Massachusetts : Safety by City
- Cape Cod
- Fall River
- Martha’s Vineyard
- New Bedford
Lynn, Massachusetts, is a multicultural coastal suburb north of Boston that’s home to more than 100,000 people and values its rich history.
Let’s address the elephant in the room.
There’s a well-known rhyme that goes, “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin.
You never go out the way you came in.
You ask for water, but they give you gin.”
It continues on from there with an offensive line I won’t repeat.
To avoid going down the rabbit hole, there is no truth to this rhyme and its origins can’t even be found by the historic commission.
What you will find here is a community with more Latino/Hispanic people than any other race of origin.
14% of the city is African American, 5% are Asian, and more than 10% are mixed race.
Caucasians make up 38% of the community.
In my research, I’ve noticed there are several New England cities that boat being a “Shoe Capital” in some form, and Lynn is another one of those claiming to once be the “Shoe Capital of the World.”
The innovative history also leads to it being called the “City of Firsts,” another moniker used in some other American cities ripe with innovation.
With so many outdoor spaces to explore, including a cave that one served as a pirate treasure hideout to a tower with sweeping views of the water and landscape, you can explore by land, water, and cultural cuisine.
Warnings & Dangers in Lynn
OVERALL RISK: LOW
It's important to know that Boston and it's suburbs share a gritty and tough exterior. It's a loud, fast-paced region, with generations of families proud to call it home. I was brought up "Midwestern Nice," and my first trip to the Boston area caught me a little off guard, but it truly grows on you. There's a low overall risk if you're sticking to the tourist areas and know how to handle yourself in a bigger metropolitan area.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Anyone visiting near Boston should become familiar with MTBA, the train/bus publican transportation system for the Massachusetts Bay area. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find, and a rental car will offer you more versatility, but we warned if you're heading to Boston that parking is hard to find and expensive. If you're sticking to Lynn and the coastal region, you'll have much better luck with your own car.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
36 pickpockets (none of which were purse snatchings) were reported in 2021, so use standard caution. That's more than in some community nearby. The best advice from police is not carrying you wallet in your back pocket, especially if you're using public transportation. Keep it in the front pants pocket or tucked inside a hidden jacket pocket covered by a zipper.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
The Boston area faces year-round risks, from Hurricane Season that runs from June through November to the Nor'easter Season, which covers October through May. Mix into that you get winter storms with blustery and potentially dangerous conditions and summer thunderstorms mixed with extreme heat potential. Safety documents are provided on the Emergency Management section of the Lynn website.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Robbery risks are about 40% lower than the national average. 40% of those were person-to-person robberies, so the risk is low. However, since the thick-skinned Boston people know to use strong and confidence safety steps, you should follow their lead.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Nothing about Lynn makes it a terror target, but the Department of Homeland Security has a "National Terrorism Advisory System" with regularly updated bulletins to see the biggest risks, from a grand scale to Lone Wolf acts and specifically-targeted groups. You can read those online or sign up for email updates.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The Lynn Police Department (LPD) will regularly post scam reports on social media. All the scams I found were common nationwide concerns, like fake phone calls, scammers posing as a friend demanding bail money, or romance scams. The Better Business Bureau will also post new and continuing scam trends in America.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Provided women are used to handling themselves in a major metro area, there's a low risk. Standard situational awareness and common sense, like not walking around at night alone, will go a long way. Outdoor recreation and water exploration should be done with someone else or in groups.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance. New reports are posted by June of each year for the previous calendar year. You can also check for updates at Lynnwatersewer.org at any time.
Safest Places to Visit in Lynn
Lynn doesn’t have an official tourism website, but its city website lists the “Gems of Lynn” with brief details of great places to visit.
NorthofBoston.org is another secure website with information for the region, but it does have a section just for Lynn.
You can also download a free travel guide without having to share any personal information.
The Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce is another great resource.
No major hotel chains are in Lynn, but there are numerous options on the surrounding interstate.
You can choose to be closer to the airport, in the tourist Mecca of Salem, or in Peabody along the intestate to the north.
All locations are about 15 minutes from Lynn’s waterfront.
Several museums and historical options are in Lynn, including:
- Mary Baker Eddy House: The first home of the founder of Christian Science. The links to this attraction take you to the Longyear Museum, which is 45 minutes away in Chestnut Hill, but for simplicity the historical home is located at 8 Broad Street in Lynn.
- Grand Army of the Republic Museum: A Civil War building dating back to 1885 with more than six rooms filled with stories and memorabilia. It’s open on weekdays from 7:00 am and 3:00 pm, but you do need to call before visiting.
- Lynn Museum: Head to the Arts & Cultural District to visit this historic museum and celebration of local arts. Check the event schedule to see what’s happening during your visit.
High Rock Tower and Lynn Woods Stone Tower are two great vantage points nestled into a historic structure with sweeping views of Boston, the ocean, and beyond.
Each is open by appointment or durian certain time periods, so check the city schedule to see availability during your visit.
Lynn Woods is a 2,200-acre municipal park with 30 miles of trails and the mysterious Dungeon Rock.
The rock is actually a tunnel, said to be the treasure trove of pirates in the 1600s.
I don’t want to ruin the rest of the story from there, but the cave is open daily and locked up at night.
Along the water front of Lynn, a narrow roadway takes you to the peninsula of Nahant.
This mostly residential community is filled with beaches, waterfront views, and some coyotes.
We’ll claw through the coyotes concerns in the top 10 safety tips, but Nahant is a great place to visit if you want some solutize and serenity on the bay.
Places to Avoid in Lynn
Given the lower crime rates overall, there aren’t parts of the city that are too dangerous to visit.
It’s always safety to stick to the tourist areas and main roads instead of driving through different neighborhoods.
It’s not the most walkable city, and it’s not a hotbed of nightlife in this residential area.
If you’re looking to stay in this region but airport noise might bother you, check the Massport.com list of airplane noise complaints by city.
You’ll see which ones have the highest number of complaints.
Arlington, Medford, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop consistently make the list.
Don’t ask locals about “Lynn, Lynn, the City of Sin.”
They’re fed up with hearing about it, and you won’t be breaking any news to them about the ill-worded rhyme.
Instead, ask them about great places to visit in the city and let them know what a good time you had.
To help support the shedding of that image, maybe consider writing the city a vote of confidence message if you enjoyed your time there.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Lynn
- Lynn has its own police force and the department produces an annual report that gives a great 10,000-foot view of the crime and safety landscape. You can also find updated major crime information on the Facebook page @LynnPoliceDepartment.
- LPD uses Tip411 for anonymous crime tips. You should report anything suspicious you see and share as much detail as possible. Lynn has a Gang Unit, which means there’s a gang presence here and any tip could help keep a gun off the street or a drug from getting into a victim’s hands.
- Pothole and graffiti reporting have their own hotline. Call (781) 477-7099, then #8 to leave a message or fill out the online form on the city’s website. The hotline is available 24 hours a day.
- Rave Mobile Safety is a local notification app that allows emergency alerts to come right to your phone or email. This will cover severe weather, traffic delays, emergency declarations, or parking bans. Use the address of your hotel when signing up for the service.
- A daily police log is posted on LPD’s website if you want to get specific information about crime trends closer to your visit. It’s not the most robust log I’ve seen, but it has the basic information of crimes and locations.
- Boston and its surrounding cities have strict parking rules due to the sheer number of people and cars here. You can’t park on a residential street without a permit, and visitors can only get a residential permit if they are visiting a resident. That resident needs to get the visitor’s pass for the guest. Public parking lots offer rates by the hour, day, or month.
- During a snow emergency, parking on the street is banned and vehicles left on the street will be ticketed or towed. It’s best to avoid street parking if you’re there in the winter to avoid any last minute rush to move your vehicle.
- The Massachusetts Department of Parks and Recreation oversees beach parking. In 2022, the state went to the YODEL parking reservation system. You can attempt to make same day reservations, but during the summer the lots might be full. This is from May through October, and between those months reservations aren’t required. Non-residents at Nahant Beach will pay up to $40 for a spot, while residents pay $10.
- Anglers need a recreational saltwater fishing license from the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Reciprocity agreements are in place between New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine. You can read all the details and purchase a license online.
- It is estimated that more than a dozen coyotes roam the one-mile-long island of Nahant. In most communities, I’d tell you to just stay away from them, and they’ll stay away from you, but Nahant is a bit different. Coyotes are blamed for more than two dozen missing pets over the past few years and attacks on several leashed pets. Kids are facing coyotes on the playground. Citizens are known to carry bats on beachside strolls and are working feverishly to prevent a child from becoming a victim. You can read coyote safety, learn about sightings, and watch planning sessions to tackle the problem on Nahant.org.
So... How Safe Is Lynn Really?
Probably a better question is, “So, Is Lynn the City of Sin?”
Probably the only sin potential here is gluttony for the vast array of diverse cuisine that will always leave you wanting dessert or a second breakfast.
Lynn’s violent crime rate is slightly higher than the national average and has been cut in half since 2011.
However, robberies and thefts are at or less than half the national average.
Just 7% of violent crimes happened against strangers in 2021 and 53% of violent crimes happened in homes.
Even car burglaries are lower than in most cities with less than 20% of thefts related to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
Hot spot crime areas leave some work to be done locally but won’t impact tourists.
503 overdoses happened in 2021 with 12% of those people not surviving.
This is reflective of an American opioid crisis and not exclusive to Lynn.
Also, the city saw more than five domestic-related incidents each day.
It does have that tough Boston grit and some neighborhoods where the average tourists wouldn’t want to walk around at night, but that goes for any city.
By Boston’s standards, Lynn is nothing but a city to consider being in than a city of sin.
NBC Boston did a new story in 2021 about the City of Sin reputation and here are two pieces of advice, one from a long-time Lynn resident and another hometown singer who has been seen on hit shows like America’s Got Talent.
“If you’ve never been to Lynn, please come.
I’m sure you’re going to be welcomed,” Pat Lee of Lynn’s Historical Commission said.
Amanda Mena, singer and Golden Buzzer winner of America’s Got Talent, added, “People who haven’t gone to Lynn, I want to invite you to come to see what we’re like, what the people here are like.
We’re very warm, very loving, and everyone I’ve brought to Lynn has loved it.”
Let us know your thoughts about Lynn in the comments before, whether you’re a local or just passed through.
How Does Lynn Compare?
|Belize City (Belize)
|La Paz (Bolivia)
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)
The U.S. State Department has a backlog of post-pandemic tourist visa applications, so start this process early. Work and immigrant visas move along much faster, but don't lie about your intention or else you'll get denied and be back to the starting line. The State Department has vowed to simplify the process in 2023 and beyond.
The U.S. Dollar will be the only currency accepted here and avoid using public ATMs to convert currency in the spirit of safety. If you take care of that in your home city, you'll find lower fees and better value. Credit cards offer better fraud and travel protection than debit cards.
All four wonderful seasons happen here, but sometimes to the extreme. Winter is going to be cold, blustery, snowy, and rugged. Winter weather also won't stop "Lynners" from being out and about. Spring and fall are a mixed bag of temperatures. Bring layers, but plan for jeans and a sweatshirt until May or after September. Summers can be extreme heat, but it's not the scorching heat you'd find in the desert southwest. It's humid here with bug spray and sunscreen also being important to use.
You can get to Boston Logan International Airport within 30 minutes by car, not including traffic. You also won't have to drive through the heart of the city to get there. If you use MTBA to get there, plan for a one-hour ride.
Hurricanes and nor'easters can shut down travel across New England, and it's not worth getting stuck in a storm or stranded at your connecting airport if you can't get your money back. Travel insurance protects you from all the uncontrollable aspects of traveling.
Lynn Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month
Massachusetts - Safety by City