The State of Safety in Maryland 2022

Outline of Maryland with the heading Maryland Safest Cities Report
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The SafeWise team is pleased to release the fourth annual State of Safety report.

Maryland is the second-most-concerned state when it comes to daily worry about crime and safety. Six in 10 Marylanders say they’re highly concerned about safety every day, and fewer than half the people we surveyed think Maryland is a safe place to live.

In this report

2022 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. This year, 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. This year, 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.

Bar chart of violent and property crime rates per 1,000 people where the national average is 4.0 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 19.6 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Image: SafeWise

Level of concern and experience with crime in Maryland

Although Maryland residents are among the most concerned in the nation, the overall level of concern rose only by 1% in the most current State of Safety report compared to our prior reporting year. Across the board, Marylanders also reported fewer experiences with crime than in our previous report, with the biggest drop coming in the category of property crime—down to 18% from 33%.

While experience with violent crime fell six percentage points from survey to survey, Maryland still reported more personal run-ins with violent crime than the national average (12% in Maryland versus 10% across the US).

Package theft was named the top crime concern in Maryland, with 56% of survey respondents saying they worry that it will happen to them. Interestingly, fewer people reported an actual package theft in the 12 months prior to the survey than in other states. Statewide, 18% of the Marylanders we talked to said they had a package theft compared to 20% nationwide.

Pictogram showing the percentage of state residents that are concerned about their safety on a daily basis, as well as which type of crime they are concerned about the most, and which crimes they have experienced within the past 12 months. Crimes include violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.

Crime concerns in Maryland

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

Bar chart showing percentages of how concerned state residents are about crime compared to the national averages for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.

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. Despite this unease, fewer Marylanders reported experiencing violent crime and gun violence than in the prior survey year.

  • Just 46% of people in Maryland report feeling safe in their state compared to 55% of Americans.
  • 12% of survey participants reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the 12 months prior to being surveyed—6 percentage points lower than the year before.
  • Robbery was the most reported violent crime in Maryland, making up 30% of all violent crime reported in the state. Across the US, robberies make up 19% of all violent crimes reported.
  • High concern and higher-than-average experience with violent crime doesn’t seem to lead to action in Maryland. 31% of respondents say they use some form of personal protection versus 34% nationwide.
  • Pepper spray is the most common form of personal protection used in Maryland, followed by a pocket knife or self-defense knife.
  • 50% of Marylanders say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is 6% more than most Americans.

Attitudes about gun violence in Maryland

  • Over two-thirds of respondents named gun violence as their top safety concern—one of the higher numbers in the US, which averages 53%.
  • 8% of Marylanders reported experiencing gun violence in the past 12 months, which is 1% lower than last year and matches the US average.
  • There were 20 mass shooting incidents in Maryland in 2021, 1 more than in 2020.
  • 9% of Marylanders report using a concealed carry firearm for self defense, and 21% use a firearm to protect their property. Across the US, 26% of Americans report using a firearm for property protection and 13% use them for self defense.
  • Although pepper spray and pocket knives are the top self-defense picks, both saw year over year declines, while use of concealed firearms went up year over year.
Line graph of violent and property crime rates over the past three years in the state compared to national crime rates per 1,000 residents for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Maryland: Fear vs. reality

Maryland sees less property crime than most of the nation and the South-Atlantic region. Lower property crime rates may explain the big drop (15 points year over year) in survey respondents who told us they had an experience with property crime in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. Still, Marylanders tend to worry more about property crime and package theft than violent crimes.

  • Marylanders reported fewer experiences with property crime than the previous year—down to 18% from 33%.
  • Burglary makes up 16% of all property crime in the state—matching the national rate.
  • 18% of participants reported experiencing package theft in the last 12 months before the survey, putting Maryland below the US average of 20%.
  • 54% of survey participants use some form of property protection (60% US), which is surprisingly low considering the state's high overall levels of daily concern.
  • The top form of property protection among respondents this year is security cameras with 33% using them (28% US).
  • 28% of Maryland respondents say they use a home security system to protect their property, which is higher than the national average of 25%.
  • 31% of Maryland residents say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the security of their property, compared to 29% nationally.

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 three cities provided data to the FBI in 2020 (the most recent year for which data is available). Crime rates for those cities are detailed below.

Geographic location of Bowie Maryland
Bowie
  • Circle Population
    Population
    59,008
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $113,338
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.0, 1.0, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    9.3, 15.2, 13.8
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Ocean Pines
  • Circle Population
    Population
    11,710
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $71,990
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.2, 0.7, 1.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    5.6, 5.9, 4.2
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Geographic location of Takoma ParkMaryland
Takoma Park
  • Circle Population
    Population
    17,831
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $84,591
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    3.4, 4.0, 3.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    26.3, 22.9, 21.8
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

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. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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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

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

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.

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

Rebecca Edwards
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 eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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