10 Most Dangerous Cities in Massachusetts

Updated On October 10, 2023

The spirit of Massachusetts is the spirit of America.

Or so we’ve been told.

This east coast state holds a lot of significance for the US.

Bostonian influence, in particular, has left a mark on the nation since we were just a colony.

While a lot has changed since those early days, some of that has come with a dark side.

Seven million residents call Massachusetts home and well over half a million of them are in Boston.

Is the historical relevance inviting enough to keep travelers coming and citizens feeling safe?

Let’s find out through this list of the most dangerous cities in the state.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Massachusetts

Holyoke, Massachusetts

1. Holyoke

If you drive through during the day, Holyoke might look like a nice town.

Behind the normal facade is a terrible list of crime statistics.

As a citizen, you run a major risk of being a victim of a number of crimes.

Currently, it’s a 1 in 15 chance.

Another piece of advice about Holyoke, stay as far away from the woods as possible.

North Adams
North Adams, Massachusetts

2. North Adams

Around 14,000 call North Adams home.

The population seems low enough that crime should be, too.

Let’s just say, numbers can be deceiving.

In one year alone, 300 crimes were committed.

These included rape, murder, and robbery.

Over half were burglaries.

That means 1 out of every 46 people were victims that year.

Boston, Massachusetts

3. Boston

Going on 700,000 residents, Boston is the most populated city in Massachusetts.

Not only is it the capital, but it has also been a part of major moments in US history.

Naturally, where bigger groups of people are, crime will follow.

For every 1,000 people, 37 are involved in some sort of crime.

The most common crimes involve property as opposed to violence.

Springfield, Massachusetts

4. Springfield

Another city on the larger side, Springfield happens to double as the home of a major firearm manufacturer.

Thankfully, crimes against property are way more likely than those involving guns.

Not that it helps that crime is being in the first place.

Overall, the crime rate is 56 out of 1,000.

Chicopee, Massachusetts

5. Chicopee

Sitting on the Connecticut River, Chicopee is the second most populated city in the western half of Massachusetts.

The population hovers around 55,000.

Once known for being home to Westover Air Reserve Base, the town has taken a dark turn.

Chicopee has the highest homicide rate for a city of its size in the state.

Chelsea, Massachusetts

6. Chelsea

Being the most densely populated area in the state didn’t save Chelsea from having a high crime rate.

Just a handful of years ago, this town that’s less than 3 miles around was the home of 250 assaults.

That is an astoundingly high number of crimes for such a small area in the first place.

But specifically, that many assaults are unfathomable.

Fall River
Fall River, Massachusetts

7. Fall River

Fall River was named aptly.

There’s a lot of trouble and crime hovering around this city.

In one year, there were almost 1,000 crimes reported.

Over half of those were assault cases.

With as much as there is to do here, it’s sad to see so many turning to criminal activity.

Brockton, Massachusetts

8. Brockton

With similar statistics, Brockton is a pretty violent town as well.

In a recent year, there were 934 crimes reported.

A majority of those crimes were assault.

Rape and murder were also committed in high numbers.

Brockton is reported as being friendly with good neighborhoods for families.

If you live here or are considering it, perhaps it’s best to get behind locked doors after dark.

Worcester Massachusetts
Worcester Massachusetts

9. Worcester

With bigger cities come bigger pools of crime.

In this case, Worcester has just under 200,000 citizens.

In one year, there were almost 1,800 criminal events.

Over 1,200 of those were assaults.

New Bedford
New Bedford, Massachusetts

10. New Bedford

Pulling up on the cobblestone roads of downtown might help you grow a fondness for this city.

Don’t let the antique feel fool you.

A few years back, there were well over 1,000 crimes in 12 calendar months.

Robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and even arson were included in the city’s rap sheet.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Massachusetts

1. Wait to Cross the Road

If this sounds obvious, you aren’t from Massachusetts.

One of the worst offenders is Boston.

Waiting to cross the road in most other places consists of waiting for the light to turn green.

Bostonians cross when they want to.

If a car pulls up while they’re walking to the other side, they will slam on the hood or yell at the driver.

So, just like how you wouldn’t jump off a cliff because your friends are doing it, don’t follow the crowd at a stop light.

Cross when it is fully safe to do so.

2. Question Tour Guides

If you’re visiting a town with a famous past in Massachusetts, there will be a litany of tours.

That’s a great thing for tourists because it has a lot to do with why they are there.

What you have to watch out for are scam artists who pose as tour guides.

These people are often standing outside of a popular attraction, usually one with historical relevance.

Perhaps they have a handout for you or are telling a story.

If you interact, it may cost you.

After you’ve taken the handout and started to walk away, that’s when the scammer will inform you that the map or info sheet is $20.

Trying to give it back instead might result in conflict.

Sometimes that conflict results in physical violence.

3. Establish Safe Zones

When you’re new to an area, the whole place can feel intimidating.

Something that can help is knowing where the safe spots are.

That could be in the lobby of your hotel, a friendly cafe, or even just knowing where the hospital or police department is.

Having places you can feel good about going regardless of the situation will give you more confidence, especially if you’re traveling solo.

If you find yourself experiencing some trouble, go to that place where you know you can get some help.

4. Research Schedules in Advance

Before setting out on a big adventure, take the time to look into where you want to go and what you want to see.

The reason is all about timing.

Not everything is open every day or during normal business hours.

If you take public transportation somewhere and that place isn’t open, you might be stranded for a while.

That could leave you and your group exposed.

Being on top of the schedule will reduce the chances of being in a bad position.

5. Carry Little Cash

A common mistake travelers make is to withdraw large amounts of cash to carry around.

That may have made more sense, as a precaution, in the past.

These days, almost everywhere you go will take a card of some sort.

Even places that don’t can direct you to the nearest ATM.

This applies to children, too.

If you want them to have money, get a prepaid card so they aren’t walking around with cash either.

Massachusetts Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Massachusetts Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the safest city in Massachusetts?

With no reported burglaries, property crimes, or murders, Wayland shows up statistically as the safest city in all of Massachusetts.

There are about 14,000 who call Wayland home.

The city, like all the top safe cities in the state, is located in the eastern half.

Wayland’s safe status is followed closely by Clinton and Hopkinton.

How safe is Massachusetts?

Reading a list of the top 10 dangerous cities in one location is enough to make anyone wary of that state.

However, there is little to fear in the way of safety when looking at the state as a whole.

Massachusetts is consistently listed as one of the top 10 safest states in the US.

The state’s crime rate falls well below the national average.

Overall, violent crime in Massachusetts is at 3.1 for every 1,000 people, the country’s average is 4.

When it comes to property crime, the Bay State is 10.5, in comparison to the US at 19.6.

What are the top crimes being committed in Massachusetts?

The theft of personal or company property far outweighs any other crime committed in Massachusetts.

While larceny seems to be more popular with criminals, it’s not the only type of crime that gets extra attention from law enforcement.

Burglary, motor vehicle theft, and aggravated assault are other common crimes being committed in the state.

Luckily, the data seems to show that the instances of crimes being committed have consistently decreased in recent years.

2 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Massachusetts

  1. Springfield is the most dangerous city in Massachusetts

  2. The spirit of Massachusetts is a proud and influential one, but as with any place, there are areas of concern that should be taken into consideration before traveling or moving there.

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