There is much more to the city of Baltimore than the famous Inner Harbor. Tourists flock to the city for the renowned American Visionary Art Museum, beloved National Aquarium, amazing Oriole Park, and so much more. Residents of Baltimore get to enjoy all the standard tourist attractions in addition to, a close proximity to D.C. and exceptional seafood at every corner.
The City of Baltimore boasts more than 250 diverse neighborhoods. These historic communities are individually unique, characterized by iconic row houses, districts with charming brick streets, and revitalized areas with warehouse-style lofts. Charm City and its many distinctive neighborhoods can be a great place to call home.
However, just like most major cities, Baltimore is no stranger to high crime rates. When Chicago had a staggering 762 homicides in 2016, the city’s murder rate was still only half of Baltimore’s. In fact, Baltimore’s murder rate has jumped up by 65% since 2014. Regardless, this does not mean that Baltimore is a complete wasteland and doesn’t have any safe areas.
If you’re considering moving to the city of Baltimore, and especially if you have a family, it’s important to be aware of where the safest neighborhoods are. Although overall crime rates remain comparatively high, there are communities with less crime than the city average. We’ll help you understand which neighborhoods to stick to in order to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in Baltimore?
- 1. Cheswolde Area
- 2. Upper Northwood
- 3. Chinquapin Park-Belvedere
- 4. Roland Park-Homewood-Guilford
- 5. Westgate
- 6. Wakefield
- 7. Riverside
- 8. Lower Northwood
- 9. Franklintown
- 10. Inner Harbor
- Safest Neighborhoods in Baltimore for 2020
- Baltimore Neighborhoods to Avoid
- Drugs and Gangs in Baltimore
- Wrapping It Up
What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in Baltimore?
Thanks to the HBO series “The Wire,” which had its final season in 2008, those who have never been to Baltimore now associate the city with violent crime. Although the ghastly nickname “Bodymore, Murderland” is somewhat deserved, Baltimore is not nearly as much of a wasteland as it is portrayed in the series. Unfortunately, though, it is at the top of virtually every list of the “Most Dangerous Cities in America,” ranking number four for 2020.
While robberies, organized crime, sexual assault, muggings, and even murder are not unique to Baltimore, the average traveler need not be concerned. That’s not to say that the situation should be downplayed. However, similar to most other major cities, violent crime – especially gang- and drug-related activity – occurs in isolated areas across Baltimore. These are areas that tourists are highly unlikely to visit and can be avoided by residents to ensure safety.
In order to determine the safest places in the city, we examined published FBI crime statistics. More specifically, we took a look at the population, violent crime rate, property crime rate, and overall crime rate for each area. Those with the lowest number of crimes per 100K people made our list of the top ten safest neighborhoods in the City of Baltimore:
- Cheswolde Area
- Upper Northwood
- Chinquapin Park-Belvedere
- Roland Park-Homewood-Guilford
- Lower Northwood
- Inner Harbor
Let’s take a look at each neighborhood individually to better understand its crime rates, characteristics, and what life is like as a resident in these areas.
1. Cheswolde Area
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 249
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,026
- Population: 12,433
Located in northwest Baltimore, Maryland along the Western Run, Cheswolde is a quiet residential community. This neighborhood consists primarily of single-family homes and garden-style apartment facilities. Cheswolde is home to a large number of Orthodox Jewish families who enjoy close proximity to many synagogues and other Jewish resources.
The history of this area dates back to the 18th century and has undergone many changes to become the residential district it is today. What was once an extensive farmland, started to become developed in the 1950s and 1960s as a result of Baltimore’s northern expansion.
Residents of Cheswolde enjoy a relaxing, family-friendly suburban atmosphere paired with immediate conveniences of the city. Also, the nearby Western Run Park bisects the community, bringing natural beauty to the area. Although Cheswolde has little in the way of bars and restaurants within the immediate vicinity, locals can head west to Reisterstown Road for energetic nightlife, exceptional dining, chain restaurant, and a variety of other amenities.
Cheswolde tops our list of the safest neighborhoods in Baltimore with violent crimes per 100K people coming in at 249 and a property crime rate of 1,026 for 2020.
2. Upper Northwood
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 788
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,698
- Population: 20,729
The Upper Northwood neighborhood is located roughly five miles to the northeast of the Baltimore city center. It consists mainly of single-family homes and townhouses with a median home price of $140,371 and a median household income of $50,794. The area is considered one of the top neighborhoods in the city with regards to wealth.
Though Upper Northwood has crime rates that are higher than the national average, the neighborhood is 91% safer than all other cities in the state. Upper Northwood ranks second on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland. The violent crimes per 100K people came in at 788 and property crime is 1,698 for 2020.
3. Chinquapin Park-Belvedere
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 566
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,935
- Population: 24,827
Located in North Baltimore, this community consists of the Belvedere and Chinquapin Park neighborhoods. The Chinquapin Park area is a green community that offers single-family, detached, and duplex homes with meticulously maintained lawns. Chinquapin Run is a 76-acre stream corridor that cuts through Chinquapin Park and bounds the neighborhood to the east.
Belvedere, on the other hand, is a small residential community that features attractive and reasonably priced single-family homes. The neighborhood’s commercial epicenter is focused around Belvedere Square, a popular food hall that offers a wide variety of dining and shopping opportunities. Residents of both Belvedere and Chinquapin Park enjoy Friday night concerts in the square and performances at the local Senator Theatre.
Chinquapin Park-Belvedere is the third safest neighborhood in Baltimore. The violent crime per 100K people is 566, while the property crime rate is 1,935 for 2020.
4. Roland Park-Homewood-Guilford
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 464
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,104
- Population: 16,535
Located in North Baltimore, the Roland Park-Homewood-Guilford area consists of three individual communities: Roland Park, Homewood, and Guilford. Located roughly seven miles from Baltimore, this neighborhood has a population of 16,535 residents.
Roland Park is the first planned suburban community in the nation. It is characterized by single-family Tudors, craftsmans, and colonials and can be found alongside townhomes and apartments. Residents are drawn to the top-rated public schools, elite private schools, excellent restaurants, and a variety of home styles.
Guildford was developed in the early 1900s, alongside Roland Park, by the Roland Park Company. The community features stately mansions, single-family properties, cottages, detached homes, all set amongst mature trees and period streetlights. Residents enjoy the breathtaking architecture and close proximity to the College of Notre Dame, Loyola College, Johns Hopkins Homewood campus. As a result, this area is home to a large number of students and educators.
The Roland Park-Homewood-Guilford community ranks number four on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Baltimore. Violent crime per 100K people comes in at 464 and property crime is 2,104 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 825
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,885
- Population: 14,467
The Westgate neighborhood is located in Southwest Baltimore and straddles the city-county line. This community is an eclectic blend of vintage homes positioned on mature tree-lined streets featuring American Foursquares, bungalows, Tudors, cottages, and Dutch Colonials from the 1920s to the ’30s.
Westgate serves as a gateway to the city, as the Baltimore city portion is located a mere one block west of Ten Hills. Residents of Westgate enjoy a suburban atmosphere with the convenience of being located just fifteen minutes from Downtown. With its sidewalks, narrow streets, rolling hills, and mature tree canopies is the ideal place for families in Baltimore.
Baltimore’s Westgate neighborhood takes the fifth slot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in the city. Although the crime rate in this community is higher than the national average, it is 57% lower than the Baltimore average. Violent crime per 100K people is 825 and property crime sits at 1,885 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,313
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,870
- Population: 1,911
Situated approximately 6.6 miles from downtown, Baltimore’s Wakefield neighborhood is located near Gwynn Falls and North Forest Park Avenue. Thanks to its proximity to Gwynn Falls, this community boasts gorgeous views of heavily wooded areas. The neighborhood itself consists of primarily apartment complexes.
With its position on the outskirts of Baltimore, a quiet atmosphere, and beautiful scenery, Wakefield is the ideal place to live for those who prefer rural areas but need to live close enough to commute into the city. Residents of Wakefield enjoy easy access to the Carrie Murray Nature Center, Outward Bound, an abundance of biking and walking trails, and the annual Herb Festival.
Based on our calculations, Wakefield is the sixth safest neighborhood in Baltimore. Like many of the other communities on this list, Wakefield does have a total crime rate that is higher than the national average and a violent crime rate that is 245% higher. However, it has 50% less crime than the city average. Violent crime per 100K people in Wakefield comes in at 1,313 and property crime is 1,870 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 658
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,537
- Population: 9,001
Located in South Baltimore, Riverside hosts a mix of apartment buildings and rowhouse styles. The neighborhood lies just south of Federal Hill and is home to roughly 9,000 residents. It is a very popular community for both young professionals who are new to the area and homeowners who’ve lived in Riverside for generations.
Riverside’s center point is Riverside Park, which also includes the Baltimore Museum of Industry. The neighborhood’s southern region corresponds to the Port Covington district which is the site of the Under Armour Waterfront HQ Campus, The Baltimore Sun, and the Cruise Maryland Terminal of the Port of Baltimore.
Officially registered as Riverside Historic District, Riverside is on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents of Riverside enjoy easy access to local retail, restaurants, a neighborhood park, social leagues, playgrounds, and public transportation. Riverside ranks seventh on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Baltimore.
It should be noted that while Riverside’s overall crime rate is 26% higher than the national average, it is 50% lower than the city’s average. Violent crime per 100K people comes in at 658 and property crime is 2,537 for 2020.
8. Lower Northwood
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 887
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,429
- Population: 13,686
A part of the larger Northwood community, Lower Northwood is located in the northeastern section of Baltimore. It is served by both the New Northwood and the Original Northwood community associations. Development of this area began back in September of 1930 when The Roland Park Company purchased the properties of John W. Garrett, Enoch Pratt, and Arunah Shepherdson Abell. By 1932, roughly 25 families had taken up residence in Northwood.
The newer sections of Northwood are composed of new homes that were constructed in the 1950s. These homes are generally found as brick row houses with shrubs and trees lining the blocks. While Lower Northwood is among the safest communities in Baltimore, the violent crime, property crime, and total crime rates are well above the national average.
Lower Northwood is considered the eighth safest state in Baltimore, Maryland. The violent crimes per 100K people sits at 887 and property crime for the area is 2,429 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,222
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,255
- Population: 1,503
Franklintown is a national historic district in Baltimore with a population of roughly 1,500 people. The community is the result of a plan developed by William H. Freeman, a local entrepreneur and politician, in 1832. This historic mill village still retains much of the original buildings. Franklintown’s main feature is an oval structure with radiating lots around a central wooded park.
This community also features Franklin Mill, and the associated commercial and hotel districts. Residential structures in Franklintown are a mix of early and mid-19th century single-family homes, detached homes, and apartments. Many of them are the perfect example of the “I”-house form and portray steeply pitched cross gables found on vernacular rural buildings across much of the state.
In 2001, Franklintown was added to the National Register of Historic Places. By our calculations, Franklintown takes the ninth slot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Baltimore. The violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 1,222 and property crime is 2,255 for 2020. These are numbers that are considered high nationally but the area actually experiences 45% less crime than the city average.
10. Inner Harbor
- Violent Crimes Per 100K:1,063
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,608
- Population: 2,535
Inner Harbor is a historic seaport and, undeniably, the landmark of the City of Baltimore. In fact, it is the largest and most popular tourist attraction in the city. The name “Inner Harbor,” however, isn’t just used to describe the water. Located in Downtown Baltimore, the Inner Harbor neighborhood encompasses a surrounding area with a variety of residences.
The quintessential urban living environment is offered through high-rise apartments and condos with stunning waterfront views. Residents of Inner Harbor enjoy convenient access to public transportation, including the free Charm City Circulator, dining, nightlife, and shopping just steps from their front door.
Though the crime rate in Inner Harbor is significantly higher than the national average, the neighborhood still makes our list of the safest places to call home. With 42% less crime than the Baltimore city average, Inner Harbor rounds out our list as the tenth safest neighborhood in Baltimore. Violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 1,063 and property crime is 1,608 for 2020.
Safest Neighborhoods in Baltimore for 2020
|Rank||Neighborhood||Population||Violent Crime (per 100K)||Property Crime (per 100K)|
Baltimore Neighborhoods to Avoid
If you’re relocating to Baltimore, knowing the neighborhoods to avoid is just as valuable as knowing those to stick to. In general, you never want to venture into dim or deserted areas after dark. Once nighttime rolls in, muggings and theft are very common in downtown Baltimore.
Some of the locations that have been active in spiking Baltimore’s high crime rates include Edmondson Village, in the southwestern section of the city, along with the Monument Street Area, Fairfield, Orangeville, Berea, Greenmount East, Grove Park, West Baltimore, Madison-Eastend, Cherry Hill, Hopkins-Middle East, and Greater Rosemont.
For a more comprehensive list of areas to avoid, here are the top ten most dangerous neighborhoods in Baltimore, ranked in order of the highest crime rates for 2020.
- Hopkins-Middle East
- West Baltimore
- Cherry Hill
- Berea Area
- Fairfield Area
- Greenmount East
- Brooklyn-Curtis Bay
- Morrell Park
Drugs and Gangs in Baltimore
As depicted on HBO’s “The Wire,” violence related to gangs and drugs is a real-life problem in Baltimore. Unfortunately, some of the worst neighborhoods in Baltimore suffer from extreme poverty. In these areas, it is statistically more likely for young people to become involved in gangs.
The infamous and extremely violent MS-13 gang dominates the violent crime in Baltimore, along with other groups that are heavily involved in the illegal drug trade. As a result, drug overdoses have spiked in recent years, especially when it comes to opioids such as fentanyl and heroin.
To combat the drug and gang violence in the city, a new multi-agency federal force was put into place recently. However, poverty, addiction, and inequality continue to be massive roadblocks in lowering the rising crime rate in Baltimore.
Wrapping It Up
With an overall crime rate that is over 100% higher than the national average, it’s no wonder why people often ask, are there any safe areas in Baltimore? Thankfully, whether you are a tourist, potential future resident, or long-time Baltimorean, there are safe places in Baltimore to reliably stick to.