The Safest Neighborhoods In Philadelphia: 2021’s Ultimate List


Safest Neighborhoods In Philadelphia

Known as the birthplace of America, and home to the famous Philly Cheesesteak, the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, and over 50 distinct neighborhoods to choose from, Philadelphia is one of the nation’s most visited places. The city has such a rich historical heritage, Independence Hall being the site of the signing of both the Constitution and the Declaration. In fact, prior to the establishment of Washington D.C., Philly served as the country’s capitol.

Despite being so deep-rooted in history, Philadelphia is in no way stuck in the past. The City of Brotherly Love is overflowing with energetic nightlife, notable museums, a thriving restaurant scene, beloved sports teams, and so much more. 

However, when it comes to crime, Philadelphia consistently ranks well above the national average. It has the highest violent crime rate of the ten United States cities that have a population greater than 1 million, in addition to the highest poverty rate among these cities.  Philadelphia has repeatedly been featured on numerous lists of “The Dangerous Cities in America.”

However, just like every major city in the nation, high crime generally exists in concentrated pockets across the city. These areas are almost never frequented by tourists and can be easily avoided by future residents. As long as you are aware of what neighborhoods to stick to and which to avoid, you can stay safe in Philadelphia.

Although crime remains a concern in Philadelphia, there are stable, quiet areas of the city that can be great places to settle down. If you’re considering making the move to the City of Brotherly Love, we’re here to help you be a little more conscious about choosing your future neighborhood.

What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia?

If you’re shopping for your new home, whether it’s in suburbs, the city, or a place that is a combination of the two, there is one factor you should consider above all: the neighborhood’s safety. In most cities, Philadelphia included, each community is so diverse, it may as well be a world of its own. Since crime rates vary considerably from one Philadelphia neighborhood to another, we’ve done all the necessary research for you.

In order to determine the safest areas in the City of Brotherly Love, we took a look at raw FBI crime data. After analyzing the individual property crime, violent crime, and total crime for each neighborhood, we were able to rank them. The communities that had the lowest number of crimes per 100K people made our list of the top ten safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

  1. Bustleton
  2. Chestnut Hill
  3. Somerton
  4. Fox Chase
  5. Academy Gardens
  6. Torresdale
  7. Rhawnhurst
  8. Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista
  9. Byberry
  10. Roxborough

Let’s dive in and explore each of these Philadelphia neighborhoods in detail, their characteristics, crime rates, and what it’s like to call these places home.

1. Bustleton

Bustleton

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 201
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,065
  • Population: 31,993

Located in the far northeastern section of Philadelphia, Bustleton is a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood. With the lowest overall crime rate, this community tops our list of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bustleton is the ideal choice for those who want to live close to the city center but still far enough away to escape the hustle and bustle.

As a result, residents of Bustleton enjoy a mix of suburban and urban amenities. With the nearby Pennypack Park, Lackman Playground, and Benjamin Rush State Park, there are many green spaces for outdoor recreation. Trails can accommodate bikers, hikers, runners, and horseback riders. In Bustleton, you’ll also find exceptional cuisine options from all over the world.

The housing styles in this area are very diverse, including single-family split-level and two-story homes with most containing relatively large backyards. In addition to single-family homes, Bustleton also offers a number of townhomes, apartments, and condominiums.

Bustleton is the number one safest neighborhood in Philadelphia. Violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 201 and property crime per capita is 1,065 for 2020.

2. Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 249
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,267
  • Population: 11,011

Chestnut Hill is an affluent neighborhood located in Northwest Philadelphia. It is most known for its high real estate values, high household incomes, and exceptional private schools. Nicknamed “Philadelphia’s Garden District,” Chestnut Hill’s commercial district is complete with cobblestone streets, small independent businesses, outdoor dining, and quaint boutiques. Thanks to its close proximity to Cresheim and Wissahickon creeks and Fairmount Park, this Historic District offers an abundance of open spaces and greenery.

In the late 18th century, the area was one of many summer vacation spots because of its higher elevation, and cooler temperatures than Philadelphia’s city center. Stereotypically, Chestnut Hill still remains one of the wealthiest areas in the city. Here you’ll find an array of Victorian twin and row homes and also historic mansions.

Chestnut Hill takes the second spot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 249 and property crime is 1,267 for 2020.

3. Somerton

Somerton

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 267
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,299
  • Population: 30,102

Home to a large and fast-growing foreign-born population, Somerton is located in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia. This neighborhood most notably consists of a substantial number of Indian and Russian immigrants. Somerton’s diversity makes for a wonderful collection of unique and authentic dining opportunities.

With relatively low housing prices and the cost of living, Somerton can be a great place to live for new families. It is home to the Liberty Bell Center and within close proximity of the Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies. By our calculations, Somerton is the third safest neighborhood in The City of Brotherly Love.

Overall crime rates are significantly low and the area experiences 61% less crime than the Philadelphia average and 39% less than the national average. Violent crimes per 100K people is 267, while property crime comes in at 1,299 for 2020.

4. Fox Chase

Fox Chase

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 267
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,327
  • Population: 23,450

Fox Chase is a family-friendly neighborhood located in the northeast portion of Philadelphia. This L-shaped community is the ideal choice for families who enjoy the peacefulness of suburban life but also want to take advantage of nearby city parks. Fox Chase residents enjoy great schools, many parks, and a wide variety of family-oriented activities throughout the neighborhood.

Locals are especially fond of Burholme Park, an 85-acre green area, that is also home to the Burholme Family Fun Center, a quaint amusement park that offers mini-golf and an arcade. The neighborhood also borders Pennypack Park, the largest park in Philadelphia. It consists of a system of hiking and bike trails to explore its woodlands, wetlands, and meadows.

Philadelphia’s Fox Chase neighborhood comes in fourth on our list of the top ten safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Violent crimes per 100K people sits at 267 and property crime is 1,327 for 2020.

5. Academy Gardens

Academy Gardens

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K:352
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,260
  • Population: 27,044

Academy Gardens is a community of roughly 27,000 residents located in the far northeast section of Philadelphia. What was originally farmland, was settled by World War II veterans during the Northeast expansion. At this time, many of the homes were affordable starter homes that were largely unfinished.

Over the years, these same homes have been extensively remodeled and barely resemble their humble origins. The crime rates in Academy Gardens are 38% lower than the national average and 60% lower than the city average, earning the fifth spot on our list.

Academy Gardens is considered the fifth safest neighborhood in Philadelphia. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 352 and property crime is 1,260 for 2020.

6. Torresdale

Torresdale

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 412
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,517
  • Population: 30,358

Torresdale, formerly Torrisdale, is a far northeastern Philadelphia neighborhood located along the Delaware River and between Holmesburg and Bensalem Township. Situated in the neighboring Bucks County, Torresdale is home to primarily middle-class residents that make up its population of 30,358 people. What once housed Philadelphia’s earliest wealthy residents, now offers a very suburban feel and sense of community.

Residents enjoy the neighborhood’s sequestered nature but can also take a quick 20-minute train ride to Center City to take advantage of the various city amenities. Torresdale hosts a variety of dining and shopping opportunities along its Frankford Avenue. Additionally, Philadelphia’s largest outlet mall, Philadelphia Mills, is only four miles away from Torresdale, offering over 200 popular stores.

By our calculations, Torresdale is the sixth safest neighborhood in Philadelphia. The violent crimes per 100K sits at 412 and property crime is 1,517 for 2020.

7. Rhawnhurst

Rhawnhurst

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K:328
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,628
  • Population: 30,805

Rhawnhurst is a quiet, diverse residential community that is located roughly 12 miles northeast of Center City. The area is bordered by the natural beauty of Pennypack Creek and offers a variety of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments to fit every budget. Most homes in Rhawnhurst are twins, along with some duplexes and ranches, mainly built by local builder A.P. Orleans.

Residents of Rhawnhurst enjoy renowned schools, and easy access to parks, recreational facilities, and plenty of other amenities. Locals can visit the nearby Roosevelt Mall for shopping, Cottman Avenue for authentic meals at global restaurants, or wander Pennypack Park’s lush green space.

This area of the city is great for commuters looking for a nice reprieve, as Center City is a mere 25-minute drive away. Rhawnhurst ranks number seven on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 328, while property crime per capita is 1,628 for 2020.

8. Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista

Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 465
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,812
  • Population: 29,357

The Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista neighborhood is comprised of three distinct communities: Wharton, Hawthorne, and Bella Vista. This area is located in South Philadelphia and consists of roughly 29,000 residents. It is a well-established community just over a mile from Center City with cozy homes at competitive prices. Its close proximity to Center City offers all the urban desired urban amenities.

While the total crime in this neighborhood is 43% lower than the Philadelphia average and 12% lower than the national average, violent crime is 22% above the national average. Regardless of these statistics, the Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista community still earns the eighth slot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 465 and property crime is 1,812 for 2020.

9. Byberry

Byberry

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K:452
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,934
  • Population: 16,442

Located in the far northeastern section of Philadelphia, Byberry is most known for the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, a psychiatric facility that closed down in the 1990s. What was once home to thousands of mental patients became regarded as a “clinical and management nightmare” in the 1980s and was shut down a decade later.

Nowadays, the relatively small community maintains a strong abolitionist presence and is thought to have been an original stop on the Underground Railroad. The area is primarily synonymous with Somerton, as the two neighborhoods tend to overlap.

Residents of Byberry love how accessible their home is to everything. Shopping is nearby and easy access to many major roadways makes it convenient for getting around quickly. According to our calculations, Byberry is the ninth safest neighborhood in Philadelphia. Though, it should be noted that the violent crime rate is 19% above the national average. Violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 452 and property crime is 1,934 for 2020.

10. Roxborough

Roxborough

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K:487
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,932
  • Population: 31,063

Closing out our comprehensive list of the safest communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a neighborhood with deep roots. Located in the northwestern section of the city, Roxborough is a reasonably safe area with a nice suburban, family-friendly atmosphere. It is close enough to the city that it experiences some crime, but it tends to be more nonviolent, than the violent variety.

The community was founded three centuries ago, when it was plantations that stretched for miles. Nowadays, the neighborhood’s Ridge Avenue is less of the throughway it once was and more of a destination. The street is lined with well-known shops, businesses, and restaurants.

Residents enjoy many outdoor recreational activities with the nearby Wissahickon Creek and Wissahickon Valley Park. The lower section of the community consists of row homes and homes that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries, contributing to the neighborhood’s urban, historic charm.

Roxborough rounds out our list of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, taking the tenth slot. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 487 and property crime is 1,932 for 2020.

Safest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia for 2020

Rank Neighborhood Population Violent Crime (per 100K) Property Crime (per 100K)
1 Bustleton 31,993 201 1,065
2 Chestnut Hill 11,011 249 1,267
3 Somerton 30,102 267 1,299
4 Fox Chase 23,450 267 1,327
5 Academy Gardens 27,044 352 1,260
6 Torresdale 30,358 412 1,517
7 Rhawnhurst 30,805 328 1,628
8 Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista 29,357 465 1,812
9 Byberry 16,442 452 1,934
10 Roxborough 31,063 487 1,932

Related Questions

What are the most dangerous neighborhoods in Philadelphia?

Being the second-largest city on the East Coast and one of the biggest cities in the nation, Philadelphia is no stranger to crime and dangerous neighborhoods. While Philadelphia does have a lot of good family-friendly neighborhoods, there are also exceptionally bad areas that should be avoided.

When determining the areas with higher crime rates, violent crime is a major index that measures how safe a community is. Violent crime consists of murder, assault, manslaughter, and rape. While property crime, another factor in neighborhood safety, involves robbery, forgery, burglary etc. Based on the number of crimes per 100K people, the most dangerous neighborhoods in Philadelphia are as follows:

  1. Tioga-Nicetown
  2. Alleghany West
  3. North Central
  4. Strawberry Mansion
  5. Harrowgate
  6. Haddington-Carroll Park
  7. Fairhill
  8. Brewerytown
  9. Germantown
  10. Hunting Park

All of these areas have total crime rates that are substantially above both the national average and Philadelphia average.

Is Philadelphia safe?

With such high crime rates in its most dangerous neighborhoods and an overall crime rate that is higher than the national average, it’s hard not to conclude that Philadelphia is unsafe. However, the city can be safe for both tourists and residents, as long as you are aware of which areas to avoid and which to stick to. Even though Philadelphia is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in America, this generally only applies to the dangerous areas of the city which are rarely frequented by tourists and can be easily avoided by residents.

For further analysis, examine the chart below for the most up-to-date crime data released by the FBI for Philadelphia. We’ve also included the national averages for easy reference.

Statistic Reported Incidents Philadelphia/100k people National/100k people
Total Crime 63,565 4,006 2,580
Murder 351 22.1 5.0
Rape 1,095 69.0 42.6
Robbery 5,262 331.6 86.2
Assault 7,712 486.0 246.8
Violent crime 14,420 909 381
Burglary 6,497 409.4 376.0
Theft 36,968 2,329.6 1,594.6
Vehicle theft 5,680 357.9 228.9
Property crime 49,145 3,097 2,200

What is the wealthiest neighborhood in Philadelphia?

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, twenty-seven communities across Philadelphia land on the list of America’s 1,000 richest neighborhoods. However, wealthy neighborhoods in Philadelphia tend to be few and far between because the city as a whole is plagued by inherited, systematic poverty. Chestnut Hill is ranked as the wealthiest community in the City of Philadelphia due to its highest-income residents. This area also happens to be second on our list of the safest neighborhoods in the city.

Wrapping It Up

Although Philadelphia is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, there are areas that are safe for both families and individuals. Just like any major city, most violent crime is isolated in impoverished sections and as long as you know which communities to steer clear of, you’ll be able to enjoy your stay in the City of Brotherly Love.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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