How we calculated the safest cities in Massachusetts for 2019
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn't want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI's most recent report of crime (Sept 2018) in Massachusetts.
Specifically, we analyzed the FBI's Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year. We used two criteria:
Violent crimes per capita (murders, assaults, rapes, armed robberies)
Property crimes per capita (thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts)
For example, there were a total of 19 crimes committed in Norton which had a reported population of 19,654. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.001 which translates into a 1 in 1,034 chance of being the victim of a crime.
We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people reported to the FBI in 2017. This left us with a total of 237 of the biggest cities in Massachusetts to rank.
We ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 237 where 1 in any particular category is the safest.
Next, we averaged each places two criteria to create a Safety Index. We crowned the place with the lowest overall Safety Score "The Safest Place In Massachusetts".
Note: This report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments, nor does it reflect the fact that people from out of town may come into a community and cause a crime. It simply looks at where crimes occurred most frequently, based on a city's population.
The 10 Safest Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2019
Population: 8,333 Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 0 (1st safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 264 (10th safest) More on Boxford:Photos | Search Homes For Sale | Data
The third safest city in Massachusetts is Boxford.
Believe it or not, coming in third is actually a bit of tumble for the city as it topped the list last year. There is still basically no violent crime in town, which is the best in the state, but property crime climb a small tick.
Boxford's population is extremely well educated with a good 40% plus of the residents having at least a bachelor's. That probably has something to do with the whole no violent crime thing.
Population: 33,397 Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 26 (11th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 221 (6th safest) More on Franklin:
Franklin clocks in as the fourth safest city in MA for 2019, down two tics from last year, but still a strong showing.
The city has better than average violent crime rates, but really shines when it comes to property crime rates. The place has such low property crime, if a resident finds a twenty on the ground they probably just bring it to the police station instead of keep it.
Their safety may go back to their founding. The Franklin Public Library is the first public library in America, the original books of which were donated by Benjamin Franklin.
Population: 11,815 Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 8 (5th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 296 (12th safest) More on Norfolk:
Norfolk broke into the top five safest places in Massachusetts for the first time this year -- moving up one spot from last year.
The crime rate is probably so low in town because of the presence of several prisons. When you see that on your drive to work or on the weekend, you realize that stealing a hamburger probably isn't worth the time you'd have to spend in prison for it.
That or people just take pride in living in such a great town.
Population: 17,348 Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 0 (1st safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 340 (19th safest) More on Hopkinton:Photos | Search Homes For Sale | Data
We suggest you hop, skip, or jump your way to Hopkinton as it's one of the safest places around.
There was virtually no violent crime reported here in the last year, but property crime is only kind of better than average.
The city of 17,000 people is located halfway between Boston and Worcester. The town is best known as the starting point of the Boston Marathon and as the headquarters for the enterprise-oriented Dell EMC.
Population: 6,053 Rank Last Year: 31 (Up 24) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 16 (8th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 297 (13th safest) More on Dover:Photos | Search Homes For Sale | Data
Dover is the seventh safest city in The Bay State for 2019.
The poverty rate here is low; median incomes are high; and the population is highly educated -- all traits we would expect to result in a violent crime rate that's one of the lowest in the state.
Located about 15 miles southwest of downtown Boston, Dover is a residential town nestled on the south banks of the Charles River where almost all of the residential zoning requires 1-acre or larger. So it's pretty hard to commit crimes when everyone lives so far apart.
Population: 5,242 Rank Last Year: 35 (Up 27) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 38 (21st safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 152 (3rd safest) More on Wenham:
Wenham made a big jump from 35 up into the top ten safest this year. That's more of a vault than a jump.
The big improvement came on the property crime side of things where it ranks as the third best in Massachusetts. Its violent crime is also nothing to shrug at.
It just makes our population cut off the last two years and it's a good thing it did as it's super safe. Wenham is closely tied to its neighboring town, Hamilton, sharing a school system, library, recreation department, commuter rail station and newspaper. In 2010, the community of Hamilton-Wenham was listed among the "Best Places to Live" by Boston magazine.