Drawing courtesy of Howard Hughes Corporation

Columbia was named the safest city in Maryland by WalletHub in its recent “Safest Cities in America” report. In its report, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three criteria: home & community safety, natural-disaster risk and financial safety. 

WalletHub ranked Columbia second on the overall list, behind Nashua, NH, and ranked Baltimore 163rd.

Since 2018, Howard County has made historic investments public safety. The fiscal 2024 Operational Budget included a six percent increase in the Howard County Police Department’s overall budget from last year, including an $8.6 million increase in address support staff and service needs.

That budget also included a nearly six percent increase for the County’s Department of Fire and Rescue Services, which featured $2.4 million for 26 new firefighter positions. Additionally, even as the county’s population continues to grow, the county’s crime rate continues to register at far below the statewide average.

The county has also made unprecedented investments in fire and rescue personnel, stations and equipment, driving down response times and meeting best-in-class standards, having provided resources to add 83 positions during the past four years, allowing the department to meet national standards of four fire personnel on each piece of rescue equipment.

The record investments in fire facilities have also led to the opening of the new Waterloo Fire station and plans for a new station in North Columbia.