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Delaware’s 10 Safest Cities of 2020

Written by | Updated July 15, 2020
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Last Updated: Less than 6 months
See how the coronavirus is impacting crime in Delaware and around the nation. Read our coronavirus crime update for details.

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the sixth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Delaware for 2020. See if your city made the list.

Delaware crime experience infographic; 15% violent crime, 22% property crime, 2% mass shooting

Delaware shows less concern about safety on a daily basis than most of the US. But the crimes its residents are most worried about are more in line with reality than many other states—despite slightly higher crime rates. The state’s safest city, Milton, claims the top spot this year after reporting zero violent crimes in 2018.

Find out all of Delaware’s safest cities of 2020.

In our 2020 State of Safety study, 42% of Delaware respondents expressed feeling high or very high concern about their safety every day. That’s four percentage points below the national average of 46% and seven points lower than the state reported last year.

Delaware’s low safety concerns fly in the face of reports that Delaware participants’ personal experience with both violent and property crime increased year over year.

Delaware crime stats infographic
Break-ins are a top concern in Delaware and 42% use a guard dog for protection.

Crime rates are slightly higher than national averages in Delaware, with violent crime occuring at a rate of 4.2 incidents per 1,000 and property crime at 23.2 incidents per 1,000. National rates are 3.7 for violent crime and 22.0 for property crime.

Violent Crime in Delaware: Fear vs. Reality

Delaware is more in tune with violent crime trends than many other states, according to our State of Safety survey. Assault by a stranger is the crime respondents fear most, and aggravated assault is the most prevalent violent crime across the state.

  • 38% stated high or very high concern about assault by a stranger, compared to 40% nationwide.
  • Among the safest cities, aggravated assault was the most reported violent crime, with 200 incidents, or 66%, of all violent crimes in those cities.
  • Statewide, aggravated assault again leads the way, accounting for 69% of all violent crime in Delaware.
  • Respondents had a change of heart when asked which crime they felt was most likely to happen. Being robbed on the street nabbed 22% of the vote, compared to 27% across the US.
  • In reality, robbery accounted for only 20% of the violent crimes in the safest cities (60 incidents total), and 21% statewide.
  • 15% said they experienced a violent crime in the past 12 months. That’s above both the national average of 12% and last year’s report of 14%.
Delaware crime stats infographic
Delaware crime stats infographic

Property Crime in Delaware: Fear vs. Reality

When it comes to property crime, Delaware named fear of break-ins when away from home as the top safety concern. Yet burglaries only made up 14% of all property crime in the state in 2018.

  • 61% named someone breaking in while they’re not at home as their biggest property crime worry, compared to 62% nationwide.
  • Burglaries made up 12% of all property crime among the safest cities and accounted for 14% across the state.
  • Guard dogs are the number one way people protect their home in Delaware, with 42%, followed by 31% that use a security system and 25% that use security cameras.
  • 20% of study participants said they don’t use any form of security on their property.
  • Vehicle theft is the crime voted most likely by State of Safety respondents, with 35% of all responses.
  • Actual theft of vehicles in the state is minimal. Among the safest cities car theft accounts for 5% of all property crimes, and it makes up 7% of all property crime across the state.
  • Larceny-theft is the most common property crime in Delaware, accounting for 79% of all property crime in the state.
  • 22% reported experiencing a property crime in the past year. That’s under the national average of 26%, but an increase from last year’s report of 18%.
Delaware crime stats infographic
Delaware crime stats infographic

A Closer Look at Delaware’s Safest Cities of 2020

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • 60% of the cities saw improvement in rank year over year, and 20% dropped.
  • Milton moved from number three last year to claim the top spot with a violent crime rate of zero incidents.
  • 80% of the cities are below both national (3.7) and state (4.2) violent crime rates.
  • Two cities are at or above the state violent crime rate—Smyrna with 4.2 and Clayton with 4.9.
  • 90% of the cities reported zero murders, and only one murder was reported among all the safest cities.
  • 60% of the cities are below both state (23.2) and national (22.0) property crime rates.
  • Clayton, the second safest city, has the lowest property crime rate at 8.8, and just 29 total property crimes reported.
  • Three cities are above the state’s property crime rate: Millsboro at 40.3, New Castle at 41.9, and Camden at 41.5.
  • 40% reported fewer than 100 total property crimes.
Delaware safest cities heat map showing population and crime score

The 10 Safest Cities in Delaware

VC = Violent Crime
PC = Property Crime




Milton, Delaware
Population 2,966
Median Income $55,000
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.0, 2.4, 1.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 15.8, 15.7, 11.1




Clayton, Delaware
Population 3,297
Median Income $64,922
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.9, 4.1, 1.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 8.8, 8.8, 11.7




Lewes, Delaware
Population 3,134
Median Income $72,474
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.2, 1.3, 1.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 20.7, 24.6, 20.6




Elsmere, Delaware
Population 6,033
Median Income $45,660
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.1, 2.6, 4.6
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 15.7, 18.7, 24.6




Middletown, Delaware
Population 22,350
Median Income $87,375
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.9, 3.5, 3.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 19.6, 21.6, 24.2




Newark, Delaware
Population 34,207
Median Income $54,590
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.9, 2.8, 3.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 19.5, 19.7, 22.3




Smyrna, Delaware
Population 11,791
Median Income $54,675
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.2, 5.4, 6.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 22.7, 24.1, 26.8




Millsboro, Delaware
Population 4,439
Median Income $43,750
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.5, 3.4, 4.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 40.3, 42.1, 41.8


New Castle


New Castle, Delaware
Population 5,351
Median Income $59,773
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 3.2, 3.4, 5.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 41.9, 42.5, 35.1




Camden, Delaware
Population 3,497
Median Income $61,683
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 3.4, 4.6, 4.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 41.5, 51.8, 55.8

How We Determined the Safest Cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about your home security options, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Didn’t Find Your City in the Top 10?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, which is based on the median population of the state. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2018.

2020 RankingCityPopulationViolent Crime (per 1,000)Property Crime (per 1,000)

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

Click on the state image below to check out the safest cities for each state.


FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “American Fact Finder

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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  • Sue Brenton

    Where do Ocean View and Dagsboro fall in this report?

    • Rebecca Edwards

      Thanks for your question, Sue. Both Ocean View and Dagsboro fell below the median population threshold or 2,730 for Delaware, so they didn’t make it into our rankings. But I did look at the FBI data and Ocean View reported only 2 violent crimes and 24 property crimes in 2018. Dagsboro had 0 violent crimes and 27 property crimes. I hope that helps!

  • RUKidding

    So Rehoboth Beach is more dangerous than Wilmington?!!
    You’ve got to be kidding!!