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2016 Safest Places in Pennsylvania

by Susan Gulliford

Founded by William Penn in 1681, Pennsylvania is a state rich in history. Visitors and residents alike can see where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. The ValuePenguin team analyzed data for 227 communities in Pennsylvania with populations of at least 10,000 people to determine the safest communities. 

Final crimes ranged from 132 to over 7,900, so it is important that people research a community before they move there. Four out of the top five are part of the Philadelphia metro area. All of the communities had incomes above the state’s median household income; however, some of the places were significantly more affluent than Pennsylvania as a whole. 

5 Safest Places in Pennsylvania

These cities have an average crime score of 190, which is 84% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent and property crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state. 

1. Upper Providence Township

This community of slightly over 10,000 people is 15 miles west of Philadelphia. It had the lowest rate of property crime of any city in this study. Upper Providence Township is an affluent community with a median household income of $107,311 which is more than double the median household income of the state. This place is in Delaware County, so residents have the Brandywine Battlefield and the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge to visit nearby.

2. South Park Township

The second safest place is another small community that is part of the Greater Pittsburgh area in Allegheny County. It is the lone community in the western part of the state in the top five. South Park Township had the second-lowest rate of property crime in Pennsylvania. The median household income of $69,365 was $16,000 a year above the state’s median income. 

3. Buckingham Township

Opened for settlement around 1700, Buckingham Township has a long, rich history. Residents can visit many nearby historical sites such as Washington Crossing Historic Park, site of George Washington’s midnight crossing of the Delaware. It is the safest city in our mid-sized category with low rates of both violent and property crime. Buckingham Township is very affluent with a median household income ($119,620) and homeownership rate (92%) well above the norm for Pennsylvania.    

4. Northampton Township

Like Buckingham Township, this community is also located in historic Bucks County. It is the largest place in the top five with a population just under 40,000 people. Northampton Township has low rates of both violent and property crime. Of note, it recorded just six violent crimes for the year surveyed. It is 12 miles northeast of Philadelphia and is home to a very affluent population with a median household income of over $106,000.  

5. Willistown Township

The final place in our top five is a small community of just over 10,000 people in Chester County. Willistown Township boasts of its great location: approximately 20 miles from Wilmington, Delaware and 20 miles from Philadelphia. Founded in 1704, English Quakers were among its first settlers. There were only two violent crimes recorded in 2014. This community has a median household income that is over $48,000 higher, per year, than the median household in Pennsylvania, and it has a more educated population -- 62% of its residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher -- than the state as a whole.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, midsize cities with populations of 20,000 and 30,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 30,000. Here are our findings:

Full List of Places in Pennsylvania

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Pennsylvania” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

Rank City Crime Score
1 Upper Providence Township, Delaware County  132
2 South Park Township  171
3 Buckingham Township  199
4 Northampton Township  218
5 Willistown Township  232
6 Warwick Township, Bucks County  246
7 Franconia Township  249
8 Adams Township, Butler County  252
9 Pennridge Regional  252
10 Lower Salford Township  253
11 New Britain Township  256
12 South Fayette Township  257
13 Franklin Park  258
14 Whitehall  282
15 Upper St. Clair Township  305
16 Peters Township  308
17 Plumstead Township  309
18 Buffalo Valley Regional  321
19 Cecil Township  324
20 Northern Regional  336
21 Baldwin Borough  338
22 Upper Allen Township  357
23 Mount Lebanon  360
24 West Deer Township  360
25 Upper Gwynedd Township  378
26 Jefferson Hills Borough  389
27 East Cocalico Township  397
28 Tredyffrin Township  415
29 Newtown Township, Bucks County  417
30 Upper Dublin Township  418
31 Ferguson Township  421
32 Easttown Township  426
33 West Lampeter Township  427
34 Warrington Township  428
35 Upper Saucon Township  428
36 Harrison Township  433
37 Hampton Township  438
38 Towamencin Township  442
39 Uwchlan Township  446
40 New Garden Township  456
41 Northern Berks Regional  458
42 Northwest Lancaster County Regional  463
43 Elizabeth Township  471
44 Horsham Township  474
45 Lower Makefield Township  481
46 Upper Uwchlan Township  481
47 Doylestown Township  482
48 Central Bucks Regional  489
49 Moon Township  492
50 New Hanover Township  493
51 Westtown-East Goshen Regional  494
52 Northern Lancaster County Regional  495
53 Amity Township  503
54 Bethel Park  505
55 Spring Township, Berks County  509
56 Lower Moreland Township  511
57 McCandless  515
58 Springfield Township, Montgomery County  519
59 Upper Macungine Township  523
60 Hampden Township  526
61 Newtown Township, Delaware County  527
62 Manor Township, Lancaster County  532
63 Forks Township  536
64 North Strabane Township  547
65 Southern Regional York County  554
66 Emmaus  555
67 Radnor Township  556
68 Scott Township, Allegheny County  560
69 Silver Spring Township  561
70 Upper Southampton Township  562
71 Hatfield Township  566
72 Mifflin County Regional  573
73 Lower Saucon Township  575
74 Murrysville  575
75 Patton Township  585
76 East Whiteland Township  588
77 East Pennsboro Township  603
78 State College  619
79 Hopewell Township  631
80 Nether Providence Township  645
81 Cranberry Township  646
82 Shaler Township  647
83 Penn Township, York County  647
84 Douglass Township, Montgomery County  649
85 West Hills Regional  655
86 Haverford Township  656
87 Hilltown Township  674
88 Northeastern Regional  678
89 Elizabethtown  679
90 Lower Gwynedd Township  682
91 Marple Township  685
92 West Goshen Township  689
93 Lehigh Township, Northampton County  696
94 Northern York Regional  705
95 Aston Township  744
96 Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County  754
97 Salisbury Township  764
98 Warminster Township  776
99 Whitemarsh Township  778
100 Whitpain Township  785
101 Ridley Township  785
102 North Middleton Township  789
103 Montgomery Township  800
104 Fairview Township, York County  800
105 Bethlehem Township  803
106 York Area Regional  823
107 Derry Township, Dauphin County  828
108 Lower Providence Township  833
109 Lower Burrell  838
110 Palmer Township  840
111 East Hempfield Township  848
112 North Huntingdon Township  851
113 Lower Pottsgrove Township  858
114 Lansdale  859
115 Lower Merion Township  875
116 Manheim Township  877
117 St. Marys City  878
118 Lower Allen Township  878
119 Plum  887
120 Cumru Township  931
121 Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County  936
122 Ephrata Township  940
123 Newberry Township  968
124 Exeter Township, Berks County  969
125 Millcreek Township, Erie County  973
126 Oil City  1,032
127 Ephrata  1,034
128 North Fayette Township  1,038
129 Pocono Township  1,048
130 Upper Moreland Township  1,074
131 Lower Southampton Township  1,083
132 Columbia  1,130
133 Southwest Mercer County Regional  1,148
134 Springfield Township, Delaware County  1,150
135 West Whiteland Township  1,158
136 Lancaster Township, Lancaster County  1,166
137 Abington Township, Montgomery County  1,166
138 Ross Township  1,167
139 Sandy Township  1,168
140 Richland Township, Bucks County  1,185
141 West Mifflin  1,189
142 Limerick Township  1,197
143 Middletown Township  1,198
144 Meadville  1,205
145 Lock Haven  1,210
146 East Norriton Township  1,212
147 West Chester  1,224
148 North Versailles Township  1,228
149 Lower Paxton Township  1,245
150 Kingston  1,255
151 Robinson Township, Allegheny County  1,279
152 Falls Township, Bucks County  1,330
153 West Norriton Township  1,333
154 Colonial Regional  1,358
155 Pottsville  1,368
156 Pocono Mountain Regional  1,375
157 Upper Chichester Township  1,378
158 Monroeville  1,392
159 Nanticoke  1,393
160 Hermitage  1,405
161 West Manchester Township  1,424
162 Phoenixville  1,429
163 Berwick  1,452
164 Bristol Township  1,455
165 Butler Township, Butler County  1,462
166 Lansdowne  1,466
167 South Whitehall Township  1,467
168 Washington Township, Franklin County  1,469
169 Coal Township  1,477
170 Spring Garden Township  1,491
171 Hanover Township, Luzerne County  1,503
172 Hanover  1,505
173 Carlisle  1,520
174 Cheltenham Township  1,529
175 Logan Township  1,533
176 Altoona  1,557
177 Easton  1,562
178 North Lebanon Township  1,574
179 Waynesboro  1,605
180 Lebanon  1,617
181 Greensburg  1,654
182 Muhlenberg Township  1,654
183 Caln Township  1,656
184 Bensalem Township  1,660
185 Penn Hills  1,725
186 Bethlehem  1,733
187 East Lampeter Township  1,761
188 Plymouth Township, Montgomery County  1,783
189 Springettsbury Township  1,798
190 Upper Darby Township  1,810
191 Wyomissing  1,810
192 Hazleton  1,847
193 Scranton  1,911
194 Upper Merion Township  1,923
195 Rostraver Township  1,924
196 Center Township  1,994
197 Stroud Area Regional  2,069
198 Erie  2,124
199 Richland Township, Cambria County  2,183
200 New Kensington  2,243
201 Chambersburg  2,245
202 Whitehall Township  2,252
203 Williamsport  2,343
204 Butler  2,399
205 Washington, Washington County  2,406
206 Wilkes-Barre  2,435
207 Uniontown  2,497
208 Norristown  2,515
209 New Castle  2,556
210 Sharon  2,558
211 Johnstown  2,608
212 Coatesville  2,673
213 Allentown  2,678
214 Yeadon  2,707
215 Wilkinsburg  2,716
216 Swatara Township  2,772
217 Indiana  3,033
218 Lancaster  3,140
219 Reading  3,146
220 York  3,165
221 Pittsburgh  3,515
222 Pottstown  3,538
223 Harrisburg  3,836
224 Chester  4,349
225 McKeesport  4,501
226 Philadelphia  4,628
227 Darby  7,932

Year-over-year Change

When people pick a place to live, they want a consistently safe place. Upper Providence Township in Delaware County was the safest place in both ValuePenguin’s 2015 and 2016 studies. It had low rates of violent and property crimes in both years.

Buckingham Township was also very consistent. In both 2015 and 2016, it was the safest mid-sized community and ranked number three in the top five. This community delivers safety for people and their property.

The research results were consistent in another way. In both 2015 and 2016, four out of the top five safest places were in the eastern part of the state. Those four communities were all part of the Philadelphia metro area.

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

We removed all cities with less than 10,000 in population. The FBI had data for 964 towns, 737 of which were under 10,000 in population.

We standardized the remaining data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores. 

Here is a complete table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Rank City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
1 Upper Providence Township, Delaware County 10,354  19  251  132
2 South Park Township 13,571  29  295  171
3 Buckingham Township 20,405  15  402  199
4 Northampton Township 39,692  15  413  218
5 Willistown Township 10,760  19  502  232
6 Warwick Township, Bucks County 14,718  48  401  246
7 Franconia Township 13,263  23  513  249
8 Adams Township, Butler County 12,912  39  457  252
9 Pennridge Regional 11,050  9  588  252
10 Lower Salford Township 15,399  39  448  253
11 New Britain Township 11,034  18  562  256
12 South Fayette Township 15,317  7  588  257
13 Franklin Park 14,160  42  452  258
14 Whitehall 13,946  86  337  282
15 Upper St. Clair Township 19,399  41  546  305
16 Peters Township 21,975  36  564  308
17 Plumstead Township 13,052  31  628  309
18 Buffalo Valley Regional 12,096  33  653  321
19 Cecil Township 11,823  34  660  324
20 Northern Regional 32,690  12  694  336
21 Baldwin Borough 19,822  71  504  338
22 Upper Allen Township 18,801  11  793  357
23 Mount Lebanon 33,052  27  687  360
24 West Deer Township 11,873  17  817  360
25 Upper Gwynedd Township 15,915  75  597  378
26 Jefferson Hills Borough 11,239  80  641  389
27 East Cocalico Township 10,427  29  873  397
28 Tredyffrin Township 29,544  37  778  415
29 Newtown Township, Bucks County 22,753  66  694  417
30 Upper Dublin Township 26,310  46  764  418
31 Ferguson Township 18,198  77  681  421
32 Easttown Township 10,579  28  945  426
33 West Lampeter Township 15,707  13  968  427
34 Warrington Township 23,630  25  876  428
35 Upper Saucon Township 15,694  25  918  428
36 Harrison Township 10,489  86  734  433
37 Hampton Township 18,521  113  572  438
38 Towamencin Township 18,320  93  666  442
39 Uwchlan Township 18,470  65  785  446
40 New Garden Township 12,089  83  786  456
41 Northern Berks Regional 13,115  61  869  458
42 Northwest Lancaster County Regional 19,436  15  1,019  463
43 Elizabeth Township 13,317  53  931  471
44 Horsham Township 26,481  68  801  474
45 Lower Makefield Township 32,799  40  906  481
46 Upper Uwchlan Township 11,572  -    1,184  481
47 Doylestown Township 17,623  40  976  482
48 Central Bucks Regional 11,353  53  995  489
49 Moon Township 25,514  63  866  492
50 New Hanover Township 12,266  73  913  493
51 Westtown-East Goshen Regional 32,541  58  860  494
52 Northern Lancaster County Regional  33,674  62  843  495
53 Amity Township  12,821  55  1,006  503
54 Bethel Park  32,408  77  812  505
55 Spring Township, Berks County  27,487  58  913  509
56 Lower Moreland Township  13,233  53  1,028  511
57 McCandless  29,028  38  1,002  515
58 Springfield Township, Montgomery County  19,529  46  1,024  519
59 Upper Macungine Township  22,201  9  1,167  523
60 Hampden Township  28,893  66  917  526
61 Newtown Township, Delaware County  12,348  105  867  527
62 Manor Township, Lancaster County  20,310  79  921  532
63 Forks Township  15,224  20  1,202  536
64 North Strabane Township  14,033  71  1,033  547
65 Southern Regional York County  14,917  127  818  554
66 Emmaus  11,316  62  1,122  555
67 Radnor Township  31,492  70  956  556
68 Scott Township, Allegheny County  17,010  94  947  560
69 Silver Spring Township  15,444  32  1,211  561
70 Upper Southampton Township  15,183  79  1,027  562
71 Hatfield Township  20,933  48  1,118  566
72 Mifflin County Regional  16,898  53  1,142  573
73 Lower Saucon Township 10,802  93  1,055  575
74 Murrysville 20,294  143  764  575
75 Patton Township 15,306  52  1,189  585
76 East Whiteland Township 10,699  75  1,159  588
77 East Pennsboro Township 21,260  80  1,072  603
78 State College 56,551  46  1,118  619
79 Hopewell Township 12,610  103  1,126  631
80 Nether Providence Township 13,795  152  950  645
81 Cranberry Township 29,834  20  1,364  646
82 Shaler Township 28,756  52  1,241  647
83 Penn Township, York County 15,846  133  1,010  647
84 Douglass Township, Montgomery County 10,400  125  1,115  649
85 West Hills Regional 10,563  38  1,477  655
86 Haverford Township 48,877  53  1,187  656
87 Hilltown Township 15,190  105  1,192  674
88 Northeastern Regional 11,504  148  1,078  678
89 Elizabethtown 11,672  103  1,259  679
90 Lower Gwynedd Township 11,562  86  1,332  682
91 Marple Township 23,677  42  1,398  685
92 West Goshen Township 23,130  82  1,249  689
93 Lehigh Township, Northampton County 10,395  164  1,077  696
94 Northern York Regional 67,742  74  1,165  705
95 Aston Township 16,929  89  1,406  744
96 Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County 22,200  36  1,590  754
97 Salisbury Township 13,646  81  1,524  764
98 Warminster Township 32,804  73  1,427  776
99 Whitemarsh Township 17,518  69  1,558  778
100 Whitpain Township 19,202  135  1,292  785
101 Ridley Township 31,064  103  1,336  785
102 North Middleton Township 11,356  106  1,523  789
103 Montgomery Township 25,923  31  1,690  800
104 Fairview Township, York County 16,960  142  1,327  800
105 Bethlehem Township 23,873  54  1,617  803
106 York Area Regional 61,107  154  1,105  823
107 Derry Township, Dauphin County 24,887  64  1,627  828
108 Lower Providence Township 25,682  195  1,110  833
109 Lower Burrell 11,598  34  1,923  838
110 Palmer Township 20,929  76  1,639  840
111 East Hempfield Township 24,066  54  1,720  848
112 North Huntingdon Township 30,880  68  1,622  851
113 Lower Pottsgrove Township 12,189  82  1,772  858
114 Lansdale 16,440  189  1,283  859
115 Lower Merion Township 58,268  60  1,596  875
116 Manheim Township 39,155  43  1,737  877
117 St. Marys City 12,879  70  1,856  878
118 Lower Allen Township 18,731  85  1,714  878
119 Plum 27,595  275  895  887
120 Cumru Township 15,235  79  1,910  931
121 Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County 24,515  155  1,513  936
122 Ephrata Township 10,195  69  2,070  940
123 Newberry Township 15,302  124  1,817  968
124 Exeter Township, Berks County 25,761  78  1,887  969
125 Millcreek Township, Erie County 54,407  90  1,695  973
126 Oil City 10,266  156  1,948  1,032
127 Ephrata 13,545  258  1,469  1,034
128 North Fayette Township 14,291  49  2,302  1,038
129 Pocono Township 10,818  148  2,006  1,048
130 Upper Moreland Township 24,253  62  2,202  1,074
131 Lower Southampton Township 18,951  158  1,900  1,083
132 Columbia 10,378  154  2,197  1,130
133 Southwest Mercer County Regional 10,160  305  1,644  1,148
134 Springfield Township, Delaware County 24,345  78  2,308  1,150
135 West Whiteland Township 18,495  87  2,368  1,158
136 Lancaster Township, Lancaster County 17,065  94  2,379  1,166
137 Abington Township, Montgomery County 55,628  108  2,026  1,166
138 Ross Township 31,136  93  2,226  1,167
139 Sandy Township 10,655  160  2,262  1,168
140 Richland Township, Bucks County 13,062  46  2,695  1,185
141 West Mifflin 20,239  158  2,130  1,189
142 Limerick Township 18,738  32  2,674  1,197
143 Middletown Township 45,490  90  2,211  1,198
144 Meadville 13,237  227  2,017  1,205
145 Lock Haven 10,090  208  2,190  1,210
146 East Norriton Township 14,182  197  2,129  1,212
147 West Chester 19,095  225  1,959  1,224
148 North Versailles Township 12,367  307  1,771  1,228
149 Lower Paxton Township 48,117  170  1,976  1,245
150 Kingston 13,049  153  2,437  1,255
151 Robinson Township, Allegheny County 13,677  146  2,508  1,279
152 Falls Township, Bucks County 34,029  170  2,254  1,330
153 West Norriton Township 15,816  158  2,542  1,333
154 Colonial Regional 19,803  76  2,858  1,358
155 Pottsville 14,042  271  2,215  1,368
156 Pocono Mountain Regional 38,521  158  2,365  1,375
157 Upper Chichester Township 17,012  194  2,481  1,378
158 Monroeville 28,414  341  1,760  1,392
159 Nanticoke 10,343  242  2,504  1,393
160 Hermitage 16,143  161  2,695  1,405
161 West Manchester Township 18,853  164  2,673  1,424
162 Phoenixville 16,532  266  2,323  1,429
163 Berwick 10,308  233  2,687  1,452
164 Bristol Township 54,349  178  2,359  1,455
165 Butler Township, Butler County 17,076  182  2,729  1,462
166 Lansdowne 10,629  235  2,700  1,466
167 South Whitehall Township 19,573  41  3,254  1,467
168 Washington Township, Franklin County 14,468  76  3,228  1,469
169 Coal Township 10,603  236  2,726  1,477
170 Spring Garden Township 12,844  179  2,912  1,491
171 Hanover Township, Luzerne County 11,029  326  2,412  1,503
172 Hanover 15,380  228  2,685  1,505
173 Carlisle 18,974  195  2,772  1,520
174 Cheltenham Township 36,865  179  2,631  1,529
175 Logan Township 12,325  454  1,931  1,533
176 Altoona 45,676  348  1,949  1,557
177 Easton 27,143  298  2,328  1,562
178 North Lebanon Township 11,625  206  3,045  1,574
179 Waynesboro 10,748  298  2,791  1,605
180 Lebanon 25,538  309  2,432  1,617
181 Greensburg 14,606  335  2,629  1,654
182 Muhlenberg Township 19,910  131  3,325  1,654
183 Caln Township 14,166  501  1,984  1,656
184 Bensalem Township 60,506  134  2,935  1,660
185 Penn Hills 42,288  385  2,187  1,725
186 Bethlehem 75,024  281  2,430  1,733
187 East Lampeter Township 16,879  107  3,738  1,761
188 Plymouth Township, Montgomery County 16,693  246  3,241  1,783
189 Springettsbury Township 26,797  108  3,627  1,798
190 Upper Darby Township 82,843  427  1,970  1,810
191 Wyomissing 10,485  67  4,235  1,810
192 Hazleton 25,023  476  2,298  1,847
193 Scranton 75,749  285  2,775  1,911
194 Upper Merion Township 28,651  91  3,951  1,923
195 Rostraver Township 11,218  232  3,824  1,924
196 Center Township 11,759  238  3,946  1,994
197 Stroud Area Regional 33,974  194  3,788  2,069
198 Erie 100,403  404  2,629  2,124
199 Richland Township, Cambria County 12,478  80  5,009  2,183
200 New Kensington 12,864  420  3,778  2,243
201 Chambersburg 20,561  384  3,667  2,245
202 Whitehall Township 27,146  99  4,682  2,252
203 Williamsport 29,340  450  3,446  2,343
204 Butler 13,515  400  4,210  2,399
205 Washington, Washington County 13,686  468  3,946  2,406
206 Wilkes-Barre 41,017  436  3,533  2,435
207 Uniontown 10,139  404  4,616  2,497
208 Norristown 34,453  746  2,560  2,515
209 New Castle 22,629  508  3,836  2,556
210 Sharon 13,698  613  3,730  2,558
211 Johnstown 21,755  575  3,714  2,608
212 Coatesville 13,141  997  2,504  2,673
213 Allentown 118,710  515  3,219  2,678
214 Yeadon 11,524  738  3,714  2,707
215 Wilkinsburg 15,871  882  2,936  2,716
216 Swatara Township 24,654  361  4,867  2,772
217 Indiana 14,072  1,350  1,912  3,033
218 Lancaster 59,325  679  3,862  3,140
219 Reading 87,848  865  2,904  3,146
220 York 43,951  883  3,285  3,165
221 Pittsburgh 307,613  798  3,213  3,515
222 Pottstown 22,605  770  5,048  3,538
223 Harrisburg 49,109  1,114  3,722  3,836
224 Chester 34,056  1,536  3,453  4,349
225 McKeesport 21,405  1,794  3,219  4,501
226 Philadelphia 1,559,062  1,021  3,388  4,628
227 Darby 10,687  3,855  4,267  7,932

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