that allows the city to commission works by local artists for public display.
Frisco has earned its fair share of accolades, including fifth on WalletHub’s “2015’s Best Cities for First-time Home Buyers” list, second on movoto.com’s 2015 “Best Midsized Cities for Education in America” list, sixth on Forbes’ 2012 “America’s Friendliest Towns” list and the “Best Place to Raise an Athlete” as part of Men’s Journal’s 2011 “Best Places to Live” list.
2. McKinney, Texas
McKinney has an overall crime score of 270.71. McKinney’s population is 152,806, and the city is located just 30 miles north of Dallas. McKinney is for those who like to be adventurous and active. For starters, geocaching – a modern day treasure hunt that allows individuals to find hidden objects, such as birdhouses or fake rocks containing some sort of token, through GPS tracking – is a popular activity in McKinney. The city also hosts an annual event called Bike the Bricks – an event that features a bike race through the downtown area in which cyclists compete to win a share of the $25,000 prize money.
McKinney was named the “Best Place to Live” by Money Magazine in 2014.
3. Plano, Texas
Plano has an overall property crime score of 285.79 and a population of 277,822. Plano headquarters several major companies, including Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Rent-A-Center and J.C. Penney. Plano hosts attractions that would thrill adventure-seekers, including the Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve. Spanning 800 acres, the park features a treetop adventure course, which includes five different sections, 39 crossings, two Tarzan swings and five zip lines, allowing guests to explore from the forest canopy.
4. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Broken Arrow’s overall property crime score is 285.87. The population of the city is 104,592. One of the most popular annual events in Broken Arrow is Rooster Days. The four-day festival features something for all ages, including a parade, pageant, live music and carnival rides. Broken Arrow has devoted a significant amount of time and resources to beautify its downtown area by establishing an arts and entertainment district. Named the “Rose District,” it features more than 70 establishments to eat, shop and play.
5. Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park’s overall property crime score of 310.93 is buoyed by a motor vehicle theft score that’s above the average for the cities in the region. Overland Park has 183,108 residents. Just a hop, skip and jump away from all the attractions of Kansas City, Missouri, Overland Park has hidden gems of its own. One attraction is the Museum at Prairiefire, which is the only museum in the Midwest to host American Museum of Natural History exhibitions.
6. Round Rock, Texas
Round Rock has an overall property crime score of 315.51. The city is located about 15 miles north of Austin and has a population of 112,199. Round Rock was named for a limestone rock formation found in Brushy Creek, where Jacob M. Harrell and Thomas C. Oatts – two of the original settlers – liked to fish. The city is best known today for being the international headquarters of Dell. Round Rock is also home to a minor league baseball team, the Round Rock Express. The city was named “Best Minor League Baseball Town” of 2015 by SmartAsset.
Round Rock ranked No. 10 on WalletHub’s 2015 “Cities with the Fastest Growing Economies” list.
7. Boise, Idaho
Boise’s overall property crime score is 327.08. The capital city of Idaho, it has a population of 216,260. One of Boise’s main attractions is the Boise River Greenbelt, which is 25 miles of trails for hiking, biking and other recreation. Visitors can also tour the Old Idaho Penitentiary. The “Old Pen” opened in 1872 and operated for 101 years. In addition to viewing a collection of exhibits, visitors can tour the cells, solitary confinement units and gallows while hearing the tales of the criminals who once resided there.
8. Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins’ overall property crime score is 331.57. The city is located in northern Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is home to 154,015 residents, as well as Colorado State University. The premier spot for recreation in the city is Horsetooth Reservoir, which is more than six miles long and open for boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing and paddle boarding. Visitors can explore Fort Collins through tours of Old Town, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, or through biking and brewery tours. The city is home to more than 20 breweries and produces the most craft beer of any city in the state.
9. Richardson, Texas
Richardson has an overall property crime score of 344.23. The population is 105,744. Richardson is home to several art and music festivals and events, including Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival and the Cottonwood Art Festival. Wildflower! spans three days and consists of six stages set up in Galatyn Park for local, regional and national bands to play. The Cottonwood festival occurs twice each year. About 1,400 artists from across the nation submit work to be judged by a panel, and 240 artists are selected to be featured at the festival.
10. Grand Prairie, Texas
Grand Prairie’s overall property crime score is 352.99, largely due to a motor vehicle theft rate that’s higher than the average of the cities in the region. More than 185,270 people call Grand Prairie home. The city’s attractions include Lone Star Park, a thoroughbred horse racing track; Prairie Lights, two miles of lights (4 million bulbs) lining the roadways open between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve; and Traders Village, a year-round flea market featuring goods from 3,500 vendors and drawing 3.5 million visitors annually.
The 10 Midsize Western Cities with the Highest Property Crime Rates
1. Pueblo, Colorado
Pueblo has an overall property crime score of 1,031.39. The city has a population of 108,591 and is located in the southeastern portion of the state. Pueblo is home to the Colorado State Fair, which spans 11 days and features concerts, carnival rides, cook-off competitions and the Miss Pueblo Scholarship Pageant. Pueblo is also home to the Steelworks Museum of Industry and Culture, dedicated to preserving the history of and educating the public on the region’s role in steel production, iron and coal mining, Western immigration and Western industrialization. Another popular attraction is the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, which is a park located along the Arkansas River that offers outdoor activities from bird watching to hiking and even snail races.
2. Topeka, Kansas
Topeka – the capital city of Kansas – has an overall property crime score of 831.03. The city is situated in the northeastern quadrant of the state, 60 miles from Kansas City, Kansas, and has a population of 127,673. Topeka is rich in history and played a significant role in shaping the nation as we know it today. Topeka is the home of the historic Monroe School, which figured in the 1954 Supreme Court case, “Brown v. Board of Education,” known for ending segregation in public schools during the Civil Rights Movement. Visitors are able to tour the school, galleries and exhibits to learn more about this historical site.
Topeka was named to Kiplinger Magazine’s “10 Best Cities for the Next Decade” list in 2010 due to low unemployment and low housing costs.
3. Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock has an overall property crime score of 797.41. The city spans 123 square miles of northwestern Texas and has 241,826 residents. Lubbock is known for its music scene. The city is the birthplace of rock and roll singer/songwriter Buddy Holly, whose short life and career had a lasting impact on the genre, including the now-standard band setup of two guitars, a bass and drums. Lubbock pays tribute to Holly’s legacy with the Buddy Holly Center, which features exhibits on music and art for the public to experience. Lubbock is also home to the Cactus Theater, which opened in 1938 as a movie theater and was transformed into a music hall for local and national performers in 1995. It has since earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
4. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa has an overall property crime score of 787.96. With a population of 399,556, it’s the largest city on the list. The Tulsa Art Deco Museum celebrates the city’s architectural legacy, which includes the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Westhope home. Tulsa’s affinity for arts and culture doesn’t stop there. The city is home to world-class art collections located at two museums: Philbrook Museum of Art and Gilcrease Museum. The former showcases art of all kinds, including classical, modern, Native American and contemporary, and is situated on 23 acres of land known for its landscape design. The latter features the world’s most extensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West.
5. Lakewood, Colorado
Lakewood’s overall property crime score is 784.56. Lakewood is a suburb of Denver with a view of the Rocky Mountain foothills and has 148,236 residents. Lakewood is home to more than 80 parks. One of the most popular is Bear Creek Lake Park, which is 2,600 acres in size and offers hiking and biking trails, boating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, archery and the . Another popular park is the 2,400-acre William Frederick Hayden Park on Green Mountain, which boasts a unique view of Denver’s skyline from the mountain’s 6,800-foot peak.
6. Abilene, Texas
Abilene’s overall property crime score is 774.74. The city is located in west central Texas and has a population of 120,686. Abilene is a unique city. Coined the Official Storybook Capital of Texas, it has 24 sculptures of classic characters placed throughout the downtown cultural district – more sculptures of this kind than any other city in the country. Abilene is also home to Frontier Texas!, a museum that features life-sized holograms of individuals who lived on the Texas frontier. Visitors get to experience what life was like in those days through events such as buffalo stampedes and shootouts.
7. Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City has an overall property crime score of 756.97. It is located in the northeastern quadrant of the state and has a population of 149,103. Kansas City is full of historical sites. First on the list is Kaw Point at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers where Lewis and Clark camped for three days while exploring the Louisiana Territory. Kansas City is also home to the , where a museum and ruins preserve the city’s historic role in the Underground Railroad and abolitionist movement. The townsite is designated as an archaeological district on the National Register of Historic Places.
8. Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo’s overall property crime score is 737.9, and its population is 197,724. Located just south of Amarillo is the Palo Duro Canyon, which spans 120 miles and is the second largest canyon in the country, after the Grand Canyon. The city is also home to a number of museums, including the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in Texas; the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum, exploring the historical significance of the breed; the Texas Air & Space Museum, honoring aviators, astronauts and servicemen and servicewomen who hailed from the Texas Panhandle; the Don Harrington Discovery Center, providing interactive science exhibits and programs for local youth; and the Amarillo Museum of Art, showcasing rotating displays of art from various eras.
9. Wichita, Kansas
Wichita has an overall property crime score of 736.7. The city is the largest in the state of Kansas and has a population of 387,493. Wichita hosts several annual festivals. One of the most popular is the Tallgrass Film Festival, a five-day independent film fest that showcases more than 200 diverse feature and short films. The Tallgrass Film Festival was among Livability’s “10 Best Film Festivals” in 2010 and Flavorwire’s “Best Under-the-Radar Film Festivals in America” in 2012. Wichita is also home to Riverfest, a nine-day festival full of live music, eating contests and entertainment such as ziplining and an attempt to break the record for the longest utility terrain vehicle jump. The week-long Wichita Jazz Festival features local, regional and national performers.
10. Billings, Montana
Billings’ overall property crime score is 716.28. The population of Billings is 110,245. The city is full of must-see attractions, one of which is nearby Pictograph Cave State Park, which has three main caves – Pictograph, Middle and Ghost – that were home to prehistoric hunters. The hunters left behind more than 100 pictographs (cave wall paintings) and more than 30,000 artifacts for present-day visitors to view. Another attraction is the Moss Mansion, a house designed and constructed in 1903 by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh – designer of the original Plaza and Waldorf Astoria hotels – that influenced architecture and décor throughout the area for decades to come. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and documents the early days of the city as well as one of Billings’ first families.
Protect Yourself from Property Crime
No matter where you live, property crime is likely an issue. To help protect yourself, follow these tips:
- Always be aware of your surroundings, whether you live in a high- or low-crime area.
- Install a home security system.
- Never allow strangers into your home.
- Keep the doors and windows of your house and car locked.
- Don’t hide a spare key. Leave it with a nearby friend or a trusted neighbor instead.
- Store valuables such as jewelry in a locked safe.
- Keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t leave your wallet on the table or your purse on the back of your chair while eating at a restaurant.
Of course, even if you’re cautious, you could still be a victim of property theft. To help protect yourself and your possessions, it’s important to have quality auto and home insurance.
Information used was compiled from the 2015 FBI Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report. The numbers shown are offenses known to law enforcement for the first six months (Jan.-June) of 2015. The overall score is an unweighted average of burglary per 100,000 population, larceny per 100,000 population and motor vehicle theft per 100,000 population. Cities were only included if their populations fell in the range of 100,000 to 500,000. Arson was not included in this study as data was not available for every city and arson crime numbers were negligible. For the purposes of this analysis, the states we grouped into the Western region are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.