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10 Most Dangerous Cities in Delaware (2024 Update)

two man investigating a crime scene

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Of most states in the United States, Delaware has one of the smallest populations. There are very few instances of property and violent crime rates if we’re only looking at raw numbers. However, per 1,000 people, this state has one of the highest crime rates in the US.

The overall violent crime rate in Delaware is 4.2 per 1,000 people. The property crime rate is much higher at 22.5 per 1,000 people. For comparison, violent crime in the United States is at 3.67 per 1,000 people.

With that said, some of the cities and towns within Delaware are quite dangerous. In this article, we’ll look into some of the most dangerous cities in Delaware so that you can make an informed decision on where to settle down or visit.

divider 5 The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Delaware: A Quick Look

1. Laurel, DE

Laurel Delaware logo

Population: 4.47K
Violent Crime Rate: 13.9
Property Crime Rate: 50.3

Out of all the cities in Delaware, Laurel is easily one of the most violent. It has an extremely high violent crime and property crime rate. The population is small, but you’d expect it to be less dangerous than its current rate. Most families in this area rent their homes instead of owning them, and the median rent is lower than the national average.

Theft, robbery, and assault are quite high in this small town, which raises the overall crime rate considerably. However, murder is surprisingly rare.

2. Wilmington, DE

Wilmington, DE logo

Population: 70.62K
Violent Crime Rate: 15
Property Crime Rate: 44.6

Wilmington is a large and populous city in Delaware, so you’d expect the crime rate to be higher than most. This area has the highest violent crime rate out of any other city in Delaware, though the property crime rate is quite low comparatively.

This area is urban, and most residents rent apartments or homes. The public school system is decent, but housing is expensive. Therefore, it is difficult for many to afford to live in the area. Many people commute into the city. There is a lot of stuff to do in Wilmington, so it is a good option for those that like to be out and about. However, for those looking for a quiet place to raise a family, this may not be the best location.

3. Seaford, DE

Seaford DE logo

Population: 7.99K
Violent Crime Rate: 8.5
Property Crime Rate: 59.7

This smaller community is also ranked pretty high regarding its violent crime rate. However, its property crime rate is even higher, which is why it ended up as number three on this list. As a smaller community, there is not a lot to do. However, housing is surprisingly inexpensive, so many families can afford to live in the area.

The area has a suburban feel, though it isn’t near any larger city. This small community mostly grew to prominence due to the local nylon factory. However, it has been on the decline for the last few decades—largely because of the lack of things to do. Many younger people move away and don’t come back.

4. Dover, DE

Dover, DE logo

Population: 38.36K
Violent Crime Rate: 8.7
Property Crime Rate: 53.6

Dover is a moderately-sized city in Kent County. While the violent crime rate is not that high compared to others on this list, its property crime rate is much higher. Theft is very common in this community, which raises the overall rates rather quickly. Theft is over double the national average, which explains they this community’s violent crime rate is so much higher than others. However, car theft and burglary are a bit lower than in other cities in the area.

5. Milford, DE

Milford Delaware logo

Population: 11.59K
Violent Crime Rate: 7.2
Property Crime Rate: 50.5

While Milford is smaller, it tends to have more entertainment than other areas of a similar size. Most people who live here are young professionals with families, but the area has recently become a great place to retire as well. Housing in the area is expensive for homeowners, but rent is about average.

Like many places in Delaware, this community experiences a lot of theft, and burglaries are a bit higher than the national average. Violent crime is a bit worrisome, but this city largely ended up fifth on this list because of the property crime rate.

6. Millsboro, DE

Millsboro, DE logo

Population: 4.52K
Violent Crime Rate: 6
Property Crime Rate: 48.9

Compared to other communities on this list, Millsboro is extremely small—everyone knows everybody due to the small population. Plus, there isn’t much to do in the area, either. The population simply can’t support very many businesses.

Despite the small population, this area has a high cost of living. The average home value and rent cost are around the national average, with most of those living here owning their own home. Violent crime is pretty low in the area, though it is far from being nonexistent. The most common violent crime is assault, and theft occurs almost twice as often as the national average.

7. Georgetown, DE

Georgetown, DE logo

Population: 7.56K
Violent Crime Rate: 5.7
Property Crime Rate: 41.3

Georgetown is the seat of Sussex County. The population is relatively low, but it sees a lot of visitors for its beautiful scenery. It has access to beaches and a variety of unique shopping opportunities. The property crime rate is high for such a small town, with theft slightly higher than the national average. This town has an overall crime rate that exceeds most areas in the nation.

Most cities in Delaware have a lower crime rate than Georgetown, which makes it one of the more dangerous places to live in the state.

8. Harrington, DE

Harrington, DE logo

Population: 3.65K
Violent Crime Rate: 9.6
Property Crime Rate: 21.1

Harrington has a tiny population. However, it has been high enough in the past few years for the FBI to track its crime statistics. With that said, this community’s overall crime rate is decreasing, so it may continue to become safer over the next few years.

This community’s median income is slightly lower than the national average. Businesses don’t get the monetary support they need from the population.

9. Camden, DE

Camden, DE logo

Population: 3.5K
Violent Crime Rate: 1.4
Property Crime Rate: 49.3

This community has a relatively low violent crime rate. However, the property crime rate is considerably higher than most, which is one reason it is on this list. You’re very likely to experience a theft when in this town, though you’re very unlikely to experience a violent crime.

While the violent crime rate may be low, the overall crime rate is not. It’s nearly three times the state average. Therefore, while this community may have a low violent crime rate, the high property crime rate makes it land firmly on this list—albeit toward the bottom.

10. Smyrna, DE

Smyrna, DE logo

Population: 11.78K
Violent Crime Rate: 2.7
Property Crime Rate: 20.9

Smyrna is known for its moderately high property crime rate. The violent crime rate is pretty high, which is why we decided to include it on this list. While this isn’t the most dangerous city in Delaware, it is far from the safest.

The violent crime rate is below the national average, but the property crime rate is much higher than average. This pushes up the overall crime rate by quite a bit, making it one of the most crime-ridden communities in Delaware. You may not be likely to be involved in an assault, but you’re more likely to be involved in a theft.

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How to Stay Safe in Delaware

While Delaware has a few cities that have a higher crime rate than most, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re automatically in danger when you live here or drive through. Based on the information we gathered about the most dangerous towns in Delaware, it seems like most of the crime rate in Delaware is related to property crimes – typically theft. For this reason, there is a lot you can do to avoid being a victim of crime in Delaware.

Generally, you should take the usual actions you normally would to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of theft. For instance, don’t wear expensive jewelry when you’re out and about. You also shouldn’t count your money out in the open or flash high amounts.

In other words, don’t make it look like you have anything to steal, and you will likely be just fine. Of course, there are other steps you can take, too. For instance, you can avoid areas that are known for being more dangerous. Usually, there is a part of every city that is more prone to violent crime and theft.

You can also learn about the specific types of crime in your area, which should help you figure out what types of crime you should be avoiding. Based on this information, you can take steps to keep yourself and your family safe.

For instance, if burglaries are common in your area, a home security system may be more than worth it.

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Delaware may be more dangerous than the states surrounding it. However, it has a lower violent crime rate than the national average, which makes it safer than most other states. Generally, the most dangerous cities in Delaware have a lot of assaults and theft.

If you’re looking to settle down in Delaware, most areas are safe. You may want to avoid some of the communities on the list above simply because they have a higher crime rate than average. However, even some communities towards the bottom of the list are pretty safe.

Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels


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