The FBI defines robbery as the taking, or the attempted taking, of anything of value from someone by force, threat of violence, or fear. Most robberies involve the use of a firearm and yield $1,190 worth of goods on average. There were 327,374 robberies reported nationwide in 2015 — 102 per 100,000 Americans.

Crime and crime rates vary greatly across U.S. cities. In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California metro area, 19,918 robberies were reported in 2015. The area’s robbery rate of 149 incidents per 100,000 residents is higher than than both the national rate and higher than the statewide rate of 135 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Los Angeles’s high incidence of crime is not limited to robberies. There were also 243 aggravated assaults per 100,000 city residents last year, higher than the corresponding national rate.

There are several social and economic factors that are associated with crime. According to Nancy La Vigne, director of the Justice Policy Center at nonprofit economic and social policy research organization the Urban institute, the lack of opportunities for legal, gainful employment in a metro area is one of the primary drivers of crime.

The less residents have access to legal means of income, the more likely they may be to turn to crime. One such indicator of access to legal means of income is the annual unemployment rate. Those unable to find work are among the most likely to commit a crime, out of either financial necessity or other motivations. An estimated 6.2% of the Los Angeles workforce was unemployed in 2015, higher than the 5.3% national annual unemployment rate.

Like most metropolitan areas, Los Angeles’s unemployment has declined over the last half decade. Since 2011, the annual unemployment rate in Los Angeles has fallen by 5.2 percentage points — a greater improvement than the nation as a whole. Over the same period, the number of reported robberies fell by 10.1%, roughly similar to the 7.7% drop in robberies nationwide.

Young males between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to be criminals than any other demographic group. In Los Angeles, 7.1% of residents are between the ages of 15 and 24, roughly similar to the 7.0% of Americans who are males of the same age group.

Rank Geography 2015 robbery
rate
10 Albuquerque, NM 206.7
9 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 211.6
8 Stockton-Lodi, CA 213.2
7 Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ 219.5
6 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 228.9
5 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 235.2
4 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 239
3 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 259.9
2 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 265.8
1 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 273