If you want to get a fresh start in a new state, Massachusetts is a great choice. It has a strong and diverse economy, a highly educated population, and a booming high-tech industry.
Like with any state, safety concerns vary depending on where you look. We’ve compiled a list of the safest cities in Massachusetts, whether you’re looking to move, or just to visit. The last ten selections are ranked based on crime rate, so you can get a good idea of where’s a safe place to go, or not, without having to find out when you get there.
This state is officially called the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and it’s part of the region of New England. Massachusetts is one of the original 13 united states, and according to the latest official data, the population of Massachusetts is 6,892,503 people.
Massachusetts borders Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and the Atlantic Ocean, and the state capital is Boston.
English colonist and explorer John Smith named this state after the Massachuset tribe, meaning “near the great hill.” The hill this term refers to is near Boston, and it’s the only higher ground in the flat area of Massachusetts.
What is the Massachusetts State Flag?
The Massachusetts flag is white with a blue shield at the center of it. In the shield, there is an illustration of a figure, the Wampanoag leader Ousamequin, who is known for signing the peace treaty with the English in 1621. He has a bow and an arrow in his hand, but the arrow he holds points downwards, signifying peace.
Is Massachusetts Safe?
The official law enforcement data shows that Massachusetts is a pretty safe state. Its crime rate is 1,507 per 100,000 residents, ranking far below the national average.
Does Massachusetts Have a High Quality of Living?
Massachusetts is ranked among the top ten states for the highest quality of living.
The median household income in the state is $81,215, with per capita earnings of $43,761. Less than 10% of people live in poverty, and the housing statistics tell us that the median home value is around $400.000, with a median gross rent of $1,282.
The Safest Cities in Massachusetts in 2021
Clinton belongs to Worcester County, and it currently has 14,000 residents.
Clinton used to be a Mill District of Lancaster, and two brothers, Horatio and Erastus, were responsible for the area’s industrial growth. By 1848, their inventions and marketing brought many people to the area leading to its exponential growth.
In 1850, residents decided to separate from the rest of the district and created the Town of Clinton. Some of the mills from that period can still be seen today, and many smaller companies regularly use them for their businesses.
Clinton is a safe town near Berlin, Massachusetts. Its crime rate is only 129 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 4 violent and 14 property crimes.
Clinton residents earn above the state average. The median household income in Clinton is $67,634, while per capita earnings amount to $33,796. Around 8% of residents live in poverty, and rents are cheaper. The median gross rent sits at $1,167, and the median home price is $279,400.
Hopkinton is part of Middlesex County. It’s less than 30 miles away from Boston, and is one of the best places to live in Massachusetts.
If you’re a fan of running, you probably know Hopkinson as the starting point of the Boston Marathon. Otherwise, those that work in the IT sector will recognize this name as the headquarters of Dell EMC.
The town of Hopkinson was officially incorporated in 1715. It was named after Edward Hopkins, a colonist of Connecticut who invested in parts of the land in New England.
Today, around 18,470 people live in Hopkinson. It has an extremely low crime rate of 161 per 100,000 residents. The police reported 30 properties and zero violent crimes in 2019.
Hopkinton is not one of the cheapest places to live in Massachusetts. The median home value is $603,700, and the median gross rent is way higher than the state average at $1,889. Residents of Hopkinton have just a 3.6% poverty rate, and high annual earnings, however. The per capita income is $68,734, and the median household income is $157,353.
Dover belongs to the Norfolk County of Massachusetts, and it’s located on the Charles River, just 15 miles from Boston. The latest data available shows that Dover has 6,127 residents.
The history of one of the safest towns in MA dates back over 350 years. It was once part of Springfield’s area due to its open fields around the springs of Trout Brook. When it was time for the town’s official incorporation in 1836, the parish chairman chose to name it “Dover” to commemorate his ancestral home in England.
The crime rate in Dover is only 229 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police filed reports for 13 property offenses and only one violent crime.
In case you were wondering what the richest town in Massachusetts is, Dover is an unexpected answer. The median household income is over $250,000, with per capita earnings of $125,777, and less than 1% of people live in poverty.
High earnings come with more expensive properties, however, and the median house price in Dover is $1,157,700. The median gross rent sits at $2,181, which is almost $1,000 more than the state average.
4. The Town of Franklin
The town of Franklin is another beautiful place on our safest cities in Massachusetts list, and it belongs to Norfolk County. Despite its name, Franklin is officially a city of Massachusetts, but the government opted for keeping the prefix “the town of” in the city name.
The city was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin in hope that he would donate a new bell for the town’s church. Instead, he donated a hundred books, and they built a public library, still called the Franklin Public Library.
If you’ve been Googling “Franklin, MA, the safest town in America” trying to pick your next destination, the crime rate of Franklin is 271 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 85 property and only five violent crimes.
Currently, 34,087 people live in this city. The residents of Franklin have high earnings, with a per capita income of $53,944 and a median household earning of $122,607. Only 4% of residents live in poverty, and while the area is safe and wealthy, the cost of living is relatively cheap. The median house costs $436,400, and the median gross rent is $1,378.
One of the best small towns in Massachusetts is Groton, located in northwestern Middlesex County, in the Nashoba Valley area. It’s the largest town in the Nashoba Valley area and is the home of two popular prep schools: Groton School and Lawrence Academy at Groton.
Groton has 11,325 residents, and the people of Groton earn way above the state average, with per capita earnings of $58,468. The median household income in this town is $58,468, and less than 4% of people live in poverty.
As one of the safest small towns in Massachusetts, Groton has a crime rate of 272 per 100,000 residents. In 2019, residents reported 23 property and eight violent crimes. The median home price is around $472,300.
If you are interested in moving to Groton, you’ll be happy to learn that the rents are almost equal to the state average, at $1,296, while residents report higher earnings.
In case you ever visit Groton, the town officials recommend you to check out a few places, such as the Groton Historical Society Museum.
The Old Baptist Church is another famous sight in one of the safest cities in Massachusetts. At the top of the church, you’ll find a 90-year-old clock donated by Dr. Samuel Greene. Lastly, the Groton cemetery holds most of the town’s history with honorable soldiers from the Revolutionary War and Civil War.
Sharon belongs to Norfolk County of Massachusetts. In 1775, it was incorporated as the Town of Stoughtonham, and eight years later, it was renamed Sharon after the Sharon plain in Israel due to the many forests. Sharon is one of the most beautiful places on the list of Massachusetts towns, with a rich history and beautiful landscape.
The town’s heroine is Deborah Sampson. A woman from Sharon who disguised herself to fight in the revolutionary war and now has a statue and street named after her in the town.
Sharon has 18,895 residents, and the median household income is $141,424, while per capita income sits at $67,038. Only 1.5% of people live in poverty, and the median gross rent is $1,641, with a median home value of $551,000. The crime rate is only 295, with 47 property and nine violent crimes reported in 2019.
Many visitors would call Sharon one of the nicest towns in MA. It’s the home of six historic properties, and you must see Sharon’s First Historic District, Sharon’s Third Historic District, and Stoneholm if you decide to visit. Cobb’s Tavern, the Stoughtonham Furnace Site, and the Borderland State Park are other notable sites in this town.
You can find Marshfield on the South Shore of Massachusetts, in Plymouth County. It’s about 30 miles away from Boston and is home to 25,967 residents. During the summer, officials report that up to 40,000 people reside in the town, as Marshfield is among the popular Massachusetts coastline towns.
The most famous resident of Marshfield is Daniel Webster, who spent 20 years of his life in the town. He was an important political figure in the state and was known as “the Farmer of Marshfield.”
The residents of Marshfield have incomes above the Massachusetts average, with per capita earnings of $48,190 and a median household income of $102,560. Around 6% of residents live in poverty, and the median house price is $466,200, with a median gross rent of around $1,436.
In Marshfield, Massachusetts, the crime rate is 399 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 32 violent crimes and 71 property offenses.
The town officials frequently organize various events throughout the year, and the residents recommend the Marshfield Fair, which attracts tourists from all parts of the state.
Scituate is a town in Plymouth County, located on the South Shore of Massachusetts. The town has 18,924 residents, and nearly 53% of them are women. It’s a great place to look into if you want to find the best places to live in Massachusetts on the shore because this town has no less than five public beaches: Sand Hills, Minot, Egypt, Humarock, and Peggotty.
Scituate gained its name from the Native American word “Satuit,” which means “Cold Brook.”
The residents of Scituate enjoy incomes higher than the state average, with per capita earnings of $66,675. In addition, the median household income in this town is $128,864, and less than 4% of residents live in poverty. The median home price is $587,600, and the median gross rent sits at $1,269, which is below the Massachusetts’ average.
Scituate is one of the safest towns in Massachusetts, and as of 2021, the crime rate is only 405 per 100,000 residents.
Duxbury is another town in Plymouth County. It’s primarily a residential community on the South Shore of Massachusetts and is just 35 miles away from Boston.
Duxbury was officially incorporated in 1637 and was the second town in the Commonwealth, making it one of the oldest Massachusetts towns. After the Civil War, this coastal town started attracting tourists during the summer, sustaining the community since then.
One of the most popular places for visitors, the Standish Hotel, now consists of two private houses you can find on the Standish Shore. In 1833, the town officials formed the Duxbury Rural Society to preserve the beauty and historical appeal of the town, and it still exists to this day.
Duxbury is one of the best towns in Massachusetts. The crime rate is 414 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 57 property and nine violent crimes.
The town has 15,921 residents, and the median household income in the town is $128,173. Per capita earnings sit at $61,793, and around 4% of people live in poverty. Properties in this town are not cheap as the median house price is $621,800, while the median gross rent amounts to $1,758.
Wellesley belongs to Norfolk County, and it’s part of Greater Boston. It has 28,670 residents, with nearly 57% of them being women. If you’re wondering, “is Massachusetts a good place to live?” towns like Wellesley make us want to say, “yes!” This small, historic town has high average incomes and low crime rates.
Wellesley was discovered over 350 years ago, and the settlers were so happy they found it that they named it “Contentment.” The town reached its peak during the 1920s, and after Filene’s department store opened in the town, it became one of the fastest-growing suburbs of Boston.
With a crime rate of 428, it is one of the safest places to live in Massachusetts, and law enforcement reported only 120 properties and a total of seven violent crimes in 2019.
Residents of Wellesley have very high incomes, which are far above the average for Massachusetts. The median household income in the town is $197,132, and per capita earnings are $85,784. Only 4.4% of Wellesley residents live in poverty, and the median house price is $1,343,200, with a median gross rent of $1,938.
Is Massachusetts Safe: The Most Popular Cities in the State Ranked by Crime Rate
The town of Milton is officially part of Norfolk County and lies between the Blue Hills and the Neponset River. It’s considered to be a suburb of Boston, MA.
This town started flourishing in the 18th century when Boston investors realized its potential due to its proximity to Boston. They used this town to develop sawmills, iron slitting mills and the first chocolate factory in New England called the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory.
This city in Massachusetts has 27,593 residents, and about 53% of them are women. Those living in this town enjoy higher incomes than most other Bay Staters, with a median household income of $133,718 and a per capita income of $56,473. Less than 5% of residents live in poverty, and the median value of a house in Milton is $688,400, with a median gross rent of $1,330 a month.
Besides being a town with high earners, Milton is also one of the safest places to live in Massachusetts. The town’s crime rate per 100,000 residents is 262, and in 2019, residents reported only 61 property offenses and 11 violent crimes.
Arlington is part of Middlesex County in Massachusetts. It is only six miles away from Boston, making it one of the most popular places for families to relocate to, and has 45,531 residents.
Throughout history, this town’s economy was led by the stream of Mill Brook, and the residents built seven mills on the stream, the most popular being the Old Schwamb Mill, which is still working to this day.
Some wonder, “is Arlington, MA a good place to raise a family?” With a crime rate way below the average for Massachusetts, at 441 per 100,000 residents, most say, “yes.” In 2019, law enforcement reported 167 property offenses, and there were only 34 violent crimes.
High incomes are another attractive feature of Arlington, with per capita earnings of $59,073 and a median household income of $108,389.
The median home price of Arlington is about $734,700, and compared to other Massachusetts cities, the median gross rent is $1,730. Despite this, the town has a poverty rate of around 5.2%.
Peabody is located on the North Shore of Massachusetts and belongs to Essex County. The city’s last name was Northfield, and it has been part of Salem since 1626. A few decades later, officials chose to change the name to honor George Peabody, a famous philanthropist.
Peabody has hosted many industries, including mills, factories, and even the home to the leather industry of New England. With the onset of the depression, the leather industry shut down, causing stagnation in many cities in Massachusetts, including Peabody. Now, the retail industry is the most prominent in the town, with the opening of the North Shore Mall.
Peabody is a small city, and currently has 53,070 residents. 9% of the population lives in poverty, and the average income is slightly below the state average, with a median household income of $73,217, and per capita earnings of $40,095. The median home value sits at $443,200, and the median gross rent is $1,366.
Is Peabody, MA safe? Well, it may not be the safest city in the state, with a crime rate of 1,051 per 100,000 residents, but it still ranks below the average for all of Massachusetts. In 2019, residents reported 13 violent crimes and 435 property offenses.
Lowell belongs to Middlesex County and is part of the Greater Lowell Statistical Area. With a population of 110,997, Lowell is in the top five list of most populous cities in Massachussetts.
The city was named after Francis Cabot Lowell, a prominent local figure in the Industrial Revolution. Its incorporation came in 1826, with a primary purpose of being a mill town. The numerous textile factories and mills in the area made it the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution. Today, the preservation of many manufacturing sites makes up the Lowell National Historic Park, documenting the town’s important place in American history.
The Lowell, MA crime rate is 1,846 per 100,000 residents, just slightly above the state average. In 2019, residents reported 1,652 property crimes and 405 violent offenses.
With crime and earnings below the Massachusetts average, residents of Lowell do not enjoy the highest quality of life in the state. The median household income is $56,878, and per capita earnings are $26,837. An alarming 19% of people live in poverty, but properties are cheaper, with the median home price being $287,400, and the median gross rent is $1,158.
While Lowell might not be the best option to relocate to, it’s one of the best places to visit in Massachusetts. The National Park Service worked on preserving the historical sites that residents used for manufacturing and are currently open for visitors in the Lowell National Historical Park.
Cambridge is another city that’s part of Middlesex County. It also belongs to the Boston Metropolitan Area, and it’s considered a suburb of this city. It officially became a city in 1846 by uniting three villages: East Cambridge, Cambridgeport, and Old Rural Cambridge. The Cambridge, Massachusetts population is 118,927, making it one of the most populated cities in the state.
Cambridge received its name in honor of the University of Cambridge in England. This city is the home of various academic distinguished institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Furthermore, you can find the Hult International Business School and Lesley University in Cambridge. The city is also the home of the “most innovative square mile on the planet”: Kendall Square.
Cambridge is a city of high earnings and expensive properties. Still, it’s considered one of the best towns to live in MA for students. The median household income in the area is $103,154, while per capita earnings sit at $58,724. Nearly 13% of residents live in poverty, and the median gross rent is almost $1,000 higher than the state average at $2,221. Houses are also pricey, with the median house cost being $807,200.
The city has a crime rate of 1,932 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 1,983 property and 334 violent crimes.
The city of Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the most populous city in the state. It belongs to Suffolk County and is part of the Greater Boston Metro Area. Boston is one of the largest, and most dangerous cities in MA. Still, if you love big city living and want to be in Massachussets, Boston is a great choice.
The city is the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Boston Massacre, and the siege of Boston. After gaining independence, it remains relevant as an important manufacturing hub and port.
Boston is known as the center for business ventures and scientific research and is one of the most important major cities in Massachusetts. Home to dozens of schools such as the Bay State College, Berklee College of Music, Boston University, and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
The city’s population is 692,600, and Boston is the most expensive city in the state, which doesn’t reflect in residents’ incomes. The median household income is $71,115, and per capita earnings are $44,690. Around 19% of residents live in poverty, and the median gross rent sits at $1,620, with a median home value of $602,600.
The Boston crime rate is 2,639 per 100,000 residents. Despite being high for Massachusetts standards, the crime rate is lower than in most bigger cities in the United States. In 2018, the police reported 4,324 violent crimes and 14,007 property offenses.
Worcester is the county seat of Worcester County, and with 185,428 people residing in the city, Worcester is the second-largest of Massachusetts cities by population. Due to its location in the center of Massachusetts, this city is called the “Heart of Commonwealth.”
Blackstone Canal and railways nearby made Worcester perfect for industrial production in the 19th century. World War II halted production, however, leading to the long-term economic and population decline. During the 1990s, the city regained its relevance by becoming a biotechnology, medicine, and education center. Worcester is not one of the central Massachusetts towns with the most universities. Some of them are Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, and Holy Cross.
Despite living in a big city with a lot to offer, residents of Worcester have pretty low incomes. Their per capita earnings are $27,884, and the median household income in the city is $48,139.The poverty rate is high, with one-fifth of residents living in poverty.
The advantage to living in Worcester is the cheaper properties. The median home value is only $246,500, and the median gross rent is $1,095.
The Worcester, MA crime rate is 2,680 per 100,000 residents, above the Massachusetts average, and law enforcement reported 3,793 property and 1,165 violent crimes in 2019.
Brockton is part of Plymouth CountyCounty and has a population of 95,708. It’s among the most populated cities in the state, and it’s also the second-windiest town in America.
Boxing fans will recognize Brockton as the “City of Champions.” That’s because Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler, famous boxing champions, were born there. Furthermore, Brockton High School has one of the most successful sports programs in the U.S and is the home of the Brockton Rox baseball team.
This Massachusetts city used to be part of North Bridgewater before becoming a city in 1881. The industrialization earned Brockton the name “Shoe City,” as it became the epicenter of the shoe and textile industry.
The residents of Brockton have incomes below the state average, and per capita earnings are $27, 439, with a median household income of $58, 469. Almost 15% of residents live in poverty.
If you’re interested in moving to Brockton, a house costs around $292,500, the median gross rent is $1,111.
The Brockton crime rate is 2,765 per 100,000 residents, making it a dangerous city to live in, and in 2019, the police reported 782 violent and 1,853 property crimes.
19. New Bedford
New Bedford is a city of Massachusetts that belongs to Bristol County. It’s commonly referred to as the “Whaling City” as it was a vital whaling port in the 19th century. Today, the city is famous primarily for its fishing fleet and seafood industry, and it was the setting of Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick.
New Bedford is one of the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts. Its crime rate is 2,912 per 100,000 residents, and the police reported a total of 2,127 property offenses and 628 property crimes in 2019.
The low quality of living is also apparent in average incomes. The median household income is only $46,321, and per capita earnings are around $25,829. More than 20% of people live in poverty, but properties are not expensive. The median house value is $242,800, while the median gross rent sits at only $847.
While it’s among the worst cities in Massachusetts for crime and earning potential, New Bedford has a rich history, and it’s a great place to visit. The town has a rich and industrial history, and during the anti-slavery movement, the city was famous for the “Underground Railroad.”
Springfield is a city in Hampden County, and with 153,606 residents, it’s one of the most populated cities in Massachusetts. It’s known as “The City of Firsts” as several innovations were developed there.
The Springfield, MA crime rate is extremely high. The crime rate in Springfield is 3,501 per 100,000 residents, which is over two times higher than the state average. In 2019, residents reported 1,397 violent and 4,005 property crimes.
Residents of this city have very low incomes. The per capita earnings are $21,499, and the median household income is only $39,432. As a result, almost 27% of people live in poverty.
A benefit to living in Springfield is that it’s one of the cheapest places to live in Massachusetts. The median house value is $165,800, and the median gross rent is almost $200 below the Massachusetts average, at $877.
Springfield is the home of various academic institutions such as Springfield College, American International College, Western New England University, and Springfield Technical Community College.
Massachusetts is a beautiful Eastern state that offers a variety of towns and cities suitable to many different styles of life. From beach towns and ports to lively cities full of business and innovation, there’s something for everyone provided the price is right.
Some of the safest cities in Massachusetts are also the most expensive, so deciding where to live can be a combination of both income and crime rate. With rich educational institutions and industrial heritage towns, Massachusetts offers a founder’s feel to any town or city you choose.