About the State of Maryland
Ranked as one of the smallest states in the country, its more than six million residents make Maryland the fifth most densely populated of all the states. Despite large and densely populated cities like Baltimore and close proximity to Washington D.C., the state of Maryland enjoys a relatively low crime rate and ranks as the 9th Safest Place to Live in the United States according to our 2016 rankings.
Based on data from the 2010 Census, Maryland has the highest median income in the nation. Could this be a factor in helping Maryland maintain such a safe state? We took a look at the communities in Maryland that may not make national headlines but contribute to the state’s low crime rate and overall safety.
These are the thirty safest places to live in Maryland.
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Maryland’s Safest Cities
Brentwood, Maryland’s Safest City
Located just outside of Washington D.C. to the northeast, Brentwood is a small town in Prince George’s County. Found along the Route 1 Corridor, the town is considered part of the Gateway Arts District and many painters, sculptors, musicians and other artists have lived in Brentwood or maintained art-space and studios there.
Originally part of the 3,000-acre Springfield Estate, the small town of Sykesville was formed after James Sykes purchased 1,000 acres from his friend and colleague, George Patterson in 1825 and was based on the Howard County side of the Patapsco River. In 1868 the town was destroyed by floods and had to be rebuilt, this time on the Carroll County side of the river where it is found today.
Located on the Tangier Sound in Somerset County, Crisfield was initially a small fishing village on the Chesapeake Bay known as Annemessex Neck. As the business for seafood accelerated, the Pennsylvania Railroad was brought to the area by John W. Crisfield. Today, the town is referred to as the “Seafood Capital of the World” and, according to residents, is literally built on top of oyster shells.
Found just south of the Pennsylvania state line in Carroll County, the small town of Manchester was incorporated in 1834 and is recognized as the second oldest incorporated area in the County. The area was originally occupied by the Susquehannock people before colonization. Today, in the town center is an intersection of two important Native American trails, one that connected the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers and the other, the Conewago and Patapsco rivers.
Close to the former Fort Ritchie army base and west of Camp David, Smithsburg is a small town in Washington County founded by Christopher Smith in 1813 after he purchased a plot of land that was part of Shadrack’s Lot. During the Civil War, Smithsfield was a hospital town, providing treatment for wounded soldiers during the battles as South Mountain and Antietam.
Tucked into the foot of South Mountain in Washington County, the town of Boonsboro borders Frederick Country and is close to the Antietam National Battlefield. Incorporated as Boonesborough in 1831, it was originally named Margaretsville after the wife of original town founder George Boone, cousin of Daniel Boone.
Ocean Pines is a residential community found on Maryland’s eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in northern Worcester County and was formed after Gerald S Klein purchased the property for development in 1984 for $55 million. The community features over 9 miles of waterfront property, including beachfront property on the Atlantic Ocean.
Originally known as the village Spring Garden, the town was later renamed Hampstead and was used by farmers from the surrounding areas as a center to buy goods and ship their produce to Baltimore and Pennsylvania. In 1879, the railroad reached Hampstead and with the successful farming of the nearby flat, fertile land, Hampstead became a small but well-to-do community.
Located in Carroll Country, Taneytown was founded in 1754 and became the seat of the Taneytown Hundred and was the first town in Maryland to make English the official language. The town is rich in historic landmarks and was designated as a Historic District with the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Originally incorporated as Mechanicstown in 1751, the name was later changed to Thurmont by an act of the Maryland General Assembly. Located close to the presidential retreat, Camp David, Thurmont is in the northern part of Frederick County roughly ten miles from the border of Pennsylvania.
Found just ten miles east of Washington D.C. in Prince George’s Country, Glenarden was developed in 1919 by W.R. Smith who purchased a group of properties and established a residential community of 15 people. Thirty years later, the small suburban African American community petitioned the State Legislature for incorporation and their charter was granted in 1939.
Incorporated in 1794, Centreville is the county seat of Queen Anne’s County. Originally in Queenstown, the county seat was moved to a more central part of the county after an Act of the Assembly in 1782 to move both the courthouse and all government functions to Centreville. Today, Centreville is the largest town in the county.
Located in the disputed “Nottingham Lots” on the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland, the area was originally claimed and settled by the Quakers in 1702. Roughly sixty years later during a land survey by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, it was discovered the town was actually located in Maryland. The town’s unique name comes from a stone tavern established by Henry Reynolds in 1720 called The Rising Sun.
Originally a small railroad stop in Prince George’s County, the city of Bowie has grown to become the largest municipality in the county and the third largest city in the state with the fifth highest population. In 2014, the town was recognized by CNN Money as the 28th Best Place to Live in America.
Bordering Washington D.C. and located in Prince George’s County, Capitol Heights began in 1904 when Baltimore resident Otway B. Zantzinger acquired 400 acres of land beyond the eastern corner of the district. He then divided the tract of land into 4,000 lots and sold them. In 1910, the residents voted to incorporate their community as Capitol Heights.
Originally known as Eel Town because residents often fished for eel in the Potomac River, the area was first settled by the English in 1728. After several name changes, the town was incorporated in 1890 as Brunswick. Located along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the city was a hub for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and maintained a six-mile rail yard which helped boost the town’s population and economy.
Incorporated in 1868, the town of Berlin is located in Worcester County and was known to be a rest stop for travelers as they headed for the coastal resort town of Ocean City. The area was also popular with tourists who enjoyed hunting and fishing on the lower eastern shore of Maryland. Recently the town revitalized its historic downtown district and residential areas and has been designated as a “Main Street Community” by the state.
The town of University Park was incorporated in 1935 and is comprised of land owned by the Deakens family. The population of the town grew as more homeowners moved to the area attracted by the lush vegetation and high elevation. In 1940, there were almost three hundred homes and ten years later the number nearly doubled. The community has its own police department which was started in 1965.
Originally farm land owned by Major Leander P. Williams and sold into four different patented Lord Baltimore tracts, District Heights evolved from the tract eventually purchased by several area men in 1925. By 1936, there were 25 homes built on the land along with two businesses a grocery store and a filling station with a pump house and water tower to bring water and pressure to the city.
Berwyn Heights is another town just outside of Washington D.C. in Prince George’s County formed in the 1870s as the population of D.C. grew and residents sought neighborhoods and railroad suburbs just outside the district. Originally known as Charlton Heights, the town was incorporated in 1896 as Berwyn Heights.
Found in Allegany County, the town of Frostburg is located at the head of the Georges Creek Valley. Originally known as Mount Pleasant, the town was renamed Frostburg in 1820. Despite the rough terrain of the area, the town was hit by an F4 tornado in 1998 which damaged over one hundred homes in the area as well as the Frost Elementary School.
Part of Prince George’s County, the town of Forest Heights saw most of its residential development in the 1940s and 1950s. The population was made up of scientists working at the nearby U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, military band musicians and other employees of the federal government. The Forest Heights Police Department is responsible for the prevention and investigation of crime within the corporate limits.
Havre de Grace
Found at the mouth of Susquehanna River and the head of the Chesapeake Bay, Havre De Grace, or HdG as it is often abbreviated, is named after the port city Le Havre in France. According the Smithsonian magazine, Havre de Grace received the distinction of being considered one of America’s 20 best small towns to visit in 2014.
Located in Cecil County, Perryville was first settled in 1622 by Edward Palmer. Before incorporation, the area was known as Lower Ferry. The town of Perryville was used as a staging area for the Continental Army during America’s war for independence and local ferry and tavern operator Colonel John Rogers, raised the 5th Company of the Maryland Militia there.
Developed in the late 1800s as a streetcar suburb in Prince George’s country, Riverdale Park is located just seven miles outside of downtown Washington, D.C. The town wasn’t incorporated until 1920 after a petition to the Maryland General Assembly by a group of homeowners from Riverdale Park and nearby West Riverdale.
The county seat, Frederick is the second largest city in Maryland behind Baltimore. The area has been important in the history and development of Maryland since colonial days as it was located at an important intersection of an Indian Trail and routes to the Chesapeak Bay and across the Appalachian mountains.
Founded in 1918 and incorporated over ten years later, Cheverly is part of Prince George’s County and located near Washington, D. C. The town was a planned suburb similar to other towns in the county and was first platted in 1904. Since 1931, the Mount Hope located at 1 Cheverly Circle has been the town’s official symbol and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Named a Royal Port of Entry after being founded in 1706, the town of Chestertown in Kent County enjoyed a boom in shipping and commerce after receiving its designation and was soon the state’s second leading port behind Annapolis. The 1790 census designated Chestertown as the geographical center of the population of the United States.
The capital of the state as well as the county seat, Annapolis is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River. Originally known as Providence the area was settled by the English in 1649. The Continental Congress met in Annapolis in 1783 – 1784. Today, the city of Annapolis is home to the United States Naval Academy, St. John’s College and the Maryland State House, the oldest in continuous legislative use in the country.
Located in Prince George’s County, the town of New Carrollton was developed by Albert W. Turner from the former estate of Edward L. Mahoney after his death in 1957. Originally named Carrollton after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the town was renamed New Carrollton after a voter referendum in 1966.
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You may not see your city or town included in this list of the safest places to live in Maryland because it did not reach the minimum population requirement of 2,500 residents or your location was not included in the most recent annual Uniform Crime Report from the FBI.
7. Ocean Pines
13. Rising Sun
15. Capitol Heights
18. University Park
20. Berwyn Heights
22. Forest Heights
23. Havre de Grace
25. Riverdale Park
30. New Carrollton
31. North East
32. Seat Pleasant
33. Bel Air
36. Takoma Park
39. Mount Rainier
41. La Plata
46. Princess Anne
53. Pocomoke City