The State of Safety in Pennsylvania 2022

Outline of Pennsylvania with the heading "Pennsylvania Safest Cities Report"

The SafeWise team is pleased to release the fourth annual State of Safety report.

Pennsylvania continues to see less crime than the rest of the country, but its violent and property crime rates are the highest in the Mid-Atlantic region. Despite lower incidences of crime statewide, Pennsylvanians still worry about their safety more than most Americans.

In this report

2022 Pennsylvania crime rates

Violent crime in The Keystone State jumped from 3.1 incidents per 1,000 people to 3.9 this year, barely beating the US rate of 4.0. Property crime bucked the nationwide downward trend, rising from 14.0 crimes per 1,000 to 16.4 this year—but that still keeps Pennsylvania under the national rate of 19.6.

Very few Pennsylvania cities reported crime data to the FBI compared to last year, which may be why crime rates rose this year after either falling or remaining steady in our previous reports.

Bar chart of violent and property crime rates per 1,000 people where the national average is 4.0 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 19.6 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Image: SafeWise

Level of concern and experience with crime in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania continues to show higher concern about safety than most of America despite consistently low crime rates—and 55% think Pennsylvania is a safe place to live.

State crime-rate trends are inconsistent with State of Safety survey participants’ reports of experience with crime—violent crime experiences remained at 8%, while property crime dropped 10 full points year over year.

The outlier is gun violence. State of Safety survey respondents reported double the personal experience with gun violence year over year. That increase may explain why Pennsylvanians are 16% more concerned about gun violence actually happening to them than the national average.

Pictogram showing the percentage of state residents that are concerned about their safety on a daily basis, as well as which type of crime they are concerned about the most, and which crimes they have experienced within the past 12 months. Crimes include violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.

Crime concerns in Pennsylvania

We asked Pennsylvania residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Pennsylvanians are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

Bar chart showing percentages of how concerned state residents are about crime compared to the national averages for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.

Violent crime in Pennsylvania: Fear vs. reality

The violent crime rate in Pennsylvania rose 27% this year, from 3.1 incidents per 1,000 people to 3.9. But only 10 cities reported crime data to the FBI, which makes it difficult to compare crime rates year over year. Even so, Pennsylvania still came in below the US violent crime rate of 4.0 incidents per 1,000.

  • Proportionately, violent crime is more predominant in Pennsylvania than in the rest of the US.
  • Violent crime made up 19% of all crime reported in the state, compared to 17% nationwide.
  • 36% of survey respondents use some form of personal protection (US 34%). Pepper spray is used most often, followed by self-defense knives.
  • 45% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).

Attitudes about gun violence in Pennsylvania

  • 62% named gun violence their top safety concern (US 53%), and twice as many people reported having an experience with gun violence in the year before the survey.
  • Gun violence grabbed headlines much of the year in hotspots like Philadelphia, where 2021 was a record-breaking year for gun violence.
  • Mass shooting incidents increased from 34 in 2020 to 35 this year.
  • 44% of survey respondents are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%).
  • Firearms are the second-most used form of property protection, behind security cameras and security systems, which are tied as the most-used type of home protection.
  • Concealed carry firearms are the third-most-common choice for personal protection among respondents who use some kind of self-defense device.
Line graph of violent and property crime rates over the past three years in the state compared to national crime rates per 1,000 residents for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Pennsylvania: Fear vs. reality

Pennsylvania’s property crime rate rose this year, after falling the previous two—increasing by over two incidents per 1,000, from 14.0 to 16.4. Property crime remains the top crime concern in the state, with 45% fearing it may happen to them, versus 42% nationwide.

  • Even though property crime is the most worrisome, experience with property crime decreased 42% in Pennsylvania this survey year.
  • Even though property crime rose, Pennsylvania saw around 3 fewer property crimes per 1,000 people than the national average.
  • 62% of Pennsylvania survey respondents use some form of property protection (US 60%) with security cameras and home security systems used most often—claiming 28% each.
  • 32% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).

The safest cities in Pennsylvania

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

We couldn’t rank the safest cities in Pennsylvania this year due to limited information reported to the FBI. Only 10 cities provided data to the FBI in 2020 (the most recent year for which data is available). Crime rates for those cities are detailed below.

pennsylvania state icon
Pennsylvania
  • Circle Population
    Population
    12,783,254
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $61,744
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    3.9, 3.1, 3.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    16.4, 14.0, 14.9
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Get a home security system

Find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security

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Find the safest cities in each state

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Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.

For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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