Pottstown – Crime vs. Revitalization

Pottstown had a murder this week.  Based on information found in the newspaper, the home is owned by a company in Exton.  Enough said.

I have been quiet about crime lately because I feel it falls on deaf ears.  However, if we think people don’t investigate crime rates before deciding to relocate to a specific community we would be naïve.  That goes for business as well.  We keep talking about how Pottstown is going to revitalize but it’s not happening.  A great big problem aka the elephant in the room is the crime rate and the horrible reputation this community has in the outside world.  Yes, life does exist beyond the borough lines and people do pay attention to what happens here.  An UGG BOOTS ban in the Pottstown Middle School made the national news.

Pottstown’s crime rate went up drastically between 2009 and 2010.  Our city-data.com score rose from 456.6 to 535.6.  The U.S. average is 319.1.  Pottstown’s crime rate is significantly higher (BAD).  As a matter of fact, it was higher than many of the largest cities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2010.  Yes, you read that correctly!

City                                Population       Crime Index

Allentown, PA             118,032 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 476.5 (2010)

Bethlehem, PA              74,982 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 236.1 (2010)

Lancaster, PA               59,433 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 519.4 (2010)

York, PA                        44,718 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 582.4 (2010)

Scranton, PA                76,089 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 275.4 (2010)

Philadelphia, PA      1,526,006 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 567.7 (2010)

Pittsburgh, PA             305,704 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 411.3 (2010)

Erie, PA                      101,786 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 347.4 (2010)

Reading, PA                 88,082 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 548.3 (2010)

Harrisburg, PA              49,528 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index – 721.6 (2010)

POTTSTOWN, PA         22,377 (2010)    City-Data Crime Index535.6 (2010)

I find this evidence both appalling and disgraceful.  Pottstown was the 74th largest municipality in Pennsylvania as of the 2010 census.  We should not have higher crime than six of the major cities in this state.  We are below Philadelphia and Reading, but not by much! Harrisburg is evidently in a class by itself!

My point being, this information is very easy to find.  Millions of people use sites like City-data.com to research communities before moving to or investing in them.  So borough leadership, what exactly is the game plan to correct Pottstown’s out of control crime problem?  Ignoring the problem is not a solution!

Somebody better get a clue, like yesterday!

6 comments on “Pottstown – Crime vs. Revitalization

  1. The hardcore reality is the unavoidable connection between the absentee rental property owners, (as you touched on Roy), and the availability of housing for them. It is a well-documented fact that when urban blight and neglect become the “norm” crime and debauchery proliferate. When slumlords and their counterpart management companies expect payment for rent in “cash” they enable criminals because most criminals don’t maintain banking practices and slumlords don’t claim their cash income on their taxes, it a “win win” for the criminals. Even when Section 8 pays the bulk of the rent there is an additional sum that get handed over to the slumlords directly from the tenants.

    Throw into the mix, the undeniable reality that Montgomery County stands firmly in violation of Federal Law by allowing…..NO….ENCOURAGING the concentration of the County’s poor and disenfranchised to live in Pottstown, and Norristown. Conveniently concentrating and containing the elements of humanity that THEY determine are not fit to reside in other communities. This is blatant discrimination.

    The borough leadership has and is continuing to step up to the plate to begin to get a grip on our nightmare but enforcement is a big job and WHERE THE HELL IS MONTGOMERY COUNTY in all this? If the 99% ers in Pottstown want to effect visible change it’s is time to stand and the pearly gates of our fine county and become an undeniable force to reckon with.

  2. The largest expense in the general fund is the police department…with these statistics one wonders are we getting our bang for $3,000,000.00 a year. It would seem not. The general opinion of Pottstown by the outside world is that we an unsafe ghetto. Roll up the windows, lock the doors and hope you don’t break down or run out of gas until you’re through town. Unless we correct our crime problem this perception will hamper revitalization.

  3. Roy, sad charting. I don’t know that your information or any of it, falls on deaf ears, but I do know that it’s the people who care about their neighbors, blocks and Pottstown that will effect change-Montco wants to keep a distance and continue to ignore their part in Pottstown’s decline, and there are those who’d rather reminisce than reimagine a new Pottstown. The rest who put their assumptions and fears aside will make the difference.

  4. Very true. You should check out West Chester’s stats. It is almost as big as Pottstown, racially diverse and they have WCU, which throws 12,000 college students into the mix. Their crime rate for 2010 was 196.7. They have 47 police. We have 46 according to City data but that fluxuates so it could be 47 or 48. West Chester is not a wealthy community based on per capita and median incomes either. What’s their secret? I would like to know.

  5. I reported a crime last week. Drug dealing in one of those Section 8 apartments. It was never investigated. Perhaps that’s the difference between West Chester and Pottstown?

  6. Sadly, you are not the first person to make a comment like that about reporting a crime in Pottstown. There is obviously a disconnect in the process. We can’t afford to continue in this manner any longer.

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