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Is Houston the Worst City in America for Burglaries? Probably

Burglaries per year in Houston since 2000.
Burglaries per year in Houston since 2000.

There you were feeling pretty damn good about yourself when you read the Brookings Institution found that Houston had the best economy in the country. You puffed your chest out, retweeted and shared posts on Facebook to all your yankee cousins. "Looky here," you said with a sense of pride, "Now, what do you have to say about my awesome city?" It was a moment of glory, of achievement and finally a chance to rub some great news about our oft-belittled city on all your smug friends around the U.S. Well, son, the party's over.

According to a report from SimpliSafe.com, a home security system company (natch), Houston has more burglaries than any other city in America...based on 2011 statistics from the FBI. "But, wait," you cry, "that's last year. Surely, we've improved." We have, slightly -- and stop calling me Shirley -- and we are improving, but we're probably still the worst.

In 2011, Houston had 27,459 reported burglaries. That bested Chicago's 26,420, the only other city to have more than 20,00 burglaries in 2011. That ain't good. In 2012, the numbers have improved slightly, however.

Through October, there were 22,187 burglaries reported in Houston, and if you average the number of reported burglaries in November and December the last three years and add it to the total, you get a projected number of 27,194. That's a projected drop of 265 or about 22 per month. Given we are one of only two cities with close to this number of break-ins in 2011, it's safe to assume we'll remain in the top spot for 2012.

The good news is that since 2007, the numbers have been improving somewhat, but not a lot. You can see on the graph that burglaries have been in decline for the last couple years, but have remained in the mid-20,000 range since 2001.

The somewhat better news is that while we may rank highly in burglaries, we don't in violent crime. So, while thieves may be stealing your stuff, at least it -- in general -- isn't your life.


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