No matter how wonderful your weather, how great your schools, or how high your income; if you don’t feel safe in your home city or town, you may as well pack up. That’s why Movoto Real Estate has not only been showing you the best places to live across the country, but also the safest.
Today we’re heading to Maryland. We’ve already shown you the state’s best places overall, taking into account things like employment, weather, and school systems; but now we’re focusing solely on the state’s safety. Here are the 10 safest places in Maryland, starting with the absolute safest, Hampstead:
1. Town of Hampstead
2. CDP of Ocean Pines
2. Town of Thurmont
2. City of Glenarden
5. City of Taneytown
6. City of Brunswick
7. City of Bowie
8. City of New Carrollton
9. City of Frostburg
10. City of District Heights
Hampstead, Ocean Pines, Thurmont and the rest already have reputations of being nice communities and great places to live, but our study was all about the numbers and facts. To find out more about the method of our analysis and just why each of these places ranked so well, keep on reading.
How We Did It
We value bringing you the most accurate and non-biased of ranking, so we went straight to the top: The FBI’s most recent crime report for Maryland (2012).
We gathered the information for all of the places with populations of 5,000 or above, which left a total of 35 places for our analysis. You may notice that this doesn't include some large places such as Bethesda. That's because these places don't report their crime data to the FBI.
Then, we looked at each of these places in terms of three criteria:
- Violent crime (rape, murder, and assault)
- Property crime (theft, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts)
- The chance a resident will be a victim of crime
For violent crime and property crime, we calculated the number of transgressions per resident. We used the total number of crimes in the city or town, in order to determine a resident’s chances of being the victim of a crime. Then, we ranked each place from 1 to 42 across the three criteria. The lower the number, the better the score.
We weighted each criteria differently, because, while both stealing a packet of gum and holding up a convenient store are crimes, we can probably all agree they aren’t exactly the same in terms of making a place safe. So, we placed a greater emphasis on violent crime, followed by property crime, and then the chance a resident might be the victim of a crime. Violent crime made up 50 percent of our ranking, property crime made up 30 percent, and a resident’s chances of being the victim of a crime made up 20 percent.
Now that you know how we did it, let’s take a closer look at what made each of our top 10 so safe; then, we’ll go over some of the places you may want to avoid.
For a list of all 35 places in our study, head down to the end of the post to check out the complete rankings.
Source: Flickr user Laura Dye
This small town in northeastern Carroll County came in at the top of our list for a number of reasons. First of all, it may not be much of a surprise that a community with just 6,393 residents should have less crime than, say, Baltimore; but proportionally, Hampstead still ranked far above other places with similar population sizes.
For example, Hampstead saw just four violent crimes and 73 property crimes in all of 2012, making a total of just 77 crimes for the year. That means that residents had just a 1 in 83 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Ocean City. on the other hand, has a population only slightly larger at 7,179, and yet they had a total of 93 violent crimes and 1,407 property crimes.
Source: Flickr user USPSA
With a population of 11,935, Ocean Pines is nearly twice the size of our No. 1 place, and so it naturally saw more crime in 2012: 14 violent crimes and 83 property crimes. Of those 14 violent crimes, there were 13 aggravated assaults and one robbery. Of the property crimes, a slight majority were thefts (41), while 40 burglaries, and two were motor vehicle thefts.
Even with this higher number of total crimes, though, residents here had a very small chance of actually being the victim of a crime, just one out of 123 odds. This is what pushed Ocean Pines to the top of our list. It wasn’t the only place with such an admirable total score, though, as it tied with both Thurmont and Glenarden for 2nd place.
Source: Wikipedia user Andrew Bain
Our next No. 2 place had the same score as Ocean Pines, for many of the same reasons; just on a much smaller scale. Thurmont has a population of just 6,320 residents, and so has less crime overall.
Specifically, in 2012, it had seven violent crimes (six aggravated assaults and one robbery) and 51 property crimes (35 thefts, 15 burglaries, and one motor vehicle theft). All told, though, residents still had similar odds of being the victim of a crime as those in Ocean Pines—just a 1 in 109 chance.
Source: Flickr user marrngtn (Manuel)
Our third No. 2 place actually looked pretty similar to Thurmont as far as numbers go. First of all, with a population of just 6,113, the two are very similar in size. Where Thurmont had seven violent crimes, Glenarden had just five, which works out about the same proportionally.
Where Glenarden was lacking, though, was in property crime, with a total of 98 property crimes in 2012 (71 thefts, 20 burglaries, and seven motor vehicle thefts), giving residents a much higher chance of being the victim of a crime: 1 in 59 odds. Still, once the numbers were in and weighted, 103 total crimes proved to be just good enough for Glenarden to make it near the top of our list at No. 2.
Source: Flickr user Hotels of the Rich and Famous
This Carroll County city of just 6,801 residents saw a total of just 108 crimes in 2012, giving residents a 1 in 63 chance of being the victim of a crime, and pushing it to No. 5 on our list.
Of these 108 crimes, just seven were violent, which included six aggravated assaults and one robbery. The rest were property crimes, and of those, the majority were thefts (91 out of 101), followed by 10 burglaries.
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Source: Flickr user Stephen Little
Perhaps it’s no surprise in one of the nation’s smallest states, but if you are noticing a trend in the population sizes of the places on our list (i.e., small), you’re right. In 2012, this Frederick County city of just 6,014 residents had just five violent crimes (four aggravated assaults and one robbery) and 104 property crimes (87 thefts, 16 burglaries, and one motor vehicle theft), for a total of 109 crimes. This meant that residents had a 1 in 55 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Source: Flickr user MDGovpics
Despite being the largest place on our top 10, with a population of 55,765, residents in Bowie had just a 1 in 57 chance of being the victim of a crime. That’s because in 2012, there were 906 property crimes and 79 violent crimes, for a total of 985 crimes.
Compare that to, say, Annapolis (which has even fewer residents; just 39,255) where there were were a total of 1219 crimes and residents had a 1 in 32 chance of being the victim of a crime, and you can see why Bowie made the cut.
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Located in central Prince George’s County, New Carrollton came in among our top 10 for its proportionally low number of crimes. We say proportionally, because a total of 242 crimes may not sound like a small number, especially after reading about places like Thurmont with a total of just 53 crimes; but with a population of 12,366, New Carrollton still ranked as very safe.
With nine aggravated assaults, 21 robberies, 135 thefts, 55 burglaries, and 22 motor vehicle thefts, residents in New Carrollton had a 1 in 51 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Source: Flickr user Jasperdo
This city of just over 9,000 residents came in among our top 10 mostly for its low number of violent crimes in particular. With just 14 violent crimes in 2012 (one rape, five robberies, and eight aggravated assaults), residents here had just a 1 in 646 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Aside from violent crimes, Frostburg also saw 244 property crimes, bringing the total for the city up to 258. Compared to other places in the state, though, this is still very low. Bladensburg, for example, has a similarly sized population of 9,322; but where Frostburg had 14 violent crimes, it had 93, and where Frostburg had more than a handful of property crimes, at 244, Bladensburg saw 469.
Source: Flickr user MDGovpics
Just 10 miles away from Washington, D.C., District Heights is like a small safe haven away from the much larger, and much more dangerous nation’s capital.
For instance, with a population of 5,948, District Heights had just 15 violent crimes total in 2012 (which, unfortunately, did include three murders). It also had a total of 141 property crimes that year, including a majority of thefts (83), 33 burglaries, and a pretty high number of motor vehicle thefts: 25 for its small population. Even so, residents of District Heights had a relatively low chance of being the victim of a crime overall, with 1 in 38 odds.
Featured Image Source: Flickr User Charlie Stinchcomb
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