Pennsylvania Has Seen a Steady Decline in Crime Rate over Last 20 Years

December 20, 2019

CRIMELINES

A 20 Year Story of Crime and Incarceration

 

A new infographic from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections illustrates crime trends from 1998 to 2018 and shows how the overall crime rate has changed against the backdrop of different gubernatorial administrations, the openings and closings of prison facilities, and the passage of a variety of criminal justice reforms, including Justice Reinvestment legislation.

 

Crime rates in Pennsylvania have consistently dropped over the past twenty years, by 45 percent. Further, crime rates in Pennsylvania have remained consistently lower than the national crime rates. These crime drops have happened within the context of a variety of events over the past twenty years in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. Crime dropped under different administrations, under the openings and closings of prison facilities, after the passage of various criminal justice legislative reforms, and in the absence of many mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Crime also dropped during the same six year period (2012-2018) that the prison population dropped in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania prison population dropped by 4,387 inmates from its peak in June 2012, while at the same time crime dropped 29 percent. Crime also dropped for a variety individual crime types, including violent crimes and property crimes. Murder and rape are two exceptions. The murder rate and rape rate have increased in recent years in Pennsylvania, although in the case of rape this reflects a change in the definition of reporting for rape and also mirrors a large national increase in rape. The bottom line is that that Pennsylvanians are overall significantly safer today than they were twenty years ago.

 

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