How Safe Is Germantown & Gaithersburg for Travel?

Germantown & Gaithersburg, United States
Safety Index:
72

Germantown and Gaithersburg, Maryland, are part of the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

While they are separate locations, they are generally referred to in tandem, such as on the tourism website and the local Chamber of Commerce website.

This area is less than 50 miles from Baltimore and 30 miles from the nation’s capital, with both aforementioned cities in the greater Montgomery County.

This is an affluent community with an average income of more than $117,000 and a low 6.7% poverty rate.

Germantown is the newer of the two cities and had a population explosion starting in the 1970s.

It is now home to six villages plus the downtown area:

  • Gunners Lake Village
  • Kingsview Village
  • Churchill Village
  • Middlebrook Village
  • Clopper’s Mill Village
  • Neelsville Village

The city isn’t incorporated, despite the growing population.

Gaithersburg does have its own city council and police force, along with more activities to explore while Germantown is seen as a residential and bedroom community – albeit with its own charm.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a major presence in Germantown and moved here in the 1950s as a place considered safe from a potential nuclear attack on Washington, D.C.

Germantown and Gaithersburg each offer easy access with their locations along the busy I-270 but are close enough to outdoor adventures and big city life that you get the best of all worlds in these suburban communities.

Warnings & Dangers in Germantown & Gaithersburg

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

If you need a place to stay near Washington, DC, this is a lower-risk option, but even since the official crime data was reported in 2021, this area has seen an increase in crime. We'll talk about those numbers later, but it's important to realize that as of 2022, America is dealing with volatile and challenging violent crime rates and drug problems. No community is immune, but these communities are among the safer options. Germantown is also ranked as one of the "Best Places to Live for Families."

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Montgomery County has a transit system to get around that region, and the Metro line from Washington, D.C., now goes to Germantown and Gaithersburg. You can also take a train, which is a cheaper and potentially faster option. Taxis and rideshares are available, but those costs can add up quickly. Having your own car allows for much more flexibility.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

Across Montgomery County, with a population of more than one million people, 127 pickpockets or purse snatching were reported in 2021. You should still carry only what you need and keep your wallet and purse as small and hidden as possible. It's a lower risk than some other places around D.C., but it's still worth noting.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

You'll face winter storm risks, which come with plenty of warnings. Hurricanes can move inland between June and November, causing flooding, high winds, and thunderstorms. There are also severe thunderstorms and tornado risks, but that risk is much lower than in the Midwest and South. You should study the emergency management plan from Montgomery County to get a better idea of what risks to prepare for in each season.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : LOW

The risk is low by 2021 crime data comparisons, but Montgomery County Police say robberies and carjackings have increased "substantially" in 2022. You just can't let your guard down and must be cautious when you're out at night. Good situational awareness is key.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Since this is still part of the Washington, D.C., metro area, you'll need to consider it a medium risk. It's comforting that even the Energy Department felt Germantown was far enough away to avoid a possible nuclear attack, but since the area has grown so much, it could be a crowded escape route in a worst-case scenario. That said, there's a lot of security that's visual and plenty behind the scenes to keep the communities safe.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

Residential scams are the most common since this is a suburban area, and tourists won't face an ongoing risk. Still, be cautious of anyone who offers a deal too good to be true. If you are renting a home here, never wire money to secure a reservation and ask for proof of rental permit before you give any credit card information.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Women will love the suburban atmosphere and amenities that cater to romantic getaways or girlfriend weekends. Use the standard safety precautions like not walking around at night alone or drinking alcohol beyond your ability to make smart decisions.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission issued the annual water quality report here and proudly states in 2021, the region has had another year of violation-free water supply. This marks more than a century without any violation and full compliance.

Safest Places to Visit in Germantown & Gaithersburg

VisitMontgomery.com is the website you’ll use to explore options around Montgomery County, with special sections dedicated to Germantown and Gaithersburg.

You can also view VisitMaryland.org and search the “Capital Region” to get additional information; however, you’ll find many of the attractions listed are closer to Washington, D.C. Search each city’s name separately to get city-specific information.

When you first enter Gaithersburg along I-270, you’ll find RIO Lakefront, which is a place you can consider booking a hotel.

This is a dining, shopping, and entertainment district surrounded by hotels.

Nearby is Bohrer Park, with an outdoor area including a seasonal water park and mini-golf course.

Old Towne Gaithersburg is filled with historical sites and an old-time train station with real-time train tickets.

Visit the Community Museum before or after a train ride to explore the region’s history.

On the 4th Tuesday of each month, there’s story time for the kids and some crafting opportunities.

Germantown offers more outdoor recreational activities, including a popular trip to Butler’s Orchard.

The orchard has seasonal activities, from U-Pick-Em farm days to pumpkin picking in the fall and Christmas tree farming in the winter.

Check the schedule for local activities before you head out.

Different playground elements and activities are available depending on the season.

The Lancaster County Dutch Market is a great place to try food from Amish country without having to drive to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania!

I lived in a Florida community with an Amish market, and I often visited there for baked or canned goods with a unique and tasty flair.

Just 10 minutes up the interstate, you can shop at the Clarksburg Premium Outlets for name-brand clothing with discount prices.

Black Hill Regional Park is just outside Germantown, with fishing, hiking, and nature tours available.

20 miles of trails are good for walking, hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking.

This park was voted locally as one of the “Best Places to Find Calm.”

For a full list of parks in this area (and there are a lot), visit MontgomeryParks.org.

Seneca Creek State Park is another popular outdoor spot in Gaithersburg.

In fact, it’s so popular it can be quickly filled to capacity during weekends and holidays.

Once the park is filled to capacity, you won’t be allowed in the parking lot.

Arrive early on holiday weekends to ensure you get a spot.

Places to Avoid in Germantown & Gaithersburg

There aren’t neighborhoods that are too dangerous to visit in this area, but it’s not an abundant tourist area which can lead to people driving around looking for something to do.

It’s always smart to stay on the main highways and surface streets to get around and have a destination in mind when traveling.

This is a highly residential area with some entertainment districts throughout, but you won’t find a lot of the historic attractions you would close to Washington, D.C., or Baltimore.

The UpCounty area is just northwest of Germantown and offers a lot of scenic drives for those who like to wander through nature.

Check out the scenic drives section of the Montgomery County tourism website to find designated routes.

Some non-official tourism sites list an attraction called Roos2u, promising an unclose experience with kangaroos and marsupials.

This business is no longer in Maryland and moved to Texas during the pandemic.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Germantown & Gaithersburg

  1. You’ll enjoy this area if you know about the hyper-local activities. The magazine in Gaithersburg offers free quarterly issues you can review with new businesses and activities.
  2. Some of the state and county parks will have a higher admission price for non-residents. Be sure to bring cash for park admission, as not all locations will accept credit cards or mobile payments.
  3. Swimming and wading are prohibited in Clopper Lake at Seneca Creek State Park. If you want to swim in a lifeguard area, visit Cunningham Falls or Greenbrier state parks.
  4. Gaithersburg has its own police force, and you can follow their Facebook page @gaithersburgpolice. Germantown is unincorporated and gets law enforcement from the Montgomery County Police Department. Their Facebook page is @MCPNews. Since Germantown is a more common city name nationwide, always confirm you are on the Maryland page for any attraction or organization.
  5. The Department of Natural Resources in Maryland issues fishing licenses, and you should review this website if you want to catch fish during your visit. While there are some free fishing piers in the state, most watering holes require a license, and there are certain restrictions for crab baiting.
  6. If you come across a sick or injured animal in the wild, call the wildlife department at 1-877-463-6497. Never touch or try to help an injured animal. Don’t feed animals in the wild, either. Even what seems like a harmless bird feeding could risk your health due to diseases the birds carry and hurt the natural habitat of the whole flock.
  7. The Montgomery County Police Department offers a weekly crime summary on its Facebook page. With crime rates changing so frequently in this area, it will help you to know what crime trends are happening closer to your visit. Germantown is in Police District 5, while Gaithersburg is in Police District 6 (known as the Montgomery Village district).
  8. Car thefts and burglaries are among the biggest risk for residents and visitors. The vast majority of these crimes are due to a car being left unlocked. Winter sees a spike in car thefts from people who leave their cars running to “warm up” on cold days. Never leave a running car unattended; always lock your car with the windows rolled up when you park. It just takes a few seconds to greatly reduce your crime risk.
  9. CHARTWeb is the official travel information center for Maryland’s roadways. This robust system offers information on real-time traffic accidents, the average speed on a roadway, interactive mapping, and local weather station information to help with your travels.
  10. Sign up for Alert Montgomery notifications. You’ll get weather, civil, and criminal activity information that could impact your trip or your safety. You can choose certain categories of information. For example, you likely won’t need to know school closure information during your trip, but you do want to know about severe weather and public health issues.

So... How Safe Is Germantown & Gaithersburg Really?

The crime data from 2021 issued by Montgomery County Police Department showed lower-than-average crime rates across most major indicators, like violent crime, robbery, and theft.

The challenge is that the entire region is seeing increases.

In October 2022, police released some shocking statistics for 2022:

  • Violent crime has increased by 13.4%
  • Homicide fell by 36%.
  • Carjackings now average six a month, up from two per month in 2019. All forms of robbery, including carjacking, have increased significantly from last year.

Drug crime arrests are up 56%, while human trafficking arrests are up 600%.

This explains why during my research, I saw many pushes and high-profile website placements for the Human Trafficking Helpline, which is 1-888-373-7888.

“One of the more sobering pieces of data was that a total of 918 guns were recovered by the police department from the beginning of this year through Sept. 15.

And 148 of those were ghost guns.

That’s more than twice the ghost guns that were confiscated from calendar 2021,” Gabe Albornoz, Montgomery County Council President, told FOX5 in Washington, D.C.

“We all must remain vigilant, and if we see something, say something and report it to law enforcement.”

The upside as a visitor here is all the resources available to you for crime research before your visit:

  • Weekly crime summaries from Montgomery County Police.
  • Live crime mapping on the website, where you have search options by city, time frame, and type of crime.
  • Full annual and quarterly reports from the police department with trends and tactics to create a safer community.

Germantown and Gaithersburg are still both one of the safer neighborhoods in the region, and it helps to know you have many resources to explore them safely.

How Does Germantown & Gaithersburg Compare?

CitySafety Index
Germantown & Gaithersburg72
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

  • Visas - You'll need a U.S. Visa issued by the State Department, but there are different types of Visas to consider. Use the Visa Wizard module on the department's website to get started on the right foot. The process can take several months, so don't delay.
  • Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here. It's better to exchange currency before you arrive in the country, but you'll find plenty of banks and currency exchange locations available. Avoid using public ATMs for the utmost safety.
  • Weather - Winters will require coats and cold-weather accessories. You should bring snow boots as well. Spring and fall can fluctuate, so a mix of jeans, sweatshirts, and t-shirts should be fine. If you're here for business, bring a nice coat or jacket in case of a cool morning or evening. Summers will be warm, but not too hot. You'll want bug spray and sunscreen too.
  • Airports - You can fly out of Washington, D.C.'s airports (Dulles & Reagan) or Baltimore. Allow yourself at least an hour to get to each location, but Washington's airports are closer.
  • Travel Insurance - We always recommend travel insurance to protect the financial investment of airfare and give leeway for delays or accidents along the way. If you purchase insurance when you buy the airfare, you'll have immediate coverage in case of last-minute illnesses or emergencies.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Germantown & Gaithersburg Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -1° C
Feb 2° C
Mar 7° C
Apr 12° C
May 17° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 24° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 8° C
Dec 3° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
471318232830292619137
Low
°C
-5-316111618181483-2
High
°F
394555647382868479665545
Low
°F
232734435261646457463728

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