Safest Cities in Massachusetts

Nearly half of Massachusetts' residents are college students, as Boston is a big college town (Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The glacier-carved islands and peninsulas of Nantucket, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard are popular summer destinations, as are the Berkshire Mountains on the West side of the state. Nestled between the two, you’ll find the lake with the longest geographical name, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. Massachusetts is a beautiful marriage of coastline and mountains, lakes and rivers; its cities are packed with culture, history, slow food, the arts, and pride in its people.

27,360 avg population
2 violent crime rate per 1,000 people
13 property crime rate per 1,000 people

Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.

1.  WAYLAND

Wayland takes pride in being a progressive community and it has been very intentional about its future growth. Wayland’s leaders and lawmakers have held on to its heritage while at the same time bolstering its economy. They’ve also put a lot of effort into providing their citizens with educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities, including a “musical instrument petting zoo,’ a fishing derby, and an active Dad’s group that encourages paternal involvement and connection. It’s a city with a lot of character and community, with all of the intentionality built into it, it’s no wonder they’re the safest in the state.

13,679 Population
1 Violent Crimes
5 Property Crimes

2. GROVELAND

Groveland is a small residential community of 7,211 people. It reported only 2 violent crimes and 17 property crimes. It began as a shoe and textile-manufacturing city, transitioning over the years into a suburb with quick access to major highways. It offers multiple recreational fields and picnic areas within its many parks. Their schools are known for their ‘World Class Education’ and are - again - some of the best in the state. A local church holds a bell crafted by Paul Revere (one of two remaining in active service) which rings out over a large, 25-acre solar farm - making Groveland a relatively progressive city.

7,211 Population
2 Violent Crimes
17 Property Crimes

3. NORFOLK

Straddled between Boston and Providence (Rhode Island) lies Norfolk, a semi-rural suburban community of nearly 12,000 people. It’s made up of a handful of beautiful, well-designed neighborhoods, a golf course, and a wide range of local shops and restaurants. Rather than being run by a Mayor, Norfolk has taken a hands-on approach with their government, opting instead for a Board of Selectmen and a Town Administrator. Holding pen town meetings brings together various boards and committees. Norfolk reported only 1 violent crime and 34 property crimes.

11,945 Population
1 Violent Crimes
34 Property Crimes

4. CLINTON

Clinton is seated at the north end of the Wachusett Reservoir. A wide variety of local shops and an active Parks and Recreation Department hosts lots of activities for kids and families. There’s a great DIY Creative Studio that encourages creativity, a Museum of Russian Icons, and just outside its borders is “The International” - which holds two championship golf courses, a golfer’s dream. But Clinton could be anyone’s dream. Although crime tends to increase in more densely populated areas, Clinton defies the odds with 13,786 people in its 7.3 square miles and only 3 reports of violent crime.

13,786 Population
3 Violent Crimes
43 Property Crimes

5. FRANKLIN

The city of Franklin, named after Benjamin Franklin, is set in Norfolk County, near the border of Rhode Island. It’s the largest city on our list, with over 33,000 people within its 27 square miles. Chilson Park, in the middle of the city, offers hiking, biking, and a beach next to Beaver Pond. Franklin is incredibly safe. Last year, there were only 4 reported violent crimes. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, called Franklin home for a while, as did a handful of other teammates. All in all, it’s a quaint and friendly town.

33,095 Population
4 Violent Crimes
111 Property Crimes

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The Top 50 Safest Cities in Massachusetts, 2017

1. Wayland

11. Rockport

21. Norwell

31. North Reading

41. Billerica

2. Groveland

12. Carlisle

22. Manchester-by-the-Sea

32. Needham

42. Merrimac

3. Norfolk

13. Bedford

23. Ipswich

33. Winchester

43. Marshfield

4. Clinton

14. Duxbury

24. Hamilton

34. Grafton

44. Stow

5. Franklin

15. Dighton

25. Southborough

35. Mendon

45. Pembroke

6. Sudbury

16. Boxborough

26. Upton

36. Rochester

46. Hampden

7. Georgetown

17. Holden

27. Berkley

37. Douglas

47. Hudson

8. Norton

18. Lincoln

28. Belmont

38. Hopedale

48. Groton

9. Holliston

19. Reading

29. Sterling

39. Concord

49. Northborough

10. Harvard

20. Lexington

30. Westford

40. Wellesley

​50. Lynnfield

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Massachusetts, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000.


The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.

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