This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Pennsylvania

This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, situated in the northeastern United States, is celebrated for its vibrant history, diverse culture, and picturesque landscapes. Despite these positive attributes, not every city within the state guarantees safety and tranquility.

As per the most recent FBI crime data, Chester, a small city with approximately 34,000 residents nestled along the Delaware River, stands out as having the highest murder rate in Pennsylvania.

This unsettling statistic also places Chester among the top 10 cities with the highest murder rates in the entire nation. The city is positioned just 15 miles south of Philadelphia.

Murder Rate and Statistics

The murder rate is determined by taking the number of murders, dividing it by the population, and then multiplying by 100,000. This method provides a standardized metric, allowing for a fair comparison between various cities and states.

In 2020, according to the FBI, Chester recorded 27 murders, resulting in a murder rate of 79.4. This figure is more than 15 times higher than the national average of 5.0 and over four times greater than the state average of 18.1.

Chester also reported the highest rates of violent crime and property crime in Pennsylvania, with 2,010.9 and 4,424.4 per 100,000 people, respectively.

How Does Chester Compare to Other Cities in the US?

According to FBI crime data, Chester is among the most perilous cities in the United States. It holds the 10th position nationwide for the highest murder rate, with 79.4 murders per 100,000 people. This rate surpasses that of infamous crime-ridden cities like Detroit, Baltimore, and St. Louis.

CityMurder RateViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
Chester, PA79.42,010.904,424.40
Detroit, MI40.41,965.704,304.30
Baltimore, MD58.61,859.504,495.10
St. Louis, MO87.21,927.305,911.80
National Average5366.72,109.90
State Average (PA)18.13161,708.80

Chester holds the 4th position nationwide for the highest violent crime rate, recording 2,010.9 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This statistic encompasses various offenses, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Furthermore, Chester is ranked 12th in the nation for the highest property crime rate, registering 4,424.4 property crimes per 100,000 people. The city grapples with numerous challenges and risks, underscoring the crucial need for immediate attention and action to enhance its safety and security.

Read More: This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of North Carolina

Causes and Consequences

Numerous factors contribute to the elevated crime and murder rates in Chester, including poverty, unemployment, limited educational opportunities, drug issues, gang activities, and the widespread availability of firearms.

As per the U.S. Census Bureau data from 2019, Chester’s poverty rate stood at 33.9%, more than twice the state and national averages of 12.5% and 10.5%, respectively. In 2020, the city’s unemployment rate was 11.9%, surpassing both state and national averages of 8.1% and 6.7%, respectively.

This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Pennsylvania

Educational attainment was notably low, with only 75.9% of adults holding a high school diploma or higher, and merely 10.9% possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The city grappled with a severe drug problem, serving as a hub for heroin and fentanyl trafficking, leading to a surge in overdoses. Gang issues were rampant, with rival groups vying for control over the drug market and turf. The prevalence of illegal firearms and lax enforcement of gun laws exacerbated the gun problem.

The repercussions of the heightened crime and murder rates in Chester are profound for residents and the community at large. Victims and their families endure physical, emotional, and financial hardships, while witnesses and bystanders live in constant fear and trauma.

Perpetrators face legal and social consequences, and the city suffers damage to its reputation, deterring businesses and visitors. Resources and services become strained and overwhelmed, perpetuating and exacerbating the cycle of violence and poverty.

Read More: This City Has Been Named the Cheapest Place to Live in Ohio


Chester holds the unfortunate distinction of being dubbed the murder capital of Pennsylvania, attributed to its alarmingly high rates of both murder and overall crime. The roots of this issue are intricate and manifold, with severe and widespread repercussions.

Addressing this challenge necessitates a thorough and cooperative strategy that engages diverse stakeholders and sectors, demanding a sustained and enduring commitment over the long term. Chester is a city in need of assistance and optimism, deserving an opportunity for transformation and prosperity.

With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.