Delaware sits on a dune-covered peninsula bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware River, and the Bay.
The second smallest state was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787, giving it the nickname “The First State.”
Famous for its beaches and peach pie, Delaware is also the least populated state.
But according to FBI crime statistics, overall, Delaware’s violent and property crime rates are higher on average than those reported in the Upper East Coast region.
And despite a lower population, Delaware experienced a 3% increase in violent crimes but a 12% reduction in property crimes yearly.
Delaware’s property crime rate is on par with the national average of 19.6, but the state’s 4.3 violent crime rate is slightly higher than the national average of 4.0.
Interestingly, 74% of Delaware residents use some form of property protection – significantly higher than the U.S. average of 60%.
Regardless of which city, security cameras were the preferred method to protect Delawarean property.
Crime rates differ when traveling around Delaware, even in the safest cities.
With an overall 1 in 51 probability of experiencing property crime or a 1 in 232 likelihood of experiencing a violent crime, essential safety tips are necessary.
But, Delaware remains a beautiful state worthy of a visit despite pockets of concern.
- 10 Safest Cities in Delaware
- 5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Delaware
- Delaware Safety Overview
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Safest Cities in Delaware
A small east-central Delaware city of 3660 people, Clayton is located five miles from the Delaware Bay.
Since 2020, its population has grown by 18.8%.
Affecting on the average daily commute time, which is a full eight minutes higher than the national average of 26.4 minutes.
The city’s cost of living is 5.4% higher than the U.S. average, but the town remains young, with a median age of 32 years old.
Despite the increase in population, Clayton held onto its spot as the safest city in Delaware.
Both Clayton’s violent crime and property crime rates dropped over 50% last year.
And the city has not reported any murders in the previous ten years.
Lewes is a small city beach community.
With a population of 3,378 and a median income of $88,984, Lewes is considered one of Delaware’s best places.
And whether you are visiting for the Wildflower Festival in May or a chance to see the Tiffany glass museum.
Lewes is a picturesque beach town.
Over the past year, the city has experienced decreases in both violent crime and property crime.
The violent crime rate has decreased by half in the past year.
And while the property crime rate remains high, most property disturbances were burglaries, with no motor vehicle thefts reported for this year.
Originally a 16th-century settlement for English Colonists, Milton is a small Delawarean town of 3,066 residents.
Now known for its 18th-century Victorian architecture, the city’s cost of living is 8.2% higher than the U.S. average.
Residents earn a median income of $57,754 annually in this moderately walkable city, where outdoor activities include Slaughter Beach and hiking trails of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
And pristine streets surround downtown Milton’s, Memorial Park.
It has also reported zero motor vehicle thefts.
Located in New Castle County, Middletown’s cost of living is 23% higher than the national average, while the city’s median income is $90000.
Since 2020, Middletown has grown by 24%.
Currently, claiming 23385 residents, its average daily commute has increased past the national average of 26.4 to 37.2 minutes.
Despite the increase in population, Middletown maintains its ranking as the fourth safest city in Delaware.
According to reported crime statistics, the violent crime rate has remained steady at 2.1 per 1000.
The town’s property crime rate of 19.0 has declined but is still at almost a statewide high of 19.6 – reporting primarily burglaries.
It is a large city with 33,752 residents and a 4.1% higher than the national cost of living.
Since 2020, Newark’s population has grown by 6.9%. Newark’s residents are young – 23 years old.
Many residents live in Newark, where median home prices hover around $291,000, and commute into the larger metro areas.
Both violent and property crime rates in the city have declined in the past year.
However, both remain high – just under the state’s average.
And the percentage of aggravated assault is higher than the national average.
Smyrna offers a small-town feel with just over 12,000 residents.
However, since 2020, its population has grown by 21%.
The town sits equidistant from the Maryland border and Delaware Bay, offering residents easy access to the state’s historical treasures and numerous outdoor activities.
The commute into the metroplex is 30.4 minutes, higher than the national average of 26.4.
One in 44 individuals will likely become victims of either violent or property crime in Smyrna.
The majority of violent crimes in the city are aggravated assault, with theft topping the property crimes list.
And both Smyrna’s reported violent and property crimes have hovered around the national averages for several years.
Almost three-quarters of Delaware residents believe crime is on the rise, and the 5,851 residents of Elsmere are no different.
Elsmere is a small town located west of the Wilmington Metroplex whose cost of living is 6.1% lower than the U.S. average and whose population has seen a slight decline over the past year.
Despite the population reduction, there is still a 1 in 189 probability of becoming a victim of violent crime in Elsmere.
Both Elsmere’s reported violent and property crime rates are above state averages.
The city’s struggle with property crimes is predominantly with theft – package theft.
And a quarter of all reported property crimes are motor vehicle thefts compared to other Delaware cities where motor vehicle thefts are zero.
New Castle is a small town with 5500 residents that borders the Port of Wilmington in Northern Delaware.
It is a collection of small neighborhoods where the median home price is about $225,000, and the average resident’s age is 47 years old.
Statistics show crime rates are the highest south of the Port and along the river.
While the violent crimes reported in New Castle are half of the national average, the property crime rate is well above the state and national average.
In fact, there is a 1 in 25 probability of falling victim to a property crime in New Castle, compared to the likelihood of 1 in 53 for the state of Delaware.
Harrington is a sparsely populated town with 3700 residents, with median incomes over $50,00.
Located in central and eastern Delaware, it shares borders with the Maryland state line.
Harrington is a relatively young city with opportunities, where the average age is 29 years old, and the average home price is well under $200,000.
According to the FBI’s reported crimes, Harrington’s violent and property crime rates are significantly above the state and national averages.
However, the violent crimes reported have declined by 27% in the past year, continuing a three-year downward trend. Almost all violent crimes were assault and property crimes – theft.
Georgetown sits in south-central Delaware, just south of the Redden State Forest.
While tenth on the safest cities list, the reported crime rates in Georgetown are surprisingly significant for a small town of 7700 residents.
Georgetown’s population has increased over the past year by 14%, and its cost of living is 6% less than the national average.
According to FBI statistics, the area’s violent crime rate increased last year.
And while the property crime rate decreased by over 7%, it was 35, almost twice the national average of 19.6.
In fact, individuals have a 1 in 26 probability of becoming victims of property crime in Georgetown.
5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Delaware
- Share your travel plans. Let people know travel details. Consider sending pictures of non-traditional lodging and transportation.
- Avoid posting on social media. Keep things general when posting information on the internet. Consider posting vacation pictures after you have left a city or returned home.
- Back up critical financial data. When traveling, save copies of your payment methods to a secondary device.
- Copy emergency information. Make a physical copy of credit cards, driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate.
- Lock up valuables. Use a safe to store jewelry or electronics when out of your room, or consider using hotel security.
Delaware Safety Overview
READ THE FULL REPORT: Delaware Safety ReviewSafety Index:
- OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
- TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
- PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
- NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
- MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
- TERRORISM RISK: LOW
- SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
- WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Frequently Asked Questions
How often is auto theft committed in Delaware?
Motor vehicle theft accounts for 9% of all property crime in Delaware, the sixth-lowest in the United States and lower than the national average of 13%.
Two cities, Lowes and Milton, reported no motor vehicle thefts for the past year.
What is the safest city in Delaware for women?
Women’s traveler’s risk in Delaware is moderate.
The state ranks as a top place for women to travel, but there are areas, including Laurel, Seaford, and Harrington, where caution is necessary.
What is the most dangerous city to visit in Delaware?
The most dangerous city in Delaware to visit is Laurel.
Property crimes, including burglaries, constitute a significant problem in the city.
However, according to FBI statistics, Laurel is surpassed by Seaford for the highest place for assault.
Seaford also has Delaware’s highest overall crime rate.