Delaware’s 10 Safest Cities of 2021

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the seventh annual Safest Cities report.

Safest Cities in Delaware 2021 state badge

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Delaware for 2021

1. Clayton
2. Milton
3. Lewes
4. Middletown
5. Elsmere
6. Newark
7. Smyrna
8. New Castle
9. Camden
10. Harrington

See if your city made the full list.

This year, we saw Delaware more concerned with safety than any other year. And yet, our respondents have had less experience with crime than previous years (with the exception of gun violence). Violent and property crime are slightly above the national average in The First State. But violent crime stayed the same since 2020 and property crime has dropped slightly.

2021 Delaware crime rates

Delaware has the lowest population in the South Atlantic region with only 973,000 people. So while The Blue Hen state had fewer instances of property and violent crime, its crime rates per 1,000 residents made it the third highest in violent crime and fourth in property crime in the region.

Delaware 2021 crime rates

Level of concern and experience with crime in Delaware

Of the Delaware residents we surveyed, 50% said they were concerned on a daily basis about their safety, an 8% rise from last year.

Property crime is the biggest concern keeping Delawareans awake at night, yet we saw a 6% decrease in those who experienced it firsthand in the last year. The story is the same for those who have experienced violent crime, where we saw a 5% decrease.

Crime concerns in Delaware

We asked Delaware residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Delawareans are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

Safest Cities in Delaware 2021 concern levels

View the complete 2021 State of Safety report.

Violent crime in Delaware: Fear vs. reality

Delaware saw the same amount of violent crime per capita as last year. It’s a trend that matches the Atlantic region as a whole too. And while Delaware’s safest cities had fewer violent crimes than the rest of the state, even the top cities saw their share of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

  • Violent crime in the safest cities accounted for 6.1% of violent crime in the state.
  • Aggravated assault was the most common violent crime in Delaware.
  • Milton and Lewes each had only 4 violent crimes in the last year.
  • Newark had the most violent crime incidents in the last year, but Harrington had more per capita with an alarmingly high crime rate of 9.8 per 1,000 people (US average is 3.7).
6 in 10 Delaware residents worry about gun violence despite reporting fewer incidents than most states.
  • Even though its population is below 4,000, Harrington reported two-thirds of the murders among Delaware’s safest cities.
  • Although Delaware has fewer gun violence incidents than other states, 59% of survey respondents said it’s a top safety concern.
  • Delaware had three mass gun violence incidents and nine officer-involved shootings in the last year.
  • 35% of Delaware residents use some form of personal protection like pepper spray or stun guns.
  • 55% of Delaware residents say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic.
Safest Cities in Delaware 2021 violent crime

Property crime in Delaware: Fear vs. reality

In Delaware and across the Atlantic region, property crime has been steadily decreasing since 2019. But even with this slight drop, the safest cities still see their fair share of property crime. Like with violent crime, Delaware’s safest cities see more property crime than the safest cities of other states. 

  • New Castle (40.5) and Camden (49.3) saw property crime rates double that of the national average.
  • Larceny-theft accounted for 82.4% of the property crimes in the safest cities and 79.2% of property crimes throughout the state.  
  • Motor vehicle theft in Delaware is lower than many other states, accounting for 4.4% of the property crimes in the safest cities and 7.3% in the state.
  • Eight of the safest cities had property crime rates under the national average. 
  • 74% of Delawareans protect their property in some way with 36% of them using security cameras.
  • 32% of Delaware residents say the safety of their property has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safest Cities in Delaware 2021 property crime

A closer look at the safest cities in Delaware

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.

  • Half of the safest cities in Delaware have populations under 5,000 people. 
  • Milton and Clayton swapped places this year, crowning Clayton as our new safest city in Delaware.
  • The rankings didn’t change much from last year overall. Cities either moved up or down one. Three cities (Lewes, Newark, and Smyrna) held their spots from last year. 
  • Milton and Lewes had the fewest violent crimes on our list. Clayton, our number 1 pick had the lowest amount of property crimes (35). 
  • Newark and Harrington were the only safest cities with murders in the last year. 
  • None of the safest cities had a case of arson in the last year.

The 10 Safest Cities in Delware

#1
Clayton
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,448
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $71,250
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.0, 4.9, 4.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    10.2, 8.8, 8.8
Milton, Delaware
#2
Milton
(
-1
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,017
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $59,929
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.3, 0.0, 2.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    13.3, 15.8, 15.7
Lewes, Delaware
#3
Lewes
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,286
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $86,417
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.2. 2.2. 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    13.7, 20.7, 24.6
Middletown, Delaware
#4
Middletown
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    23,079
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $89,354
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.1, 2.9, 3.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    20.4, 19.6, 21.6
#5
Elsmere
(
-1
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    5,963
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $49,020
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.8, 4.1, 2.6
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    22.3, 15.7, 18.7
#6
Newark
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    33,957
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $57,391
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.5, 2.9, 2.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    20.8, 19.5, 19.7
Smyrna, Delaware
#7
Smyrna
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    11,768
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $61,220
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.7, 4.2, 5.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    20.9, 22.7, 24.1
New Castle, Delaware
#8
New Castle
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    5,558
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $63,573
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    3.8, 3.2, 3.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    40.5, 41.9, 42.5
#9
Camden
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,507
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $67,734
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.4, 3.4, 4.6
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    49.3, 41.5, 51.8
Harrington, Delaware
#10
Harrington
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,652
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $39,675
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    9.6, 11.2, 5.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    21.1, 28.7, 32.4

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 encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. Learn more about your home security options—and find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems.

Didn't find your city in the top Delware?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population. 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 2019.

2021 Rank
City
Population
VC per 1,000Icon Tooltip  Dark
PC per 1,000Icon Tooltip  Dark
11Georgetown7.56K5.741.3
12Millsboro4.52K6.048.9
13Milford11.59K7.250.5
14Dover38.36K8.753.6
15Seaford7.99K8.559.7
16Wilmington70.62K15.044.6
17Laurel4.47K13.950.3

Find the safest cities in each state

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

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “2019 Crime in the United States,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed November 18, 2020.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 6, 2021.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 6, 2021.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2021.

For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

Recent Articles

happy older women sitting together
Best Medical Alert Necklaces
If you find yourself in an emergency, a medical alert necklace can contact trained professionals...
Large craftsman style house at twilight with lights on
Best Home Security Systems of 2021
After hundreds of hours of tests and research, plus a combined 50+ years of experience,...
couple sitting on floor with moving boxes and a dog
Best Home Security Systems for Renters
These renter-friendly home security systems keep your house or apartment safe and require less commitment...
watching camera feed on tablet
Best Wireless Security Systems
Wireless home security systems are more popular than ever. They’re easy to install and hard...
  • RUKidding

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

    • Dinsdale69

      I believe there may be an unavoidable flaw in the calculation for seasonal communities. The numerator includes crimes committed all year, including the summer months, while the denominator is the total census population for the town which excludes seasonal folks.

  • 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!