Are the Poconos a safe place to live?

To be truly honest I’d have to say yes and no. Are the Poconos a safer place to live then Philadelphia or New York? I’d have to say most definitely yes. What determines that though? Is it the area itself? Is it the number of people living in this area versus a major city? Who knows.

What I do know is that we have had our fair share of crime and issues that might turn some people off:

Gangs have become such an increasing issue that the Monroe County Gang Task Force was created last year. According to the Pocono Record the task force is tracking a family tree of New York and New Jersey gangs moving into the Poconos. One draw to the area is the increasing number of cheap foreclosures, the other is easy access to I-80 makes it very easy for transportation of drugs from the bigger cities into the Poconos. Many “original” Pocono-ers who have grown up in the area have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to commuters or transplants moving into the area. This paragraph from the Pocono Record sums up most their fears “Families buy homes and move here hoping for a better life, but find low-paying jobs when they arrive. Unable to make the mortgage, they commute to better jobs, leaving kids to fend for themselves. Parents leaving kids alone for a week at a time is alarmingly common in the Poconos. No parents, no school €” truancy becomes a problem.”

“Parents leave $100 and the oldest in charge. Pretty soon there is a party, rape, drugs,” Ortiz said. “Kids have a wanting to feel affection. When there is none at home they turn to their friends.” These are the kids gangs prey on.

If you’re looking to buy a home in the Poconos and find a great house at a great price – make sure you do your homework on the area. Many of the gated communities although you might assume they are safer then ungated communities or even homes not in communities at all end up being quite the opposite. “In New York, gangs have territories. In the Poconos, conflicting gang members live next door. That creates tense neighborhoods in places such as A Pocono Country Place, where a mix of gang members live in close proximity. Other hot spots for gangs include Saw Creek, Pocono Farms East and Penn Estates. Weapons, fights and drugs are part of the landscape. Private communities, where municipal police don’t patrol, plus bargain-priced housing is an invitation to lawlessness. But the criminal element can be found everywhere, including drug dealers on Main Streetin Stroudsburg, Varkanis said.”

For more information on gangs in the Pocono area:

Disturbing Murders
Deanna Marie Null was murdered in January and her body was dismembered and placed in bags that were spread across I-380 and I-80. Its a disturbing story to say the least:

Lee Van Luvender was murdered in December ’07 and the murder was featured on America’s Most Wanted in April 2008. Billboards were put up offering a reward leading to his death being solved, although he was going hunting that day it has been determined that it was definitely not a hunting accident that ended his life. Again, its mentioned about how as the Poconos expands, so do the crimes. “From Sleepy Hollow to Bustling Metropolis – Cops say the Pocono Mountains region, once the best-kept vacation secret in Pennsylvania, known for its pristine beauty and resort feel, has exploded over the last few years. They say its growth, due in part to the introduction of a new casino in the area, has transformed the resort town from a sleepy hollow to a bustling metropolis, drawing gamblers from New York and New Jersey, but cops say it also draws transients as well.”

Robberies, shootings and more
The Poconos has had its fair share of crime, although recently it does seem escalated – In April 2008 the manager at the Arby’s in Stroudsburg was stabbed when he went back inside after closing up for the night and walked in on a robbery in progress. A fight at a McDonalds in April led to a handgun being fired into the ground(thank gosh).

There are plenty of accounts of recent crime activity in the Poconos. I think the biggest question people have to ask themselves when they are looking to move into the area is if the Poconos are really any worse off crime wise then other areas of the county. I definitely think that the crime rates have risen over the years, the only numbers I could find I’m not sure are even valid: and again, the number of people that move into the area each year is bound to increase crime – the question is if its proportional or not.

My advice is to do your homework and thoroughly investigate the area which you’re moving too. A great place for free advice is contrary to its name its not a site for commuters and people are very willing to give their honest opinions whether you’re open to hear it or not. So if you post on their forums “hey I’m looking to purchase a home in this area/community, can I get some input from other people that live there or have” you’ll most likely get some kind of response that should help make your decision. I would check with your realtor as well as to any crime statistics they have, and trust your gut – if it feels odd and seems to good to be true it probably is. As a homeowner myself I had to convince myself “if we don’t get that house there is a reason for it”….months and many of potential houses and disappointments later we’re thoroughly satisfied with the home we finally purchased and looking back its the ideal home compared to what we were looking at. Don’t sacrifice safety for a better price on a home – make sure wherever you choose to live that you’re comfortable being there.

Although I feel strongly that the Poconos are definitely a step back from big city living, there is less crime, in general people are more laid back, less hostile, less stressed – it still comes with its own set of issues like any area. You will face new challenges – community living, deer eating your flowers, septic mounds and wells but in my opinion the pros far outweigh the cons and still make the Poconos one of the most beautiful relaxing areas to live in.


  1. says

    I know that this is old news, but I objected to the characterization of the residents of gated communities when the Record published this story. I’ve lived in one such community for 12 years and have experience none of what was depicted in the Record’s story. Unless you have personal experience with living in a gated community in the Poconos, I would think that you might consider that you may be contributing to an inaccurate portrayal of the living conditions of some of your Pocono neighbors. Ray

    • says

      Dear Ray, Thank you for taking a stand and defending your community in helping make it a better place. As a top area real estate agent, I pride myself on building communities and defending the way of life we have have here in the Poconos. The sensationalism of the Pocono Record and the percentage of incidences compared to other areas as well as the number of violent crimes are miniscule. Most of the offenses are low level drug dealing and local law enforcement along with cooperation from NY and New Jersey law enforcement, have made many noteworthy arrests and when people report things and speak up instead of bad mouth places that the dont live in and haven’t seen, thats how things get better and for the most part things are wonderful.

  2. mike claypotch says

    my house has had the basement windows kicked in twice this year and theres been numerous robberies in lake valhalla.

  3. Albert says

    On a visit to a friends place in the poconos this last summer we were treated to a night out that resulted in gang violence. We were probably on the edge of the East Stroudsburg North Area in the myplace bar. As some of us were outside getting ready to leave, a group or gang of individuals jumped my friend inside, who is currently serving in the military and has been deployed once. They threw him out in the parking lot with broken ribs. Two of my other friends got attacked trying to break the fight up. One friend got hit in the head and blacked out, by the dj of hands-up-entertainment or mirage entertainment group. Another was attacked and had his face smashed into the pavement requiring 20 stitches for a portion above his eye that looked like hamburger meat. I dragged my friends to the car so we could leave. Police said the bar would not cooperate in investigation, that the bar is known for gang activity, stabbings and shootings. Beware of this location and these people.

  4. rkm says

    My daughter was car jacked by gun from bethleham pa. At 5pm beat and driven to the Pocono mt. Area here near multiple campsites raped and beaten again until her jaw was completely severed. The responding police and troopers came to her rescue 11 miles past a dollar general where the man jumped groom her vehicle and ran behind. The responding officers messed up the crime scene inside the van and troopers and local police never had a rape kit processed interigated my child 3 hours where she had driven to in shock realizing she was so far from home in a place she had never been treated horrendously. Fortunately we knew friends that work for Americas most wanted. However the case was never made a case until her towns da. Heard from them. Poor care of a victim. I would never even consider living in the stroudsburg area nor near the mountain ridge areas as my child was abused by the rapist as well as the law. Something I would consider especially if you are a woman or have teenage girls. It was a hell we continue to live and a disappointment we will take to the lord one day justice will be served. I am a praying mother but trust me I would never even vacation there after the level of cover up,interrogation and total disdain my child received by the police troopers and medical center.

  5. LP says

    I have lived in the Poconos for one year and now looking to leave Pa for good. The people are rude uneducated and if you like to look at old couches on a front porch and garbage strewed all over their yard. THIS PLACE IS FOR YOU…They hate outsiders and blame everything on New Yorker and New Jersey Beware of dog and private property sign are comon front yard sign..The drug issues are off the charts not to leave out other crimes like child molestation meth labs and fires. Everyone smokes..I’m out of here..Six months to go.. YEH !!!!!

  6. natalietiana says

    Where are the safest areas to live in East Stroudsburg? Any particular townships and/or developments that you would suggest? Every time I visit, my family and I never want to leave. Please help!

    • says

      Well your budget will determine a lot, as well as location, can you give any more details to help narrow it down? Off the bat, Blue Mountain is a beautiful community with a lot of amenities, but taxes are A LOT as well as HOA fees. So do you want Association fees at all or not? Are you looking for a gated community or not?

  7. dawn Delammo says

    My family and I moved from NJ 15 years ago to the Poconos. We purchased a nice home for 180K. The value of our home has not gone up, there are many foreclosures. The majority of the people have to commute about 2 hours into NYC for work. They need to take the bus into NYC at 4am so that they can be at work by 8 or 9am. If they leave any later than 4am they will be stuck in traffic. Many of the kids are left unsupervised as both parents are working in NYC. The Poconos is a very small town. Not a place I want my children to stay as their are no opportunities for employment. As far as recreation there is not much. There is a local YMCA in Stroudsburg, some parks and not many good restaurants only a few. There is one movie theatre and a very small mall. We usually will drive an hour into NJ or into NYC for entertainment and dining. The only pro about living in the Poconos is that housing is pretty cheap and the reason its so cheap is that there is not much to do and jobs with poor pay. I wish I would have done my research before moving here. We are moving this year. Yeah!!!

  8. Rosetta Stone says

    I moved to the Poconos in July 2001. looking back, I wish I would have really done my research with regards to potential employment and just how far everything was. I have commuted 16 years on and off for employment into New York. My commute ranges from 5 to 6 hours during the regular seasons to 6-9 hours in winter. After the housing crisis hit the Poconos, the foreclosures started. My home is currently underwater and I like myself are forced with making decisions. When I first moved to the Poconos, I found it to be a lovely quaint place. I have no small children so commuting was never a problem. I still could not believe the many commuters that had small children at home and depended on their parents for help in raising their children while they commuted. I seriously believe many like myself did not take into consideration the time commuting would take and its toll. The quality of life is hazardous and brings with it health issues. The most harrowing aspect of my life in the Poconos, is how I moved out of New York, not just because I was out priced in buying a home, but because of the filth, the trash and the bad apples. The dregs of society, Fast forward 16 years, and they are now here. Yes the Poconos had its own crime problems, but now it is rampant. From the attitudes, to the disregard for other people’s property and lives, the Poconos has sadly gone straight to hell. I no longer see as many old time commuters as I used to as they are all leaving. One day, I will to, and I will not look back let the new people moving in and making ugly a once beautiful place have what is left of it. Do I regret my decision of moving here, YOU BET!!! every day when I wake up at 4:45 a.m. to take a bus to take me to work.

    • Dana B says

      I am planning to buy a house on Pocono Summit and commute to NYC.
      I read your opinion about leaving in Pocono. The reason I want to move is exactly what you said. I am tired of crowdy place also. Now I am scared to move.

      Can someone tell me if Pocono Summit Lake area is safe? Can I use a cab to go to the Martz bus stop?
      Thank you

  9. Sue says

    Wow these comments scare me!! I was looking to buy a house in Pocono Ranch lands and now o am second guessing….

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