Erie Vital Signs

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Community & Civic Engagement

The EVS Community and Civic Engagement indicators track five families of civic factors with 82 individual data series for Erie County, and more than 350 data series in total once peers are considered. The goal is to include those factors that play a key role in the quality of community and civic life in Erie, and measure the degree to which Erie County residents are engaged in it.

Most Recent Data

The pattern for Community and Civic Engagement has been mixed in recent years. While the number of volunteers is up for the state and the nation, Erie’s volunteer rates fell in 2010, the most recent year with data, and Erie placed below the nation, the state, and most peers. Similarly, although the numbers of eligible voters has been up a bit lately, the actual rate of voter participation was down significantly in 2012.

There is good news on the crime side: the number of offenses has been falling by quite a bit lately in Erie. Moreover, the percentage of crimes that results in arrests is up, hopefully making Erie residents feel safer. But the dark cloud to this silver lining is that there has been an increase in more serious crimes, such as weapons-related crime and murder/manslaughter.

Social capital tells an interesting story about Erie. On an interpersonal level, Erieites tend to be connected with others. They socialize regularly and are involved in faith communities. However they tend to exhibit less connection on the civic side, such as attending public meetings. We have some room for improvement in this area.

The Indicators


Offenses Committed & Arrests Made

Offenses Committed by Category

Voter Participation

Social Capital

The Community and Civic Engagement Subcommittee

The Community and Civic Engagement Subcommittee is responsible for identifying the key variables for this section of Erie Vital Signs, and for reviewing and evaluating the update information before it is posted to the EVS website.


  • Bob Wooler, Executive Director, Nonprofit Partnership (Chair)
  • Matthew Cummings, Director of Communications, Erie School District
  • Amy Eisert, Director, Mercyhurst Civic Institute
  • John Horan, Executive Director, Housing Authority of City of Erie
  • Gary Horton, Executive Director, Urban Erie Community Development Corporation
  • Mike Jaruszewicz, Community Building Manager, United Way of Erie County
  • Joe Markewicz, Co-Project Director, Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Organizational Research & Evaluation (CORE), Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
  • Rev. Charles Mock, Executive Secretary, Clergy and Churches United
  • Joe Morris, Associate Professor, Center for Public Affairs, Mercyhurst College
  • Marshall Piccinini, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney Western Division
  • Erika Ramalho, Director of Community and Government Relations, Gannon University
  • Jim Riley, Market Manager, Cumulus Media Erie

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