The State of Safety in Maryland 2023

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The SafeWise team is pleased to release the fifth annual State of Safety report.

The year before, Maryland was the second-most-concerned state when it comes to daily worry about crime and safety. This reporting year the level of concern dropped 13%, but is still above the national average. And fewer than half the people we surveyed think Maryland is a safe place to live. Though crime rates are dropping, the concern may be due to an uptick in experiences with violent crime and property crime.

Note: The FBI crime data for Maryland in this report is from 2020 as the state didn't report enough info to the FBI in 2021 for updated crime rates.

Maryland safest cities badge.

In this report

2023 Maryland crime rates

Maryland’s crime rates don’t necessarily explain why so many people have high concern when it comes to crime and safety. Maryland matches the national violent crime rate of 4.0 incidents per 1,000 people, but previously the state has reported more violent crimes than the national average.

When it comes to property crime, Maryland has a great track record. The number of property crimes per capita has been consistently below the national property crime rate. Maryland reports three fewer crimes per capita than the greater US—16.1 incidents per 1,000 versus 19.6 nationwide.

There’s one caveat to this year’s crime report, though. Maryland only had three cities submit data to the FBI, which makes it difficult to accurately compare rates year over year.

Violent crime in Maryland: Fear vs. reality

Maryland historically sees higher violent crime rates than most of the US, which may contribute to residents feeling less safe in The Old Line State. Maryland residents once were among the most concerned in the nation. The overall level of concern dropped by 13% in the most current State of Safety report compared to a 1% rise the prior reporting year.

  • Across the board, Marylanders reported more experiences with crime than in our previous report, with violent crime experiences rising from 13% to 18%.
  •  Maryland more personal run-ins with violent crime than the national average (18% in Maryland versus 15% across the US).
  • Just 36% of people in Maryland report feeling safe in their state compared to 50% of Americans.
  • High concern and higher-than-average experience with violent crime doesn’t seem to lead to action in Maryland. 32% of respondents say they use some form of personal protection versus 39% nationwide.
  • Pepper spray (56%) is the most common form of personal protection used in Maryland, followed by a pocket knife or self-defense knife.
  • 51% of Marylanders say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is 7% more than most Americans.

Attitudes about gun violence in Maryland

  • 55% of respondents named gun violence as a safety concern—one of the higher percentages in the US, which averages 47%.
  • 13% of Marylanders reported experiencing gun violence in the past 12 months, which is 1 percentage point higher than the US average.
  • There were 19 mass shooting incidents in Maryland in the 2023 reporting year, 1 less than the previous year.
  • 16% of Marylanders report using a concealed carry firearm for self-defense, and 17% use a firearm to protect their property. Across the US, 30% of Americans report using a firearm for property protection and 41% use them for self-defense.
57% are worried about package theft.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Maryland: Fear vs. reality

Maryland's property crime rates are well below the national average, and residents are 2% less concerned about it than they were the year before.

  • Marylanders reported more experiences with property crime than the previous year—up from 18% to 21%.
  • Package theft was named the top crime concern in Maryland, with 57% of survey respondents saying they worry that it will happen to them.
  • Statewide, 37% of the Marylanders we talked to said they had a package theft compared to 34% nationwide. That's a 118% increase from the previous year.
  • 31% of survey participants use no form of property protection (24% US), which is surprising considering the state's high overall levels of daily concern.
  • 43% of Maryland respondents say they use a home security system to protect their property, which is higher than the national average of 28%.
  • Security systems are the most popular form of protection, with security cameras next in line, with 40% using them (38% US).
  • 28% of Maryland residents say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the security of their property, which is the same nationally.

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The safest cities in Maryland

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.

We couldn’t rank the safest cities in Maryland this year due to limited information reported to the FBI. Only six cities provided data to the FBI in 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available). Crime rates for those cities are detailed below.

Boonsboro
  • bullet
    Population
    3,676
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $105,196
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.4, N/A, 0.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.7, N/A, 4.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Bowie Maryland
Bowie
  • bullet
    Population
    58,546
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $127,029
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.2, 1.0, 1.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    10.8, 9.3, 15.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Cumberland
  • bullet
    Population
    18,971
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $43,699
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    7.2, N/A, 7.8
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    28.9, N/A, 45.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Frostburg, Maryland
Frostburg
  • bullet
    Population
    8,413
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $44,327
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.6, N/A, 1.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.0, N/A, 18.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Hagerstown
  • bullet
    Population
    39,942
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $42,965
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    7.3, N/A, 5.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    24.7, N/A, 23.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
""
Oakland
  • bullet
    Population
    1,794
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $59,250
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.1, N/A, 1.1
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    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    18.4, N/A, 62.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Get a home security system

Find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security

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Find the safest cities in each state

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Related articles on SafeWise


Endnotes and sources

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.

  • 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019]." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."

  • 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
  • 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.
Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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