Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania gained popularity as a destination for young professionals and families during COVID. Pittsburgh aka ‘Steel City’ has good public schools, safe neighborhoods, family-friendly parks and a good supply of single-family home choices including condos and desirable Victorians. There’s a mix of affordable neighborhoods, some with a small-town feel. Its cost of living is a little below the national average (-2%) with bigger savings in housing costs (-7%), according to RentCafe.

Pittsburgh’s popularity comes in large part from the universities that make it home: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh University, and Chatham University. Carnegie Mellon University’s strong engineering departments made it a good base of operations for large tech companies that pay top dollar.

A Pittsburgh fact: the city is hilly! What makes it a fun fact is that the city owns 800 steps, sections of steep stair-like walks, connecting neighborhoods, some attached to buildings. We bring this up because hills make moving challenging. And moving is what Bellhop Movers does best. We’re experts at local and long-distance moves. We’d love to help with one of our teams of movers in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Skyline from Duquesne Incline

Safety has to be a key consideration when choosing a place to live. We will show you the city and surrounding areas in Allegheny County that offer great choices with low crime rates and safe living for families, young professionals, and retirees.

Before we start talking about crime, some disclaimers

Crime in any city is a touchy subject, particularly when running on ‘law and order’ is an easy election win. City leaders are sensitive to the subject and are continually trying new approaches: new ideas like ‘community-based policing.’ Yet a neighborhood’s reputation for high crime may linger long after the problem has been solved. So take our list as a place to start your research.

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Secondly, even the FBI says it’s a bad idea to compare crime stats from place to place: big towns with small, even similarly sized cities like Pittsburgh with Portland, Oregon. Crime rates per capita don’t always compare.

Crime Rates in Pittsburgh

Depending on the web page author and their intention, Pittsburgh is either very dangerous when compared to all U.S. cities or just ‘average’ when compared to other similar-sized cities according to FBI’s latest data (from 2019). (So, when looking online for crime rates in Pittsburgh or any other city, it pays to spend time researching.)

Like most cities crime rates rose in Pittsburgh in 2020 and 2021, then dropped from 2022 to 2023. City police reported homicides (a violent crime) dropped 27%. The city police have an interactive map page under construction that maps FBI-defined crimes to Pittsburgh neighborhoods. It’s generally useful; however, crime rate data after 2021 may not be accurate (their warning).

Neighborhoods with the highest crime rates as reported in early 2023, (both violent and non-violent) include:

  • South Side
  • Strip District – Lawrenceville
  • Northside

11 Safe Neighborhoods in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh consists of the downtown area, called the Golden Triangle, where the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers join to create the Ohio river, and four surrounding areas subdivided into 90 distinct neighborhoods. We’ve searched to find you some of the best neighborhoods for renters, young families, and professionals.

Zillow shows an average price for homes in Pittsburgh of $222,000. We’ll use this as a comparison for our top-rated areas as we find you a safe place.

Squirrel Hill North

This neighborhood is highly rated by Niche with high marks for families, schools, and nightlife along Forbes Avenue. Homes average $693,000. There are plenty of parks with playgrounds in this top-rated area within walking distance,  including Chatham University Arboretum. Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University are nearby. Neighboring homes in Squirrel Hill South average $417,000. It has a low crime rate. Learn more in our longer review.

South Breeze

Just north of Squirrel Hill North is the South Breeze neighborhood (zip code 15232). It is similarly historic with many fine Victorian homes and parks (Mellon Park and Frick Park, named after steel magnates who lived here). The parks feature great walks, bike paths and playgrounds. Homes closer to Squirrel Hill North average $468,000. Further east bargains can be found for closer to $250,000 according to Zillow (zip codes 15206, 15221). We talk more about this great area here. Niche likes it too. Consider either if you are a family or young professional and want a low crime rate.

Upper Lawrenceville / Stanton Heights

This area bounds the river and is part of what is considered the East End of Pittsburgh. It’s a neighborhood of single homes and duplexes, originally designed as a private country club. Zillow shows an average home price of $257,000 (zip code 15206). It offers nearby shopping in a small business district with convenient access to Highland Park.

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Swisshelm Park

Swisshelm Park (zip code 15206) is an older neighborhood located in the southeast corner with a suburban character full of ranch style and two-story brick homes. Pittsburgh requires public employees to live in the city. This out of the way neighborhood attracts many with its strong community orientation. Zillow shows an average home value of $257,904.

North Oakland

This neighborhood includes portions of the University of Pittsburgh campus and is home to many students. Zillow shows an average home price of $262,000 for the 15213 zip code. This neighborhood is home to the Schenley Farms Historic District and many mid-rise condos and apartment buildings.

Regent Square

Regent Square (zip code 15218) is an up-and-coming neighborhood in the East End, containing Swisshelm Park. It was highly rated by Niche for families. Home values average $194,000, condos $144,000.

Polish Hill

This neighborhood is great for families young and old with an artsy feel. It’s bounded by Lower Lawrenceville to the north, North Oakland to the southeast. Home values average $193,000. Read our long review here.

Highland Park

A desirable neighborhood highly rated by Niche (A+). The namesake 380-acre Highland Park offers a reservoir, playgrounds, jogging paths, and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Just east of Stanton Heights, it’s an older, more established area with a traditional family feel. Homes average $257,000. The entire neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fox Chapel

Fox Chapel is rated #1 by Niche as a great suburb area to raise a family. There is a relaxed rural feel to the community with lots of access to water on the river. Squaw Valley Park offers playgrounds and hiking trails, while Trillium Trail is known for its wildflowers and natural beauty. Desirable suburban homes in its 15238 zip code average $491,000 and condos $444,000.

East Carnegie

This desirable wooded neighborhood with a suburban feel is actually in the West End. It’s classified as a “natural area” with large tracts of wooded land, a zip code 15106 and home values of $202,000. East Carnegie Park offers green spaces for relaxation and recreation, and nearby Walker Park provides trails and sports fields. There’s good shopping and dining in the ‘quaint downtown.’ Try Riley’s Pour House with its authentic Irish pub experience.

Baldwin Township

This township bordering the city stretches along the south side of the Monongahela River and is part of Allegheny County.  It maintains its rural feel with a spread-out population of 20,000. Zillow shows an average home value of $220,000. Access is a little limited and it feels a little cut off from the big city. You may like that vibe so we offer it.

Ready to move to Pittsburgh?

We hope you enjoyed reading this article about safe and affordable neighborhoods in and around Pittsburgh. When it comes time for you to make your move, we would love to help. We have great Pittsburgh movers ready to go, and can help with long-distance movers in Pittsburgh as well.

If you’re still not quite sure, enjoy a little more reading on us:

Is Moving to Pittsburgh Right for You?

The 5 Best Neighborhoods for Families in Pittsburgh

Best Schools in Pittsburgh

Cost of Living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Warren Sly