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10.4.23 – fencegnome.com

Where in the U.S. are homes most likely to be broken into?

To mark National Crime Prevention Month, Fence Gnome ranked 2023’s Most Vulnerable Cities for Burglaries. 

We compared nearly 500 of the biggest U.S. cities based on target attractiveness — average home value and share of single-unit detached homes — and burglary prevalence.

Find out if you should invest in a security fence with our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.


See how each city fared in our ranking:

Top 5 Close Up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

Colorful brick buildings stand out on a cloudy day in downtown Jonesboro, Arkansas.
No. 1: Jonesboro, Arkansas | Overall Score: 56.26

Residential Burglaries per 10,000 Households: 237 (Rank: 1)
Total Number of Residential Burglaries: 713 (Rank: 70)
Share of Single-Unit Detached Homes: 65.45% (Rank: 150)
Home Value Index: $213,244 (Rank: 423)

Photo Credit: Brandonrush / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Red shingle roofs and palm trees stand out in an aerial view of Peoria, Arizona.
No. 2: Peoria, Arizona | Overall Score: 53.33

Residential Burglaries per 10,000 Households: 190 (Rank: 2)
Total Number of Residential Burglaries: 1184 (Rank: 40)
Share of Single-Unit Detached Homes: 73.81% (Rank: 63)
Home Value Index: $484,224 (Rank: 185)

Photo Credit: MattGush / Canva Pro / Canva License
A skyline view of Seattle shows the Space Needle surrounded by skyscrapers, with Mount Rainier in the background.
No. 3: Seattle | Overall Score: 50.85

Residential Burglaries per 10,000 Households: 148 (Rank: 9)
Total Number of Residential Burglaries: 5116 (Rank: 3)
Share of Single-Unit Detached Homes: 40.12% (Rank: 406)
Home Value Index: $836,889 (Rank: 53)

Photo Credit: Chait Goli / Pexels / Pexels License
Bright lights and colorful buildings illuminate the city of Memphis as the sun sets.
No. 4: Memphis, Tennessee| Overall Score: 48.38

Residential Burglaries per 10,000 Households: 152 (Rank: 6)
Total Number of Residential Burglaries: 3890 (Rank: 5)
Share of Single-Unit Detached Homes: 60.15% (Rank: 220)
Home Value Index: $149,898 (Rank: 469)

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Canva Pro / Canva License
The Eiffel Tower and a vast blue fountain are surrounded by casinos and hotels in Las Vegas.
No. 5: Las Vegas | Overall Score: 45.51

Residential Burglaries per 10,000 Households: 133 (Rank: 15)
Total Number of Residential Burglaries: 3167 (Rank: 10)
Share of Single-Unit Detached Homes: 62.27% (Rank: 188)
Home Value Index: $399,051 (Rank: 259)

Photo Credit: Solvej Nielsen / Pexels / Pexels License

The Upshot

Home burglaries are prevalent in both big cities like Seattle (No. 3) and Las Vegas (No. 5) and smaller ones, such as Jonesboro, Arkansas (No. 1), and Lake Charles, Louisiana (No. 9). 

Luxurious neighborhoods don’t necessarily entice more robbers. Only 3 of our 50 most vulnerable cities ranked among the 100 most attractive targets — Peoria, Arizona (No. 2), Newport Beach, California (No. 44), and Sandy, Utah (No. 50). Newport Beach has the highest home value of over $3 million — over $1.2 million higher than in Sunnyvale, California (No. 220), with the 2nd-highest average home value. The most expensive homes tend to deter burglars due to enhanced security systems.

Populous cities in the North and Mid-Atlantic like Chicago (No. 409), Philadelphia (No. 479), and Washington (No. 480) finished at the bottom, near Alexandria, Virginia, in last place. These cities are less vulnerable to residential theft with historically fewer residential burglaries per household and a smaller share of detached single-family homes, which are prime targets for burglars.

Behind the Ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Most Vulnerable Cities for Burglaries. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 2 categories: 

  • Target Attractiveness
  • Burglary Prevalence

The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. We eliminated 15 cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a final sample size of 485 cities.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 485). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 485 due to ties.


Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau, and Zillow

Final Thoughts

Just 13% of reported property crimes are solved annually, and urban dwellers are 174% more likely to be targeted by burglars. Ways to protect your home include:

  • Deterring thieves with fencing around your front yard.
  • Keeping burglars from “window shopping” at your house by installing a privacy fence
  • Planting a thorny bush as a living fence along the property’s border or below windows.

What is Fence Gnome? For fence installation, repair, and painting, Fence Gnome connects you to the best fencing professionals in your area.

Fence Gnome is part of the Home Gnome family of home services sites.

Media Resources

Main Photo Credit: Fertnig / Canva Pro / Canva License

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer based in San Antonio and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Sav’s passion for architecture and DIY projects emerged from many childhood afternoons spent on project sites “assisting” her dad, a skilled stonemason.

Posts by Sav Maive