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Massachusetts’s 20 Safest Cities of 2020

Written by | Updated August 5, 2020
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Last Updated: 2 months ago
See how COVID-19 is impacting crime in Massachusetts and throughout the country. Read our coronavirus crime update for details about gun violence, back-to-school, and mask mandate madness.

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

#1

Hopkinton

0

Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Population 18,516
Median Income $113,354
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.1, 0.0, 0.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.6, 3.4, 3.8

#2

Franklin

+3

Franklin, Massachusetts
Population 33,156
Median Income $101,980
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.2, 0.3, 0.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.6, 2.2, 2.9

#3

Shrewsbury

0

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Population 37,631
Median Income $97,365
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.1, 0.1, 0.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 3.0, 3.5, 4.8

#4

Milton

+16

Milton, Massachusetts
Population 27,642
Median Income $126,000
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.4, 0.5, 0.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.2, 7.8, 8.2

#5

Norton

-3

Norton, Massachusetts
Population 19,983
Median Income $80,806
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.7, 0.1, 0.5
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.2, 0.9, 1.7

#6

Lexington

New

Lexington, Massachusetts
Population 34,050
Median Income $162,083
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.2, Not available, 0.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 3.3, Not available, 3.9

#7

Westford

+3

Westford, Massachusetts
Population 24,649
Median Income $125,143
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.5, 0.4, 0.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.6, 3.1, 3.7

#8

Andover

+66

Population 36,324
Median Income $83,910
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.2, 2.0, 0.6
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.8, 8.0, 6.1

#9

Sharon

+19

Sharon, Massachusetts
Population 18,373
Median Income $128,275
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.7, 0.8, 0.8
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.8, 2.4, 3.4

#10

Wellesley

+4

Wellesley, Massachusetts
Population 29,681
Median Income $176,852
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.4, 0.4, 0.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.2, 4.5, 5.5

#11

Holliston

+7

Holliston, Massachusetts
Population 14,924
Median Income $108,350
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, 0.5, 0.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.7, 2.0, 3.8

#12

Winchester

0

Winchester, Massachusetts
Population 23,036
Median Income $152,196
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.3, 0.4, 0.2
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.9, 5.2, 7.4

#13

Bedford

+11

Population 14,319
Median Income $114,676
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.5, 0.6, 0.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.1, 4.0, 3.4

#14

Reading

-7

Reading, Massachusetts
Population 26,293
Median Income $114,354
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.2, 0.3, 0.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 5.5, 6.0, 6.8

#15

Scituate

New

Scituate, Massachusetts
Population 18,761
Median Income $117,973
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, Not available, Not available
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 3.4, Not available, Not available

#16

Needham

-10

Needham, Massachusetts
Population 31,264
Median Income $141,690
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.5, 0.3, 0.2
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.6, 6.2, 5.8

#17

North Reading

+39

North Reading, Massachusetts
Population 15,849
Median Income $112,419
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.0, 1.5, 1.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.8, 4.1, 3.8

#18

Belmont

-3

Belmont, Massachusetts
Population 26,700
Median Income $118,370
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.2, 0.5, 0.5
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 6.3, 7.9, 6.9

#19

Arlington

+11

Arlington, Massachusetts
Population 45,876
Median Income $103,594
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.7, 0.8, 1.2
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.2, 5.7, 5.1

#20

Billerica

+15

Billerica, Massachusetts
Population 44,482
Median Income $94,761
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.8, 0.9, 1.0
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 RankingCityPopulationViolent Crime (per 1,000)Property Crime (per 1,000)
21Melrose28,5520.55.1
22Concord19,4590.45.7
23Northborough15,12407.3
24Duxbury16,0490.45.7
25Grafton18,9001.13.2
26Sudbury19,0371.13.3
27Pembroke18,4460.84.7
28Marshfield25,9221.33.2
29Wilmington24,0050.85.2
30Marblehead20,65214.9
31Hanover14,5210.18.3
32Sandwich20,2481.15
33Newton89,5050.67
34Beverly42,11415.8
35Ashland17,8601.25
36North Andover31,3941.15.5
37Newburyport18,14616.7
38Acton24,0381.16.5
39Westwood16,2670.68.4
40Watertown36,3200.87.8
41Belchertown15,1651.65.1
42Winthrop18,7831.56
43Bridgewater27,5842.14.2
44Wakefield27,4471.56.4
45East Bridgewater14,5581.56.5
46Westborough19,2260.99.4
47Methuen50,6760.99.6
48Swampscott15,3800.611.1
49Dracut31,9171.38.7
50Hingham23,5881.67.6
51Hudson20,0602.44.5
52Easton25,2251.86.9
53Woburn39,8951.29.4
54Mansfield24,0501.48.5
55Chelmsford35,2640.910.8
56Norwood29,2671.39.1
57Medford57,9971.39.4
58Brookline59,1990.910.7
59Dedham25,4370.313.3
60Amesbury17,6231.88.1
61Longmeadow15,8980.911.5
62Westport15,9592.17.2
63Easthampton16,0502.17.6
64Amherst40,24234.3
65North Attleboro29,208112.2
66Milford29,0562.18
67Waltham62,6551.99
68Gloucester30,3562.47.1
69Bellingham17,1841.112.2
70Stoneham22,1351.511
71Walpole25,2041.710.4
72Somerset18,1662.18.5
73Whitman15,0932.57.4
74Wilbraham14,7601.511.5
75Natick36,7171.511.4
76Northbridge16,7591.611.1
77Canton23,7093.45
78Foxborough17,6672.58.7
79Swansea16,6191.711.6
80Braintree37,3451.413
81Abington16,4432.58.9
82Ludlow21,5902.110.6
83South Hadley17,7991.314.1
84Burlington27,5621.513.7
85Weymouth57,0692.89
86Attleboro44,7192.211.8
87Somerville82,1612.212.4
88Dartmouth34,3221.913.3
89Malden61,4692.99.6
90Tewksbury31,5612.610.9
91Westfield41,8542.711.1
92Peabody53,209310
93Stoughton28,7292.611.4
94Saugus28,4712.313
95Mashpee14,2153.39.4
96Bourne19,8942.313.4
97East Longmeadow16,3981.716
98Taunton57,3044.26.2
99Danvers27,7031.915.2
100Seekonk15,8201.616.9
101Plymouth60,3493.88.6
102Raynham14,3201.916.4
103Falmouth31,0333.510.6
104Framingham72,5103.511.3
105Barnstable44,0153.810.5
106Randolph34,5353.113.2
107Auburn16,7711.719
108Middleboro25,1254.48.6
109Salem43,6341.918.9
110Quincy94,3883.712.6
111Marlborough40,0524.211.4
112Lowell111,9893.215.3
113Agawam28,9553.614.8
114Everett47,0053.714.6
115Cambridge114,881318
116Yarmouth23,2694.912.5
117Fairhaven16,0763.418.2
118Northampton28,587418.9
119Revere54,2964.816.3
120Gardner20,7044.417.6
121Fitchburg40,8365.812.9
122Lawrence80,6696.211.6
123Haverhill64,0125.614
124Webster17,0516.312.1
125Lynn94,558614.4
126Southbridge16,9335.318
127Leominster41,7275.219.7
128Chelsea40,9746.814.3
129Greenfield17,4435.818.6
130Wareham22,747716.9
131Boston694,6736.220.2
132Worcester186,1886.821.4
133New Bedford95,1066.325.5
134Fall River89,47510.115.2
135Brockton95,922921.6
136West Springfield28,8025.835.4
137Pittsfield42,2988.428.3
138Springfield155,1799.926.4
139Holyoke40,4709.740.5

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

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

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

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. Learn more

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  • http://merrimackvalleymarealestate.colm Kevin Vitali

    Definitely some nice towns on the list to check out.