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 2018, there were 2.4 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in Berks County, lower than Pennsylvania's rate. The county rate fluctuated year to year, ending 32% below the 2005 rate. By comparison, the state's violent crime rate dropped steadily during 2005 to 2018 - a 24% decline, while the US fell 22% in the same period. In contrast, Reading City had 7 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents, a 36% decline from 2005.

Violent crime rates in 2018 were higher in Berks than in neighboring counties. Chester and Montgomery rates were less than half that of Berks, at 1.3, followed by Lancaster and Lebanon both at 1.8, Lehigh at 1.5 and Schuylkill at 2.3. Similar to Berks, Lancaster and Schuylkill had year-to-year fluctuations in their rates though both had higher rates in 2018 than in 2005. The largest declines occurred in Lehigh (59%), Montgomery (44%), and Lebanon (42%).

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 States1,390,7451,435,1231,422,9701,394,4611,325,8961,251,2481,206,0051,217,0571,168,2981,153,0221,199,3101,250,1621,247,9171,206,836
Berks County1,3701,4631,2531,3511,3261,3821,2701,3811,2211,3561,2821,1291,078990
Berks County Regions
Reading city9361,001752868765766758828744760700597624621
Berks County Peers
Chester County780850937897837793809827678682670709642670
Lancaster County7899789789308429469388789068759679461,126965
Lebanon County385352308306218243224292241203241203250250
Lehigh County1,1661,3741,0551,011969922854851803757656698719537
Montgomery County1,7511,7451,5721,5261,6621,5651,4331,3991,3721,2111,1471,0121,1391,048
Schuylkill County277240320295295274330300262229321680280324

Source: Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
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 Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Maintaining
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households by type Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Seniors Living Alone Maintaining
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
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 County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income Increasing
Health Status Not Applicable
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Cost of Homeownership Maintaining
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Toxic Chemical Releases Decreasing
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing