The lighter side of real estate

These Are The 10 Safest Places In Delaware

This state may be little, but these 10 places certainly seem big on safety.

Natalie Grigson

Staff Writer

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Whether you’re looking for your first, second, or even third or fourth home in the First State, it’s no Small Wonder that some places are just plain better to live than others—especially when it comes to safety.

So here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog we’re taking a closer look at the 10 safest places in Delaware, the shining gems within the Diamond State, the pluckiest hens in the Blue Hen State, the…

Well, the places with the lowest number of crimes per capita, really. (We ran out of nicknames.)

Here are the 10 safest places in Delaware:

1. Town of Middletown
2. Town of Clayton
3. Town of Wyoming
4. Town of Lewes
5. Town of Cheswold
6. Town of Ocean View
7. Town of Felton
8. Town of Fenwick Island
9. City of Newark
10. City of Elsmere (tie)
10. City of Bridgeville (tie)

If your Delaware hometown isn’t on this list, never fear. It may have just not reported crime data that year. Keep reading to find out how we came up with this list and just what makes these communities safe.

Our Methodology

If you’re looking at this list and thinking it seems a little bit familiar, well, you’re right. Not too long ago we released a list of safest places in Delaware with many of these same towns and cities.

Like all things, though, crime rates tend to change over time, and so we needed to release an updated list reflecting the latest 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report. We looked at all of the places in Delaware in this most recent report according to the following criteria:

  • Murders
  • Rapes
  • Robberies
  • Assaults
  • Burglaries
  • Thefts
  • Vehicle Thefts

Then we divided these crimes into four categories:

  • Murders
  • Violent Crimes
  • Property Crimes
  • Total Crimes

Omitting any places that didn’t report data that year, we were left with a total of 33 places. We calculated the crimes per person in each of these places, in order to best compare cities and towns of varying sizes. Then, each place was given a score from one to 33 in each category, where the lower the score, the safer the place.

The next step was to weight murders, violent crimes, and property crimes a bit more heavily than total crimes, so they all made up 30 percent of the overall score, while the total number of crimes made up just 10.

Lastly, we averaged these weighted rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, where the lowest score went to our safest place, Middletown.

To see how all of the places we looked at ranked, head to the bottom of the post. Otherwise, we’ll take a closer look at each of our 10 (technically 11) safest places in the Diamond/Blue Hen/Small Wonder/First State.

1. Middletown

Middletown, DE

Source: Flickr user Patrick Nouhailler

Middletown is certainly the Most Improved on this year’s list. I mean, last year it didn’t even make the top 10 (it came in at No. 11), and now this year, it ranked better than the other 32 places we looked at.

The reason it came in so high this year was mostly for its impressively low number of total crimes. With just 383 crimes for its population of nearly 20,000 residents, Middletown had the third lowest number of crimes per person in the state.

This was made up of the third lowest number of property crimes per person and the seventh lowest number of violent crimes per person—none of which included murders.

2. Clayton

Clayton, DE

Source: Flickr user lifeontheedges

Another town that drastically improved over the year, Clayton shot from No. 9 to No. 2. That’s because in 2013, Clayton had a total of just 61 crimes for the year. Sure, this was a bit higher than it was the year before (54 total crimes), but the population also grew over the course of the year, so ultimately, Clayton’s number of crimes per person went down.

These 61 crimes included 53 property crimes (the fourth fewest per person) and eight violent crimes (the eighth fewest). There were no murders, and more impressive, there weren’t even any robberies.

3. Wyoming

Wyoming, DE

Source: Wikimedia user Powerstripp

In the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, Wyoming had a grand total of just 27 crimes. Yes, you read that correctly—27 crimes for the entire year.

With its population of 1,400, that gave Wyoming the second lowest number of crimes per person in the state. These 27 crimes included 22 property crimes (also the second lowest number per person) and five violent crimes (the 12th lowest per person).

The violent crimes included two rapes, two assaults, and one robbery, but no murders.

4. Lewes

Lewes, DE

Source: Flickr user Lee Cannon

Last year, Lewes came in at No. 10 and now, No. 4. Why such an impressive jump? Well, that would be due to the impressive drop in its number of violent crimes. In 2012, it had a total of nine violent crimes (one rape, one robbery, and seven assaults), where in 2013, it had just six (all assaults).

This may not seem significant, but with a population of less than 3,000 people, it really is. This was enough to give Lewes the fifth fewest violent crimes per person, and overall, the seventh fewest total crimes per person in the state.

5. Cheswold

Cheswold, DE

Source: Flickr user dfirecop

The good news is, Cheswold made it two years running in our rankings. The bad news is, it dropped by two spots.

The reason for this is that in last year’s report, Cheswold had a tiny total of just 19 crimes for the entire year. In the most recent crime report, it had a total of 22 crimes. Yes, this is still a very small number, and in fact, it was low enough to give Cheswold the fewest crimes per person in the state. However, it was enough of a difference to place it just a bit below where it was last year.

Specifically, the increase in total crimes was due to an increase in violent crimes, going from a total of just two to six in a year.

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6. Ocean View

Ocean View, DE

Source: Wikimedia user Smallbones

All right, if this list is starting to feel like one bad case of déjà vu, hang with us. We’ll get to some more new places in a minute. First, though, another repeat from last year. Ocean View went from fifth to sixth place over the course of a year, mostly because of its increase in total crimes—jumping from 43 in 2012 to 64 in 2013.

That being said, Ocean View still did manage to have the second lowest number of violent crimes per person in 2013, with a total of just two for the year, both of which were assaults.

This, plus the 15th fewest property crimes per person, gave Ocean View the 10th fewest crimes per person overall.

7. Felton

Felton, DE

Source: Flickr user kim(ber)

Congratulations, Felton! You’ve successfully dethroned our previous No. 7 safest place, Delaware City. This was mostly because the folks in Felton had just a 1 in 40 chance of being the victim of a crime in 2013, and that’s because they had just 34 total crimes for the year.

With a population of 1,351, that gave Felton the fifth fewest crimes per person. These were made up of 29 property crimes (also the fifth fewest per person) and five violent crimes (the 14th fewest per person).

Like the rest of the places in our top 10, none of these violent crimes was a murder.

8. Fenwick Island

Fenwick Island, DE

Source: Flickr user Lee Cannon

With a population of just 395 people, Fenwick Island is easily the smallest place in our top 10, so it may come as no surprise to know that it had some pretty low numbers of crimes.

But no matter the size of the population, zero violent crimes for the entire year is pretty darn impressive. In fact, it gave Fenwick Island the fewest violent crimes per person in the state.

The only crimes it did have were nine thefts and five burglaries, making a total of 14 property crimes for the year—that’s the 18th fewest property crimes, and overall, the 12th fewest crimes per person.

9. Newark

Newark, DE

Source: Flickr user University of Delaware Alumni Relations

Home to the University of Delaware and about 33,000 residents, it may come as something of a surprise to see Newark on our list. But it just goes to show, more people doesn’t always mean more dangerous.

Case in point: In 2013, Newark had just 944 total crimes. Now this may sound like a lot compared to the 14 in Fenwick Island, but remember, we’re talking crimes per person here. With that in mind, Newark had the eighth fewest crimes per person in the state.

These were made up of the eighth fewest property crimes and the 13th fewest violent crimes per person, none of which was a murder.

10. Elsmere (tie)

Elsmere, DE

Source: Flickr user Timothy Wildey

In 2013 Elsmere had a total of just 181 crimes for its population of 6,165 people, giving it the ninth fewest per person. These were made up of 156 property crimes (the seventh fewest per person) and 25 violent crimes (the 15th fewest).

To get even more specific, these property crimes included nine vehicle thefts, 103 thefts, and 44 burglaries. Of the 25 violent crimes, 19 were assaults, six were robberies, and none was a rape or murder.

10. Bridgeville (tie)

Bridgeville, DE

Source: Flickr user Ken Lund

Last but certainly not the least safe is Bridgeville.

Bridgeville came in among our top 10 for the first time this year, mostly due to its low number of property crimes—the sixth lowest per person. Even though Bridgeville ranked 17th in the violent crime category, this low number of property crimes was enough to give it the sixth lowest number of crimes overall for the year.

The State of 10 (Actually 11) Super Safe Towns and Cities

Perhaps Delawareans should add this to their state’s list of one million nicknames. It has a nice ring to it, no? Okay, it might need a little work.

What we’re getting at here is, even though Delaware isn’t exactly one of the safest states in the nation, you’d never guess it just looking at these places within its borders.

And if you’re not one of the lucky residents of these 11 places, well, move! We can help you there. Just get in touch.

Safest Place In Delaware (Spring 2015 Edition)

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posted on: May 20, 2014
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