Drug Crime Rate and General Crime Rate Growth By State

More often than not, drug use is a very common cause for the crimes that are committed. But, although it’s unfortunate, drug use and crime tend to hand-in-hand. 

At Desert Hope Treatment Center, we see many drug-related crimes in our community of Las Vegas, Nevada. That is why we wanted to see which crimes were increasing in prevalence in each state. Along with that, we wanted to see the year-over-year changes in drug abuse as well as the year-over-year changes in the types of crime being committed.

Using the available data on the FBI’s crime database, our team was able to analyze the growth of crime year over year in each state.

To learn more about how crime rates are increasing or decreasing in your state, keep reading.

We first wanted to find the fastest-growing crime in each state. We found that there were 17 individual crimes were listed in this first category, all differing in severity.  

Suspicion, or the reasonable assumption that a crime has been, is currently, or will be committed, had the largest spike seen across our data. It was the fastest-growing crime in 3 states – Nevada (4001.79%), South Dakota (2388.62%), and Utah (154.08%). 

The only other crime that saw 4-digit growth was gambling with a 1876.81% increase in Delaware. Gambling was also, coincidentally, the most common fastest-growing crime in the US. It gained this moniker in 8 states. Vagrancy, or the offense of persons that don’t appear to have viable means to support themselves, was the fastest-growing crime in 6 states, possibly due to the crackdown and conception of vagrancy laws seen around the country.

Turn to the crimes that are the second-fastest growing in their states, we found that there was marginally more variety among them, but they skewed to be more severe. For instance, only one state cited murder as its fastest-growing crime, while four cited it as their second-fastest. 

The largest year-over-year growth seen in this data set was for suspicion, which saw a 286.65% increase in New Mexico. The second-largest increase we saw happened in South Dakota, where offenses against the family and children increased by 233.50% from the prior year. 

The smallest increase in crime occurred in Nebraska which, again, had a negative number representing its crime growth. Its second-fastest-growing crime was curfew and loitering law violations, which increased -18.04%. 



Now that we know the fastest-growing crimes in each state, we wanted to see how those crimes averaged together to get the year-over-year trends for the country by crime type. We did find out good news from our data. First, we found that there was a -3.68% change for all crime types when averaged together. In fact, out of the 31 crime types we analyzed, 24 of them were negative percentages. 

Suspicion was by far the crime that saw the most increase year-over-year. It increased by 46.04%, which is over 17x higher than the next largest increase, motor vehicle theft. Another interesting insight that we found was that even though gambling was the fastest-growing crime for many states, throughout the country, being convicted of gambling actually decreased by -15.21% year-over-year.

Lastly, since we have a particularly vested interest in drug abuse trends, we wanted to take a look at the year-over-year trends looked like for drug abuse. 17 states actually saw a decrease in drug abuse violations. The most significant year-over-year drop seen in this data belonged to the District of Columbia, which had a 48.23% decrease in drug abuse violations. Right after Washington, DC. was Nebraska with a decrease of 47.65%, Maine with 37.55%, and New Mexico with 37.54%.

On the other end of the spectrum, Indiana saw the most year-over-year growth of drug abuse violations with 47.45%. Other states that had high percentage increases were North Carolina (37.83%), South Carolina (31.47%), West Virginia (26.31%), and Utah (23.00%).

While crime is seemingly going down, that doesn’t mean that we should stop cracking down on the behaviors and trends that cause crime in the first place. That includes drug use and abuse. If you or someone you know is dependent on drugs, we can help them overcome their addiction and lead them on a path to a better life. If you want to learn more about how we can help, don’t hesitate to visit our website today.

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Desert Hope is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is easily accessible from most locations in the Southwest. We offer a full continuum of care that spans from inpatient medical detox and rehab to outpatient services and sober living. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Vegas or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.