Maryland’s population grew by about 400,000 between the 2010 and 2020 Census periods. That equates to an increase of seven percent, which is Maryland’s slowest 10-year Census growth rate since at least 1910.
Still, Maryland managed to attract hundreds of thousands of new residents over the past decade, which means there are likely thousands more who are considering relocating to the state. While still others who already live in Maryland may be considering which Maryland city is right for them.
Whether you own or rent, protecting your investment is important, and while violent crimes understandably grab the headlines, the average person is at much greater risk from property crimes like vehicle theft or burglary.
Let’s explore the most recent crime data to see how Maryland stacks up to the rest of the country and which communities in the state have the highest and lowest property crime rates.
At A Glance:
- With #1 being the best, Maryland is ranked #20 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
- You have a 1.95% chance of being a property crime victim in Maryland in the next 12 months.
- Maryland’s property crime rate is 8% lower than the average crime rate in the United States.
- Ocean City has the highest property crime rate in Maryland (104.3 incidents per 1,000 people).
- Ocean City is a resort town of about 7,000 people along Maryland’s Atlantic coast. Communities with high rates of industrialization and commercialization tend to have more property crime due to easy access to visitors and tourists. Ocean City gets about eight million visitors per year, which means that on any given day, the number of visitors outnumbers residents by about triple.
Maryland’s combined rate of property crimes is almost two points lower than the overall U.S. rate. However, the state’s rate is higher than several of its neighbors, with Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia all having lower rates. Delaware’s rate exceeds Maryland’s, and Washington, D.C. has the highest rate by far (almost 44 crimes per 1,000 people).
Maryland’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)
- Rate of Property Crime
- Maryland average:: 19.5 crimes per 1,000 people
- National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people
Like most states, property crime in Maryland has become less common over the past decade. Only Alaska and North Dakota have seen property crime rates rise, and they’ve fallen by 35 percent in Maryland since 2010.
Maryland’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Average Rate of Property Crime:
- Maryland 10-year average: 24.66 crimes per 1,000 people
- National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
- -35% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
- There was a 35% decrease in property crime in Maryland from 2010 as compared to 2019.
- 2010 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Maryland?:
- The highest rate of property crime in Maryland was 2010 (30 crimes per 1,000 people)
- 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Maryland ?:
- The lowest rate of property crime in Maryland was 2019 (19.5 crimes per 1,000 people)
What incidents fall under the umbrella of property crime? Burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson are the four major property crime categories reported by the FBI. In every case, if the incident involves violence or threats of violence, it no longer is a property crime and is classified as a violent crime.
Maryland’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Which type of property crime occurred the most in Maryland over the past decade?
- Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 17.7 crimes per 1,000 people.
- Average property crime rate by category
- Average burglary rate: 4.7 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average larceny rate: 17.7 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average vehicle crime rate: 2.4 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average arson rate: 0.28 crimes per 1,000 people
- Note: There were no FBI estimates for arson rates, so we used all available data that was reported by individual cities in Maryland.
- +28% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
- As of 2019, all types of property crime have decreased in Maryland. Larceny fell by the lowest rate, dropping 28%.
- -60% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
- Arson fell by 60%, which was Maryland’s biggest decline, while burglary declined by 56%.
Property crime like all other types of crime can have a great number of causes, and it’s difficult to pinpoint with accuracy why a state like Maryland might have lower or higher rates than another state. That said, many researchers have pinned high property crime rates to higher-than-average rates of poverty, urbanization, and unemployment.
Looking at how Maryland stacks up on those accounts creates a bit of a mixed picture. On the one hand, only about nine percent of people in Maryland live below the poverty line, which is far below the national rate of about 12 percent. On the other hand, Maryland’s unemployment rate is about the same as the U.S. rate, both about six percent.
But Maryland is one of the nation’s most urbanized states, meaning the percentage of people who live in cities. More than 87 percent of people in Maryland live in cities compared to about 81 percent of Americans overall.
In addition to being a complex issue, crime is also an intensely local one, and even in a geographically small state like Maryland, what’s true in one community isn’t the case in another. For example, Crisfield in Somerset County has the state’s third-lowest property crime rate, though it’s only about an hour’s drive from Ocean City, which has the state’s highest rate.
Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data)*:
- Manchester, Maryland (Carroll County)
- Hancock, Maryland (Washington County)
- Crisfield, Maryland (Somerset County)
- Smithsburg, Maryland (Washington County)
- Boonsboro, Maryland (Washington County)
Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Ocean City, Maryland (Worcester County)
- Elkton, Maryland (Cecil County)
- Oakland, Maryland (Garrett County)
- Hyattsville, Maryland (Prince George’s County)
- Cambridge, Maryland (Dorchester County)
* Excludes cities that reported zero property crime