Maryland : Safety by City
- Ellicott City
- Germantown & Gaithersburg
- Ocean City
- Silver Spring
With steeple-topped skylines, rolling mountains, and charm that rivals its history, Frederick is a quaint destination nestled in the heart of western Maryland.
This is also a military town, with nearby Fort Detrick being the top employer of this city with 78,000 residents.
Some of the most important defense protocols in the country are monitored there.
Frederick is a city and a county, which can lead to confusion when researching.
The good news is that even the farthest city from Frederick is less than 30 minutes away, and the region is filled with charming small towns and unique experiences on a road trip.
The robust downtown area is home to more than 600 businesses, and a waterfront brick walkway along a stream, giving it a feeling much like the Riverwalk in San Antonio.
This is also a vibrant arts community with frequent dance events partially fueled by the ballet school in town.
Outside the city, you’ll find adventures awaiting Cunningham Falls State Park and a wildlife preserve.
Warnings & Dangers in Frederick
OVERALL RISK : LOW
In a relatively safe county, Frederick is one of the larger and safer cities. All key crime categories are lower than national averages. That's quite a feat at a time when violent crime is surging nationwide.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
MARC commuter trains can take you around the state and are a great option if you're flying into Washington, D.C., or Baltimore. TransIT is the local bus system. Taxis and rideshares are available. We recommend having a rental car to explore the scenic routes of this region.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
The theft rate in this city is 20% lower than the national average, and aside from the First Saturday events that draw a large crowd, you can enjoy a low risk. That said, you shouldn't let your guard down and carry only what you need during your daily adventures.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Frederick has the potential for a little bit of everything, so treat each weather event with a medium risk. Hurricanes can move inland and cause storms and flooding during the season from June through November. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in the warmer months, with winter weather being common from late fall through early spring.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is almost half the national average here, so this is another low-risk category. Keep that risk low by not walking around at night alone and trying to stick with a buddy or group as you explore.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Fort Detrick brings a higher risk to this area, but there's also abundant security. The army garrison is responsible for biological weapons and chemical research, including big threats like Ebola. You can learn more about terrorism bulletins on the website of the National Terrorism Advisory System.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Frederick has seen an increase in fake street performers who ask for tips using credit cards or debit cards. They aren't taking a tip, however. They are actually stealing personal information. There are too many fake street performers in America, so assume someone is fake and just keep moving. Leave a dollar or two in cash if you feel you must tip.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women, but I'll be honest, there are some pretty heinous sexual assaults targeting minors in this area. While it's not something you should be overwhelmingly concerned with, it's a reminder to keep an eye on the cyber activity of children. If you see anything suspicious, report it to the police. Women should also use standard safety precautions here, no matter how low the crime rate is.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows all standards were met or exceeded, and no violations were reported. For those going on road trips, hiking, and scenic routes, bring bottled water with you to avoid being in a remote area without clean water.
Safest Places to Visit in Frederick
VisitFrederick.org is the county’s official tourism website, which includes attractions and events in Frederick, the city.
Look for the downloadable brochures instead of giving away personal information on the main tour guide website section if you’re particular about getting spam.
DowntownFrederick.org will help you get a more focused look at things to do in that expansive city center.
A walk along Carol Creed Linear Park will take you through part of downtown with great water views.
While the creek isn’t that big, it does have decorations and elements for each season, including a Christmas boat parade.
Take a stroll to Heritage Frederick, the history museum where you can learn about the city and get maps of historical locations.
Walking tours are held seasonally.
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine gives a stark look at how soldiers were treated when injured or sick on the battlefields and in makeshift hospitals.
The Itineraries section of the museum’s website offers tailored tour options for those who want to explore more about Civil War history.
The Roads and Rails Museum is a big museum full of small things.
The miniature world is one of the largest of its kind and incorporates moving model trains through various cityscapes.
The museum has a YouTube channel where you can see videos of the display.
Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner, is buried in Frederick.
A memorial and grave site are at the entrance to Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Check out the colorful display case where you can push a button to play the national anthem as you pay tribute.
Take a tour of the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum to walk back in time and explore 300 years of history.
This is one of the oldest homes in the county and a special treat for those who want to see German immigrant and cultural influences in early America.
There’s a garden and gift shop on site too.
Places to Avoid in Frederick
Stick to the main roads and tourist attractions for the safest travel, but you won’t find a neighborhood that is too dangerous to visit if you get turned around.
The city’s roads aren’t on a smooth grid system, and some crooked roadways lead to dead ends or different directions than you want to go.
The city has many one-way roads, so pay attention to the signs, as the one-way and two-way roads don’t seem to have a rhyme or reason.
The Manor Area of Cunningham Falls State Park is just 15 minutes north and a very popular place to visit since it has historic building remnants in addition to birding and hiking trails.
This park can fill up quickly on holidays and weekends, so arrive early, or else you risk being turned away at the gate.
Should this happen, the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve is just up the road.
Here you can take a safari trip or visit the petting zoo.
Check your preferred scenic route before you go by checking Maryland 511’s website.
You’ll find real-time traffic data, road closures, and construction zones there.
It’s especially important in winter to see if there are seasonal or weather-related closures.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Frederick
- Frederick has its own police department, and Frederick County has a sheriff’s office. The city PD website has a list of crime statistics by month. Here you can see crime trends closer to your visit. As of this publication, our only official data is from 2021.
- If you want more granular crime information, check the “Spot Crime Data,” which will give you a list of every incident reported in the city. It’s just a document without a map, but it does have in-depth information. There is also a community crime map updated daily on the department’s website, so you can easily check crime rates before your visit.
- Frederick Police have their own app you can download, which will give you a direct line of contact with the department and be able to submit suspicious activity information, photos, and videos. If you download the iSpires app, you’ll be connected with the city to report problems like potholes or storm damage.
- With the wonky streets here and scattered parking, download the ParkMobile app to find parking spots and pay through your mobile device. Even in a safe city, the less you can pull out your wallet, the better.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through Alert FC (Frederick County). This will send great information your way, like severe weather warnings, snow emergency plans, road closures, and civil emergencies.
- When a snow emergency is declared, that just means the parking rules change so that snow plows can get through. The roads downtown are very narrow, so you don’t want to risk leaving your car on a snow route. If it doesn’t get towed, it could be sideswiped by a snow plow. The iSpires app will also have an interactive map of snow emergency routes and snowplow progress.
- If you are heading to Cunningham Falls or any other regional park, you’ll likely lose mobile phone service at some point. Your provider should have a coverage map to give you better information. Put your phone in “airplane mode” when you’re in rural areas to save the battery. You’ll be happy to have juice if there’s an emergency, and you can still take pictures in that mode.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. There are licenses by the day, week, or year for non-residents. You can purchase that online or at local sporting goods stores.
- Do not go into or near the falls in Cunningham Falls State Park. This isn’t just an environmental request. The park service has seen too many rescues of people who slipped or fell trying to cross the slick stones. The same caution goes at scenic vistas where there are a lot of rocks. Hundreds of people have tried to jump between rocks, only to end up with a call to 911.
- A few wildlife cautions here to tell you about. There are black bears in this region, which are about the safest bear to run into, at least by dangerous bear standards. Remember the saying, “If it’s brown, lie down. If it’s black, fight back.” Black bears are more prone to avoid people and climb trees to escape. However, if one does approach you, calmly speak to it and back away without turning your back on the bear. You can also bring bear spray to use in an emergency situation. Don’t feed or stalk bears. Also, don’t feed or touch the birds here. They can carry Avian Flu, and you could inadvertently spread the sickness to other areas. Wash your shoes after being in any wilderness area.
So... How Safe Is Frederick Really?
I’ve written about a dozen travel safety stories throughout Maryland, and few cities have crime rates as low as Frederick.
This is especially important since it’s a larger city.
While many cities are dealing with a double-whammy of violent crime surges and historically low police staffing, Frederick has managed to keep a grip on crime and hot spots.
When we see movement in a certain area, and that movement is suggesting that a trend may be going in a direction we don’t want to, then we put resources in place to try and tamp it down,” Mayor Michael O’Connor told a local radio station.
You should still use the same safety precautions here, like locking your car door and removing valuables from your vehicle.
Keep up with weather warnings, and don’t go into the parks without enough resources.
You can review the state and national park websites or apps to get information about wilderness safety.
Use the turnouts and scenic vistas on scenic drives instead of pulling over on the side of the road or trying to take photos while driving.
This entire region is especially dynamic in the fall, and we hope this safety guide helps you have a safer trip while exploring during any season.
How Does Frederick Compare?
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- Visas - The U.S. State Department will issue your visa, assuming you pass all parts of the process, but it can take several months to go through the steps. Once you land in America, you'll go through Customs to get the final go-ahead to enter the country. A visa doesn't guarantee you access, so be polite and patient while going through Customs.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Exchange currency before you arrive or at the airport. You can use cash, but a credit card offers better protection against fraud.
- Weather - Bring comfortable, walkable clothing as you have a lot of places to explore, and don't forget shoes that are comfortable and broken in since you'll be on your feet a lot. If you plan to hike, you'll want hiking boots for the rocky and elevated terrain. Winters can be bitterly cold, so bring a fall range of outdoor accessories and waterproof boots with good traction on the bottom.
- Airports - Hagerstown has a regional airport about 30 minutes away, but with just three destinations in South Carolina and Florida, you'll likely need a bigger airport. Washington, D.C., and Baltimore are about an hour away, with plenty of direct flight options.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a smart investment that protects against unforeseen accidents, delays, or cancelations. You can also get insurance for your rental car or supplemental insurance to cover emergency room and urgent care services.
Frederick Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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