Pennsylvania Public Safety
What makes a community safe? Public safety is both about people's sense of safety and about the community's crime rate. It has to do with the community's relationship with police and the justice systems. It also has to do with how people treat one another and with policies, social conditions, and systems that may make some neighborhoods safer than others. Public safety relates to community vitality, economy, and health outcomes.
What is the violent crime rate in Pennsylvania?
What this measures: The number of violent crimes per 100,000 people. This includes murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Why this matters: High levels of violent crime can threaten a community's sense of safety and well-being. High crime rates can also deter residents from pursuing healthy behaviors, such as exercising outdoors. It has been shown to increase stress, high blood pressure and obesity rates.
What this relates to: Community vitality, health, incarceration.
How many juveniles are incarcerated in Pennsylvania?
What this measures: The number of youth under 18 years old who are in prison.
Why this matters: Youth who have been in juvenile detention or prison face a higher risk of illness and death than their peers. This increased risk persists throughout their lifetimes.
What this relates to: Equity, health, education, financial security, community vitality.
How many law enforcement officers serve in Pennsylvania?
What this measures: The number of law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents.
Why this matters: Having more police officers can be helpful for public safety. It may also reflect over-policing. This is especially true in neighborhoods where a school to prison pipeline exists.
What this relates to: Equity, incarceration.
How many traffic-related fatalities are suffered each year by residents in Pennsylvania?
What this measures: How many people died during car crashes per 100,000. This can be people who died who were in the vehicle, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others.
Why this matters: Infrastructure and safety-related behaviors contribute to this rate. Infrastructure includes road conditions, road design, and presence of protected bicycle lanes. Behaviors include seat belt use and intoxicated driving.
What this relates to: Health, preventable death.
Data source: CDC Wonder, queried based on the following parameters: Underlying cause of death, ICD-10 codes: V02-V04, V09.0, V09.2, V12-V14, V19.0-V19.2, V19.4-V19.6, V20-V79, V80.3-V80.5, V81.0-V81.1, V82.0-V82.1, V83-V86, V87.0-V87.8, V88.0-V88.8, V89.0, V89.2.
PERCEPTIONS OF PUBLIC SAFETY
How many adults feel safe walking on their street after dark?
What this measures: The percentage of adults who feel safe walking on their street after dark.
Why this matters: Feeling safe is an important measure of community well-being. Many elements contribute to how safe people feel in their community. These include the public safety system, the built and natural environments, and community vitality.
What this relates to: Health, environment, community vitality.
Data source: Gallup. Percentages were calculated from raw survey data by LiveStories, based on the following survey question: 'Do you feel safe and secure?' (column ID: HWB23), where an answer of 'Agree' or 'Strongly Agree' was counted as 'feel safe.' Data is not shown for counties with fewer than 20 responses.
Other Interesting Measures
• Number of homicide fatalities per 100,000 population. Source: DHHS, CDC, NCHS.
• Number of property crimes (i.e., burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson) per 100,000 population. Source: DOJ.
• Rate of child abuse reports or indications (in development). Source: State and local Departments of Child Services.
• Number of domestic assaults reported per 100,000 population. Source: DOJ, CDC.
• Deaths with underlying causes of drug-related poisonings (age-adjusted rate per 100,000). Source: CDC.
PERCEPTIONS OF PUBLIC SAFETY
• Perceptions around police (in development). Source: To be developed.
• Number of first responders (i.e., paramedics, firefighters, police) per 1,000 residents. Source: To be developed.