Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


Upper Merion Safe, But Not Secure

Upper Merion’s Low Violent Crime; Major Property Crime Problem

Upper Merion is easily one of the safest areas in Pennsylvania. Violent crime stands at a third of state and national averages and the township police department, in their January 2023 release, recorded zero reports of homicide, a statistic confirmed by Niche’s score on Upper Merion Crime. The township further noted in its release no reports of burglary, assault, and only one report of “criminal mischief,” a record many towns and cities wish they could emulate as more and more Americans become concerned with criminal activity and law enforcement in their areas.

Despite the success of the UMPD to make Upper Merion one of the safest towns in the country, Upper Merion has a disturbing trend that has yet to be thoroughly addressed: high property crime. In the same report, the township concluded several accounts of identity theft, fraud, vehicle and retail theft, general theft, and at least one count of both a stolen vehicle and a robbery. UM property crime is also better highlighted by “Best Place” and “Security Gauge,” two sources of crime statistics, which concluded that Upper Merion has double the average property crime rate as the rest of the state, and nearly triple that of the national average. The township’s “white collar” crime rate has also been called to attention following a crackdown on financial fraud in the neighboring city of Philadelphia. 

The dichotomy of these two statistics is clear among residents of the area. One longtime resident of Upper Merion stated regarding violent crime “I believe [the violent crime rate] is about on par for the course. It’s a small community and I think the UMPD does a good job for the size of the area.” Despite the optimism, residents also expressed surprise and concern in reference to the property crime rate. “I don’t know how to feel,” residents told this reporter, “I believed [property crime] would not be higher than neighboring districts. I’m surprised!” The clear transition among residents of the township from contentment to shocking concern reveals just how unnoticed property crime has become in UM,  and calls into question how the community will handle this worrying obstacle, and how Upper Merion can become the example of a rebounding local township to other areas of the state, should property crime be reduced and neighborhoods kept safe in the near future. 


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