10 Most Dangerous Cities In Delaware

Updated On October 10, 2023

Delaware is the 2nd smallest state in America with a population of just under 1 million people and 1,948 square miles of land.

It’s nicknamed the “1st State”, due to it being the first of the 13 original colonies to ratify the US Constitution.

Fortune 500 companies flock to Delaware because of the state’s lenient tax laws (67% of companies incorporate in Delaware).

Tourism is a huge money maker for the coastal state, with people from all over the country vacationing at their beaches.

In fact, Rehoboth beach is called the summertime Washington DC, for all of the politicians that vacation there.

Among the celebrities from Delaware include, actor Ryan Philippe, Valerie Bertinelli, and musician, George Thorogood.

President Joe Biden also makes his home in Delaware.

As for crime, Delaware ranks 21st in the country for the rate of crime based on population.

A total of 26,046 crimes were reported last year.

That’s 2,675  incidents per every 100,000 people.

Violent crimes (including murder, assault, and robbery) occurred at a rate of 4.2 per 1,000 residents.

Property crimes (including burglary, larceny, and auto theft) occurred at a rate of 22.5 per 1,000 residents.

Below is a list of places with the highest rates of crime in Delaware based on population. 

10 Most Dangerous Cities In Delaware

Smyrna, Delaware
Smyrna, Delaware

10. Smyrna, Delaware

Originally called Salisbury, Smyrna has a population of 12,011.

It was originally a community of merchant ships where the production and transport of lumber, grain, and peaches thrived.

This small city is 30 miles south of Willmington and has several museums.

With 10% of its population living below the poverty level, Smyrna has an above-average crime rate.

Last year, there were a total of 291 crimes, 49 of those were classified as violent and 242 were property related.

People in Smyrna have a 1 in 245 chance of being a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 49 likelihood of being a property crime victim.

Harrington, Delaware
Harrington, Delaware

9. Harrington, Delaware

With a population of 3,646, Harrington was once the leading manufacturer of shirts, pants, and dresses.

Being a major stop on the railroad made it easy for the goods to be shipped to major stores around the country.

Today, the town’s main sources of income are the Harrington raceway and casino.

The Delaware State Fair is also held in Harrington each year.

Last year, Harrington was considered 11% safer than all other cities its size.

There was a total of 117 crimes, which is 36.7% above the national average.

Violent crime totals were 25, and property crimes numbered 92.

The chances of being a victim of violent crime are 1 in 45 and property crime is 1 in 39.

Georgetown, Delaware
Georgetown, Delaware

8. Georgetown, Delaware

Georgetown was the first colony formed in Delaware in 1631.

With a population of 7,678, it’s the only remaining town in the state that’s not built on a grid.

Rather, it’s built around a circle that remains the center of town, where all activities are held.

This includes “Return Day”, where election results are read and a literal hatchet is buried to symbolize setting aside differences.

The state’s largest employer, Perdue (chicken), has its headquarters in Georgetown.

Last year, there were 317 crimes reported in the city, making it only 4% safer than cities its size.

Violent crimes totaled 54 (7 per 1,000 people) and property crimes totaled 263 (35 per 1,000 people).

Camden, Delaware
Camden, Delaware

7. Camden, Delaware

With a population of 3,562, Camden is a rural community and is part of the Dover metropolitan area.

It was the site of 2 Revolutionary War battles and is presently home to a beautiful state park and a microbrewery.

Last year, Camden saw 220 crimes, including 9 aggravated assaults, 3 car thefts, and 204 acts of larceny.

While the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime are lower than the national average (1 in 323), the chances of a property crime occurring are high, at 1 in 17.

Milford, Delaware
Milford, Delaware

6. Milford, Delaware

often referred to as a “quaint” town with a great art scene, Milford is centered around the Mispillion river.

Its population of 11,994 is mostly employed by local businesses that include restaurants, shops, a brewery, river activities, and galleries.

Many people like to take day trips to Milford, but they should be mindful of the crime rate.

Crime in Milford is 103% higher than the national average.

Last year there were 572 crimes in the town, with 78 of them being violent and 494 of them being property.

The chances of a violent crime occurring are 1 in 153 and 1 in 24 for property crime.

Dover, Delaware
Dover, Delaware

5. Dover, Delaware

Dover is the state capital of Delaware and home to almost 40,000 people.

Dover was formed in 1683 by William Penn, as a court town.

Today, it remains the center of government for the state and is home to the governor’s mansion.

Dover Airforce base is one of the city’s largest employers and houses the mortuary that processes the remains of soldiers killed in action.

In addition to many historic buildings, Docer is home to a motor speedway and a casino.

Kraft foods also have a plant in the city that manufactures Jell-O.

Unfortunately, Dover’s crime rate is 108% above the national average.

Last year there were 329 violent crimes, including 9 murders, 274 aggravated assaults, and 24 robberies.

Property crimes totaled 1,549, including 80 cat thefts and 1,412 acts of larceny.

The chances of being a victim of violent crime are 1 in 116 and property crime is 1 in 24.

Millsboro, Delaware
Millsboro, Delaware

4. Millsboro, Delaware

Millsboro is named for the many saw and gristmills that once flourished in the town.

Once a timber village, the town of 4,600 is now known as a great place for water sports like boating, fishing, and paddling.

The town’s largest employers are Merck and BJ’s.

The crime rate is 105% above the national average.

Last year this small town saw 187 property crimes and 35 violent crimes.

That puts this quaint town on the Indian river as the 4th most dangerous city in Delaware.

Laurel, Delaware
Laurel, Delaware

3. Laurel, Delaware

Once home to the Nanticoke Indian settlement, Laurel was named for the laurel bushes that grow alongside Broad creek.

During the 1700s and 1800s, the town was known as a potato farming community.

If you drive through the town today, you’ll see many of the potato houses that still stand.

Today, Laurel has a population of 4,431, with  20% living below the poverty level.

The town’s crime rate is 106% above the national rate.

Last year, there were a total of 215 crimes, including 39 violent and 176 property.

The chances of being a victim of property crime in Laurel are 1 in 25.

Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware

2. Wilmington, Delaware

The largest city in Delaware, Wilmington has a population of 70,100.

It’s home to Wilmington University and the largest port in the state.

The city also has a large riverfront park and is a center for business and commerce.

Nestle, IBM, and Barclays all have headquarters in Wilmington.

Sadly, the crime rate is 125% above the national crime rate.

Last year, there were a total of 3,713 crimes.

Violent crimes accounted for 1,115 incidents, which included 31 murders, 786 aggravated assaults, and 280 robberies.

Property crime reports totaled 2,598, including 440 car thefts and 545 burglaries.

The chances of being a victim of violent crime are 1 in 62 and property crime is 1 in 27.

Seaford, Delaware
Seaford, Delaware

1. Seaford, Delaware

Located on the Nanticoke river, this town of 8,145 people is located in Sussex county.

Seaford has a rich history and many of its buildings are registered historical sites.

This includes a hardware store and a dry goods store that has been operating since the 1700s.

A nylon factory run by the DuPont company is located in Seaford, giving it the nickname, “The Nylon Capital Of The World.”

The area is also the largest producer of chickens in the United States.

Unfortunately, Seaford also has a poverty rate of 27%.

This has led to an uptick in criminal activity.

The crime rate in this relatively small city is 177% above the national average.

Last year, there were a total of 530 crimes, with 88 being violent in nature and 442 property.

The chances of being a victim of violent crime in Seaford are 1 in 92 and the chances of property crime are 1 in 18.

5 Safety Tips For Traveling To Delaware

1. Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Delaware had a high percentage of car theft.

Never leave your car unlocked and always take your keys/fob.

Park in a well-lit area and never leave any valuables inside.

2. Travel Smart

stay away from unknown areas at night.

Research the area before you go.

Always tell someone where you will be going.

3. Never Leave Items Unattended

This goes especially for recreational areas like the beach and lakes.

4. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Delaware has a medium-high occurrence of muggings.

Stay off your phone and avoid other distractions when walking in downtown areas.

5. Do Not Wear Expensive Jewelry

This goes for the cities and tourist areas most of all.

Thieves tend to frequent these areas, waiting for unsuspecting visitors to let their guard down.

Delaware Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Delaware Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What area of Dover is the worst for crime?

The area surrounding the motor speedway is the highest crime area in Dover.

What towns should be avoided in Delaware?

Wilmington and Laurel should be avoided if possible.

Is Dover safe at night?

Dover, like most large cities, should be avoided at night if you are not familiar with the area.

2 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Delaware

  1. K
    Kingsley says:

    Delaware is a small but diverse state, with a mix of history, beach tourism, and corporate influence.

    While the crime rate may be higher than other states, practicing common sense and taking precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Delaware.

    Delaware may be small, but it offers a lot for visitors to explore and enjoy.

  2. Delaware, the “1st State” with lenient tax laws and a thriving tourism industry, unfortunately has some dangerous cities with above-average crime rates.

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