The second state to be admitted to the union, Pennsylvania is a place where its motto, “Virtue, Liberty and Independence,” rings true. Home to many historical sites and the country's original capital, the state boasts the fifth-largest population in the U.S.A. It is a gateway to the Midwest from the East Coast (and vice versa), and its terrain stretches from the shoreline of Lake Erie to the Appalachian Mountains that run through the middle of the state.
Ranked sixth in gross domestic product among states, Pennsylvania's two biggest business and population hubs are Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the latter of which is also the fifth-largest city in the country. Once a big coal mining hub, these days Pennsylvania has a balanced economy that would rank 18th in the world if it were its own country. Part of its success is due to the higher education in the state, which is provided by notable schools such as the University of Pennsylvania (an Ivy League school), the Pennsylvania State university, Carnegie Mellon, Lehigh University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvanians are also huge sports fans, rooting for major teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and 76ers. And to top it all off, Pennsylvania has some of the safest cities in the country.
Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.
1. REDSTONE TOWNSHIP
Located south of Pittsburgh, in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, lies Redstone Township. A friendly town, Redstone Township isn't the biggest metropolis around. However, it's overflowing with history, boasting several locales listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the historic Brier Hill district, visitors can see 75 structures and 18 buildings that contributed to the local coal mining community. Or, they can visit historic taverns such as the Peter Colley Tavern and Barn, the Johnson-Hatfield Tavern, and Wallace-Baily Tavern. However, perhaps Redstone Township's greatest claim to fame is being the safest town in Pennsylvania, each year experiencing just a single violent crime and seven property crimes.
2. SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP
A part of the Pittsburgh metro area, South Park Township is often recognized for its famous name. However, what is should really be recognized for is its safety, since it's the second safest town in Pennsylvania. This community of 13,516 residents sees only 2 violent crimes and 35 property crimes each year, making it a great place to live. The town was originally named Snowden Township, after a prominent politician and businessman, but was eventually renamed after South Park, a county park that offers a golf course, tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, and much more. Fun fact: the surrounding area is where the first shots of the Whiskey Rebellion were fired in 1794.
3. SOUTH HEIDELBERG TOWNSHIP
In eastern Pennsylvania, just outside Reading, you'll find this town of roughly 7,329 residents. A quiet place, South Heidelberg Township is also an exceptionally safe place to live, reporting only 3 violent crimes and 17 property crimes last year. The township is also located near several state game lands and is home to the Grand View Dairy Farm, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On it, you'll encounter a dairy barn, ground cellar, butcher house, and other turn-back-the-clock structures.
4. SPRING TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY
Located in the middle of the state is an outdoor lover's paradise. It's surrounded by nature, including several state game lands, as well as Rothrock State Forest, Bald Eagle State Forest, Bald Eagle State Park, and Little Mountain. Spring Township, Centre County is also very safe, experiencing just a single violent crime and 23 property crimes last year. Not into trekking through nature? Check out nearby State College, which is home to Penn State University and offers plenty of entertainment for college sports fans.
5. UPPER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, DELAWARE COUNTY
Settled and formed as a township in 1683, to this day Upper Providence Township remains a safe community that experienced only 1 violent crime and 35 property crimes last year. Early in its history, water was tapped extensively to power local mills, including the Robinett Grist Mill (1687) and Malin's Grist Mill (1770). These days, residents enjoy access to Evansburg State Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park, as well as a 30-mile drive to Philadelphia. Check out the Old Rose Tree Tavern, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and remains a local favorite.
The Top 50 Safest Cities in Pennsylvania, 2017
1. Redstone Township
11. Upper Yoder Township
21. South Fayette Township
31. Newtown Township, Bucks County
41. Castle Shannon
2. South Park Township
22. Upper St. Clair Township
32. Northern Lancaster County Regional
42. Peters Township
3. South Heidelberg Township
13. West Cocalico Township
23. Reading Township
33. Northwest Lancaster County Regional
4. Spring Township, Centre County
24. Penn Township, Westmoreland County
34. Upper Nazareth Township
44. Kennett Township
5. Upper Providence Township, Delaware County
15. Butler Township, Schuykill County
25. Warwick Township, Bucks County
35. Old Forge
45. South Londonderry Township
6. East Marlborough Township
16. Brighton Township
26. Clarks Summit
36. East Pikeland Township
46. Baldwin Borough
7. Lower Salford Township
17. Adams Township, Butler County
27. East Fallowfield Township
37. Upper Dublin Township
47. O'Hara Township
8. Millcreek Township, Lebanon County
18. Fox Chapel
28. Turtle Creek
48. Tunkhannock Township, Wyoming County
9. Buckingham Township
19. West Earl Township
29. West Lampeter Township
39. Northampton Township
49. Neshannock Township
10. Franklin Park
20. East Brandywine Township
30. Willistown Township
40. Indiana Township
50. Southwestern Reigonal
To identify the safest cities in Pennsylvania, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000. Note that our use of the word "cities" is versatile, refers to populations of 5,000 and over, and thus includes places with the words "town" and "township."
The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.