Public Safety






Crime can cause long-lasting trauma to individuals and disruption to a community. This makes safety a top priority for most residents. Overall, Berks County is similar to Pennsylvania in terms of its crime and incarceration rates. Property crimes in particular are on the decline, and the county’s drug-related arrest rate is lower than the state rate. However, the county’s rate of protection from abuse orders – a potential indicator of domestic violence – is higher than at the state level.

In 2015, there were 3.1 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in Berks County – similar to Pennsylvania as a whole. These crimes include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. However, while the state’s violent crime rate dropped 22% from 2005 to 2015, Berks County’s rate showed no clear trend, making it difficult to say whether violent crime is getting better or worse.

There were 17 property crimes reported per 1,000 residents in Berks County in 2015, just below the state rate of 18. These offenses include arson, burglary, theft, fraud, embezzlement and vandalism. The county rate dropped significantly between 2012 and 2015, and decreased more than at the state level.

Incarceration removes an offender from a community, but it also can create hardships on families whose relative is imprisoned. After release, formerly incarcerated people often encounter challenges in obtaining employment. In 2014, there were 2.9 county jail inmates per 1,000 residents in Berks County. This rate was similar to Pennsylvania. The county’s incarceration rate fell from 2006 to 2011, but climbed again in 2012 and 2013.

Drug use, sale and other illegal drug-related activity can have immediate as well as long-term negative health, social and economic consequences for people and communities. In 2015, there were 4.1 drug abuse arrests per 1,000 residents in Berks County, lower than the statewide rate.

A protection from abuse order is a civil order from a court to safeguard victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. In 2015, there were 3.3 abuse protection orders issued per 1,000 residents in Berks County. This was 12% higher than the Pennsylvania rate, but it is impossible to say whether this is because there is more domestic violence in Berks County or because local policies lead courts to issue more orders here than in other parts of the state. Berks County’s rate has fluctuated year to year, while the statewide rate was essentially flat from 2005 to 2015.





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