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 2016, there were 2.7 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in Berks County, lower than Pennsylvania's rate. The county rate fluctuated year to year, ending 21% below the 2005 rate. By comparison, the state's violent crime rate dropped steadily during 2005 to 2016 - a 22% decline, while the US fell 18% in the same period. In contrast, Reading City had 6.8 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents, a 38% decline from 2005.

Violent crime rates in 2016 were higher in Berks than in most neighboring counties except Schuylkill. Montgomery's rate was less than half that of Berks, at 1.2, followed by Chester, 1.4, Lebanon at 1.5, Lancaster at 1.8 and Lehigh at 1.9. Schuylkill's rate was significantly higher than all counties at 4.7. Similar to Berks, Lancaster and Schuylkill had year-to-year fluctuations in their rates though both had higher rates in 2016 than in 2005. The largest declines occurred in Lehigh and Montgomery (both at 45%), and Lebanon (52%).

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 States1,390,7451,435,1231,422,9701,394,4611,325,8961,251,2481,206,0051,217,0571,168,2981,153,0221,199,3101,248,185
Berks County1,3701,4631,2531,3511,3261,3821,2701,3811,2211,3561,2821,129
Berks County Regions
Reading city9361,001752868765766758828744760700597
Berks County Peers
Chester County780850937897837793809827678682670709
Lancaster County789978978930842946938878906875967946
Lebanon County385352308306218243224292241203241203
Lehigh County1,1661,3741,0551,011969922854851803757656698
Montgomery County1,7511,7451,5721,5261,6621,5651,4331,3991,3721,2111,1471,012
Schuylkill County277240320295295274330300262229321680

Source: Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System

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
Vacant 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