Maryland : Safety by City
- Ellicott City
- Germantown & Gaithersburg
- Ocean City
- Silver Spring
Don’t be surprised if you see Clinton, Maryland, referred to as Surrattsville by locals or publications.
There’s a wealth of Civil War history behind that name game.
Clinton is tucked up on the south side of Joint Base Andrews, home of the president’s plane Air Force One.
Both the Air Force and Navy have a presence there, and you’ll likely see military members and their families during your visit.
This is a wealthy community with an average income being more than $112,000 and a low 6% poverty rate.
This is a highly residential area but close to many wonderful adventures in this region, including the National Harbor, National & State Parks, and more Civil War and Lincoln assassination history than you can likely fit into a visit.
Even though this is more of a residential community, you’ll find plenty of tours and attractions to explore if you take a closer look.
Warnings & Dangers in Clinton
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, but with an increasingly violent crime subsection of assault, that should be watched. Other than that, many crime categories were down from 2020.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
TheBus (all one word) is the public transportation system here with an extensive network to get around the region. You can use the website to see the exact time your bus will arrive, with is a great safety feature (if possible, wait inside a business until your bus arrives). Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are other great options.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here as there aren't too many gathering spots where you'll find crowds. Use extra caution when you're in tourist areas like the National Harbor.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You face the risk of a little bit of everything throughout the year here. Hurricanes are the biggest risk from June through November, but those come with plenty of advanced warning. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding are also potential risks. Winter can bring snow, ice, and blizzard conditions topped with brutal cold.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is a low-risk crime that saw an increase in "other weapons" being used but a decrease in firearm robberies. Since this is a residential area, most of the robbery concerns are in homes and businesses.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Since this is so close to Joint Base Andrews, in addition to being part of the Washington, D.C., area, there's a medium risk. Don't let that risk fool you - you will also be in one of the most well-protected areas of the country.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Scams here are targeted at homeowners and locals, so you can rest assured there's a low risk of a tourist scam. However, you should never let your guard down and if a scammer confronts you, report them to the county police.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe here, but there isn't a whole lot to do. The real safety risk is in the other cities you visit, which you should research ahead of time. Standard safety precautions and personal safety steps will go a long way in this area.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
WSSC Water has had one of the longest-running full compliance with water safety standards since records started being kept. The 2021 Annual Water Quality Report shows that the flawless record continues. Check with water officials if you're there during flooding or a hurricane because those weather events can cause water quality issues, leading to community notifications.
Safest Places to Visit in Clinton
You’ll need to use the official tourism website of Prince George’s County to get information about Clinton and the surrounding areas.
The county is shaped like a backward “C’, covering the eastern side of the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Look at the Charles County, Maryland, tourism site with plenty of options just to the south of Clinton.
The Surratt House Museum is the biggest attraction here, with a sinister side of history within its walls.
I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but let’s just say that part of the plot to assassinate President Lincoln happened here.
The plot also led to the first execution of a woman in America.
The museum is only open from Thursday through Saturday.
Joint Base Andrews offers tours during peacetime, but you must schedule the tours in advance and have a group larger than 10 people.
You won’t see Air Force One, even if it’s there.
Read all the specific requirements for tour reservations and security clearance on the Tour Request section of the Joint Base Andrews website.
There’s even a dress code, so read all the information.
The Clearwater Nature Center is located within Cosca Regional Park.
The center has live animals, workshops, and tours throughout the year.
You’ll see a Bald Eagle up close and explore seasonal gardens.
Cosca Park also has campsites available for groups of up to 30 people.
The National Harbor is just 15 minutes away, and it’s a great spot on the water with boat rides, a Ferris wheel, dining, and shopping with different entertainment throughout the year.
Instagram Alert: Don’t miss the “Great Awakening” statue of a man coming out of the sand.
A ferry to Old Town Alexandria is available from the harbor as well.
Tanger Outlets National Harbor is a discount shopping mall with great deals on name-brand clothing and accessories.
This is a great place to stop if you need clothing essentials or winter gear too.
This is an open-air mall, so keep that in mind while deciding what to wear depending on the weather.
Oxen Cove Park & Oxen Hill Farm are located on national park property with hands-on activities and hiking trails.
Tours are available of the farm that has existed since the War of 1812.
The park is free, but during fall and spring, you should call to reserve a tour spot since weekdays are filled with classroom tours.
Cheltenham Wetlands Park is a unique chance to learn about wetland geology and ecology.
A wooden boardwalk helps keep you out of the water and mud, and there are three trails to choose from, with one going through the wetlands and two through the forest.
You’ll see tree carving art along the way.
Head to the Chesapeake Bay, with Chesapeake Beach being one of the closest and most abundant options.
From casinos to museums to a waterpark, there’s plenty to explore.
The Rod ‘N Reel Resort is a beautiful option if you want to use the spa services or stay an extra night near the water.
Places to Avoid in Clinton
Since this is one of the safer residential communities, and the main hotels and amenities are on the main roads, there’s little chance you’ll end up in a bad neighborhood.
Avoid trying to visit Joint Base Andrews without reservations or a reason to be there.
Security is tight, for obvious reasons, and you won’t be able to “talk your way in.”
You also can’t get a schedule of when Air Force One is landing or taking off, once again, for security reasons.
If you’re heading to Washington or Baltimore, plan your travel wisely, as traffic can be heavy in and out of the suburbs.
You don’t have great detour options, as there are just two main roads in and out of the city.
Use the Maryland 511 system to check traffic times, accidents, and road construction.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Clinton
- Clinton is in Division 5 of the Prince George’s County Police Department. You can email them with questions at Police_district5@co.pg.md.us or call (301)856-3130. Every Wednesday at 9:00 am, a coffee club meeting is held at Colony South Hotel. This is a great way to meet neighbors and officers to ask about crime and safety information.
- Each year the police department issues an Annual Report, which is a wealth of crime and safety information. You can get crime rates, learn about safety programs, and hear from the safety leaders of the community.
- Many Prince George’s County parks will prompt you to make a reservation. We recommend you do that, so your spot is secure. Some parks can be at capacity during weekends and holidays.
- Use the NPS (National Park System) app for the national parks across this region. You’ll get maps, alerts, and entrance fee information. Plus, you can work toward filling up your “National Park Passport.” Kids who come with you can also get Junior Ranger badges at each park.
- Download TheBus PGC Connect app to get real-time bus information and plan your trips. The buses don’t run on Sundays. Routes 32, 36, and 30 serve Clinton.
- If you’re visiting the National Harbor, you might want to go on a weekday to get the safety and best experience. There has been a rash of juveniles causing disruptions, and some visiting adults treat this as more of a wild Spring Break destination than a tourist attraction. Weekends see reports of fighting, drunk and disorderly people, and large, rowdy crowds.
- When visiting Oxen Hill Farm, don’t touch or feed animals unless you are directed to do so. The animals at the farm pose no threat, but wild animals should be viewed from a safe distance.
- Due to the Avian Flu Outbreak, don’t feed or touch any birds here. If you are visiting a bird-rich area, wash your shoes before you get in the car to wipe off any virus you could carry to a new location. Avian flu poses little risk to humans, but humans can carry the virus to other locations and infect a new flock of birds. Once one bird in a flock is contaminated, the entire flock will likely have to be destroyed.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Depending on where you plan to fish, you’ll need a saltwater or freshwater license. You can also get a combo license to cover all Maryland waters.
- Reagan National Airport is the closest commercial option, but it’s also known as one of the scariest takeoffs in the country. Since planes must avoid White House airspace shortly after takeoff, there’s a sharp turn while ascending. This is perfectly normal, but it can catch some people off guard.
So... How Safe Is Clinton Really?
Looking at the 2021 Annual Report, Clinton’s Division 5 saw a decrease in many crime categories:
- Murder: Down 25%
- Rape: Down 67%
- Armed Robbery with Gun: Down 42%
- Auto Theft: Down 10%
This comes at a time when some other communities in the region and the nation saw exponential growth.
Even being a major residential area, the community still saw a 33% decrease in home burglaries.
Clinton isn’t the most exciting city to visit, but it does have conveniently located hotels close to Joint Base Andrews and close to the city, beach, and National Harbor.
Since crime can change between divisions, I once again recommend you use the annual report to see crime rates in other divisions.
For example, Division 3 saw a lot of crime increase in 2021 compared to 2020.
With many outdoor areas in this region, you’ll need to stay on top of the weather forecast daily and have emergency notifications for severe weather events.
If it does storm, you should go inside until 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to get hit by lightning.
Stick to the speed limit in this county, as automated systems send speeding tickets up to 30 days after the offense.
They can track down rental cars, so tourists don’t get away with it either.
How Does Clinton Compare?
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- Visas - The U.S. State Department oversees the visa process for all international travelers. Its website is a wealth of information but can also be overwhelming. Start with the Visa Wizard Module to get started in the right direction, as there are various visa options.
- Currency - You'll only be able to use the U.S. Dollar here, and banks are the best place to exchange. Some even buy back unused currency at the end of your trip. Credit cards are widely accepted, so you don't need to carry cash if you feel safer using a card.
- Weather - The extremes of all four seasons happen here, so pack accordingly. Summers will be hot and humid. Bring some extra clothing if you sweat heavily. Bring hiking boots for the wilderness areas. Winter will likely require insulated coats and accessories. If you're just visiting for fun, dress casually. If you are here for business in D.C., it's a rather business formal attire town, with dark, muted tones being the most popular.
- Airports - You can get to Reagan National Airport in 30 minutes and Dulles International in an hour, but double that time if you are traveling during the rush hour, so you can have extra time for traffic and delays.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance covers cancelations, delays, and emergencies that could require you to cut the trip short. If you want healthcare coverage here, you'll need supplemental insurance as there are no free medical services.
Clinton Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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