Safest Cities in Pennsylvania – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

In spite of the fact that its largest city, Philadelphia, logged a crime rate nearly 3 times higher than the national rate in 2018, Pennsylvania recorded violent and property crime rates significantly below the national averages. This indicates that the relative safety of its smaller municipalities more than balances higher crime in the state’s urban areas. Let’s examine Pennsylvania’s 5 safest municipalities, all of which are designated as townships.

0
Crime rate per 1,000
0
Law enforcement per 1,000

The safest community in Pennsylvania is Penn Township of Westmoreland County, 1 of 13 townships in the state that share the same name. Penn Township’s 1.55 per 1,000 violent crime rate is impressive, yet not lower than others on the list. What really distinguishes Penn Township is its near nonexistent level of property crime: only a single crime of this nature was recorded in 2018.

South Park Township is the 2nd safest municipality in Pennsylvania. The Allegheny County township of 13.3K is located near Pittsburgh and logged just 3 violent crimes in 2018, for a rate of 0.23 offenses per 1,000.

#3 Upper Providence Township is a small community around 15 miles west of Philadelphia, yet is worlds away in terms of safety. The affluent community recorded 2018 violent and property crime rates that were a small fraction of those of the nearby large city.

4th on the list is Towamencin Township, a community of 18,443 with origins hailing back to the early 18th Century. Like Pennsylvania’s other safest municipalities, Towamencin boasts a violent crime rate significantly lower than 1 offense per 1,000.

Rounding out the top 5 is Upper Gwynedd Township, a Philadelphia suburb connected to the larger city by rail that logged less than 10 violent crimes in 2018.

Pennsylvania’s Safest Cities

PACityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Penn Township, Westmoreland County1929730123311.611.550.051.19
2South Park Township1333232317261.950.231.731.28
3Upper Providence Township, Delaware County1047841815222.100.381.721.43
4Towamencin Township18443124524573.090.652.441.30
5Upper Gwynedd Township1595895224613.820.563.261.50
6Buckingham Township2031117024713.500.053.451.18
7Silver Spring Township1807836725703.870.173.711.38
8Franklin Park1470634313463.130.202.920.88
9Upper Allen Township2012376824753.730.353.381.19
10Cecil Township1263325421564.430.164.271.66
11Adams Township, Butler County1410534614493.470.213.260.99
12Northampton Township3928912144491563.970.313.671.25
13South Fayette Township1578825918613.860.133.741.14
14Lower Salford Township1544076021674.340.453.891.36
15Warwick Township, Bucks County14618125419664.510.823.691.30
16Franconia Township1334334712503.750.223.520.90
17West Deer Township1197314812494.090.084.011.00
18Upper Saucon Township1712127921814.730.124.611.23
19Central Bucks Regional1558498330925.900.585.331.93
20Hampton Township18318146719814.420.763.661.04
21Ferguson Township1955188824964.910.414.501.23
22West Mifflin197732993381226.171.474.701.92
23Murrysville1975949223964.860.204.661.16
24Pennridge Regional1101355315585.270.454.811.36
25New Britain Township1125235615595.240.274.981.33
26Upper Southampton Township1503868725936.180.405.791.66
27Plumstead Township14244116618775.410.774.631.26
28Upper St. Clair Township197588119341276.430.406.021.72
29Newtown Township, Bucks County228805128321335.810.225.591.40
30Douglass Township, Montgomery County1064485013585.450.754.701.22
31McCandless284755140301455.090.184.921.05
32Upper Uwchlan Township1150605611564.870.004.870.96
33Northwest Lancaster County Regional200294100211045.190.204.991.05
34Northern Lancaster County Regional3608920136261564.320.553.770.72
35Southern Chester County Regional14974167118875.811.074.741.20
36Baldwin Borough1958617104251216.180.875.311.28
37Horsham Township266157190481977.400.267.141.80
38East Pennsboro Township2175011113221245.700.515.201.01
39Forks Township15545898221066.820.516.301.42
40Buffalo Valley Regional1266047515796.240.325.921.18
41Elizabeth Township1308796312725.500.694.810.92
42Hampden Township3039910156261665.460.335.130.86
43Jefferson Hills Borough11309206016807.071.775.311.41
44Easttown Township10668175614736.841.595.251.31
45Warrington Township2458218158351767.160.736.431.42
46Upper Macungie Township249957164321716.840.286.561.28
47Lower Makefield Township3276810219422296.990.316.681.28
48Uwchlan Township1904416111221276.670.845.831.16
49New Hanover Township1320126910715.380.155.230.76
50Lower Providence Township2705133154331876.911.225.691.22
51Northern Regional354476201312075.840.175.670.87
52Mount Lebanon3223923241542648.190.717.481.67
53Lower Saucon Township10824107617867.950.927.021.57
54Carlisle1933518145341638.430.937.501.76
55West Lampeter Township16092993161026.340.565.780.99
56Newtown Township, Delaware County135715100201057.740.377.371.47
57North Middleton Township1168266711736.250.515.740.94
58Amity Township1307648414886.730.316.421.07
59Peters Township2213612135231476.640.546.101.04
60Lower Burrell1115598418938.340.817.531.61
61North Strabane Township147032786201137.691.845.851.36
62Radnor Township3193531223462547.950.976.981.44
63Tredyffrin Township2957512238482508.450.418.051.62
64Southwestern Regional177892390151136.351.295.060.84
65North Versailles Township121273585241209.902.897.011.98
66Patton Township161425125211308.050.317.741.30
67State College5878120448714687.960.347.621.21
68East Whiteland Township120853107191109.100.258.851.57
69Manor Township, Lancaster County2109024129211537.251.146.121.00
70Elizabethtown115912188191099.401.817.591.64
71Plum2727465150302157.882.385.501.10
72Warminster Township3239525282493079.480.778.711.51
73Bethel Park3241711282442939.040.348.701.36
74Slate Belt Regional1245135992313410.762.817.951.85
75Southern Regional York County115151593161089.381.308.081.39
76Doylestown Township1743015141221568.950.868.091.26
77West Hills Regional1003268212888.770.608.171.20
78West Hempfield Township1659818143241619.701.088.621.45
79Penn Township, York County1651122143251659.991.338.661.51
80Shaler Township2803920211282318.240.717.531.00
81Lansdale16633151763219111.480.9010.581.92
82Hopewell Township127112298161209.441.737.711.26
83Moon Township2575820233342539.820.789.051.32
84Northern Berks Regional133668118161269.430.608.831.20
85Ephrata13956231753819814.191.6512.542.72
86Hatfield Township21048221942921610.261.059.221.38
87West Goshen Township23160342233625711.101.479.631.55
88Springfield Township, Montgomery County19751241933021710.991.229.771.52
89Scott Township, Allegheny County16567181572317510.561.099.481.39
90Lehigh Township, Northampton County1047918871310510.021.728.301.24
91East Hempfield Township24694322443727611.181.309.881.50
92Haverford Township49422245638258711.880.4911.391.66
93Salisbury Township1397781542216211.590.5711.021.57
94Exeter Township, Berks County25956242473327110.440.929.521.27
95Cumru Township15387131702518311.890.8411.051.62
96Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County24445112503226110.680.4510.231.31
97Meadville12917211572817813.781.6312.152.17
98Hilltown Township15467101562016610.730.6510.091.29
99Cranberry Township311548302343109.950.269.691.09
100West Chester20299373096434617.051.8215.223.15
101Phoenixville17012321923122413.171.8811.291.82
102Aston Township1670861641817010.170.369.821.08
103Nether Providence Township13770121351614710.680.879.801.16
104Fairview Township, York County17555391371817610.032.227.801.03
105Palmer Township21512132643627712.880.6012.271.67
106North Huntingdon Township30414152913130610.060.499.571.02
107Lower Gwynedd Township1154331451914812.820.2612.561.65
108Montgomery Township2629973384534513.120.2712.851.71
109Lower Moreland Township132044122121269.540.309.240.91
110Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County25197462964534213.571.8311.751.79
111Mifflin County Regional1694122129131518.911.307.610.77
112Spring Township, Berks County27528212733029410.680.769.921.09
113Logan Township12364161371815312.371.2911.081.46
114Ridley Township31190273233735011.220.8710.361.19
115Hazleton246371172294434614.044.759.291.79
116Millcreek Township, Erie County534221375648170113.122.5610.561.52
117Northern York County Regional6981436623556599.440.528.920.79
118Lower Merion Township5926232973149100516.960.5416.422.51
119Emmaus1149071642217114.880.6114.271.91
120St. Marys City12279131381615112.301.0611.241.30
121Falls Township, Bucks County33854424486149014.471.2413.231.80
122Northeastern Regional1187871271313411.280.5910.691.09
123Easton27158693886645716.832.5414.292.43
124Derry Township, Dauphin County25131403795941916.671.5915.082.35
125Manheim Township40395505567660615.001.2413.761.88
126Lower Allen Township19539142312524512.540.7211.821.28
127North Fayette Township1493562142622014.730.4014.331.74
128Lower Pottsgrove Township12128391361917514.433.2211.211.57
129Bethlehem Township23983183233534114.220.7513.471.46
130Dunmore12933231692019214.851.7813.071.55
131Upper Darby Township82931439873145131215.825.2910.531.75
132Middletown Township45185336106364314.230.7313.501.39
133Norristown345311395118165018.824.0314.802.35
134Bloomsburg Town14145351942322916.192.4713.721.63
135Abington Township, Montgomery County556314494910999317.850.7917.061.96
136Limerick Township1914483093231716.560.4216.141.67
137Columbia10436191762219518.691.8216.862.11
138Marple Township2387243553235915.040.1714.871.34
139Waynesboro10920131892220218.501.1917.312.01
140Newberry Township15749222001822214.101.4012.701.14
141Central Berks Regional13309202012122116.611.5015.101.58
142Lower Paxton Township49296876656575215.251.7613.491.32
143Bethlehem758092071281165148819.632.7316.902.18
144Richland Township, Bucks County13388181801619814.791.3413.441.20
145Nanticoke10253151541516916.481.4615.021.46
146Kingston12836232012122417.451.7915.661.64
147Upper Moreland Township24182224194344118.240.9117.331.78
148Lower Southampton Township19230682783334617.993.5414.461.72
149Monroeville27628634815654419.692.2817.412.03
150West Norriton Township15708322592829118.532.0416.491.78
151Robinson Township, Allegheny County13673202723129221.361.4619.892.27
152Pottsville13529442272427120.033.2516.781.77
153Greensburg14217582923835024.624.0820.542.67
154Indiana130391171402225719.718.9710.741.69
155East Norriton Township14085432672931022.013.0518.962.06
156Sandy Township10475311341116515.752.9612.791.05
157Plymouth Township, Montgomery County17756264485347426.701.4625.232.98
158Bensalem Township60588701292127136222.481.1621.322.10
159Erie967582991880198217922.523.0919.432.05
160North Lebanon Township12042291761420517.022.4114.621.16
161Altoona438401656866685119.413.7615.651.51
162Berwick10030371811821821.733.6918.051.79
163Ross Township30541205824560219.710.6519.061.47
164Lebanon25816834694455221.383.2218.171.70
165Caln Township14316392722431121.722.7219.001.68
166Pocono Mountain Regional42712836304171316.691.9414.750.96
167Bristol Township536849597371106819.891.7718.121.32
168South Whitehall Township19918134834149624.900.6524.252.06
169Springfield Township, Delaware County24259135073752021.440.5420.901.53
170Upper Chichester Township17002433032234620.352.5317.821.29
171East Lampeter Township1713394573946627.200.5326.672.28
172Penn Hills411431696745384320.494.1116.381.29
173Hanover Township, Luzerne County10843412051724622.693.7818.911.57
174Philadelphia1586916144204914573666356540.069.0930.974.64
175Pocono Township10855292411927024.872.6722.201.75
176Lansdowne10650262371826324.692.4422.251.69
177Allentown1217434122821232323326.563.3823.171.91
178Cheltenham Township375017099579106528.401.8726.532.11
179Rostraver Township1102382601726824.310.7323.591.54
180Harrisburg491475311252168178336.2810.8025.473.42
181Pittsburgh302544175191259991087635.955.7930.163.30
182Coal Township10329571631222021.305.5215.781.16
183West Whiteland Township18393124312744324.090.6523.431.47
184Scranton778278111505170231629.7610.4219.342.18
185Lancaster597614191580163199933.457.0126.442.73
186Reading884666211984182260529.457.0222.432.06
187Colonial Regional1796664482745425.270.3324.941.50
188Muhlenberg Township20303225033152525.861.0824.771.53
189Butler13017403472438729.733.0726.661.84
190Upper Merion Township3067323110585112836.780.7536.032.77
191Stroud Area Regional348876694459101028.951.8927.061.69
192Hermitage15531194973351633.221.2232.002.12
193Chambersburg20962605773763730.392.8627.531.77
194Spring Garden Township13120513392239029.733.8925.841.68
195Hanover15653494372848631.053.1327.921.79
196Butler Township, Butler County16542254312345627.571.5126.051.39
197Center Township11439383242036231.653.3228.321.75
198McKeesport209153205065582639.4915.3024.192.63
199West Manchester Township18833275513057830.691.4329.261.59
200Sharon13154654142947936.414.9431.472.20
201Washington, Washington County135051014183351938.437.4830.952.44
202Richland Township, Cambria County1194074202342735.760.5935.181.93
203Swatara Township26532948665296036.183.5432.641.96
204Pottstown227921967535694941.648.6033.042.46
205New Kensington12377703822245236.525.6630.861.78
206Chester34087474115196162547.6713.9133.772.82
207Johnstown208772406204386041.1911.5029.702.06
208Springettsbury Township26833438453388833.091.6031.491.23
209Darby107021493461849546.2513.9232.331.68

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.