Massachusetts’s 20 Safest Cities of 2023

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The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Massachusetts for 2023

See if your city made the full list.

Our 2023 State of Safety survey found that Massachusetts ranks the lowest in property crime out of all the states on our report. We also found that Bay Staters are more concerned about their safety than the nation's average, which is surprising since violent crime in the state is also low.

In this report

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2023 Massachusetts crime rates

Massachusetts' crime rates continued to drop year over year. Massachusetts also consistently sees lower violent crime and property crime rates compared to the rest of the country.

Massachusetts’ violent crime rate this reporting year is 3.0 per 1,000 people (US 4.0), with a property crime rate of 10.4 (US 19.3).

Massachusetts' crime rates are below national average.

Image: SafeWise

Violent crime in Massachusetts: Fear vs. reality

Bay Staters had fewer personal experiences with violent crime in the last year. Violent crime dropped from 3.1 per 1,000 people to 3.0 per 1,000 people. That's 24% less than the national rate.

  • Overall, there were 200 violent crimes reported from our list of safest cities.
  • Aggravated assault was the most common violent crime, with the safest cities reporting a total of 159.
  • Massachusetts is ranked as #15 in states with the lowest violent crime rates. 
  • Not a single murder was reported among the top 12 safest cities.
  • 3% of survey participants use no form of personal protection—below the national average of 4%.
  • Pepper spray is the most common form of personal protection, with 58% of respondents saying it was their weapon of choice.

Attitudes about gun violence in Massachusetts

Overall, gun safety is a big concern for The Bay State, with worries about gun violence up 22% over the year before.

  • 39% of those we surveyed named gun violence as a safety concern (US 47%).
  • 7% reported that gun violence had happened to them. That's up 250% from the year before. (US 12%).
  • 19% said they carry a concealed firearm for protection.
5% are worried about package theft.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Massachusetts: Fear vs. reality

Massachusetts residents currently enjoy the lowest property crime rate out of all the states in our report. The property crime rate dropped from last year. It came in at 10.4 property crimes per 1,000 residents as opposed to 10.5 the year before.

  • Property crime rates have steadily dropped in the last three years from 11.8 per 1,000 to 10.5 to 2.5.
  • 26% of survey respondents use guard dogs for property protection—lower than most Americans (34%).
  • All safest cities reported fewer than 5 property crimes per 1,000 residents.
  • The top form of property protection among Massachusetts residents this year is a home security system with 32% of residents using them.
  • 34% of respondents don't use any form of property protection.

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A closer look at the safest cities in Massachusetts

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • Wayland, the number one pick, reported no violent crimes and no property crimes in the reporting year.
  • Last year, none of the safest cities reported murders. This year, 3 cities reported murders (Franklin, Charlton, and Milton) with one murder each.
  • Northborough jumped 21 spots to land at #4 this year.
  • Sharon dropped 11 spots to land at #18.
  • All of the safest cities reported less than five property crimes per 1,000 people.
  • All of the safest cities reported less than one violent crime per 1,000 people.
Wayland is Massachusetts' safest city.

Image: SafeWise

The 20 safest cities in Massachusetts

Wayland Massachusetts
#1
Wayland
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    13,911
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $203,789
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.0, 0.1, 0.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.0, 0.0, 0.1
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Clinton, Massachusetts
#2
Clinton
(
+1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    14,099
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $68,958
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.3, 0.4, 0.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.5, 0.6, 1.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Grafton, MA map
#3
Grafton
(
+8
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,347
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $107,237
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.5, 0.5, 0.8
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.3, 2.6, 2.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Northborough, Massachusetts
#4
Northborough
(
+21
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    15,223
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    Median Income
    $140,482
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.3, 0.5, 0.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.1, 4.2, 5.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Holden, Massachusetts
#5
Holden
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,605
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $124,638
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.6, 0.3, N/A
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.5, 1.1, N/A
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Westford, MA map
#6
Westford
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    25,834
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $161,076
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.3, 0.2, 0.4
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.4, 2.4, 2.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Hopkinton, MA map
#7
Hopkinton
(
-2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,192
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $149,677
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.3, 0.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.5, 1.5, 1.6
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Duxbury, MA map
#8
Duxbury
(
+2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    16,780
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $108,810
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.6, 0.7, 0.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.1, 2.1, 3.6
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Scituate, MA map
#9
Scituate
(
+3
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    20,046
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    Median Income
    $110,477
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.6, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.7, 2.5, 3.3
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Pembroke, Massachusetts Map
#10
Pembroke
(
+10
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,505
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $130,015
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.5, 0.8, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.6, 3.1, 4.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Hanover, Massachusetts
#11
Hanover
(
-3
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    15,396
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $149,048
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.3, 0.1, 0.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    3.2, 3.3, 8.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Arlington, Massachusetts
#12
Arlington
(
+5
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    45,767
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $125,701
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.4, 0.6, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.9, 3.0, 3.7
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Franklin, MA map
#13
Franklin
(
-11
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    35,425
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $127,608
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.8, 0.2, 0.1
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.7, 0.9, 1.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Sudbury, MA map
#14
Sudbury
(
+9
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,798
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $217,847
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.8, 0.7, 0.8
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.9, 3.4, 3.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Winchester, MA map
#15
Winchester
(
+9
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    22,988
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $184,844
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.3, 0.5, 0.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    3.6, 4.3, 3.9
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Charlton, Massachusetts
#16
Charlton
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    13,881
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $106,558
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.6, 0.5, 0.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.7, 3.2, 4.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Wellesley, MA map
#17
Wellesley
(
+1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    29,088
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $226,250
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.2, 0.3, 0.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    4.2, 3.8, 4.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Sharon, MA map
#18
Sharon
(
-11
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,222
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $157,255
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.4, 0.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.7, 1.8, 2.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Milton, MA map
#19
Milton
(
-5
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    27,911
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $153,971
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.4, 0.3, 0.4
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    4.0, 3.8, 2.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Bedford, MA map
#20
Bedford
(
+12
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    14,241
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $140,647
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.3, 0.8, 0.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    4.3, 4.5, 2.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Get a home security system

Find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security

Find security and safety resources in your area

Didn't find your city?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state email info@safewise.com with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.

NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2021.

Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

Related articles on SafeWise


Endnotes and sources

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.

  • 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019]." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."

  • 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
  • 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.
Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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