2015 Safest Places in Massachusetts

When deciding where to live, safety is a top priority. Our team has analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safety of cities and towns in Massachusetts. These 237 ranged in a crime score from 71 to 3,742, with an average of 809. Narrowing it down to the five safest places to live, we found that four fit into our midsize city category, with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, and that all five are towns located with 35 miles of Boston.

Speaking of the state capital, Boston came in 229th place, according to our crime score metric, which adjusted for population size and was based on the amount of violent and property-related crimes per 100,000 people (more on our methodology below). For more insight, take a look at the report:

5 Safest Places in Massachusetts

These cities have an average crime score of 92, 88 percent lower than their typical peer in Massachusetts. With some of the state’s lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.

1. Groveland, MA

Groveland, least populous town among the top five, comes out as the state’s safest. It reported 18 crimes (one robbery and 17 property-related charges) to the FBI in 2013, dropping its crime score 79 percent from a decade ago. With nine full-time police officers. Groveland is almost entirely residential these days, with more than 2,100 homes along the Merrimac River.

Factor

Value

Population

6,917

Crime Score

71

2. Norfolk, MA

Another town next to a river – the Charles, this time – Norfolk landed at No. 2 on the list. It was settled way back in 1669 and incorporated in 1870 but traces its roots back even further. Current residents have a median household income of $115,477, or 77 percent higher than a given city in the state. Their median home value of $599,912 is also 85 percent higher than average. On the crime front, Norfolk has four prisons of varying security levels.

Factor

Value

Population

11,663

Crime Score

72

3. Sharon, MA

In the same county as Norfolk, which is also named Norfolk County, Sharon comes in third thanks to dropping its violent crime total from 16 to 1 over the last 10 years. Of the top five, it’s the closest to Boston, with an express train into the state’s most populous city, and it borders Foxborough, the home of the NFL’s New England Patriots The commuter town also boasts one of the nation’s best high schools.

Factor

Value

Population

17,935

Crime Score

102

4. Duxbury, MA

Despite reporting two aggravated assaults for 2013 – two more than three of our top-five cities – Duxbury placed fourth. We don’t have data for the how the city fared in 2003, but the residents here have been in good hands with their 55-employee police department, which opened in 1931 with its then police chief patrolling neighborhoods on his motorcycle. Known for its cranberries and oysters, the former shipbuilding town has come a long way in its long history.

Factor

Value

Population

15,244

Crime Score

105

5. Sudbury, MA

Incorporated in the mid-17th century like Duxbury, Sudbury, the most populous city among the top five, recorded the most property crimes (94) of the five. Its residents earn a median household income of more $160,311, or 146 percent more than their average peer in Massachusetts. Also, their median home value, $683,631, is 111 percent higher than the norm. Sudbury was the home of many universally-known historical figures, including Henry Ford and Babe Ruth.

Factor Value

Population 18,312

Crime Score 109

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:

Safest Places in Massachusetts

Full List of Places in Massachusetts

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Massachusetts” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the table and see where your hometown ranks.

Rank

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100kProperty Crime per 100kCrime Score

1

Groveland6,9171424671

2

Norfolk11,663035272

3

Sharon17,9356424102

4

Duxbury15,24413387105

5

Sudbury18,3120513109

6

Wayland13,41137313133

7

Southborough9,90820585153

8

Weston11,89325547157

9

Hopkinton15,68919593160

10

Franklin32,63321524161

11

Stow6,94958345167

12

Rockport7,11684112167

13

Boxford8,14549417168

14

Dover5,77835623176

15

Norton19,41441464179

16

Hamilton8,12237616186

17

Bedford13,94743531190

18

Medway12,9298859191

19

Clinton13,72173292196

20

Holden17,77545540201

21

Shrewsbury36,31517741204

22

Georgetown8,45735757210

23

Harvard6,54861565213

24

Westford23,19660522232

25

Reading25,39839724237

26

Acton22,87135778238

27

Rowley6,015100399245

28

Lynnfield11,900171118259

29

Southampton5,97667770259

30

Wellesley29,05352695260

31

Lincoln6,56391564264

32

Lexington32,63252711266

33

Rochester5,36756932268

34

Medfield12,30997471275

35

Winchester22,08245879279

36

Groton11,16472770287

37

Holliston14,19999528295

38

Hampden5,161581066295

39

Sutton9,137441160308

40

Upton7,69091780311

41

Westborough18,56375803315

42

Stoneham21,76351997316

43

Ipswich13,69973891320

44

Dighton7,194139417322

45

Dalton6,725741026324

46

Andover34,52958909325

47

Mendon5,90285966326

48

North Attleboro28,91371404327

49

North Reading15,40678870329

50

Marblehead20,20984787332

51

Hanover14,275141478333

52

Douglas8,628116672338

53

Ashburnham6,166811054338

54

Boxborough5,151155466345

55

Cohasset8,450107817349

56

Plainville8,512231598355

57

Melrose27,64876948362

58

Shirley7,649144575363

59

Middleton9,394117798368

60

Berkley6,543138688368

61

Mattapoisett6,149981073370

62

Concord19,43787947371

63

Walpole24,771441296372

64

Littleton9,21998998373

65

Longmeadow15,84488985373

66

Grafton18,182121665374

67

Lancaster7,9431011007374

68

Halifax7,5741061017382

69

West Boylston7,821641394383

70

Hudson19,659811063385

71

Manchester-by-the-Sea5,255171533385

72

Townsend9,213761270387

73

Belmont25,42194948395

74

Brewster9,825711344396

75

Southwick9,597831271402

76

Westwood14,850135747409

77

Scituate18,230132741411

78

Maynard10,393125953417

79

Newton86,86785929418

80

Norwood28,906621335422

81

Easthampton15,997119994434

82

Norwell10,6221131149436

83

Gloucester29,383751303442

84

North Andover28,667351671443

85

Sterling7,895152912444

86

Chelmsford34,862631400447

87

Rehoboth11,8091101211448

88

Merrimac6,590167850449

89

Ashland17,1621051200454

90

Tyngsboro12,1831311059457

91

Bolton5,060178870458

92

Granby6,2971431191471

93

Milton27,269771434472

94

Acushnet10,362183714474

95

Northborough14,8781211223482

96

Wilmington23,1871251091484

97

Charlton13,195167856486

98

Billerica41,9261141116495

99

Dracut30,533661618496

100

Agawam28,659143942497

101

Hanson10,342184832499

102

Belchertown14,7441421133503

103

Lakeville10,939911673503

104

Easton23,4201411050507

105

Hingham22,687751684514

106

Lee5,8831191666516

107

Blackstone9,094187924516

108

Arlington44,0981251170533

109

Pembroke18,040183881538

110

Deerfield5,1201371680540

111

Newburyport17,773174996544

112

Uxbridge13,6291541291553

113

Pepperell11,9201851057555

114

Wilbraham14,3751181635561

115

Sandwich20,7131501250561

116

Dedham25,094602064573

117

Natick34,0851061596578

118

Brookline59,3821431138579

119

Amherst39,127179938585

120

Westport15,7351721258589

121

Kingston12,7911561493595

122

Somerset18,3401531434599

123

Wrentham11,195712340603

124

Ayer7,7881541759612

125

Marshfield25,581211895616

126

Ludlow21,2141511508620

127

Watertown33,2541591386637

128

Wakefield25,8381901211644

129

Rutland8,272302629656

130

Leicester11,1831162236664

131

Templeton8,0832721002674

132

Oxford13,8281951533681

133

Chatham6,1621791996683

134

Burlington25,4351301970692

135

Dudley11,619293775694

136

Hopedale5,952302958694

137

Canton22,100267851707

138

East Bridgewater14,0442211424708

139

Westminster7,3771222562708

140

Freetown8,9962331523716

141

Mansfield23,5522001495720

142

East Longmeadow15,9461761863724

143

Spencer11,8012461364728

144

Orleans5,8921532512733

145

South Hadley17,7942141551739

146

Lunenburg11,1491971884740

147

Swampscott13,9951861901741

148

Bellingham16,6192111751770

149

Beverly40,5922171414776

150

Woburn39,2842111479776

151

Harwich12,2991952041776

152

Monson8,7163101159778

153

Amesbury16,6552521435782

154

Medford57,4281951564790

155

Adams8,3522511880812

156

Milford28,3122051844821

157

Northbridge16,0262371922853

158

Waltham62,4462261525853

159

Swansea16,0992112174857

160

Winthrop18,1313201164861

161

Williamstown7,6821822812865

162

Carver11,5523031601879

163

Framingham70,7532431449882

164

Westfield41,4932481593883

165

Dartmouth34,5621422645890

166

Palmer12,1553131728928

167

Sturbridge9,3993191862940

168

Peabody52,1782202033947

169

Braintree36,4962272113948

170

Abington16,1212981842952

171

Seekonk14,1022342489953

172

Millbury13,3552852059954

173

Raynham13,5801912909956

174

West Bridgewater6,9663302038962

175

Orange7,8183202123974

176

Barre5,453477972984

177

Holbrook10,9593561670984

178

Whitman14,6823611478985

179

Stoughton28,1862841887989

180

Danvers27,2631872791992

181

Middleboro23,5472971881995

182

Methuen48,36321923301,007

183

Attleboro44,03424521391,009

184

Hull10,33140713651,009

185

Plymouth57,89331813921,013

186

Mashpee14,04132020231,017

187

Somerville77,76824619611,021

188

Great Barrington6,97243017791,086

189

Weymouth55,43235214141,087

190

Malden60,81633715541,097

191

Athol11,66845413201,099

192

Saugus27,62829023451,100

193

Taunton56,26437117101,199

194

Auburn16,36128732391,227

195

Fairhaven15,95140122821,238

196

Pittsfield43,99225230731,240

197

Ware9,85642624151,248

198

Marlborough39,53139519121,257

199

Winchendon10,55147420571,272

200

Warren5,15864011631,285

201

Falmouth31,59232328461,294

202

Quincy93,49038617621,301

203

Salem42,46830129151,301

204

Tewksbury29,95347116761,324

205

Salisbury8,49053020971,349

206

Nantucket10,37839531801,352

207

Bourne19,87545823401,389

208

Randolph33,58352415961,428

209

Southbridge16,87048624131,434

210

Cambridge107,28233627101,442

211

Montague8,41853526371,463

212

Everett42,96647020901,464

213

Gardner20,34145728071,491

214

Northampton28,58145527991,536

215

Chicopee55,56649028131,714

216

Revere53,77758921591,765

217

Dennis14,17356435631,793

218

Webster16,87172325251,909

219

Leominster41,17563929992,019

220

Barnstable44,83767426562,029

221

Haverhill62,24966525992,058

222

Lowell109,44957130872,073

223

West Springfield28,64756946112,169

224

Fitchburg40,52175826162,174

225

Wareham22,56772235722,192

226

Yarmouth23,73685128142,291

227

Lynn91,76988726132,629

228

North Adams13,51698443282,723

229

Boston643,79978227732,849

230

Lawrence77,81299729212,909

231

Fall River89,220105826503,013

232

Worcester183,45495434013,155

233

Chelsea37,454122332953,271

234

New Bedford95,156109236123,346

235

Brockton94,448123033763,594

236

Holyoke40,215104266243,684

237

Springfield153,586108946313,742

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2013 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 3,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.

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