(WHTM) — Crime is a big problem across the country and it’s no different here in the Midstate.
But just how bad is it?
You see it everyday on the news. Crime is just another fact of life and it seems like it is only getting worse. But is that really the case?
“A big part of what we do is analyzing crime trends with a goal of preventing crime and lowering the crime rates here in Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Adam Reed said.
These trends are tracked in the Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reporting System.
“Every law enforcement agency in Pennsylvania must submit crime data to the UCR database,” Reed said.
The UCR goes back to 2004 and categorizes every type of crime reported. That includes murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft, arson, and human trafficking.
In 2018, there were more than 313,000 crimes reported in Pennsylvania. In 2022, that number was down to 309,981.
So far in 2023, more than 222,000 have crimes have been reported.
“The violent crime rate per capita in Pennsylvania has fluctuated. It’s gone up, down, and then recently slightly up again to right around pre-pandemic levels,” Reed said. “It’s hard to put your finger on any given trends because they could fluctuate really for a variety of reasons.”
But what about crime rates in the Midstate.
abc27 took a look at each of the area’s 10 counties.
In Dauphin County, crime was down overall. In 2018, there were 8,239 crimes reported in 2022, that number was down to 6,855. Murders, however, climbed from 19 to 26 during the same time frame.
Crime was also down in Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York Counties.
In Cumberland County, crime was slightly up from 3,326 reports in 2018 to 3,680 in 2022.
In the Midstate’s smallest county, Juniata County, crime reports jumped from 380 in 2018 to 620 in 2022.
In nearly every Midstate County, the most common crime is theft. So how is this information useful?
“If we notice there’s an uptick in burglaries in a certain area, we’re really going to take a look at ways to reduce those number of burglaries and really counteract that, whether it’s through enforcement or increased presence through pro-active patrol,” Reed said.
One particular crime that is growing is car thefts.
In cities like Harrisburg, when there’s a spike in those types of numbers, State Police are called in to help.
“We have what’s called our IRT, our incident response team. Those troopers will go to the areas that we’re seeing these higher crime rates in and they’ll offer their assistance in working right alongside that municipal police department to fight crime in that area,” Reed said.
They’ve gotten results.
“I would say this certainly does work. Our troopers will go in and make arrests right alongside the local partners there and certainly our numbers would back that up,” Reed said.
Any crime is too much crime. Having the data to see what’s actually happening is key to fighting it.
“It’s important for police agencies to be transparent for the folks, for example, living in the communities they patrol to know what’s going on around them,” Reed said.
The Uniform Crime Reporting System also keeps track of hate crimes, which have skyrocketed.
In 2018, there were just 4 reported in the entire Midstate. In 2022, there were 34.
So far in 2023, there have already been 27.