Nothing says “up-and-coming” like a sinking crime rate. So it comes as no surprise that national and state-by-state crime data would be of particular interest to those in the real estate business.
That’s why Movoto Real Estate, a California-based national online real estate network, combed through the FBI’s latest Uniform Crime Report to create an interactive map illustrating annual changes in crime trends from 2004 through 2013. The data parsers at Movoto calculated the number of crimes per 100,000 people based on each state’s total number of reported crimes — excluding Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Click here for the full interactive experience.
“No matter the reason for these changes, we understand that safety is an important part of choosing a place to live,” the Movoto blog states. “We sell houses, after all, and we might just know a place or two that’s safe enough to suit your comfort level when picking your next home.”
Overall, the data show that crime in the United States has been on a steady decline over the past decade. But a closer look shows an interesting variation in trends by state. Arizona, for example, had a crime rate of 2060.66 per 100,000 people in 2004 — the worst of any state that year compared to the national average — but by 2013 crime in the Grand Canyon State had decreased by nearly 62 percent.
Not every state has seen that kind of improvement. While Arizona was becoming safer, neighboring New Mexico went from “somewhat dangerous” to “very dangerous,” its crime rate climbing by about 20 percent. Arkansas saw a 47 percent increase in statewide crime. And though New York’s crime rate was below the national average in 2004, that number had jumped about 30 percent by 2013.
Some states saw very little change in their crime rates. South Carolina’s stayed consistently high, while Virginia’s remained reliably low. Others, like Washington, Utah, Oregon and Michigan, were more erratic, their crime rates rising and falling multiple times over the decade studied.
Movoto regularly compiles national data into visually interesting maps that rank cities and states in a variety of ways — from the most caring to the popularity of “Harry Potter” versus “Twilight.”
However, the FBI cautions against ranking cities and states based on crime data, warning that “rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, tribal area or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents.” And Movoto takes care to differentiate its crime map from previous rankings, presenting it as an overall analysis of crime data rather than a ranking of the safest or the most dangerous states in America.