Safest Cities in Maryland – 2021

Last Updated on December 27, 2020

Compared to other states. Maryland’s crime situation is a bit concerning. Though property crime in the state is slightly below national levels, violent crime in the state is 27% higher than the national rate. Much of this has to do with high crime in Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore, which, in 2018, had its most violent year ever in terms of homicides.

Crime rate per 1,000
Law enforcement per 1,000

Thankfully, other Maryland cities do not suffer from the same high level of crime seen in Baltimore. In fact, the Old Line State’s safest cities have admirably low crime rates, even if they don’t compare with the safest in the nation–albeit with one exception.

Maryland’s safest city is Ocean Pines, an affluent resort community of over 12,000 in Worcester County. Ocean Pines’ low crime rates place it in a league of its own among Maryland cities: the city earned a 1.14 per 1,000 violent crime rate in 2018, which is one-quarter of the statewide rate. Additionally, the city’s property crime rate of 4.25 per 1,000 is less-than-a-third of the next-lowest in the state.

Havre de Grace, Maryland’s 2nd safest city, doesn’t quite match the safety record of #1 Ocean Pines, yet recorded laudable crime rates of its own in 2018. The city, which was named one of the best small towns in the U.S. to visit by Smithsonian Magazine, has violent and property crime well below state and national levels.

#3 New Carrollton is located inland, just 10 miles east of Washington, D.C.. The city of 13K logged a violent crime rate 17% lower than the national rate in 2018, as well as the state’s 3rd-lowest property crime rate.

Bel Air earns the #4 spot in the ranking, a town of 10,000 just cracking our population parameters. Although property crime in the town is slightly above the national rate, the city recorded a violent crime rate less-than-half of the state average.

#5 Bowie is much larger than other top 5 entries, with a population near 60K, yet managed to earn the state’s 2nd lowest violent crime rate: a very respectable 1.35 per 1,000.

Maryland’s Safest Cities

Law enforcement
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Ocean Pines12244145219665.391.144.251.55
2Havre de Grace13655322174224918.242.3415.893.08
3New Carrollton13115401812622116.853.0513.801.98
4Bel Air10027232313925425.332.2923.043.89
6Takoma Park18049573935745024.933.1621.773.16


To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.