Low Crime Rates Are a Trademark of the Region

Public Safety
by Pittsburgh Today Staff
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Crime varies by neighborhood, but southwestern Pennsylvania’s overall crime rate is the envy of Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions. And only Boston has a lower crime rate than the City of Pittsburgh in the ranking of benchmark cities.

Crime rates in the seven-​county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell across every major category except rape and motor vehicle theft in 2013, the most recent year for which FBI Uniform Crime Index data are available. Still, the region’s rates of rape and car theft are the lowest among our 15 benchmark regions.

In the Pittsburgh MSA, for example, 15.5 forcible rapes per 100,000 population were reported. Nine other regions had rates at least twice as high, with Denver and Detroit reporting rates three times higher.

As a rule, crime is higher in cities than across regions, and Pittsburgh is no exception. Crime rates in Pittsburgh, however, remain in decline. Benchmarked against other cities, the differences are sometimes stark. Rape is five times higher in St. Louis. The 200 motor vehicles stolen per 100,000 people in Pittsburgh is a fraction of the nearly 1,700 reported in Detroit. Homicide rates in Baltimore, St. Louis and Detroit are at least twice as high.

Southwestern Pennsylvania’s relatively low crime rates are likely influenced by several social and economic factors, including low unemployment, a high rate of high school graduates and a large share of long-​time residents who lend stability to their neighborhoods.

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