Nicknamed ‘Charm City’, Baltimore is a distinct city that was featured in the television show, ‘The ‘Wire.’ Although it does not have the best reputation, there are many parts of the city that is still charming.
If you are thinking about visiting Baltimore and have qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered. We deep dived into the statistics, crime reports and talked to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe the safe the city really is.
Baltimore Crime Stats
Baltimore is not a safe place to visit. It consistently ranks in the most dangerous cities in the United States. According to crime statistics released by the FBI, Baltimore had the 3rd highest violent crime rate in the country in 2019, 2,027.01 incidents per 100,000 residents. It came only above Detroit and St. Louis. Baltimore also ranked 17th for highest property crime rate in the country, 4,928.11 per 100,000 residents.
The average violent crime rate for the United States is 366.7 per 100,000 residents and the average property crime rate for the United States is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents.
Baltimore’s violent crime rate is more than 5 times higher than the national average and it’s property crime rate is more than twice than the national average.
Baltimore Murder Rate
As of October 28, 2021, there have been 278 homicides reported, which is about the same rate year over year for 2020.
Baltimore has the third highest murder rate in the country, 58.27 per 100,000, behind St. Louis, who has 64.54 murders per 100,000.
Baltimore also ranked 11th for highest murder rate in the world for cities with over 300k people.
|City||Population||Murders in 2020||Rate per 100,000 people|
|1. St Louis, Missouri||301,578||263||87.2|
|2. Birmingham, Alabama||200,733||122||60.7|
|3. Baltimore, Maryland||575,584||335||58.2|
|4. Memphis, Tennesse||633,104||332||52.4|
|5. Detroit, Michigan||639,111||327||51.1|
|6. Baton Rouge, Louisiana||227,470||114||50.11|
|7. New Orleans, Louisiana||383,997||195||50.78|
|8. Cleveland, Ohio||372,624||177||47.5|
|9. Kansas City, Missouri||508,090||176||34.6|
|10. Dayton, Ohio||137,644||47||34.1|
*Murder rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported murders by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000. For example, in 2020 there were 263 murders in St. Louis and the population was 301,578. This equals a murder rate of 87.2 per 100,000 general population.
Here is a map showing you the locations of all the homicides in Baltimore in 2021 thru 05/30/21:
Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 compared with 2019:
In 2020, Baltimore reported a decrease in crime in all categories. The most significant decreases came from rape, robbery, burglary, larceny and motor theft.
Baltimore police reported a total of 27,222 offenses in 2020, compared with 36,868 in 2019, which is a 26% year-over-year decrease.
|Motor Vehicle Theft||3,721||2,926||-21%|
*All data is from the Baltimore Crime Stats Report**
*Crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.
Baltimore vs The Most Dangerous Cities In The United States
Here’s a list of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rate. It can give you some perspective on Baltimore’s violent crime rate, which is 2,027.01.
Baltimore’s violent crime rate is 16% less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.
|City||Population||Number of violent crimes in 2020||Rate per 100,000 people|
The worst neighborhoods in Baltimore
5 out of 25 of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the US are in Baltimore according to Neighborhood Scout.
Residents mention that you should avoid south-west Baltimore, west Baltimore, east Baltimore, west of Patterson Park and parts of Baltimore below Liberty Heights.
Income and crime are inversely correlated. This maps gives you a really great starting point on which parts of Baltimore you should avoid.
Driving through Baltimore’s worst neighborhoods
Baltimore’s Safest Neighborhoods
Inner Harbor is the primary downtown hub of Baltimore. It’s a tourist destination with shops, chain restaurants, an aquarium and science center.
Harbor East is the upper-middle epicenter. There are high rise apartments, boutique shops, expensive restaurants, Whole Foods, etc.
Fell’s Point is situated east of Harbor East. This is your pub crawl spot the kitschy neighborhood that is full of mid-range restaurants. This is the “cool” place to live.
Upper Fell’s Point Just off-center of “cool,” it’s quieter here and there tend to be more young families and older residents. It’s a nice, somewhat uneventful neighborhood.
Canton is located in southeast Baltimore. There are tons of bars and restaurants, Patteron Park, Canton Waterfront Park, and the neighborhood is full of younger people.
Patterson Park is like a smaller Central Park of Baltimore. It’s a family neighborhood filled with big houses, families, young professionals. It’s generally nice, but avoid walking alone at night.
Butcher’s Hills is located just above Upper Fell’s and is like an extension of Upper Fell’s with its quiet alley homes. It has a nice location and its an easy walk to the park, Canton, Fell’s Point and Harbor East. It gets a little sketchy the further north you go, but everywhere in Butcher’s Hill prop is safe, quiet, and often beautiful.
Hampden is where the artsy hippies live. They have some great restaurants and some nice boutiques and it has traditionally been one of Baltimore’s safer neighborhoods.
Federal Hill is located on the far side of the harbor. There’s a fratty post-college scene here and it’s generally a safe area.
Is Downtown Baltimore safe?
Downtown Baltimore is a generally safe area to visit. The inner harbor area of downtown is probably the safest area. It is like a bubble made for tourists. It is very walkable, very easy to navigate and you shouldn’t have any issues if you stay in the area.
Driving tour of Downtown Baltimore:
What do residents of Baltimore say about its safety
- “It’s just gotten so bad. You got to be scared to walk up and down the street, especially in the evening. Now, it’s broad daylight, too,”
- "The bad areas of Baltimore are bad, however the good areas are great. On ocassion, people do get robbed and murdered outside of the bad neighborhoods, but it’s no different then any other city really."
- "The “bad” parts of Baltimore are much more integrated with the “good” parts. In Chicago the city is so segregated and more separated from each other."
- "If you stick to certain areas of the city, like the Inner Harbor, Downtown, Fells Point or Federal Hill, you will have a safer experience when you visit"
- "Don’t go to west, north or east Baltimore."
- "I have live here for more than 20 years and I feel safe. I am occasionally in bad neighborhoods during the day and I still feel safe.
Someone that is not from around here might feel differently. "
- "Baltimore is a safe place as long as you’re not involved in criminal activity or the drug trade and you use common sense."
- "Baltimore is very crime ridden. The middle class homes are often 2 streets away from the sketchy areas in many parts of the city."
- "If you stay in the touristy spots, you should be fine. It is when you get into the poor neighborhoods is when it becomes another story."
- "If your definition of a safe city is a place where you can wander around aimlessly and not have to worry, than Baltimore is not a safe city. This does not mean that all of Baltimore is dangerous either. Some areas are reasonably safe, but you should still be a little wary
- "The touristy parts of Baltimore are safe. Touristy Baltimore is not where the violent crime occurs."
- "There are few areas in Baltimore that can be considered ‘safe’. Shootings, carjackings, robberies and aggravated assaults occur all over the city. It’s a sad state of affairs and it seems to be getting worse."
Is it safe to visit alone?
Baltimore can be a safe place to travel alone as long as you know the layout of the city and know which areas to avoid.
The good and bad parts of Baltimore are closely integrated and not as separate as other cities. You can be walking down a good neighborhood, make one turn and end up in a sketchy area. If you are traveling alone, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the good and bad parts of the city.
Tips to stay safe in Baltimore
- Stay alert and be aware of surroundings at all times.
- Look at the buildings. The sketchy parts of the city will have a lot of vacant, run down and boarded up buildings. The safe parts will be in a lot better shape.
- Don’t walk around on your cell phone. Someone will mug you for it.
- Don’t leave anything in your car. This goes for daytime or nighttime.
- Don’t go into certain neighborhoods at night and particularly on foot
- Use public parking lots. It keeps your valuables a bit safer and keeps you out of walking neighborhoods at night.
- If you see a large group of youths and they look suspicious. Cross the road. A lot of random violent crimes are committed by young kids trying to be cool.
Is Baltimore Safe To Visit?
If you look at the crime stats, Baltimore is not a safe place to visit. It is a dangerous city by nearly every metric and the vast majority of the city are places you should never go.
If you read the opinions of the residents, it’s a toss up with some people saying its safe and some saying it’s not all that safe.
If you planning on visiting Baltimore, you should at minimum, understand the layout of the city. Understanding the layout of the city consists of knowing which areas are bad (southwest Baltimore, west Baltimore, east Baltimore) and which areas are good (Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Fell’s Point, Canton, Federal Hill, Hampden, Butcher’s Hill, etc).