Don’t let Massachusetts diminutive size mislead you; it’s an incredibly powerful state. Massachusetts boasts a strong gross domestic product (GDP), a booming technology sector and two of America’s leading universities, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a bonus, it’s also beautiful. From the handsome Berkshire Mountains, to the picturesque beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts exudes an infectious charm. We were not the least surprised to discover that this attractive New England state is the Country’s third most densely populated.
If you’ve thought about making the move to Massachusetts, SafeWise encourages you to explore the 50 cities that made our coveted list, then take advantage of the resources offered in our Massachusetts Safety Directory. The Directory provides all the important details you need to know about home security and crime prevention in The Bay State.
To develop this comprehensive list of the 50 safest cities to call home in Massachusetts, we matched our independent research with the most recent FBI Crime Report. To be included on our list, a city had to have a population of over 10,000 as of 2012 and needed to meet criteria regarding both violent and property crimes, according to FBI statistics from 2012. We analyzed the number of Violent Crimes, consisting of aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, and robbery, as well as Property Crimes, consisting of arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Then we calculated the chance of these crimes happening out of 1,000, to give each city an equal opportunity of making the list despite its population.
When reading through the list, keep in mind that the FBI Crime Report is a well respected source for crime statistics, however not all Massachusetts cities have reported complete data to the FBI. If our list doesn’t include a city that you think is safe, that could be why.
Whether you’re craving a hip urban lifestyle or want the simplicity of a relaxed pastoral setting, we’ll help you find a safe Massachusetts city to call home.
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Settled in 1638, you’ll be hard pressed to find a safe city with a history as colorful as Sudbury’s. But don’t take our word for it; explore Sudbury’s collection of historic sites through this online tour offered by The Sudbury Historical Society.
Located 20 miles west of the state’s capital city of Boston, Sudbury is home to active families who enjoy the convenience of big city amenities but want a neighborhood lifestyle. Sudbury’s Parks and Recreation Department makes sure ever member of the family has something to do. From junior golf clinics and pre-school soccer camps to adult kayaking and even Reiki training, the list of activities your family will have access to is nothing short of impressive. And if you enjoy civic pursuits, Sudbury will pleasantly surprise you. You’ll discover a number of committees and volunteer opportunities waiting for you in Sudbury.
A quaint community built on heritage, character and progress, Sudbury has the honor of being the safest place to live in The Bay State.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .06
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.17
Wayland is wonderful for young families. That’s because this stable, progressive community not only offers award winning schools but also boundless activities, events and festivals.
Part of the greater Boston metropolitan region, Wayland takes special care of young families. One way it does so is through the Wayland Children and Parents Association (WCPA). The Association offers fun and healthy programs that encourage parents and their children to get involved in the community and forge new friendships along the way. Join WCPA and take part in Fitness Ladies Night, golf tournaments or even men’s softball. Make the move to the historic and safe community of Wayland, and your entire family will make friends fast.
In addition to being fabulously family friendly, Wayland is also quite historic and decidedly civic minded. In fact, the community is wrapping up an entire year’s worth of dynamic events that celebrated its 375th year as a town.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .60
Property Crimes per 1,000: 3.77
Just 15 miles directly west of Boston you’ll discover Weston, the third safest city in Massachusetts. In addition to a relatively stress free commute, Weston residents are thankful for their strong emergency services programs.
For example, the Weston Police Department offers an easy to read online Police Dispatch Log so residents can keep current on police related activities in their neighborhood and Weston also takes a proactive approach to emergency management. A Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide and a robust Weston Emergency Reserve Corps are just two ways Weston residents are prepared for the unexpected.
Safe and forward thinking, Weston is also designated a Green Community by the Green Communities Division of the state’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. This prestigious designation recognizes Weston as an energy leader in Massachusetts.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .09
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.45
High academic test scores, top notch cultural resources and an amazing location are just a few reasons why more than 30,000 lucky residents call Franklin home. Safe neighborhoods is another.
Located in southeastern Massachusetts, Franklin is part of Norfolk County. It’s located roughly 30 miles from three of New England’s most populated cities, Boston, Worcester and Providence, Rhode Island. Franklin’s ideal location gives residents access to more than 100 institutes of higher education, including some of America’s leading colleges and universities. Franklin also offers an amazing array of architecture and two National Historic Districts.
Move to Franklin and you’ll feel good knowing that you’ve settled in a town that cherishes natural resources. Recently, Franklin received the 2014 Water Conservation Award from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection for its exemplary water conservation practices.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .34
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.20
Warm, inviting and kid focused, the safe town of Norfolk is located 30 miles southwest of Boston. Norfolk is an outstanding example of government and citizens working hand-in-hand to produce amazing results.
In addition to offering citizens a huge assortment of committees to take part in, Norfolk offers a children’s summer program like we’ve never uncovered. Norfolk’s Summer Playground Program provides a safe place for kids to play games, make crafts, and enjoy the very best of summer in a small New England town, all for just $1 per day. Moms and dads will surely appreciate this affordable program that is funded primarily through sponsorships and grants. In fact, no tax dollars are used to support the program.
When the sun sets, families pack blankets and head to hear an entertaining (and free) Thursday night summer concert. And when the weekend rolls in, they join their neighbors and jaunt off to one of the many nearby lakes or ponds to embrace a lazy summer day or drop a line and try their luck at catching dinner.
If you’re looking for the best of semi-rural suburban living, safe neighborhoods and first class children’s programming it’s time to call the movers and make Norfolk your new home.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .09
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.92
Steeped in culture and rich with natural beauty, life in Clinton, Massachusetts is relaxed and rewarding. It’s the quintessence American small town, complete with a town park that covers 4.5 acres. Named Central Park, it’s not like the one you’ll find in the Big Apple, but it’s irrefutably charming and offers well maintained walking paths and water features that provide a peaceful ambiance.
A strong industrial base is balanced by quaint mom and pop shops, and entrepreneurs will find Clinton willing to work hard to earn their business. Clinton’s downtown merchant association, Discover Clinton, provides citizens with plenty of reasons to shop local, and ensures there’s always something fun to do downtown. This year, the association held the inaugural Festival of Flavors to allow residents the chance to satisfy their taste buds with bites from Clinton’s fabulous selection of restaurants.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .65
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.36
Holden in a small, safe suburban community located in central Massachusetts. It’s a place where residents strive to balance charm with economic growth and go to great lengths to ensure open space and recreational areas abound.
Holden also earns high marks for providing new residents with a variety of innovative ways to get to know their neighbors. If you’re thinking of making Holden your new home, you’ll be glad to hear about the Wachusett Newcomers and Neighbors Club. The social organization helps residents make friends and contribute to the community through charitable events. Girls night out, wine tastings, and family events like cookie making and playgroups are just a few of the ways the Wachusett Newcomers and Neighbors Club will help you, your spouse and your kids start establishing roots. The Wachusett Region MOMS Club is the perfect place for stay at home moms to meet new friends, and take part in service projects that benefit the community.
If you’re searching for a community that is both safe and welcoming, Holden is your new home.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .46
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.58
Located in popular Middlesex County, Bedford is 15 miles northwest of Boston. Stroll the tree lined streets of Bedford and you’ll discover typical New England architecture, and well educated citizens. In fact, you’ll have a hard time finding another community that’s as dedicated to education as Bedford.
Bedford High School is large enough to offer children a vast curriculum, but small enough that each student’s individuality is appreciated. A robust music and arts program, top-notch athletic program and SAT scores that are consistently well above the state and national average are just a few reasons why parents are proud to send their kids to Bedford High School. We weren’t the least surprised to discover that “Boston Magazine” recently ranked Bedford High School the tenth best in the state.
Bedford also considered a leader in the field of aerospace research and is alive with high tech jobs.
Rest assured, low crime and excellent academics are Bedford’s backbone.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .52
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.60
Famous as the starting point for the Boston Marathon, the safe community of Hopkinton is strategically located at the intersection of routes 90 and 495. Live in Hopkinton and you’ll enjoy a convenient commute to Boston, quality schools and stores where the owner knows you by name. You’ll also find a variety of stunning neighborhoods, and a handful of historic districts. Hopkinton Center Historic District and Cedar Swamp Archaeological District are bursting with historic properties.
If you’re looking for recreation, you’ve found it. Hopkinton boasts a plethora of natural resources, including a bird sanctuary, and a well managed trail system that’s perfect for a family hike or exciting mountain bike ride. Thanks to Hopkinton’s trio of lakes, water recreation is a popular pastime. You won’t live in Hopkinton long before you realize why “Boston Magazine” honored it as one of the best places to live in the state.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .13
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.18
If you want the best of everything, Duxbury is calling you. Not only is the affluent suburb of Boston one of the state’s safest cities, it also has an outstanding school system and picture perfect coastal location.
Located in Plymouth County, Duxbury is a coastal community that exudes a strong character driven by the utmost love and respect for the water. In fact, approximately 40 percent of the town’s footprint is water. Famous for its oysters, Duxbury is also noted as one of the top cranberry producing communities in the state. When it’s time for fun, the unspoiled beauty of Duxbury Beach is the place families make lifelong memories.
If you’re a parent, you’ll feel good knowing that more than 93 percent of Duxbury High School graduates advance to higher education. And in addition to strong scholastic programs, your young ones will benefit from a truly amazing performing arts center.
If you like getting involved with community happenings, Duxbury offers you plenty to choose from. And when it comes to staying in touch with local government, you’ll find Duxbury’s comprehensive website makes it easy to do so. The town has been recognized with an E-Government Award by Common Cause’s Campaign for Open Government which reviews the internet presence of every town and city in the state.
If a coastal location appeals to your family, you owe it to them to explore the dynamic community of Duxbury.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .20
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.22
Diverse, convenient and beautiful are just a few words that describe Sharon, Massachusetts. Part of the Greater Boston region, workers are happy to take advantage of the 22 minute express train to downtown.
Close to the city but far enough away to maintain its charm, this one-time summer resort is now the year-round home to a diverse citizenry. The town has nine churches, seven synagogues, and one of New England’s most vibrant Islamic mosques. Residents embrace diversity, and cherish natural beauty. A full 40 percent of Sharon is open space. In addition to a massive wildlife sanctuary and a large portion of a state park, Sharon also offers residents Lake Massapoag. Without a doubt, it’s where the community gathers for concerts on Memorial Beach, afternoon swims, and lakeside picnics.
From entry level 1950s ranch style homes to expansive lake front retreats, an array of housing ensures your family will find the ideal home. A strong network of civic organizations and a high school that sends 96 percent of its graduates on institutions of higher learning only add to Sharon’s appeal. Plus, USNews.com ranks Sharon High School as the 10th best in the state, and honored it with a Gold ranking.
Boasting low crime, an assortment of housing and superior schools, it’s no wonder “Money” magazine named Sharon one of America’s Best Small Towns.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .84
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.09
Incorporated in 1651, you’re safe to assume Medfield is full of history. But it’s also a progressive community where innovative programs ensure citizens are well cared for.
Perhaps the best way to get to know your new home town is by joining the non-profit New ‘N Towne. New ‘N Towne offers Medfield residents a variety of ways to get involved in their community and establish connections. Some of the group’s most popular activities include Couples Night Out, Running Club, Book Talk, Mommy and Me and fundraising events. Medfield’s Parks and Recreation Department is another way you and your family will make fast friends. From pre-school cooking classes to drama classes, archery and even essay writing workshops, you’ll be impressed with the comprehensive collection of activities Medfield’s Parks and Recreation Department offers your kids. Moms and dads, Medfield hasn’t forgotten about you. You’ll have the chance to take part in fencing, organized hikes, a program to help you train for your first 5k running race and more. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing that no matter what age your child is, Medfield has a dynamic summer program designed to entertain her and spark her imagination.
Medfield not only ensures its residents enjoy safe streets, it also gives them plenty of reasons to come together and enjoy an array of activities.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.31
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.65
Located in Bristol County, Norton is home to prestigious Wheaton College. Offering an 11 to 1 student-faculty ratio, and an award winning athletic program, Wheaton draws students from around the globe. It’s also the location of TPC Boston, named by “Golf Digest” as one of the “Top 10 Best New Private Clubs in the U.S.” when it debuted. The well respected golf course draws huge crowds for the annual Deutsche Bank Championship.
In addition to an outstanding college and excellent fairways, Norton residents also enjoy a nearly ideal location: 30 miles southwest of Boston, 15 miles north of Providence, Rhode Island, and roughly 35 miles south of Worcester. This small but growing town offers a low population density, and residents enjoy relatively high median household incomes. We discovered that an impressive 40 percent of Norton’s citizens have earned their bachelors degree or higher.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .47
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.71
Lexington has a lot going for it. Another Middlesex County community, Lexington is just 11 miles west of Boston. It has the honor of being known as the “Birthplace of American Liberty.” That’s because it was in Lexington, on the morning of April 19, 1775, that the American Revolution began with the famous “shout heard around the world.”
Today, Lexington residents take pleasure in every modern amenity while honoring their unique history. Excellent schools, a vibrant downtown center, and a strong tech and bio-pharmaceuticals industry make it a popular place to call home.
A commitment to the environment and focus on healthy activities earn Lexington our praise. Its Greenways Corridor Committee and Lexington Conservation Stewards play an important role in ensuring Lexington residents have plenty of open space. And ACROSS Lexington (Accessing Conservation land, Recreation areas, Open space, Schools and Streets in Lexington) provides a network of pedestrian and bicycle routes that let users move safely from one part of town to another. Alternative transportation gets a boost during “Bike, Walk n Bus Week” organized to promote healthy, sustainable transportation.
A focus on preserving green space and healthy recreation make Lexington a sure-bet for any family.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .41
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.06
Positioned near the northern border of Massachusetts, Westford is a wonderland of natural beauty. Dotted with apple orchards, sprinkled with lakes and boasting more than 2,000 acres of conservation land, you’ll never tire of Westford’s stunning landscape.
A strong recreation program, outstanding schools and a powerful supply of high-tech jobs may be a few of the reasons “Money” magazine named Westford as one of America’s Best Small Towns. Two public beaches, and community strengthening festivals like the Apple Blossom Festival in May and the Strawberry Festival in June only add to this rural community’s appeal.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .49
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.15
Grafton is a semi-rural town, southeast of the bustling city of Worcester. Grafton offers a relaxed pace, lovely homes and a first-rate police department.
In addition to its impressive online presence that includes the use of social media, helpful safety tips, scam alerts, and other important safety related news, the Grafton Police Department is committed to Community Oriented Policing. This proactive approach to policing means that law enforcement and citizens work as a team to identify community concerns, solve problems and fight crime. It’s a philosophy that’s working, and one reason why Grafton residents enjoy a high quality of life and safe streets. The Grafton Police Department also offers a Citizens Police Academy, which educates people from all walks of life about the role of law enforcement in the community.
Grafton’s police department proves that even small law enforcement agencies can make a big impact when they work in tandem with the community they serve and protect.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.22
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.45
It’s no surprise that those who call Shrewsbury home are proud to do so. Shrewsbury is located between Worcester and the Route 495 Corridor, making it ideal for industrial pursuits. But that’s just the start of what makes Shrewsbury one of the state’s most attractive communities.
Shrewsbury has earned bountiful accolades from a number of well respected organizations. For example, it was awarded mid-level gold status as a “BioReady” community by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and the Massachusetts High Technology Council ranked it the second most high-tech friendly community in the state. As if that weren’t enough, “Money” magazine named it as one of America’s Best Small Towns and with consistently high reading and math test score may have contributed to “US News and World Report” honoring Shrewsbury High School with a Silver Medal in its Best High Schools report on a number of occasions.
Built around a strong town center that offers gorgeous boutiques, an array of flavorful restaurants, and stately architecture, Shrewsbury is notably appealing.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .17
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.57
Part of the Greater Boston area, Wellesley located in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Make Wellesley your home and it won’t be long before you realize it’s a town where natural resources are cherished.
Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission is dedicated to conservation, recreation and open space that enables citizens to fully enjoy Mother Nature. Wellesley’s Green Collaborative is a group of environmentally focused organizations that work independently as well as in collaboration to “green” Wellesley. Wellesley’s commitment to nature doesn’t end there. Wellesley residents have worked hard to be honored as a Green Power Community by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Wellesley was bestowed this designation thanks to the high percentage of electricity users that have chosen to purchase electricity generated by wind power.
Wellesley’s commitment to nature includes neighbors helping neighbors enjoy the great outdoors. The town’s Trails Committee helps coordinate free nature walks on trails that wind through some of the town’s most spectacular open space.
If you want to be surrounded by those that share your admiration of the oputdoors, Wellesley’s the place to wander.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .42
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.43
Travel 10 miles north of Bean Town and you’ll stumble upon Reading. This Middlesex County town is not only safe, it’s stable, progressive and offers your children an award-winning school district.
We were particularly impressed that Reading’s schools offer an easy way to report bullying, via an anonymous, online bullying report. Educators and townspeople are also investigating the need for an early childhood education center, and the school Superintendant authors an up-to-date, informative blog.
When you enjoy a Reading address, you’ll be welcomed by friendly neighbors, outstanding recreational and cultural opportunities, as well as a vibrant downtown district. Best yet, beautiful beaches as well as stunning mountains are within an easy drive, and you’ll only be a short train ride away from the center of Boston. Business travelers will appreciate that Logan International Airport is less than 15 miles away.
If you’ve been search for a safe community with award-winning schools and hospitable folks, Reading is waiting for you.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .40
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.49
Wrentham is a long-established New England community that enjoys a reputation and warm, generous and kind. Parents will surely appreciate Wrentham’s assortment of programs and organizations geared toward making new families feel right at home.
The MOM’s Club of Wrentham (MOMS Offering Moms Support) is a nonprofit group that’s designed to support the unique needs of stay-at-home moms and those that work part-time. Join this fun group of ladies and you’ll not only find lifelong friends, you’ll also take part in great group activities and special events geared toward keeping kids happy and engaged.
Your older children will cherish Wrentham’s Recreation Summer Playground. Sports, arts and crafts and games galore entertain your kids throughout the summer season. And in addition to the plethora of sports teams you’ll discover in Wrentham, including the ever-popular lacrosse and hockey, those with musical inclinations will want to join in on the creative happenings offered by the nonprofit King Philip Music Association.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .54
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.64
Holliston’s police department is one of the most impressive we’ve ever uncovered, proving that small towns with robust law enforcement programs can effectively keep crime at bay.
The Holliston’s police department distinguishes itself by communicating with citizens in a number of ways. Its website offers residents several helpful online forms, as well as a daily public log that keeps them up to date on what’s happening in their neighborhoods. Police Chief John Moore holds informative bi-weekly press conferences, and the Department’s 5 Year Strategic Plan offers Holliston residents insight into where the agency is headed. Holliston’s dedicated Auxiliary Police and comprehensive Citizens Police Academy helps further reduce the opportunities for crime.
Enthusiastic, devoted and community focused, the residents and law enforcement professionals of Holliston have earned our applause.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .58
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.68
Founded in 1633, Ipswich is noted as one of the oldest towns in the United States. It’s a quaint coastal town in Essex County, situated approximately 30 miles northeast of Boston.
Home to the Ipswich River, Willowdale State Forest, Parker River Wildlife Refuge and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich is a recreation enthusiasts dream. Unbridled development isn’t going to ruin the scenic views and expansive open space Ipswich is known for. In fact, roughly one-third of Ipswich’s land mass is protected salt marsh and estuaries. Ipswich also boasts magnificent stretches of farmland, forest, and famous Crane Beach. Recognized as one of the most stunning beaches in the state, Crane Beach allures thousands of residents and visitors annually.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .37
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.99
An affluent town in Essex County, Andover is a dynamic community that offers residents a high degree of community responsiveness and a diverse collection of recreational activities.
From Russian for Beginners and Keys for Kids to fishing workshops and snowboarding, you can do all of these activities and more in Andover. The town also offers a robust year-round after school music program, and sensational creative programming for kids that includes opportunities to explore their creativity with Broadway Break Thru. Moms and dads will enjoy taking part in exciting classes like stand-up paddle boarding and yoga, as well as wine tasting.
When the warm temperatures of summer roll in, Andover operates Pomp’s Pond. This is the place families and youth gather to cool off with a dip in the pond, take part in a pick-up game of volley ball, enjoy a picnic under the shade offered by a well established tree or rent a boat and cruise the shoreline.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .68
Property Crimes per 1,000: 8.59
Perfectly positioned midway between Boston and Worcester, Ashland is a predominantly residential community. Residents enjoy easy access to major cities, and the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Ashland locals also benefit from low crime and an education system that spans the ages. One reason Ashland has a negligible crime rate can be attributed to the fact that law enforcement and the community work as one to stomp out crime. The Ashland Police Department’s online crime reporting system makes it simple for residents to alert law enforcement to illegal activity, and its highly trained auxiliary personnel work alongside Ashland’s police officers to ensure citizens enjoy a superior level of service. Ashland’s Police Athletic League does its part to keep the community’s youngest citizens safe, educated and energized.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .83
Property Crimes per 1,000: 8.45
Measuring slightly less than 13 square miles, Needham is prosperous suburb of Boston. And although many of Needham’s residents are well to do, two noteworthy programs help those that are less affluent.
The special group of people that make up SEB, LLC are determined to ensure there’s affordable housing for the less affluent. Since its creation, the group has focused on taking an innovative approach to increasing the affordable housing market in Needham and beyond. Currently, SEB is spearheading a lottery for four affordably priced, brand new townhomes located at Greendale Village. The townhomes are available to households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the region’s median income. The lottery for the first set of three bedroom, two and a half bath townhomes will take place this summer.
Within the Town of Needham’s Human Services department, Needham Youth Services offers a wealth of critical programs. They include those that address mental health, stress, peer pressure, drug abuse and other youth-related concerns. Needham Youth Services boosts activities throughout summer, providing peer tutoring, single parent support groups and more.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .07
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.41
Lynnfield is located in dynamic Essex County. It’s a charming community that’s overflowing with organizations and committees that make the town an ideal place to live, work and play.
When you live in Lynnfield you can serve on the Technology Committee, Recreation Commission, or volunteer your time to help preserve the character and beauty of Lynnfield by joining Townscape. This well established non-profit takes pride in planting and replacing shade trees along Lynnfield streets.
Lynnfield also enjoys a reputation as a safe town, and one reason that may be is thanks to its participation in the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC). Made up of nearly 60 municipal police and sheriff agencies, NEMLEC offers each member agency access to unrestrained expertise, supplemental public safety services, and the benefits of a cohesive policing strategy. By pooling resources and sharing important crime data, each agency is better prepared to serve its citizens.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .59
Property Crimes per 1,000: 8.99
Dudley is a small, safe town located in the central part of the state. Founded in 1732, Dudley citizens are protective and proud of their agricultural history, but they’re also dedicated to economic development and take education seriously.
The Dudley Economic Development Committee works diligently to promote Dudley’s identity within the state, and the bordering states of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The town is offers easy access to two Interstates as well as the Massachusetts Turnpike, making it perfectly situated for business. Dudley also benefits economically as a member of The Last Green Valley. This forward thinking organization goes to great lengths to conserve and promote the rural character, heritage and natural resources of the 35 towns that comprise The Last Green Valley.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 3.38
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.33
Roughly 10 miles north of bustling Boston, you’ll discover the well to-do community of Winchester. The town is especially popular with professionals who have children, and it’s easy to understand why.
In addition to the fact that it’s one of the safest places to live in the state, parents of this Middlesex County community look out for one another’s children, and benefit from fabulous childcare. Make the move to Winchester and you’ll be welcomed with an unparalleled recreation calendar that’s packed with stimulating activities for every member of the family, from toddlers to seniors. When it’s time to head to the office, you’ll feel good knowing that your little ones are receiving top-quality care thanks to Kid Connection. Kid Connection is the Winchester Recreation Department’s licensed pre-school, and it’s been serving the community for generations. In fact, Kid Connection is in the process of preparing a monumental party to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Pony rides, face painting, crafts and tasty treats are a hint at what’s being planned for current students, alumni and parents.
Balancing work and family life is indisputably challenging, but the dynamic resources offered in Winchester make it easier to do so.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .55
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.27
Medway is a low crime community located 30 miles southwest of Boston. It’s also one that’s welcoming, and full of pride. In fact, if you’re thinking of making the move to Medway, you’ll want to do so in time for Medway Pride Day.
Medway Pride Day has been a popular community gathering event for more than two decades. Featuring games, carnival activities, face painting and music, your kids will go crazy for Medway Pride Day. Small business owners take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their products or services, creative vendors offer a variety of hand crafted items and local organizations use the event to raise money. Even newcomers are sure to see a face they recognize at this entertaining community pride event. When the action dies down, your family will find plenty to keep you busy thanks to Medway’s forward thinking Open Space and Recreation Plan.
If your teen is interested in agricultural and environmental technologies, he’ll want to learn more about Norfolk County Agricultural High School. This pioneering educational institution offers a challenging academic curriculum, work programs and a progressive agricultural education.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .93
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.11
Picturesque, charming and historic are a few ways to describe the idyllic New England town of Concord. Safe is another. One reason the 18,000 residents of Concord enjoy safe streets is thanks to the innovative programs spearheaded by the Concord Police Department, including an Elder Affairs Officer, and a basic self defense course, Rape Aggression Defense.
Famous as the location of the first battle of the American Revolution, Concord gained a reputation as a brilliantly creative community during the middle of the nineteenth century. That’s because it was home to a number of impressive minds, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. As you might expect, the Concord of today embraces its colorful heritage and continues to place great value on the arts. Call Concord home and you’ll be treated to museums, a performing arts theater, a handful of theater companies, and two art centers.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .72
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.45
Norwell is a close knit, well to do community located in Plymouth County. Norwell is not only safe, but it’s convenient too, offering residents an easy drive to the coast as well as an easy commute by rail to Boston.
We were impressed by Norwell’s first-rate recreational programming, but it police department really caught our eye. It’s easy to understand why Norwell is one of the state’s safest cities. For starters, the members of the Norwell Police Department are committed to community policing practices. The department’s Bicycle Patrol Unit and Community Services Division work diligently to form one-on-one partnerships with community members to identify emerging crime trends. The department also offers the EZ Child ID system. This portable identification system gives officers the chance to compile vital data that would be helpful should the child get lost or be abducted. The child’s parents receive a free copy of the information for their records.
Dedicated to safety, parents can feel good about making Norwell their family’s new home.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .84
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.38
Nestled in the stunning Nashoba Valley, Groton is the kind of place kids return to as adults to start a family of their own.
One of the community’s most cherished events is Grotonfest. Held every fall, your kids will quickly learn to look forward to this community bonding event. Hundreds of businesses, non-profits and artisan booths offer a delightful collection of goodies. Amazing food is a Grotonfest staple.
Another way the residents of Groton keep tight ties is through the Groton Pool and Golf Center. Owned by the Town of Groton, the complex provides affordable, family oriented recreational opportunities for young and old. Situated in the heart of historic Groton, the nine-hole golf course, heated Olympic size pool and beautiful reception hall are where memories are made. When your kids are searching for healthy summer entertainment, they’ll find it at the Groton Pool and Golf Center. Summer camps fill up quickly.
When it’s time for a change of scenery, you’ll jaunt off to Sargisson Beach, a local summer tradition. Rest assured, when you change your address to Groton, the kids will never have a reason to grumble about being bored.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .65
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.58
Just north of the Connecticut border, perched on the western side of the Connecticut River you’ll discover Agawam.
Agawam is a striking community offering a rural atmosphere that combines suburban living with reasonably priced homes, well respected schools and safe neighborhoods. Find your way to Agawam and you’ll discover marvelous recreational opportunities, including golf courses, bike paths and abundant green space.
Dotted with historic homes and century old farms, dissected by meandering streams and anchored by a village center Agawam is a tranquil community surrounded by amazing landscape. It’s also a town that thrives on activity. Finding innovative ways for kids of all ages to rediscover active play, Agawam offers drop in yoga for adults and the Let’s Move program for kids.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.18
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.47
34. North Reading
Situated within the Ipswich River watershed, North Reading became an independent town in 1853. Boasting a diverse collection of well preserved 18th century houses and a distinguished assortment of period houses, North Reading is proud of its history.
We were pleased to discover the North Reading Community Impact Team (CIT). Forming a partnership between Youth Services, the North Reading Police Department, Fire Department, School Department, Parks and Recreation, and the Board of Selectmen, CIT advocates the use of non-traditional ways to lower crime and build a cooperative relationship between citizens and law enforcement. “Action Teams” lead by dedicated community volunteers are an important part of the program’s success.
In an effort to let the youth of the community be heard, the North Reading Youth Services strives to establish youth-driven social activities and promotes opportunities for youth to interact in a positive way with the community.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .99
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.75
Bordering southern New Hampshire and a mere 40 miles to the coast, Dracut is a community focused on preservation, open space and affordable housing.
Dedicated to helping advance smart growth and sustainable development, Dracut’s Community Preservation Coalition is prime example of the town’s commitment to its citizens. Taking advantage of the Community Preservation Act to preserve its agricultural and historical spaces, former mill buildings have been transformed into bustling commercial and residential facilities. It offers a full range of housing from high end surrounding a golf course to deed restricted affordable units and much in between. The Dracut Housing Authority provides housing for eligible low income families and disabled persons.
The Town is situated so as to provide ready access to the Lowell and Boston metropolitan areas to the south, the Atlantic seacoast to the east and the mountains and lakes of New England to the north. There is an abundance of recreational, healthcare and educational institutions all within an hour or less drive.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .47
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.36
Drive a dozen miles southwest of Boston and you’ll stumble upon the safe community of Westwood. Honored for its quality schools and modern new library, Westwood also includes a number of conservation areas, a vibrant senior center and a slew of lively events.
We weren’t shocked to find out that “Boston Magazine” honored Westwood as one of the best places to live in Massachusetts. Or that “Money” magazine ranked Westwood 13th on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States. One of Westwood’s newest offerings is University Station. The massive development includes a mix of retail, residential and office space as well as restaurants and a modern grocery store.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.82
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.16
Located in central Massachusetts, Amherst is a progressive community that has gone to great lengths to develop unique initiatives that honor and serve its citizens.
For example, the Amherst Human Rights Commission hosts a Human Rights Heroism Awards program. The Commission’s awards recognize area youth who have demonstrated noteworthy unselfishness, courage, and kindness. Amherst’s Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative is another unique and important program. With the mission of developing safe and healthy housing and neighborhoods that respond to the town’s ever changing housing needs, the Initiative also aims to increase the supply of affordable housing and respond to housing complaints. If you’re ready to launch a business, you’ll want to learn more about the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID). This nonprofit economic development organization is dedicated to creating programs and services that serve Amherst’s residents and businesses. Thanks in part to the efforts of BID, Amherst’s downtown is burgeoning. And when you visit downtown, you’ll be treated to free Wi-Fi.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.07
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.00
Settled in 1630, and by far the most populated city on our list, Newton is located a mere seven miles west of downtown Boston. Earning the nickname “Garden City,” you’ll be pleased with the quality of life your family enjoys in this 80,000 resident city.
Newton is comprised of 13 villages that each boast their own distinctive character. Several Neighborhood Area Councils facilitate communication between residents and the city. Small business owners appreciate the economic opportunities offered by Newton’s village centers and its close proximity to a number of major commercial centers. Low unemployment, a highly educated and professional workforce and good schools are just a few reasons why “Money” magazine honored the city as one of the “Best Places to Live” in 2012.
When you call Newton home, your family will enjoy attending programs at the Newton Free Library, one of the largest and most respected libraries in the state, and have access to a handful of exceptional colleges. Beautiful open spaces, lovely homes and safe streets round out the reasons why Newton is noted as a top-notch community.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .88
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.31
Westborough is a classic New England town through and through. Located near the intersection of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 495, it’s also a convenient place to live and work. In fact, Westborough is only 12 miles east of Worcester and less than 30 miles west of Boston.
Incorporated in 1717, Westborough has the distinction of being the state’s 100th town. Once known for its orchards and dairies, the Westborough of the 21st Century offers residents an ideal blend of open spaces, residences and businesses. We were delighted to discover that Westborough is also welcoming. The Westborough Newcomers Club will help you and your family feel right at home. The social and civic club hosts an assortment of events, such as trivia night, and it also offers a number of groups like Happy Hour Playgroup, Craft Group, and Evening Book Club. If you’re a parent, you’ll be glad to learn that the Westborough school district earns high marks for educational excellence.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .97
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.81
If you enjoy interacting with your neighbors, you’re going to fall hard and fast for Acton. Situated approximately 20 miles outside of Boston, Acton is the kind of place where you’ll enjoy chatting with friends at neighborhood parties and kids can still safely play outdoors.
The moment you arrive in Acton, you’re likely to get invited to a cookout at the popular Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area (NARA). From Memorial Day weekend through late August, NARA Beach is bustling with activity. You’ll want to attend a free concert at the NARA amphitheater and enroll your kids in NARA’s well-liked summer camp. Operated by the Town of Acton Recreation Department, NARA Camp provides your kids with 10 weekly themed sessions that include a healthy dose of arts and crafts, nature exploration, sports, music and drama. And don’t be surprised if your toddler begs for a trip to the newly renovated Goward Playground. Adjacent to the Acton Memorial Library, Friends of the Playground raised more than $66,000 to give the playground a facelift.
If fresh fruits and veggies appeal to you, toss your work gloves in a bag and head to one of Acton’s community gardens. The Morrison Farm Organic Community Garden and North Acton Community Garden are sure to bring out your green thumb.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.03
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.78
Overlooking the Quaboag Valley to the east and the Connecticut Valley to the west, Belchertown is safe town located in Hampshire County. Nominal unemployment, a relatively low cost of living and relaxed lifestyle are just a few of the reasons why Belchertown locals tend to wear a smile.
Noted geographically as the second largest town in the state, Belchertown spans nearly 60 square miles. Despite its vastness, Belchertown is a close knit community where many residents can trace their heritage back a number of generations. Every year, Belchertown tips its hat to agriculture with the Belchertown Fair. For more than 150 years, this family oriented community fair held on the town common has been a show stopper. Organized by a small group of enthusiastic volunteers, the fair includes a parade, as well as the popular Giant Pumpkin Contest, oxen pulls, a poultry show and more. As you’d expect, your kids will enjoy a variety of carnival rides, and tasty sweet treats.
Centuries old homes, expansive farms and distinct community cohesiveness make Belchertown a beautiful place to put down roots.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.29
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.58
Our bet is those that settled the area almost 400 years ago would be pleased with Belmont’s evolution. The Middlesex County town of about 25,000 residents is primarily considered a residential community. Part of the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area, Belmont is often referred to as “The Town of Homes.” Be forewarned, its prolific bike paths will beg you to brush the cobwebs off your cruiser and embark on a leisurely exploration of your new home town.
One place you’re sure to discover is the Belmont Media Center (BMC). The BMC makes Belmont a stand-out on our safe cities list. We were fascinated by this high-tech, nonprofit community media center whose mission is to “develop and promote access to electronic communications media.” Serving Belmont as well as its bordering communities, BMC aims to foster free speech and creative expression. Civic engagement is also an integral part of the organization’s mission. In addition to classes the help citizens learn how to produce their own television programs, the organization also offers an online Video Training Series.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .75
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.54
If you’re longing for coastal living, you’ll simply adore Marblehead. Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, this waterfront community exudes classic New England charm.
Less than 20 miles north of Boston, it’s far enough away from the big city to offer a slower pace of life, but close enough that every amenity you could want is within easy reach. Founded in 1629, Marblehead offers inviting streets lined with an impressive number of 17th and 18th Century buildings, and as you might have guessed, beaches abound. Devereux Beach is one of Marblehead’s most popular, but you’ll also find that Fort Beach, Gas House Beach and Grace Oliver Beach offer a special ambiance. Exploring Marblehead’s conservation areas and walking trials are popular pastimes, as is a journey to the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Thanks to the Sanctuary’s swamp, thickets, and woodlands, it is the premier destination for birdwatchers who enjoy being treated to sightings of rare birds.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.34
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.02
Uxbridge is convenient to Worcester and Boston, as well as Providence, Rhode Island. Like many Massachusetts towns, Uxbridge operates under the guidance of a Town Meeting form of government. It’s positioned in the center of the Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor, which is famed as home to America’s earliest industrialization for textiles. In fact, Uxbridge residents are justifiably proud to boast that the first Air Force Dress Uniform “Uxbridge Blue” was made in their hometown.
A community that benefits from a sense of safety and peaceful lifestyle, Uxbridge is a place where you know your neighbor’s name and you’re likely to bump into friends at popular Pout Pond. Restored just a few years ago, Pout Pond is an Uxbridge summer staple. After many years of neglect, volunteers decided it was time to revive Pout Pond and returning it to its glory. The beach and playground were cleaned up, a snack bar was opened and in no time at all, Pout Pond regained its prominence. Today, generations of Oxbridge residents enjoy dips in the pond’s cool waters and picnics under the shade of old trees.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.39
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.01
Located in eastern Massachusetts, Easton was incorporated in 1725. Pack your bags for Easton and you’ll appreciate its low crime and location. Positioned 30 minutes from Boston, 45 minutes from Cape Cod, and less than an hour from Providence, Rhode Island, Easton is not only ideally located, it’s impressively green too.
Focusing on sustainability, Easton is designated as a Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Community and recently celebrated the completion of a 1.9 Megawatt ground-mounted solar landfill. To date, Easton has identified more than 4,000 acres as conservation land and it also boasts an amazing farmers market. You’ll want to grab a grocery bag and head to the Original Easton Farmers Market for grass-fed beef and cheese, wine, certified organic fruits and vegetables, pastries, breads, seafood and even freshly cut flowers. If you want to explore gardening on your own, then rent a plot at the Wheaton Farm Community Garden.
When rainy days damp outdoor pursuits, it’s the ideal time for a visit to Easton’s Children’s Museum where you’ll find an exciting collection of educational, cultural and social activities for your little ones.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.33
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.10
Location, location! The safe Oceanside community of Winthrop not only offers its lucky residents spectacular water views, but a stunning look at the Boston Skyline too. Settled in 1630, Winthrop has the distinction of being one of the nation’s oldest communities, but that hasn’t stopped it from being progressive.
Part of Suffolk County, Winthrop is a 1.6 square mile peninsula that radiates a distinctive New England vibe. Charming and friendly, Winthrop is loaded with marinas and boating is a way of life. Its beaches host toddlers erecting magical sandcastles, teens exploring a taste of summer freedom and moms and dads who enjoy simply sitting back and relishing a moment of tranquility.
As a bonus, Winthrop offers commuters an outstanding public transportation system that gets them to Boston in less than 30 minutes and to the airport in a flash. Grab the beach ball and pack the sunscreen; Winthrop is waiting for you.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.18
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.28
The 19,000 residents of Hudson have a lot to be happy about. Situated 40 miles west of Boston, Hudson is a warm and inviting community that takes reading seriously.
Some towns have amazing recreation programs, others tout fabulous economic development opportunities; Hudson earns bragging rights to an amazing public library. Head to the Hudson Public Library, and you’ll be astounded at the wealth of opportunities you’ll uncover. A pilot library for the Massachusetts eBook Project, you’ll enjoy the chance the Hudson Public Library offer to check out eBooks to read on your smartphone, tablet or eReader. Or maybe your family will want to join in on Hudson’s One Book, One Community program. An annual town-wide reading event, One Book, One Community aims to foster a community of readers by involving them in reading and talking about the same book. There’s a One Book, One Community book selected for nearly every reading level and age, but the focus is on the adult population.
During the hot days of summer, your young children and teens will enjoy cooling off with book when they become involved in the library’s creative summer reading program. If you’re a budding writer, or an experienced one who wants to hone their skills, you’ll be happy to hear that the Hudson Library also sponsors a Writers Group. Meeting on a monthly basis, all level and abilities are welcome.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: .41
Property Crimes per 1,000: 12.09
A relatively small seacoast town situated in Plymouth County, Scituate was incorporated nearly 400 years ago.
Since that time, Scituate has transitioned from a summer outpost to a desirable residential community, but it hasn’t broken ties with its past. In fact, Scituate has a strong historical society, and every August the citizens of all ages gather to commemorate the town’s founding with the celebration of “Heritage Days”.
Locals have every right to brag about the Scituate school system and neighborhood organizations like the Humarock Beach Improvement Association and Mt Hope Improvement Society ensure kids have a safe place to lay their heads.
Offering an ideal blend of suburban, waterfront and rural living, no matter what type of living your family is yearning for you’ll find it in Scituate. As an added benefit, you’re only a 25 mile ride from Boston.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.25
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.31
If you have children, you won’t regret a move to Melrose. In addition to the fact that a speedy commuter train will get you to work in downtown Boston in less than 20 minutes, giving you more family time, you’ll also appreciate the community’s robust youth programs and organizations.
The Melrose Family Room serves as a meeting place for families with young children. Founded in 1988, you’ll discover an assortment of age appropriate toys, equipment and games. Plus, you’ll have access to arts and crafts, and enjoy attending any one to the parent-run cooperative’s special events. You’ll also want to treat your toddler with a visit to The Little Gym. It’s a fabulous outlet for their never-ending energy, while enhancing their confidence. Those that are interested in artistic pursuits will want to explore Follow Your Art. Founded on the belief that engaging in creative endeavors can enhance personal growth at any stage of like, a trip to Follow Your Art is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.38
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.38
Less than two mile from Interstate 495 and just 20 miles from Boston, Billerica is a great place to retreat to. It may be the last city on our safe cities list, but Billerica has a lot to boast about. Its pioneering police department is one of them.
For starters, the Billerica Police Department uses an app to deliver enhance service and improve communication with citizens. Using the app concerned residents can send anonymous tips, submit feedback, express a concern and even sign up for push notifications. Using the app, or the Billerica Police Department website, citizens can commend an officer to providing exceptional service. The website also offers a weekly arrest log, and the Billerica Police Department daily paper. This is an outstanding source for local, national and global law enforcement related information.
If you enjoy becoming involved with public education, you’ll want to learn more about Billerica Partners for Education, Formed in 1992, Billerica Partners for Education has devoted countless hours to enriching public education by facilitating communication between Billerica schools, the community and business.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.37
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.41
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