According to the FBI’s 2014 edition of Crime in the United States report, there were approximately 8.3 million property crimes reported that year, resulting in an estimated $14.3 billion worth of financial losses. Police made nearly 1.6 million arrests for property crimes, 1.2 million of which were for larceny-theft.
“Property crime” is defined as stealing money or property from another without the use of threat or force. Property crimes include burglaries, larceny-thefts and motor vehicle thefts.
Property crimes occur daily throughout the nation, so we at HomeInsurance.com found the 10 midsize cities in the Pacific region with the lowest 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 average overall score for the Pacific region is 491.68.
1. Simi Valley, California
Simi Valley tops our list with an overall property crime score of 211. Located in southern California, 37 miles from Los Angeles, the city had the lowest rate (instances per 100,000 population) of larceny-theft of the 10 and has a population of 126,604. Simi Valley is home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, which allows visitors to step aboard a retired Air Force One that carried Reagan and six other U.S. presidents, as well as view other exhibits, including a piece of the Berlin Wall and a replica of the Oval Office.
2. Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks had the fewest total instances and the lowest rate of burglaries of the list, resulting in an overall property crime score of 214. The city is situated against the Santa Monica Mountains and has a population of 129,175. Thousand Oaks is home to the Civic Arts Plaza, a three-acre complex which hosts more than 400 performances annually – ranging from live theatre, touring Broadway musicals and dance companies to comedians, magicians and popular musicians.
3. Gilbert, Arizona
With a population of 235,430, Gilbert had the lowest rate of motor vehicle theft of these 10 and secured an overall property crime score of 225. Gilbert’s typically sunny weather makes the city one to be enjoyed outdoors. One of its most popular attractions is the Riparian at Water Ranch, a wildlife preserve. The Riparian at Water Ranch features equestrian and hiking trails, a dinosaur dig site and plenty of opportunities for bird watching.
4. Irvine, California
Irvine’s overall property crime score is 267. Irvine has a population of 242,971 and is located in southwestern California. The city is home to the University of California, Irvine, as well as local attractions such as the Irvine Museum and the Orange County Great Park. The former is the only museum in the state with the mission of preserving and displaying the style of art known as California Impressionism, and the latter is a 1,300-acre park with attractions that include the Great Park Balloon – a tethered hot air balloon that allows 25 to 30 passengers to view the city from 400 feet in the air.
5. Sunnyvale, California
Sunnyvale has a population of 149,384 and an overall property crime score of 275. Sunnyvale is one of the cities in the San Francisco Bay Area that make up Silicon Valley – the technology hub of the U.S. It serves as the U.S. headquarters of Yahoo, Inc., Network Appliance, Inc., Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Advanced Micro Devices, the Infinera Corporation, Cepheid and Bloom Energy.
6. Chula Vista, California
Chula Vista’s 259,894 population makes it the largest city on our list. Chula Vista has an overall property crime score of 283. The city is located in the southern portion of the state, equidistant (about seven miles) from San Diego and the Mexican border. The city is home to a U.S. Olympic training facility, the OnStage Playhouse – offering live theatre – and the Living Coast Discovery Center – a nature center complete with interactive exhibits that teach visitors the history and significance of the Sweetwater Marsh and San Diego Bay.
7. Glendale, California
Glendale has an overall property crime score of 286. The population of this Los Angeles suburb is 197,079. Glendale lies along the and is home to 45 parks and park facilities; it’s a scenic city with plenty of amenities such as hiking and biking trails, sports fields and courts, playgrounds and pools.
8. Surprise, Arizona
Surprise had the fewest total occurrences of motor vehicle thefts among the 10 cities listed, only 50. The city’s overall property crime score is 290.02, and its population is 125,049. Surprise is located in the Valley of the Sun – a 45-minute drive from Phoenix – and is home to White Tank Mountain Regional Park – a 30,000-acre park through the White Tank Mountains, with a treacherous terrain leading hikers to a 4,000-foot peak.
9. Norwalk, California
Norwalk had fewer instances of larceny-theft — 553 — than any other city on our list. Norwalk has a population of 106,838 and an overall property crime score of 294. Norwalk is located about 17 miles from Los Angeles and is home to Golf N’ Stuff, an attraction featuring a unique miniature golf course, thrilling carnival rides, bumper boats, go karts and an arcade. This park offers something for all ages and has been used as a filming location for several movies, including The Karate Kid.
Our final city of the 10 is Murrieta, with an overall property crime score of 302. The city has a population of 108,376 and is located in southwestern California. Murrieta is home to Laughing Lizard Adventure Park, the region’s first aerial adventure park. It’s also a short drive from more traditional parks, such as the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve and the Lake Skinner Recreational Area, which cater to those interested in hiking, biking, watersports and learning about the history and ecosystems of the region.
Protect Yourself from Property Crime
Crime has no address and occurs in every city. To help reduce your chances of becoming a property crime statistic, follow these tips:
- Consider investing in a home security system. Simply seeing a sign that a home is protected by a security system often deters burglars. And in the event that a burglar attempts to break into your home, a security system can alert you and the police immediately, lessening the chances of your property being stolen.
- Never allow strangers into your home. Doing so could put you in a risky position.
- Lock all doors and windows when you leave the house. Leaving them unlocked allows burglars easy access.
- Refrain from hiding a spare key under the doormat. Give your spare to a trusted friend or neighbor instead.
- Secure valuable possessions in a locked safe. Having things out on display entices burglars.
- When you’re out to eat, avoid leaving your wallet sitting on the table or your purse hanging on the back of your chair. Any passersby could grab these possessions and run.
- Always be vigilant. Whether you’re out or at home, make sure you’re aware of what’s going on around you.
However, even if you take every precaution in the book, a burglar could still steal your property. To protect yourself, your family and your possessions, find quality auto and home insurance coverage that can help repair or replace your car, home and valuables, according to the policy you choose.
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 purposes of this analysis, the states we grouped into the Pacific region are Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.