Keeping your home and loved ones safe is a top priority and, even though home security is always a wise investment, choosing a safe community provides extra peace of mind.
That’s why SafeWise has compiled independent research with the most recent FBI Crime Report to bring you our list of Pennsylvania’s 50 safest cities. While safe towns and communities pepper the Pennsylvania landscape, our research only took into consideration cities with 10,000 residents or more as of 2011.
You don’t need to worry about finding the right community in the Keystone state by yourself. With the research we’ve compiled, you’ll find key safety information as well as insight into the local community that just might jealous of the lucky people who already call these picturesque, community-minded Pennsylvania towns home.
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1. Cecil Township
Pittsburgh suburb Cecil Township tops our list of safe cities in the great state of Pennsylvania. Cecil Township is known for its annual Fall Festival, where Washington County residents and visitors have enjoyed local culture, art, music and food for the past 26 years. And with a great track record for maintaining the safety of its residents, it’s no wonder the township has grown by more than 16% since 2000.
Cecil Township is a family-friendly town and part of what draws families to settle here is the security its residents enjoy. According to the most recent FBI Crime Report, Cecil Township has been crime free when it comes to rape, murder and even motor vehicle theft, which is pretty amazing for a city that hosts a large festival where vehicles are especially vulnerable when everyone’s distracted by the latest performer or the chance for a pony ride.
2. Upper Uwchlan Township
Coming in at number two is Upper Uwchlan Township, which is nestled on a plain between the Nantmeal Hills and the North Valley Hills. While the name of this township is due to a spelling mistake by the post office in the 19th century, this little burg of just over 11,000 people makes few mistakes when it comes to the safety and security of its citizens. With a crime rate of less than one percent, this township blows away the average American city crime rate of 3.12%. And Upper Uwchlan residents can sleep easy knowing there were no robberies, murders or car break-ins reported in 2011. Home security, combined with a robust economy, make this township worth a look for people seeking a safe community for their family.
3. Franklin Park Borough
The lucky folks who call Franklin Park Borough home enjoy being part of one of the most vibrant communities in the Pittsburgh area, and also have bragging rights as the third safest city in the state. With no murders, robberies or arsons reported in 2011, the citizens of Franklin Park are doing their part with the local police to keep their borough safe and secure. And it’s no surprise because this town, named for Benjamin Franklin, has always been fiercely independent and committed to looking out for its own.
4. South Park Township
Not to be mistaken for the bawdy town in a certain famous animated series, South Park Township claims the number four spot on our list. With a large portion of the town covered by an actual park of the same name, it’s reassuring to know residents and visitors alike can venture out to take advantage of the myriad outdoor activities – from ice skating to swimming and horse-back riding – without having to worry whether in they’re in a good or bad part of town. In 2011, there were no robberies or murders reported in South Park Township, helping them receive a crime index rating of 95, which means South Park is safer than 95% of other U.S. cities.
This municipality of just over 20,000 residents places number five on our list. In 2011, Murrysville reported no murders, and the chance of becoming a victim in this little burgh is one in 3340, which is much lower than the state average of one in 282. Murrysville is proud of its residents, boasting a “Biggest Loser” winner and successful young adult author, Jessica Warman. Since 1933, people have been welcomed to Murrysville with a tree sign that spells out the name of the town. The time and care given to the maintenance of the sign since it was originally landscaped by local Boy Scouts is a testament to the similar care taken with the safety and security of its citizens.
6. Upper St. Clair Township
The sixth safest city in Pennsylvania has also been named one of the ten best places to live by “U.S. News and World Report.” Even though this quaint community was the centerpiece of the Whiskey Rebellion in the late 1700s, today this town of just under 20,000 residents is well-known for its top-notch school district and reputation for keeping its citizens safe. The proof is with no murders, rapes or arsons reported in 2011 and a crime rate below both the Pennsylvania and national averages.
7. Whitehall Township
Whitehall Township, a suburb of Allentown that boasts a crime rating of 99, indicating that this community is safer than 99% of other towns in the U.S. This former agricultural area boomed with the industrial revolution and later became home to multiple professional football players, wrestlers and most recently one of MTV’s teen moms. Whitehall ‘s commitment to home security and the safety of its residents is evident with its 2011 safety record showing no reported rapes or murders.
8. Lower Salford Township
The charming city of Lower Salford Township captures eighth place thanks to no reported robberies, rapes or murders in 2011. Lower Salford is a community that focuses on family and celebrates the natural beauty of the area. With the addition of a world-class golf course in 2006, this quaint town offers every activity a modern family is looking for, along with a rich local history. Recent crime trends predict that crime in 2013 is expected to be lower than in 2010, making this a perfect city to feel safe and sound in.
Image: Doug Kerr, Flickr
9. North Middleton Township
Nestled in the midst of rolling hills, North Middleton Township boasts a caring community. One example of what makes North Middleton a safe place to call home is initiatives like the Adopt a Fire Hydrant program, where citizens take care to keep hydrants clear from snow and ice, especially after the snow plows have made their rounds. This saves precious moments in the event of an emergency during the bitter winter months. It is strong community-based actions like these that have helped North Middleton keep their crime rate low, with no reported robberies, arson or murders in 2011.
10. Buckingham Township
Since its founding, Buckingham Township residents have prided themselves on the beautiful natural landscape in their area. Maybe it’s the quaint neighborhoods, the tree-covered slopes of Buckingham Mountain or the fertile farmlands, but the citizens of this township are blessed with a safe community where families can rest easy. Not only do the residents of Buckingham enjoy safety on their streets, but this is a town that offers a vibrant cultural center that embraces both local artisans and the performing arts.
11. Penn Township
Penn Township, in Westmoreland County, is a lively community that harkens back to a simpler time with its own community band, supervised summer playground activities at area parks and the recent addition of the Penn Township Fall Festival that features a parade, petting zoo, entertainment from local musicians and fireworks. The folksy, small-town vibe is emphasized by the strength of Penn’s safety record and the security of its residents. In 2011, there were no murders, rapes or arsons reported in the township, and with a national rank for lowest crime of 721 / 9309, it’s easy to see why the townspeople like calling Penn Township home.
12. Mount Lebanon
This self-proclaimed “Community with Character” prides itself on its beautiful open spaces, well-regarded schools and excellent public safety record. Planned as a walking community, it is easy for neighbors to get to know one another, look out for each other, as well as keep an eye on the safety of both public and private property. With a regular schedule of area events for the whole family, it’s impressive this city maintained a record of no reported rapes or murders in the most recent FBI Crime Report. In addition, Mt. Lebanon enjoys a crime rate that is lower than its nearest neighbors. No wonder Mt. Lebanon citizens are passionate about their hometown.
13. Franconia Township
You might think you’ve gone back in time when you see this picturesque township located between Philadelphia and Allentown. You’ll be greeted by verdant valleys, rippling streams, dense woodlands and many original farms where founding descendants still reside. Franconia Township is not only safe, but offers citizens a rich balance between progress and preservation. The Franconia Township Police Department operates on the values of integrity, pride and service, offering free community safety presentations, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs in local schools and the S.A.F.E. program which helps seniors protect themselves from fraud.
14. Northampton Township
This Philadelphia suburb takes care of its own. Whether it’s providing transportation to veterans or planning for natural disasters, Northampton is a tight-knit community that prizes the safety of its citizens. The “Alert Neighbors Program” may be one reason Northampton streets are so safe to walk. The program is centered on enlisting the eyes and ears of the public to bolster local police efforts and remind residents to keep an eye out for one another. Its civic-minded initiatives like this that help keep this friendly township safe and secure for all of its citizens.
15. South Fayette Township
Situated in Allegheny County, South Fayette Township is a tightknit community that is committed to making sure every home is a secure home. Over the past 11 years, property crime has been on the decline, and in 2011 the township was free from murder, rape and motor vehicle theft. There are many community programs that have been instituted with the safety and security of residents in mind. And it’s obvious these townsfolk believe that safety begins at home, as evidenced by Project Child Safe, where the South Fayette Police Department provides up to two gun locks per household in an effort to prevent the tragedy of accidental shootings.
16. Peters Township
This city is nearly as old as our country, having been incorporated in 1781. Since then, Peters Township has blossomed from a sparsely-populated rural area to a thriving community of just over 20,000 residents. For such a relatively small city, there is an impressive number of civic programs and services available for all citizens and everyone from toddlers to their grandparents can get in on the fun. It could be the strong safety record that contributes to this town’s vital community life. After all, home owners can rest easy while on vacation with the police force’s Vacation Home Check program, which may be one of the reasons that property crime in Peters Township was more than 78% lower than the state average in 2010 and violent crime was 94.73% lower.
17. Elizabeth Township
Surrounded by the shores of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers, the Township of Elizabeth is the picture of pastoral peace, and their record for keeping families and homes safe affirms that the first impression can sometimes be correct. Residents of Elizabeth value nature and the easy access this township provides to beautiful vistas and a variety of outdoor activities. This city is home to the Youghiogheny River Trail that is accessible year-round and follows the river along the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie (P&LE) Railroad. A favorite of visitors and residents alike, this trail offers something for everyone and every skill level, whether you like a nice stroll or prefer to get your blood pumping with cross country skiing, you’ll find something to love along this scenic route that provides drinking water and security lighting to make sure everyone stays safe.
18. Hampton Township
Not only is Hampton Township number 18 on our list, but it was named one of the 10 best towns for families in 2010 by “Family Circle.” Hampton is a popular suburb outside of Pittsburgh and offers easy access to the amenities of a big city while preserving a small-town separation its residents love. Sprawling community parks are a centerpiece of life in the township, with options to keep families busy and on the move no matter the season. Education is also top priority in Hampton and the township gets an “A” when it comes to safety as well. In 2011, Hampton was recorded as a murder-free and arson-free town.
19. Warwick Township
Touted as the heart of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Warwick Township is a proud city that makes every effort to ensure the quality of life of its residents. A key part of that quality is knowing that whether you’re at home or out in the community, your family and property will be safe and sound. The township makes security a prime objective on every avenue possible, including social media. The Warwick Police Department joined Twitter to make sure they’re crime prevention efforts reach far and wide, even through cyberspace, and gives residents another avenue to communicate with the local authorities. The police use their Twitter account to send safety updates and alerts, warn followers of potential threats and acknowledge citizens who lend a helping hand around town.
20. Adams Township
This Pennsylvania city was named for United States President John Quincy Adams. The quiet community was primarily an agricultural area until about 30 years ago when it experienced growth, thanks to new residents, new construction and an increasing commuter trend for urban professionals seeking a safe, rural refuge to call home. And while these changes are expanding the cultural diversity of the community, the township has been able to maintain a strikingly low crime rate, especially for a town in such a state of flux.
21. New Britain Township
New Britain Township is the very picture of New England country life, from rolling hills to historic stone buildings and wide pastures with whitewashed fences dotting the landscape. This community is located just 35 miles from Philadelphia and its residents are proud of the township’s rich heritage and the historic and natural resources that make it unique. There is a strong commitment to maintaining a high quality of life with an emphasis on safety and security that makes New Britain Township a desirable home to so many.
22. Jefferson Hills Borough
Nestled in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, the Borough of Jefferson Hills is home to one of Pennsylvania’s safest communities. The Jefferson Hills Police Department is involved in several community-based programs including the TUPPER project, a collaborative effort among police departments from nine neighboring communities. The project gives all participating police forces instant access to a regional criminal database. Thanks to this and other proactive efforts, Jefferson Hills reported no robberies, acts of arson or murders in 2011.
23. New Hanover Township
Safety is definitely attractive, and with years of consistently low crime rates, New Hanover Township has become the 38th fastest-growing township among 2,500 townships in Pennsylvania. Certainly their clean record of no reported arsons, aggravated assaults or murders in 2011 is part of what draws so many to this area, but it isn’t the only appealing feature of New Hanover. This burg was home to the first copper mine in the commonwealth, and carries a rich historical foundation. But it’s the vast open spaces and natural recreation that creates the biggest draw to this town. And it’s important to be able to rest easy at night after a hard day of exertion, which makes the New Hanover safety record even more crucial.
24. Upper Gwynedd Township
Less than 30 miles outside of Philadelphia lies the gem of Upper Gwynedd Township. This town offers a unique combination of historical pride and modern progress. The crowning jewel of the township is the Gwynedd Preserve, 240 acres open to the public where nature lovers can experience natural diversity from wetlands to deciduous forests and wildflower meadows. And residents and visitors alike can roam freely, comfortable in the knowledge that Upper Gwynedd is one of the safest communities in the state.
Combining the slow pace of country life with easy access to the bustle of nearby cities, the Town of McCandless grew from a tiny farming community of under 2,000 residents to a diverse city of near 30,000 today. But McCandless hasn’t lost its small-town sensibility, where everybody knows your name and neighbors look out for one another. This civic-mindedness helps the town keep crime down and personal safety and security up.
26. Baldwin Borough
Civic pride and outspoken patriotism are hallmarks of Baldwin Borough. One of the youngest towns on our list, Baldwin was established in 1952, but that doesn’t mean its security roots don’t run deep. With nearly 20,000 residents, Baldwin Borough is able to keep crime low and reassure its residents that the town’s slogan of “Just a Nice Place to Live!” rings true. Baldwin boasts a crime index rating of 82, meaning that this city is safer than 82% of all other cities in the country.
27. Easttown Township
Located in Chester County, Easttown was actively involved in the American Revolution and the same stalwart connection to justice and freedom still inhabit the spirit of the township. Crime statistics over the past 12 years show consistent declines in both violent and property crime rates, and in 2011 there no murders or robberies reported in Easttown Township.
28. Willistown Township
If the scenic vistas don’t get you, the safety and security of living in Willistown Township will. The rural landscapes and historic character enhance the appeal of this Philadelphia and West Chester suburb that reported no murders, robberies or arsons in 2011. Residents and visitors enjoy a glimpse into the not-too-distant past of rolling farmlands and breathe easy knowing it’s safe to wander the country roads and take in this patch of American history.
29. Tredyffrin Township
It’s no wonder the home of Valley Forge is a safe and thriving community for modern-day settlers looking for a secure place to call home. Tredyffrin Township is steeped in history and boasts a heritage of self-sufficient residents who look out their neighbors. Nestled in the center of the township is the Great Valley, once a fertile agricultural center that is known today as the high technology corridor. Residents and the Tredyffrin Township Police Department do the Father of our Country proud with a violent crime rate in 2010 that was 90.69% lower than the commonwealth’s violent crime rate.
30. Plumstead Township
This quaint Philadelphia suburb evokes images of country picnics, families dressed in their Sunday best for church and the carefree security of a bygone era. And even though Plumstead Township has seen its share of scandal – the infamous Doan Gang once called Plumstead home in late 1700s – today it is such a beacon of moral fortitude, that it claims the number 30 spot on our list. Plumstead had no reported murders or robberies in 2011. The Plumstead Township Police Department works to keep the streets safe with a robust patrol division, especially for a town of under 15,000 residents, and a part-time crossing guard that ensures the city’s kids make it home safely.
31. Amity Township
Amity Township, located in Berks County, is doing something right because it has seen 41.7% population growth since 2000. It might be their strong community Crime Watch program that helped them end 2011 without any reported arsons, robberies, rapes or murders. The Crime Watch program is highly organized and can be relied upon to review topics like suspicious happenings, crime prevention tactics and self-defense at their monthly meetings that are held without fail. Crime Watch is a citizen organization that supports the Amity Township Police Department which provides 13 full-time officers, and investigative division and bike patrols to help protect the well-being of Amity’s almost 13,000 residents.
32. Uwchlan Township
The name of this township means “the land above the valley,” and what better place to keep an eye out for the health and welfare of citizens than from on high? Not only does Uwchlan Township have property and violence crime rates lower than the national average, making it a safe place to live, but it’s a financially secure town to call home as well. The unemployment rate in Uwchlan is almost 3% lower than the national average.
33. Upper Dublin Township
Upper Dublin Township predates the birth of the nation by nearly 100 years. If practice makes perfect, that might be why this town of just over 25,000 residents is so good at maintaining the safety and security of home and hearth for the people who call Upper Dublin home. With no murders reported in 2011 and total crime dropped by 23.7% in the same time period, this township is one of the safest places to live in the state. And after a night of sleeping soundly knowing your family and home are safe, you can enjoy one of over 40 parkland sites and more than 600 acres of open space just begging you to come play in this historical natural playground.
34. Warrington Township
Known as the gateway to Bucks County, Warrington Township is the kind of thriving community that is ripe with civic organizations, town meetings and breakfasts with Santa. For any history buffs, Warrington Township is the home of the Warrington Meetinghouse, a one-story Quaker meeting house that was built in 1769 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
35. Lower Saucon Township
The natural beauty of streams, woods and rolling hills that make up the Lower Saucon Township landscape make this city of just over 10,000 a desired destination, both for visitors and people looking to settle in a safe community that is rich in local heritage and history. This township ended 2011 without any reported arsons or murders, and Lower Saucon Township Police Department reported a 3% overall drop in crime in 2012.
Originally one of many villages that stemmed forth from the original township of Providence, the Borough of Dunmore ranks number 36 on our list of Pennsylvania’s safest cities. Dunmore is a safer place to call home than 76% of other American cities, and the city had no reported murders or arsons in 2011. The borough also has only 17 crimes per square mile, versus 62 per square mile across the state. It’s no wonder just over 14,000 lucky people call this safe and secure borough their home.
Image: Doug Kerr, flickr
37. Bethel Park
Doesn’t the saying go that there is strength in numbers? It must be true, because even though Bethel Park is the 23rd largest community in Pennsylvania, it’s still one of the safest. With 87% of the population employed in white collar jobs, this community appeals to families for its financial stability, good schools, and safe neighborhoods. Add to that the town’s track record for no reported arsons or murders in 2011, and you have a recipe for success.
38. Ferguson Township
Boasting approximately 50,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land area, Ferguson Township is one of the best places in the state to find your own little piece of Heaven on Earth. The rural landscape and calm pace of life keep Ferguson residents fiercely protective of their land and each other. The township reported a surprisingly low number of violent crimes for a town with close to 20,000 residents. With a strong police force of over 20 sworn officers, Ferguson takes the safety and security of its citizens seriously.
39. Forks Township
This energetic community keeps its citizens busy with civic and cultural activities, which has to help this town of around 15,000 residents maintain its stellar safety record. There are a number of safety initiatives embraced by the Forks community, including awareness campaigns like one to prevent kitchen fires that was the focus of an October Fire Prevention Week program. In addition, the Forks Township Police Department offers a variety of ways to engage with the community and involve citizens in their own protection, most notably the Citizen’s Police Academy and upcoming Volunteers in Police Services, which is aimed at reducing violence and preventing substance abuse among the townships youth.
40. Upper Southampton Township
Abundant community activities, like the annual Turkey Bowl Foam Ball Tennis Charity Tournament and year-round performances by the ballet and local choirs, keep Upper Southampton residents entertained and busy. But they’re not too busy to make the safety of their community a priority. In the most recent FBI Crime Report, this township was free of reported rapes, arsons and murders. Add to that an environmental sensibility and proactive police department, and it’s easy to see why Upper Southampton is home to over 15,000 safe, secure and happy citizens.
41. Towamencin Township
Proud Towamencin residents enjoy this township’s lively combination of open spaces, top-notch recreational venues, safe residential neighborhoods and an underlying foundation of rich history. In the center of Montgomery County, there is easy access to the area’s many offerings for work and play. And the city makes sure there’s plenty to do around town – in the summer the city shows free movies, either in the park or while keeping cool by floating in the Towamencin Township Pool.
42. West Deer Township
West Deer Township, which got its name from Chief Deer, is located within minutes of premier shopping and big-city culture while preserving the quaint, verdant environment that made this site so desirable for the original settlers. In fact, the beautiful Deer Creek flows right through West Deer. The township readily boasts about its low crime rates, rural atmosphere and self-reliant, can-do attitude. Safety comes first, as evidenced by their great record of no robberies, arsons or murders reported in 2011.
43. Springfield Township
The pastoral beauty of Springfield Township makes it easy to understand why it was founded on love – actually as a gift William Penn bestowed on his first wife. The township grew from an extravagant love nest to a bustling community, and today nearly 20,000 people call Springfield home. And with results like zero arsons and murders in 2011, along with an unemployment rate below the national average, Springfield is a highly attractive destination to live, work or play.
44. North Huntingdon Township
Boasting a moderate cost of living and high quality of life, this Westmoreland County township is number 44 on our list. Primarily a residential community, North Huntingdon Township places personal safety and the security of property at the top of its priority list. There are a variety of police programs offered in the township, such as youth outreach and the Motor Carrier Safety Assurance Program that helps keep unsafe trucks off North Huntingdon roadways. Police efforts seem to be making a difference; both property and violent crime are below the state and national averages.
Image: Courtesy North Huntingdon Township
45. Moon Township
Situated along the Ohio River, Moon Township has been keeping its residents safe and sound for the past 225 years. Home to the main campus of Robert Morris University, personal safety is of prime importance here. To keep the streets as crime-free as possible, Moon Township employs a full-service police department of officers who provide regular patrols, investigations and crime prevention education. Thanks to the efforts of responsible citizens and a devoted police force, violent crime in Moon Township was 87% lower than the rest of the state in 2010, and in the 2011 there were no reported arsons, murders or rapes.
46. Shaler Township
The Township of Shaler is located in the North Hills, just outside downtown Pittsburgh. This city is home to reputable universities, vibrant cultural and recreational venues and some top health care systems. And even better is the fact that the Shaler Township crime index is 53% below the average of the commonwealth. On a national scale, Shaler is a safer community for you and your family than 76% of other cities across the country, with the chance of being a victim of a violent crime at 1 in 2,220.
47. Upper Allen Township
This city was founded by Scotch Irish settlers in the mid-1700s and is now home to just over 18,000 residents. Upper Allen Township has enjoyed sustained, planned growth over the past 45 years and offers its citizens a safe place to raise their families while enjoying an area rich in history. The township had no aggravated assaults of murders reported in 2011 and residents can rest easy knowing their town has a violent crime rate that is below the state average by an unbelievable 100%. The peace and serenity of Upper Allen is preserved by the efforts of its police department, which works to both solve and prevent crime.
48. Lehigh Township
The scenic gem of Lehigh Township makes a distinctive entry on our list of safest Pennsylvania cities. This picturesque city was founded in 1752 and, although this is a small city, they are big on crime prevention. The township is blessed with strong financial security as well as personal safety. Less than 3% of Lehigh residents had income below the poverty line in 2009 – that’s a stark contrast to the rest of Pennsylvania which had 11% below the poverty line. It’s easy to see why people in Lehigh enjoy a high quality of life knowing their families and futures are safe and secure.
49. North Strabane Township
Committed to the ideals of strong families and a safe community, North Strabane Township is a residential and agricultural municipality that prides itself on providing a safe and comfortable environment for residents and visitors alike. The well-being and security of its citizens is of highest concern and police, fire and emergency personnel are on alert 24/7 to ensure the safety of those who call North Strabane home. The township comes in below both national and state crime rates, with both violent crime and property crime showing decreases over the past 10 years.
50. Lower Providence Township
Lower Providence Township is focused on providing a prosperous, safe and productive community for people to live, raise a family and engage in business. This Montgomery County township, nestled just northwest of Philadelphia, is home to an award-winning school district and gorgeous venues for all kinds of outside recreation. Their accredited police force is known for its progressive, community-minded approach to crime prevention and personal safety. The department champions innovative programs like the Project Child Safe Firearm Safety Kits, which provides gun locks and gun safety education to township residents. Another noteworthy program is Project Return Safely, where officers work in concert with the Alzheimer’s Association to help reunite lost loved ones to their families.
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