Pennsylvania expresses higher levels of concern about safety than much of the US, despite lower crime rates. In fact, if you call one of Pennsylvania’s safest cities home, you live with some of the lowest crime rates in the country.
See the complete list of Pennsylvania’s 20 safest cities of 2020.
Nearly half (49%) of the Pennsylvania respondents to our 2020 State of Safety survey expressed feeling high concern about their safety every day. Nationwide, 46% felt the same.
The Keystone State reports lower levels of experience with crime and lower crime rates than national averages.
Pennsylavania's reported property crime experience jumped 300% despite a property crime rate that's 32% below the national rate.
Only 8% of survey participants reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the past 12 months, versus 12% nationwide. Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate is 3.1 incidents per 1,000 people, which is lower than the national rate of 3.7.
Fewer people reported a run-in with property crime as well—24% of Pennsylvanians reported experience with property crime over the past year, compared to the national average of 26%. The state’s property crime rate is 14.9, which is well below the national rate of 22.0 incidents per 1,000.
Violent Crime in Pennsylvania: Fear vs. Reality
Folks in Pennsylvania have the highest concern about being physically assaulted by a stranger. That’s also the violent crime they think is the most likely to actually happen, despite the fact that more assaults are committed by someone familiar to the victim.
44% said physical assault by a stranger is the violent crime that worries them the most, versus 40% across the country.
31% also think an assault by a stranger is the violent crime they’re most likely to fall victim to, versus 26% nationwide.
Aggravated assault was the most widespread violent crime reported by the safest cities, accounting for 76% of all incidents, and statewide it made up 61% of all violent crime.
Property Crime in Pennsylvania: Fear vs. Reality
Having someone break in when the residents aren’t home is the biggest property crime concern in Pennsylvania. But more people think having digital property (photos, files, etc.) stolen is more likely to actually happen.
66% had highest concern about a break-in when no one’s at home, versus 62% nationally.
Burglary accounted for 13% of all property crime reported by the safest cities and 14% of all violent crime in Pennsylvania.
Seven of the safest cities reported no burglaries in 2018.
38% think that digital property theft is the most likely property crime that could occur. The national average is 36%.
Last year, digital security was the top safety concern in Pennsylvania.
Larceny-theft is the most common property crime, totalling 79% of the state’s property crimes and 84% of the property crimes reported by the safest cities.
16% of Pennsylvania respondents have a home security system, compared to 24% across the country.
A dog or other guard animal is the most used security measure in Pennsylvania, with 32% saying they have one. Nationally, 33% protect their property with a guard animal.
Despite higher-than-average concern about break-ins, a whopping 38% of Pennsylvania respondents say they don’t use any form of protection or security, versus 29% nationwide.
A Closer Look at Pennsylvania’s Safest Cities of 2020
For the purposes of this report, the terms “safest” and “dangerous” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
Last year data for Pennsylvania was unreliable, so there were no safest cities rankings.
Every city that made the list this year beat both state (3.1) and national (3.7) violent crime rates, and every city kept violent crime to 0.5 or fewer incidents per 1,000.
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 six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more