Published On: Wed, Sep 1st, 2021

Most Prevalent American Crimes

According to FBI statistics, a violent crime is reported every 22 seconds in the United States. While violent crimes receive generous amounts of attention in the media and popular culture, property crimes are far more common, with one being reported every three seconds in the United States. Property crimes, in fact, are ten times more common than violent crimes. Each year, an average of ten million property offenses are registered, compared to roughly one million violent crimes. In order, here are the most prevalent property and violent crimes in the United States.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay


Theft, or larceny, is by far the most common crime in the United States, accounting for over 60% of all reported crimes. Theft is usually classed as a misdemeanor and is a nonviolent crime since it does not necessitate the use of force. 


Burglary is the second most prevalent crime in the United States, with over two million burglary complaints filed each year. Burglary is also a nonviolent property crime and makes up about 18% of all recorded crimes in the United States.

Motor Vehicle Theft 

Motor vehicle theft ranks third among the most common crimes in the United States, accounting for over 10% of all crimes in the country each year. Automobile theft can be classified in various ways depending on the state, ranging from grand theft auto to first-degree theft. 

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the first violent crime to break the top five and is the fourth most prevalent crime in the United States. Aggravated assault accounts for over 7% of all recorded crimes. It is defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) as “an unlawful attack by one person on another for the aim of causing severe or aggravated bodily injury.” Aggravated assault can involve the use of a weapon or firearm, although it is not required. Aggravated assault of any kind occurs roughly 800,000 times each year.


Robbery, another violent crime, is the fifth most common crime in the United States. Robbery differs from simple theft/larceny in that it is theft committed against someone else. Robbery also entails the use of force or compulsion, and violence is frequently required. A robbery can take many forms, from a simple mugging in a dark alley to a complex bank heist. Robberies account for around 3% of all reported crimes, with approximately 500,000 robberies perpetrated each year.

Other Types of Prevalent Crime

Were you surprised by the top five most common American crimes? Many people assume that other well-known crimes such as homicide, DUI, illegal weapons, and narcotics are more pervasive than they actually are due to media coverage. Despite the fact that these crimes do not rank among the top five most common in the United States, they have catastrophic consequences for the victims and the community as a whole.

Drugs, in particular, have proven particularly devastating. Not only are possession and trafficking severe crimes, but according to new research from the Bureau of Justice (BJS), drug abuse and addiction are at the core of 21% of all crimes. The BJS report also found that 40 percent of all property crime convicts and 14 percent of all violent crime convicts stated they committed their most serious offense for drug-related reasons. 

“Facing federal drug charges can be daunting,” says New York criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman. “Depending on the outcome of a case, the potential penalties someone may face from conviction can involve mandatory minimum prison sentences, steep fines, and the prospect of losing all personal assets.” With over 473,000 people imprisoned for drug-related offenses and over one million arrests for drug use and possession each year, it is evident that the current rehabilitation systems need to be reevaluated.

In the end, many Americans’ worries about the most prevalent crimes are unfounded, as they are considerably more likely to be carjacked or robbed than murdered or kidnapped. However, one must remain careful and keep property doors secured at all times.

Author: Sadaf Zain

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