A burglar clad in black uses a crowbar to break into a home through a window casing
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Where in the U.S. are homes most likely to be broken into?

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October 24, 2023

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 by comparing 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 below.

A chart showing 2023's Most Vulnerable Cities for Burglaries
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Fence Gnome

Pricey areas in the largest cities don't necessarily translate to the greatest risk

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, which includes weighing a city's home value index and its share of single-unit detached homes
  • Burglary Prevalence, which includes a city's total number of residential burglaries and burglaries per 10,000 households

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor. 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.

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.


This story was produced by Fence Gnome and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.


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