The Most Common Crimes in The United States


The Most Common Crimes in The United States

June 5, 2017

It’s very likely you know someone with a criminal record. It’s also very likely that person is you.

As many Americans have criminal records as college diplomas. And regardless of race or gender, estimates state that nearly 1 in 3 Americans that will see the inside of a jail cell at some point in their lives.

The following are some of most common criminal convictions in the United States:

Assault / Battery

The definitions for assault and battery vary from state-to-state. Often though, assault is defined as “an attempt to injure to someone else” (also, sometimes includes making threats or exhibiting threatening behavior). And battery often refers to “the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person without their consent.”

A look at the most shocking celebrity arrests we wrote about last year is an example of just how common this criminal conviction is.

Drug Possession

If you didn’t already know, possession of certain illicit drugs is illegal under state and federal law. Of course, drug procession laws differ from state-to-state, but one thing we know is that this crime is common one.

The FBI reported that in 2014, “the highest number of arrests was for drug abuse violations.”

An illicit drug doesn’t even need to be on someone at the time of his or her arrest to be convicted. In what’s called “constructive possession,” a person might have charges filed against them if he or she has, for example, the keys to a van full of narcotics. In other words, simply having access to illegal substances can get one arrested and left with a drug possession charge on his or her record.


There’s no wonder why you lock your doors at night, and why many of us have security cameras installed in our homes.

Burglary is one of the most common criminal convictions and somehow, we’re all subconsciously aware of it.

Many people confuse burglary with robbery. While the most common motivation for burglary is theft and the crime of robbery also involves theft, the two crimes are distinct.

Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry in to almost any structure with the intent to commit a crime inside; while robbery involves the use of force or fear to enter or obtain a person’s property.

The crime of burglary does not require a theft or other crime to occur once the person has entered the property, simply that the wrongdoer had the intent to commit a crime when breaking and entering.

Theft / Larceny

The FBI defines larceny-theft as “the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another.” Like many laws, theft and larceny vary state-to-state. Some states have merged larceny with theft, while others recognize larceny as a separate offense.

This crime also varies in “seriousness.” While petty theft (such as switching price tags on an item on a store so you can pay less, or eating at a restaurant and walking out without paying) is often categorized as a misdemeanor; grand theft (such as stealing a car) is often categorized as a felony.

Remember that 1 in 3 Americans have some kind of criminal record, and likely due to one of these common convictions. It’s also important to note that getting arrested can potentially happen to anyone.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.