Delaware’s official nickname is The First State, but it’s not surprising that it’s also touted as the Small Wonder. It’s less than 2,000 square miles (only Rhode Island is smaller), but don’t let Delaware’s size fool you. This mid-Atlantic gem has a lot to offer—including miles of pristine shoreline, gracious locals, and dozens of safe places to live, work, and play.
Representing the best of Delaware, every city on this year’s list also made the cut last year—which is a good indication that community leaders, law enforcement officers, and residents remain vigilant about safety. Not only that, but the top three cities—Clayton, Ocean View, and Elsmere—also maintained their elite positions.
Like many states, Delaware’s overall crime rate increased slightly from 2014 to 2015, but incidents of rape, robbery, and burglary dropped, according to the FBI’s most recent crime report. Among the ten safest cities in the state, reports of these crimes were especially low. Plus, there were no reports of murder, which is remarkable considering a homicide occurs every thirty-three minutes in America. Equally impressive is the fact that 60% of the cities on our list cited ten or fewer violent crimes, and Ocean View reported just one.
This stellar safety record carried through to property crime. On average, Delaware’s safest communities experienced approximately twenty property crimes per 1,000 people—that’s almost 30% less than the state average. We were also pleased to find that 80% of the state’s safest cities reported fewer than fifty burglaries, and only one city reported arson.
Review our list to find out which cities are The First State’s safest places. Then refer to our Delaware Safety Directory for safety resources, home security information, and a map of the state’s most and least burglarized counties.
How We Chose the Safest Cities in Delaware
To identify the 10 safest cities in Delaware, we reviewed the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics from 2015, along with population data. We eliminated all cities with fewer than 1,500 residents as well as any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI.
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From there, we evaluated the remaining cities. We narrowed it down based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) in each city. To further level the playing field, we calculated the likelihood of these crimes occurring out of 1,000 people in each city.
1. Clayton ↔
Previous rank: 1
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.25
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.96
2. Ocean View ↔
Previous rank: 2
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.49
Property Crimes per 1,000: 13.85
3. Elsmere ↔
Previous rank: 3
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.27
Property Crimes per 1,000: 17.21
4. Bridgeville ↑
Previous rank: 6
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.78
Property Crimes per 1,000: 18.28
5. Newark ↓
Previous rank: 4
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.64
Property Crimes per 1,000: 18.81
6. Milton ↑
Previous rank: 9
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.50
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.68
7. Delaware City ↑
Previous rank: 10
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 5.75
Property Crimes per 1,000: 21.84
8. Lewes ↓
Previous rank: 7
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.67
Property Crimes per 1,000: 25.73
9. Middletown ↓
Previous rank: 5
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 3.57
Property Crimes per 1,000: 25.46
10. Smyrna ↓
Previous rank: 8
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 4.63
Property Crimes per 1,000: 26.38
How safe is your home?
Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.
To learn more about the home security options available to you in your area, select the city nearest you in the drop down menu below.