Crime in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's crime rate

There were 230,008 crimes reported in Pennsylvania in 2018, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, Pennsylvania's crime rate is 1,796 crimes per 100,000 residents.

How does Pennsylvania compare?

Crime is less common in Pennsylvania than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,580 per 100,000 people is 44% higher. Of the 50 states, 41 have a higher crime rate than Pennsylvania.

Crime rates nationwide range from 1,422 per 100,000 in New Hampshire to 4,276 per 100,000 in New Mexico, the states with the lowest and highest crime rates, respectively.

Here are the crime rates for all 50 states.

What types of crimes are being committed?

The FBI's crime rate includes seven crime categories: three property crimes -- larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, and four violent crimes -- aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

Property crime

The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2018. This share was slightly lower in Pennsylvania, with property crimes accounting for 83% of all crimes reported in the state.

There were 190,816 property crimes reported in Pennsylvania in 2018, or 1,490 per 100,000 residents. This is far lower than the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the ninth lowest rate of the 50 states.

Larceny

Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,217,055 reported incidents nationwide in 2018 accounted for 72% of all property crime. Pennsylvania's rate of 1,176 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,595 per 100,000 and is the 10th lowest among states.

Burglary

An estimated 27,104 break-ins were reported in Pennsylvania in 2018, or 212 per 100,000 state residents -- the sixth lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,230,149 break-ins nationwide, or 376 break-ins per 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle theft

Across the U.S., there were 748,841 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2018, a rate of 229 per 100,000 people. Pennsylvania's rate of 102 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was less than half this national rate and the sixth lowest rate compared to all states.

Violent crime

Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In Pennsylvania, violent crimes account for 17% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.

While Pennsylvania has the ninth lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 22nd lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 306 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 381 per 100,000. There were 39,192 violent crimes reported to Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies in 2018.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 807,410 aggravated assaults in 2018, accounting for 65% of violent crimes across the country. In Pennsylvania, 24,077 aggravated assaults were reported in 2018. Pennsylvania's rate of aggravated assault of 188 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 247 per 100,000 and is the 19th lowest of all states.

Robbery

Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 9,848 robberies reported in Pennsylvania in 2018, or 77 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 86 robberies per 100,000 people, and the 20th highest robbery rate among states.

Rape

There were 4,483 reported rapes in 2018 in Pennsylvania. The state's rate of rape of 35.0 per 100,000 residents is lower than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. Pennsylvania has the 13th lowest rate of rape.

Murder

In 2018, there were 784 murders reported to law enforcement in Pennsylvania. The state’s murder rate of 6.1 per 100,000 residents is higher than the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Pennsylvania's murder rate is the 13th highest in the country.

Where are these crimes being committed?

Because crime is influenced by local circumstances, crime levels vary considerably within each state. Often a state’s dense urban areas will have higher crime rates than its rural areas. Even in a state with an exceptionally low crime rate, there is often at least one area where crime rates exceed the nation.

City with the highest crime rate in Pennsylvania

The city with the highest total crime rate in Pennsylvania is McKees Rocks, with a crime rate of 6,409 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.

Because property crimes are much more common than violent crimes, often the city with the highest total crime rate in a state has an especially high property crime rate but not the highest violent crime rate. However, this is not the case in Pennsylvania. Not only does McKees Rocks have the highest total crime rate in the state, but it also has the highest property crime rate at 4,723 per 100,000 and highest violent crime rate at 1,687 per 100,000. The city's violent crime rate is more than five times the statewide rate.

Crime over time

National historical trend

The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This nearly 60-year span, can be divided into three periods. Crime skyrocketed between 1960 and 1980, with the crime rate more than tripling in just 20 years from 1,887 crimes per 100,000 Americans to 5,950 crimes per 100,000 Americans.

Crime remained high in the 1980s and reached its second highest peak in 1991. Since that year, crime has fallen steadily nationwide, reaching its current rate of 2,580 per 100,000, a 56% decline in 27 years.

Pennsylvania's historical trend

In 1960, Pennsylvania's crime rate was 1,049 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 1980 at 3,736 per 100,000, an increase of 256%.

Crime changes 2013-2018

Over the five years since 2013, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 16.8%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 43.6%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 19.0% between 2013 and 2018.

With a decrease of 25.0%, Pennsylvania's crime rate has fallen faster than the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 47 states over this time period, but in most of them, it declined slower than in Pennsylvania.

How Pennsylvania has compared to other states historically

Since 1960, Pennsylvania has always had a lower crime rate than the majority of states. Over these 59 years, the state has been among the 10 states with the lowest crime rates in 51 of them, but never among the states with the highest crime rates.

All cities in Pennsylvania

Here are all Pennsylvania cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2018 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.

Click here to see a list of all city crime pages.

Click here to see a list of all state crime pages.