Public Safety
Violent Crime Rate

Violent Crime Rate

What does this measure?

The number of reported violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault are included in violent crimes.

Why is this important?

Crime affects quality of life for those who directly experience and witness it, sometimes resulting in long-lasting trauma. Indirectly, it also affects the lives of others in the community, as well housing stability and a community's perceived attractiveness as a place to live, work and do business.

How is our county performing?

In 2017, there were 2.6 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in Berks County, lower than Pennsylvania's rate. The county rate fluctuated year to year, ending 25% below the 2005 rate. By comparison, the state's violent crime rate dropped steadily during 2005 to 2017 - a 23% decline, while the US fell 19% in the same period. In contrast, Reading City had 7.1 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents, a 36% decline from 2005.

Violent crime rates in 2017 were higher in Berks than in neighboring counties. Chester's rate was less than half that of Berks, at 1.2, followed by Montgomery, 1.4, Lebanon at 1.8, Lancaster at 2.1 and Lehigh and Schuylkill both at 2.0. Similar to Berks, Lancaster and Schuylkill had year-to-year fluctuations in their rates though both had higher rates in 2017 than in 2005. The largest declines occurred in Lehigh (44%), Montgomery (39%), and Lebanon (41%).

Notes about the data

Crime reports are never complete because not all crimes are reported, and some crimes in particular, such as rape and assault, are believed to be underreported. Data are from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. It should be noted that this indicator represents crime penetration. Because areas vary in population, counts of criminal incidents do not accurately measure impact. By presenting crimes per 1,000 residents, it is possible to compare rural and urban areas of the state.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Violent Crime Rate
United States4.
Berks County3.
Berks County Regions
Reading city11.
Berks County Peers
Chester County1.
Lancaster County1.
Lebanon County3.
Lehigh County3.
Montgomery County2.
Schuylkill County1.

Source: Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System

Number of Violent Crimes
United States1,390,7451,435,1231,422,9701,394,4611,325,8961,251,2481,206,0051,217,0571,168,2981,153,0221,199,3101,250,1621,247,321
Berks County1,3701,4631,2531,3511,3261,3821,2701,3811,2211,3561,2821,1291,078
Berks County Regions
Reading city9361,001752868765766758828744760700597624
Berks County Peers
Chester County780850937897837793809827678682670709642
Lancaster County7899789789308429469388789068759679461,126
Lebanon County385352308306218243224292241203241203250
Lehigh County1,1661,3741,0551,011969922854851803757656698719
Montgomery County1,7511,7451,5721,5261,6621,5651,4331,3991,3721,2111,1471,0121,139
Schuylkill County277240320295295274330300262229321680280

Source: Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Maintaining
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Decreasing
Change in Labor Force Increasing
Employment to Population ratio Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Decreasing
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing