Massachusetts’s 20 Safest Cities of 2020

Massachusetts safest cities badge

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the sixth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 20 Safest Cities in Massachusetts for 2020. See if your city made the list.

8% of Massachusetts' residents have experienced violent crime in the last 12 months. 13% have experienced property crime in the last 12 months. And 4% of Massachusetts' residents have been affected by a mass shooting in their lifetime.

If you call The Bay State home, chances are you’re less worried about safety on a daily basis than folks in other states. It’s not surprising when you look at the low crime rates across the state—especially in this year’s 20 safest cities in Massachusetts.

See the full list of Massachusetts’s safest cities of 2020.

According to our 2020 State of Safety study, only 39% of Massachusetts residents are highly concerned about their safety every day. That’s seven points below the national average of 46%.

39% of Massachussets' residents worry about crime on a daily basis in 2020 compared to 55% in 2019.

View the complete 2020 State of Safety report.

Both crime rates and levels of personal experience with crime are lower than average in Massachusetts. This year, Massachusetts respondents reported fewer personal violent crime incidents than in 2019. Only 8% said they experienced violent crime in the past 12 months—down from 9% last year, and four points below the national average of 12%.

90% of the safest cities in Massachusetts reported zero murders.

Property crime experiences in Massachusetts increased year over year, but 13% is half the nationwide average of 26%. The state’s property crime rate is impressively low as well. At 12.6 incidents per 1,000, the Bay State is nearly 10 points below the national rate of 22.0.

Violent crime in Massachusetts: fear vs. reality

Massachusetts is one of only three states to name murder by a stranger as the most worrisome violent crime issue—Arkansas and California are the other two. Concern for being murdered by someone you know is even less common, despite the fact that people are more likely to be murdered by someone they know than a stranger.

  • 38% said they are most afraid of being murdered by a stranger, compared to 36% nationwide. 
  • Only 18% reported concern about being murdered by someone they know, versus 20% across the country. 
  • 90% of the safest cities had no murders in 2018, and statewide, murder made up only 0.6% of all violent crime in the state (136 incidents out of 23,337 total).
  • 29% called out physical assault by a stranger as the crime they think is most likely to happen. Nationwide, 40% agree.
  • The most common violent crime in Massachusetts was aggravated assault, accounting for 72% of the incidents reported among the safest cities and 71% across the state.
38% of Massachusetts residents are most concerned about being murdered.
29% of Massachusetts residents believe they're most likely to be physically assaulted.

Property crime in Massachusetts: fear vs. reality

Massachusetts is more in line with the rest of the country when it comes to property crime. A break-in when the residents are at home is the top property crime worry, but the crime voted most likely to happen is a break-in when residents are away from home.

  • 56% named someone breaking in when they’re at home as the most concerning property crime. That’s in line with 58% across the country who share the same worry.
  • 39% think it’s more likely that someone will break in when they aren’t at home, along with 38% nationwide.
  • Burglary made up just 17% of all property crime reported by the safest cities and 16% of all property crime statewide.
  • Top city Hopkinton reported zero burglaries in 2018.
  • Larceny-theft was the most common property crime, accounting for 79% of all incidents in the safest cities and 77% statewide. 
  • 24% of Massachusetts respondents use a security system to protect their home, matching the national average of 24%.
  • 23% use a dog or other guard animal, making that the second most common security measure in the state. Across the US, 33% report using a guard animal.
  • 37% of Massachusetts residents use no form of protection or security, versus 29% nationally.
56% of Massachusetts residents are most concerned about a home break-in while they're home.
39% of Massachusetts residents believe they're most likely to experience a break-in when they're away

A closer look at Massachusetts's safest cities of 2020

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

  • Hopkinton remains the number one safest city in Massachusetts for the second consecutive year—boasting a violent crime rate of 0.1 incidents per 1,000 and a property crime rate of 1.6.
  • 55% of the cities improved rank year over year, with Andover the most impressive, jumping 66 spots to number eight.
  • Only four cities dropped in rank year over year.
  • Two new cities joined the rankings this year—Lexington and Scituate.
  • All cities came in under both state (3.4) and national (3.7) violent crime rates. No city reported more than one violent crime incident per 1,000.
  • 90% of the cities had fewer than 20 total violent crimes reported, and 90% reported no murders.
  • All cities are below state (12.6) and national (22.0) property crime rates, and no city reported more than 6.3 incidents per 1,000 residents.

Norton reported the fewest total number of property crimes (23) and the lowest property crime rate (1.2), but a slightly higher violent crime rate of 0.7 held the city to number five.

Massachusetts safest cities heat map showing population and crime score

The 20 safest cities in Massachusetts

Hopkinton, Massachusetts
#1
Hopkinton
  • Circle Population
    Population
    18,516
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $113,354
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.1, 0.0, 0.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.6, 3.4, 3.8
Franklin, Massachusetts
#2
Franklin
(
+3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    33,156
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $101,980
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, 0.3, 0.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.6, 2.2, 2.9
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
#3
Shrewsbury
  • Circle Population
    Population
    37,631
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $97,365
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.1, 0.1, 0.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.0, 3.5, 4.8
Milton, Massachusetts
#4
Milton
(
+16
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    27,642
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $126,000
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.4, 0.5, 0.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.2, 7.8, 8.2
Norton, Massachusetts
#5
Norton
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    19,983
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $80,806
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.7, 0.1, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.2, 0.9, 1.7
Lexington, Massachusetts
#6
Lexington
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    34,050
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $162,083
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, Not available, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.3, Not available, 3.9
Westford, Massachusetts
#7
Westford
(
+3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    24,649
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $125,143
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.4, 0.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.6, 3.1, 3.7
#8
Andover
(
+66
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    36,324
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $83,910
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, 2.0, 0.6
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.8, 8.0, 6.1
Sharon, Massachusetts
#9
Sharon
(
+19
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    18,373
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $128,275
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.7, 0.8, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.8, 2.4, 3.4
Wellesley, Massachusetts
#10
Wellesley
(
+4
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    29,681
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $176,852
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.4, 0.4, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.2, 4.5, 5.5
Holliston, Massachusetts
#11
Holliston
(
+7
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    14,924
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $108,350
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.8, 0.5, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.7, 2.0, 3.8
Winchester, Massachusetts
#12
Winchester
  • Circle Population
    Population
    23,036
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $152,196
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.3, 0.4, 0.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.9, 5.2, 7.4
#13
Bedford
(
+11
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    14,319
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $114,676
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.6, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.1, 4.0, 3.4
Reading, Massachusetts
#14
Reading
(
-7
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    26,293
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $114,354
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, 0.3, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    5.5, 6.0, 6.8
Scituate, Massachusetts
#15
Scituate
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    18,761
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $117,973
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.8, Not available, Not available
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.4, Not available, Not available
Needham, Massachusetts
#16
Needham
(
-10
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    31,264
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $141,690
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.3, 0.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.6, 6.2, 5.8
North Reading, Massachusetts
#17
North Reading
(
+39
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    15,849
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $112,419
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.0, 1.5, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.8, 4.1, 3.8
Belmont, Massachusetts
#18
Belmont
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    26,700
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $118,370
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, 0.5, 0.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    6.3, 7.9, 6.9
Arlington, Massachusetts
#19
Arlington
(
+11
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    45,876
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $103,594
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.7, 0.8, 1.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.2, 5.7, 5.1
Billerica, Massachusetts
#20
Billerica
(
+15
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    44,482
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $94,761
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.8, 0.9, 1.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.8, 5.7, 4.7

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 recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about your home security options, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Didn't find your city in the top 20?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, which is based on the median population of the state. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2018.

2020 Ranking

City

Population

Violent Crime (per 1,000)

Property Crime (per 1,000)

21

Melrose

28,552

0.5

5.1

22

Concord

19,459

0.4

5.7

23

Northborough

15,124

0

7.3

24

Duxbury

16,049

0.4

5.7

25

Grafton

18,900

1.1

3.2

26

Sudbury

19,037

1.1

3.3

27

Pembroke

18,446

0.8

4.7

28

Marshfield

25,922

1.3

3.2

29

Wilmington

24,005

0.8

5.2

30

Marblehead

20,652

1

4.9

31

Hanover

14,521

0.1

8.3

32

Sandwich

20,248

1.1

5

33

Newton

89,505

0.6

7

34

Beverly

42,114

1

5.8

35

Ashland

17,860

1.2

5

36

North Andover

31,394

1.1

5.5

37

Newburyport

18,146

1

6.7

38

Acton

24,038

1.1

6.5

39

Westwood

16,267

0.6

8.4

40

Watertown

36,320

0.8

7.8

41

Belchertown

15,165

1.6

5.1

42

Winthrop

18,783

1.5

6

43

Bridgewater

27,584

2.1

4.2

44

Wakefield

27,447

1.5

6.4

45

East Bridgewater

14,558

1.5

6.5

46

Westborough

19,226

0.9

9.4

47

Methuen

50,676

0.9

9.6

48

Swampscott

15,380

0.6

11.1

49

Dracut

31,917

1.3

8.7

50

Hingham

23,588

1.6

7.6

51

Hudson

20,060

2.4

4.5

52

Easton

25,225

1.8

6.9

53

Woburn

39,895

1.2

9.4

54

Mansfield

24,050

1.4

8.5

55

Chelmsford

35,264

0.9

10.8

56

Norwood

29,267

1.3

9.1

57

Medford

57,997

1.3

9.4

58

Brookline

59,199

0.9

10.7

59

Dedham

25,437

0.3

13.3

60

Amesbury

17,623

1.8

8.1

61

Longmeadow

15,898

0.9

11.5

62

Westport

15,959

2.1

7.2

63

Easthampton

16,050

2.1

7.6

64

Amherst

40,242

3

4.3

65

North Attleboro

29,208

1

12.2

66

Milford

29,056

2.1

8

67

Waltham

62,655

1.9

9

68

Gloucester

30,356

2.4

7.1

69

Bellingham

17,184

1.1

12.2

70

Stoneham

22,135

1.5

11

71

Walpole

25,204

1.7

10.4

72

Somerset

18,166

2.1

8.5

73

Whitman

15,093

2.5

7.4

74

Wilbraham

14,760

1.5

11.5

75

Natick

36,717

1.5

11.4

76

Northbridge

16,759

1.6

11.1

77

Canton

23,709

3.4

5

78

Foxborough

17,667

2.5

8.7

79

Swansea

16,619

1.7

11.6

80

Braintree

37,345

1.4

13

81

Abington

16,443

2.5

8.9

82

Ludlow

21,590

2.1

10.6

83

South Hadley

17,799

1.3

14.1

84

Burlington

27,562

1.5

13.7

85

Weymouth

57,069

2.8

9

86

Attleboro

44,719

2.2

11.8

87

Somerville

82,161

2.2

12.4

88

Dartmouth

34,322

1.9

13.3

89

Malden

61,469

2.9

9.6

90

Tewksbury

31,561

2.6

10.9

91

Westfield

41,854

2.7

11.1

92

Peabody

53,209

3

10

93

Stoughton

28,729

2.6

11.4

94

Saugus

28,471

2.3

13

95

Mashpee

14,215

3.3

9.4

96

Bourne

19,894

2.3

13.4

97

East Longmeadow

16,398

1.7

16

98

Taunton

57,304

4.2

6.2

99

Danvers

27,703

1.9

15.2

100

Seekonk

15,820

1.6

16.9

101

Plymouth

60,349

3.8

8.6

102

Raynham

14,320

1.9

16.4

103

Falmouth

31,033

3.5

10.6

104

Framingham

72,510

3.5

11.3

105

Barnstable

44,015

3.8

10.5

106

Randolph

34,535

3.1

13.2

107

Auburn

16,771

1.7

19

108

Middleboro

25,125

4.4

8.6

109

Salem

43,634

1.9

18.9

110

Quincy

94,388

3.7

12.6

111

Marlborough

40,052

4.2

11.4

112

Lowell

111,989

3.2

15.3

113

Agawam

28,955

3.6

14.8

114

Everett

47,005

3.7

14.6

115

Cambridge

114,881

3

18

116

Yarmouth

23,269

4.9

12.5

117

Fairhaven

16,076

3.4

18.2

118

Northampton

28,587

4

18.9

119

Revere

54,296

4.8

16.3

120

Gardner

20,704

4.4

17.6

121

Fitchburg

40,836

5.8

12.9

122

Lawrence

80,669

6.2

11.6

123

Haverhill

64,012

5.6

14

124

Webster

17,051

6.3

12.1

125

Lynn

94,558

6

14.4

126

Southbridge

16,933

5.3

18

127

Leominster

41,727

5.2

19.7

128

Chelsea

40,974

6.8

14.3

129

Greenfield

17,443

5.8

18.6

130

Wareham

22,747

7

16.9

131

Boston

694,673

6.2

20.2

132

Worcester

186,188

6.8

21.4

133

New Bedford

95,106

6.3

25.5

134

Fall River

89,475

10.1

15.2

135

Brockton

95,922

9

21.6

136

West Springfield

28,802

5.8

35.4

137

Pittsfield

42,298

8.4

28.3

138

Springfield

155,179

9.9

26.4

139

Holyoke

40,470

9.7

40.5

Sources

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “American Fact Finder
BestPlaces, “Find a Place Search Tool

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.
  • http://merrimackvalleymarealestate.colm Kevin Vitali

    Definitely some nice towns on the list to check out.