The State of Safety in Pennsylvania 2023

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

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

According to our 2023 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 for the most recent reporting year. Perhaps due to lower incidences of crime statewide, Pennsylvanians worry less about their safety than most Americans.

In this report

2022 Pennsylvania crime rates

Pennsylvania didn't provide enough data to the FBI this year so we're unable to update state crime rates. Here's the latest data available, from 2022:

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.

For better crime reporting in Pennsylvania in the future, we recommend telling local lawmakers and law enforcement agencies that this information matters to you.

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

Violent crime in Pennsylvania: Fear vs. reality

Only 22 cities reported crime data to the FBI, which makes it difficult to compare crime rates year over year. Reports of personal experience with violent crime in Pennsylvania rose from 8% to 14% year over year but stayed below national levels (US 15%). Pennsylvania residents also had more experiences with gun violence this survey year.

  • 47% of survey respondents reported a high level of concern about violent crime (US 49%).
  • 69% of Pennsylvanians say crime is increasing (US 71%), which is up from 66% in the previous survey year.

Attitudes about personal safety in Pennsylvania

  • 35% of survey respondents use some form of personal protection (US 39%).
  • Pepper spray and pocket knives are the most commonly used forms of personal protection at 54% each, followed by concealed firearms at 40%.
  • 41% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).

Attitudes about gun violence in Pennsylvania

  • 49% named gun violence their top safety concern (US 47%)—this is the only concern in Pennsylvania that exceeds the national level.
  • The number of respondents with a personal gun violence experience (15%) increased by 5 percentage points since the previous survey year (US 12%).
  • Firearms are the second-most used form of property protection behind security cameras.
  • Concealed carry firearms are the third-most-common choice for personal protection among respondents who use some kind of self-defense device.
  • Mass shooting incidents decreased from 35 in 2021 to 34 this year.
  • For every police officer killed or injured by a gun in Pennsylvania in 2022, 2.9 suspects experienced the same.
  • There were 84 self-defense shooting incidents in Pennsylvania in 2022—more than double the 39 in the previous year.
Pennsylvanians are most concerned about gun violence and package theft.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Pennsylvania: Fear vs. reality

Property crime is a lesser crime concern in the state, with 46% fearing it may happen to them, versus 50% nationwide. Pennsylvanians worry slightly less about property crime and package theft than the average American.

  • Although personal experiences with property crime among Pennsylvania respondents went up by 3 percentage points since last year, the state average of 18% is the third-lowest in the country (US 27%). Only Virginia (15%) and Massachusetts (17%) reported fewer experiences.
  • Just 46% of Pennsylvania residents reported feeling safe in their home state (US 50%).

Attitudes about property security in Pennsylvania

  • 72% of Pennsylvania residents use some form of property protection (US 76%) with security cameras on top at 35%.
  • 31% of Pennsylvanians said they added or increased security measures in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 35%).
  • 25% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 28%).

Attitudes about package theft in Pennsylvania

  • 34% of survey respondents in Pennsylvania reported experiencing package theft in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 34%).
  • 49% of participants expressed a high level of concern about package theft (US 53%).
  • The preferred methods of package protection in Pennsylvania are neighbor picks up (PA 26%, US 16%) and verified delivery (PA 26%, US 27%).

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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 22 cities provided data to the FBI in 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available).

pennsylvania state icon
  • bullet
  • bullet
    Median Income
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    3.9, 3.1, 3.1
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    16.4, 14.0, 14.9
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

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.

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

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

How we determined the safest cities

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

Related articles on SafeWise

Endnotes and sources

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.

  • 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019]." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."

  • 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
  • 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.
John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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