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10 Most Dangerous Cities in Maryland (2024 Update)

Ocean City, MD

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

There are plenty of fun things to do in Maryland, from the many beaches to the magnificent state parks. There are large cities with exciting nightlife and old-fashioned towns for people who want to get away for a while. If you are thinking about visiting or moving to Maryland, it can be helpful to learn more about the dangerous areas so you can avoid them or at least be more careful about your personal safety. Keep reading as we list several of the most dangerous cities in Maryland and dive into the statistics to look at murder rates, violent crimes, car thefts, and more.

divider 4 The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Maryland: A Quick Look

1. Ocean City, MD

Ocean City, MD
Image Credit: Irish_Rose, Pixabay
  • Population: 10,859
  • Murder rate: 0 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $112,837
  • Poverty rate: 6.27%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 1,317.9 per 100,000 people

Ocean City, Maryland, is one of the more popular areas in the state because of the amazing beaches that attract millions of visitors each year. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more dangerous areas in the state and the entire country. It currently has 374.23% more crime than the national average, so you will want to watch your belongings closely. Luckily, the murder rate is extremely low, with no recently reported murders. However, aggravated assault, violent crime, burglary, robbery, and theft are all extremely high at almost four times the national average.

2. Elkton, MD

Downtown Elkton, Maryland
Downtown Elkton, Maryland (Image Credit: David Wilson via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)
  • Population: 15,589
  • Murder rate: 0 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $55,923
  • Poverty rate: 21.11%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 964.1 per 100,000 people

Elkton is an old city in Maryland that sits on the colonial highway to Philadelphia. There are many historic buildings and plenty of things to do, but there is also quite a bit of crime. It currently stands 206.78% higher than the national average in crime. Like Ocean City, there are no recent murders, but other types of crime are exceptionally high. Property crime, burglary, and even grand theft auto are higher than in most other places around the country.

3. Cambridge, MD

Cambridge, MD
Image Credit: Wenzhu645, Pixabay
  • Population: 13,000
  • Murder rate: 16.3 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $35,354
  • Poverty rate: 13.5%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 970.3 per 100,000 people

Cambridge, Maryland, is a large city with a high crime rate that currently stands about 156.14% higher than the national average. More crimes occur in the central part of the city, but this is also where the population is the highest. Property crime, assault, theft, and drug crime are the biggest problems in this area.

4. Hyattsville, MD

Downtown Hyattsville Maryland
Downtown Hyattsville Maryland (Image Credit: Bohemian Baltimore via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)
  • Population: 21,187
  • Murder rate: 21.8 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $61,806
  • Poverty rate: 12%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 463.7 per 100,000 people

Hyattsville is close to Washington, D.C., and is a popular tourist location. It was once Native American land inhabited by the Algonquin and Iroquois until colonialists began buying land in the 1700s. You can find plenty of Victorian-style houses and arts and craft houses that people built between wars in the early 1900s, so it’s a great place to visit if you enjoy history.

That said, it can be a little dangerous and currently stands at 163.67% above the national average for crime. Murder is twice the average for Maryland and four times that of the United States.

5. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD
Image Credit: 1778011, Pixabay
  • Population: 585,705
  • Murder rate: 5.83 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $50,177
  • Poverty rate: 23.1%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 1,858.8 per 100,000 people

Baltimore is a large city in Maryland with a population of close to 600,000 people, so it’s not a complete surprise that you will run into more crime than in smaller cities. It currently stands at about 149.12% higher than the national crime average. There is plenty of housing in Baltimore, and the education system is good, but it can be hard to find a good job.

6. Cumberland, MD

Cumberland, MD
Image Credit: USA-Reiseblogger, Pixabay
  • Population: 19,076
  • Murder rate: 0 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $41,729
  • Poverty rate: 24.8%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 781.5 per 100,000 people

Cumberland was once a military outpost used by George Washington, and it’s still an important shipping hub that sits on the Potomac River. It’s quite popular and has a large population, but there is also quite a bit of crime in this area, and it currently stands at 113.16% above the national average.

Cumberland has almost no murder, and car theft is below average, but aggravated assault, burglary, and violent crime are all well above average.

7. Salisbury, MD

Salisbury, Maryland Sign
Salisbury, Maryland Sign (Image Credit: Bwave at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Population: 33,191
  • Murder rate: 0 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $34,230
  • Poverty rate: 27.5%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 887.4 per 100,000 people

Salisbury, Maryland, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, with a current population of more than 30,000. However, the rapid growth has allowed a higher-than-average amount of crime to occur, and it currently experiences 109.12% more crime than most homes in America. There are no recent murders, and there are fewer car thefts than in the rest of Maryland, but there is plenty of aggravated assault, violent crime, and theft. Rent can be quite high in this area, and there are not many jobs.

8. Laurel, MD

Giant Fairlawn Avenue Laurel, MD
Giant Fairlawn Avenue Laurel, MD (Image Credit: Mike Kalasnik from Fort Mill, USA, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Population: 25,723
  • Murder rate: 3.9 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $68,304
  • Poverty rate: 8%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 476.5 per 100,000 people

Laurel is a small city with a population of more than 25,000 people. It’s about midway between Washington and Baltimore on the Patuxent River. Its ideal position means there is plenty to do, and you can even look at dinosaur bones found in the area from several species, including the large Astrodon. The crime in this area is 57.98% above the national average. While there was at least one recent murder, most problems in this area are violent crime, car theft, and robbery.

9. Bladensburg, MD

George Washington House Bladensburg, Maryland
George Washington House Bladensburg, Maryland (Image Credit: Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Population: 9,396
  • Murder rate: 31.7 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $59,388
  • Poverty rate: 13.64%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 622.6 per 100,000 people

Bladensburg is a city near Washington, D.C., and it has an amazing national park. It is the site of a battle from the War of 1812, so it is a popular destination among history buffs. However, it also has a dangerous side, especially regarding murder, as it has three times the average for Maryland and more than six times the average for the country. It’s also high in violent crime and car thefts and currently stands at 56.38% above the average for the country.

10. La Plata, MD

Courthouse La Plata, Maryland
Courthouse La Plata, Maryland (Image Credit: Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States via Wikimedia Commons, )
  • Population: 9,983
  • Murder rate: 0 per 100,000 people
  • Average Household income: $114,498
  • Poverty rate: 4.3%
  • Violent crimes in 2021: 492.8 per 100,000 people

La Plata is a city in southern Maryland not far from Washington, D.C. It’s easy to get to because four main highways visit the area, which also helps bring in crime. There have been no recent murders, but the site is high in violent crimes, theft, and aggravated assault, which is above the national average for crime by about 53.67%. However, there is plenty of housing, good jobs, and a great education system, so the future looks hopeful for this city.

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Why Is the Crime So Bad in These Maryland Cities?

We could not locate a scientific report explaining why there is so much crime in Maryland or the rest of the nation, for that matter. A low average household income and a high poverty rate can increase crime in many areas, but some of the wealthiest cities with the lowest poverty rates also have high crime. For instance, Ocean City, which has the highest crime rate in Maryland, has the highest average household income on this list. This average is much higher than the Maryland average, about $94,384. However, eight other entries on the list are below the Maryland average, and seven are below the national average of $67,521.

How Can I Stay Safe in Maryland?

The best way to stay safe in Maryland or any other state in the United States is to have a high-quality alarm system on your home and vehicle. We also recommend adding security cameras around your home to help deter criminals. These will also give you a better view of your property, helping to identify any dangers sooner. Keep your smartphone charged so you can call for help if you need to. You might also want to consider self-defense classes if you like to go on walks.

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While there are plenty of fantastic places to visit in Maryland, you will need to be careful in high-crime areas like Ocean City. You will also find more crime than average in Elkton, Cambridge, and Hyattsville, which have more than 10,000 people. Interestingly, Baltimore, the largest city on this list with more than 600,000 people, is fifth in crime, with few murders.

Featured Image Credit: evantoddmedia, Pixabay


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