You don’t have to watch The Wire to know that there’s danger lurking in some pretty seedy places in The Old Line State.
Gone are the days that parents can let their children run wild until the street lights come on. Heck, parents shouldn’t let their kids out of their sight in RoadSnacks’ most dangerous cities in Maryland for 2020.
So, how does one navigate these dangerous cities when trying to make an informed decision on what city you should call home? Take a look below: we did the work for you. In order to compile our list, we consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 36 cities. We looked at the FBI’s latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 5,000 residents. We discovered that Maryland’s violent and property crime numbers are even scarier than the most dangerous place in the state.
Folks, the cities that made our list have robberies happening in broad daylight, car jackings, and daily shootings. There are neighborhoods in these cities that you shouldn’t drive thru at all and there are areas that you definitely shouldn’t be in after dark. The state as a whole recorded 500 violent crimes and close to 2,300 property crimes making it the 18th most dangerous state in the country for 2020.
We’re not saying that there aren’t little pockets of goodness in these cities. The neighborhoods and shopping centers in these Maryland cities are not ALL bad. But cities like Baltimore and Laurel catch a break; and sadly, their staggering statistics are keeping this Mid-Atlantic state in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
To see where these Maryland cities with all the problems are located, keep reading.
What are the circumstances that make these Maryland cities this way? Maybe not enough jobs, low wages, people just don’t want to work, prisons, drugs, gangs, close to larger cities that push their problems onto surrounding cities?
We’re not entirely sure. But one thing we are sure about is our number one most dangerous city in Maryland is Ocean City.
The Maryland cities on our most dangerous list could definitely use some TLC. If you’re looking to be that diamond in the rough, or you’re just curious to see if your city made the list, take a look below. And if you don’t see your city there, head to the bottom.
Learn more about the safest places in Maryland.
For more Maryland reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Maryland
- Best Counties To Live In Maryland
- Cheapest Places To Live In Maryland
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Maryland
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Maryland For 2020
Ocean City coming in as the most dangerous place in Maryland might surprise some, as this resort city is a popular tourist destination.
But this fact may explain the mind-bogglingly high 1 in 8.4 chance residents faced of being the victim of a property crime in 2018 and the 1 in 83 chance of being the victim of violence.
While it is true that “crime per capita” of people that live there is thrown off by the summer swell of population, the fact of the matter is that a ton of crime is committed in Ocean City relative to its resident population.
Located on the northeastern shore of Maryland, Elkton isn’t the worst city in either property or violent crime, but placing 2nd and 2nd respectively earns the city its 2nd place ranking on this list.
Residents of Elkton faced a 1 in 78 chance of being the victim of violence, and a 1 in 15.9 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.
The amazing thing is that these numbers reflect a 38% drop in violent crime and a 19% drop in property crime from 2011.
Cambridge is the fourth most populous city on Maryland’s eastern shore (behind Salisbury, Easton, and Elkton) and the 3rd most dangerous, ranking 4th and 4th in violent and property crime statistics.
Residents of Cambridge faced a nearly 1% chance of being the victim of violence in 2018, which reflected a 23% drop from 2011.
Property crime has also gone down in recent years, but not by nearly as much.
Ah Baltimore — you were probably expecting this to top the list as the most dangerous city in Maryland, and you’d be right in terms of violence.
After all, you don’t earn a nickname like Bodymore, Murderland for nothing — there were 309 murders committed in 2018.
To put that in perspective, if Baltimore had the population of New York City, there’d be 3,141 murders a year, and over 110,000 instances of violent crime.
Located in southeastern Maryland on the Delmarva Peninsula, Salisbury isn’t as violent as the above cities, but residents still face a 1 in 121 chance of being the victim of violence.
That’s still 36% less violent than Baltimore, but that’s hardly a high standard to hold a city to.
The good news is that violent crime dropped by a modest 13% between 2017-2018, while Baltimore’s wickedly high rate of violence has remained stagnant in recent years.
Located in the western part of the state, the Cumberland Metro area is among the poorest in the U.S. in terms of per capita income.
That may be related to its high levels of both property and violent crime, with residents facing 1 in 22.2 chance of being the victim of theft or arson each year.
Only very small improvements were made between 2017-2018, with about a 5% decrease in each category of crime.
Just 6 miles east of DC, Hyattsville is the least violent of the D.C. suburbs, and the least violent place on this list overall.
That’s partially due to a massive 47% drop in violent crime between 2017-2018, as well as a 17% drop in property crime.
Still, Hyattsville residents had a 1 in 19.9 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.
Located 9 miles from central Washington, D.C., Bladensburg is the 8th most dangerous city in Maryland.
With residents facing a 1 in 169 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018, Bladensburg is the most violent of the D.C. suburbs that make up several spots on our list of the most dangerous places in Maryland.
Laurel has been on the rankings the past couple of years and now finds itself as the 9th most dangerous city in Maryland. Laurel’s ranking for violent crime and property were 14th and 9th, respectively. Overall, like every other city in our top 10, it scored an F when it comes to crime.
Hagerstown is the 10th most dangerous city in Maryland, and places 15th for property crime.
Though the city has seen a 12% drop in property crime in recent years, anyone in Hagerstown still faced a 1 in 38.4 chance of being robbed in 2018 when within city limits.
Violent crime is relatively high, and the numbers aren’t getting better or worse, but the 1 in 158 chance of being the victim of violence makes Hagerstown pretty dangerous.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Maryland for 2020?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered Maryland cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 36 cities in Maryland.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 36 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Maryland — Ocean City. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Maryland.
Locking It All Up In Maryland
The latest FBI crime data shows that Ocean City ranks as the most dangerous city in Maryland for 2020.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Ocean City and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Maryland:
- Mount Airy (Pop. 9,434)
- Taneytown (Pop. 6,795)
- Ocean Pines (Pop. 12,244)
For more Maryland reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Maryland
- Best Places To Retire In Maryland
- Richest Cities In Maryland
- Safest Places In Maryland
- Worst Places To Live In Maryland
Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Maryland?