Is Pawtucket Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On February 11, 2024
Pawtucket, United States
Safety Index:
80
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, truly is surrounded by the best of New England and a monumental moment in history.

The city of 75,000 people sits just northeast of Providence and less than an hour from Boston.

Even Cape Cod is just an hour away.

Pawtucket is renowned for being the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

Set along the Blackstone River, this region is now known as the Blackstone Valley, and a National Heritage Corridor meanders around this section of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

A highlight of a visit here is the Slater Mill Historic Site, where Samuel Slater’s cotton spinning mill ignited the transformation of the nation’s economy in the late 18th century.

One unique aspect of Pawtucket today is its revitalization efforts, which blend its rich industrial history with contemporary cultural and artistic endeavors.

Pawtucket’s arts community continues to thrive, with galleries, studios, and performance spaces adding vibrancy to its streets.

The food and craft brewery scene is booming, contributing to its distinct flavor and entrepreneurial spirit.

The only downside is that Pawtucket is largely residential without many hotels.

However, you’ll find dozens of options in nearby cities and towns.

Plus, you have easy access to I-95 here.

Warnings & Dangers in Pawtucket

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk here but a finite number of things to do. You'll likely need to go outside the city limits, which could be a different risk. Common sense and basic safety standards go a long way.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Pawtucket is as much a suburb of Providence as it is a distant neighborhood of Boston, so the public transportation here is excellent. The Central Falls Transit Center has trains and buses fit for every travel adventure. Look up MTBA online to find the routes and rates. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find. If you want to visit outside of Pawtucket, you'll need a car or to pay for one of those other options - which are all low risk.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Looking back at five years of crime data, about six pickpockets or purse snatchings happen every year here. That's a low risk, but - wow - the car break-in risk is high. We'll talk more about that in a little bit.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

The biggest risks here are hurricanes, nor'easters, and winter snow storms. Since that spans most of the year, we'll call it a medium risk - just be sure to research the emergency management information. If those storms aren't in the forecast, your risk is low.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

The robbery rate here is slightly below the national average, and about one-third of those happen against people on the street. For a big metro area, the risk here is low, but don't let your guard down or do silly things like walking around at night in unknown neighborhoods.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

I'd put a big, medium-risk sticker on the northeast if I could, just to keep people aware of any suspicious behavior. Boston is a more likely target, but you just need to stay vigilant. You can also read the Homeland Security Department's Terrorism Advisory Bulletin before you arrive to see the threat to see threat potential at that time.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

As a residential area, the scams here focus on residents. Learn about the common scams through local law enforcement and the FTC, but common sense and gut instincts really help avoid this. The police department's website has a "Latest Scams" section on its website.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Statistically, women are 6% less likely to be the victim of a violent crime. The sexual assault rate is 55% higher than the national average. Be cautious when meeting new people, and always stay in a public place.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations in cooperation with the Safe Water Drinking Act. The risk is low. The only advice I have is that if you are staying in an older building, lead in the pipe could be an issue. Just let the water run for a minute or two after being stagnant for a while.

Safest Places to Visit in Pawtucket

“Tour Blackstone” is the tourism guide for the Rhode Island section of Blackstone Valley.

The visitor’s center is right in the heart of Pawtucket.

The “Visit Rhode Island” state travel tourism site has a Blackstone Valley section, but many attractions are outside Pawtucket city limits.

The Pawtucket city website has the “Official Guide to Experiencing Pawtucket” section as well.

Another hyper-local option is pawtucketfoundation.org.

One must-visit destination is the Slater Mill Historic Site, where history comes alive in restored 18th-century buildings, offering insight into America’s industrial heritage.

The nearby Old Slater Mill Museum delves deeper into this legacy, showcasing artifacts and exhibits detailing the area’s pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economy.

Seasonal closures may apply, but the grounds are open year-round. 

Take a peak inside the Pawtucket Armory Arts Center, a historic landmark showcasing a fusion of architectural grandeur and artistic innovation.

History buffs should make a pilgrimage to the Daggett House, an architectural gem dating back to the 1680s.

This meticulously preserved colonial homestead offers a glimpse into Pawtucket’s colonial past, with guided tours shedding light on its storied history and significance in shaping the region.

It’s one of the oldest houses in the state.

Venture into the heart of downtown Pawtucket to discover the charming Lorraine Mills, a converted textile mill transformed into a hub of creativity and commerce.

Explore the labyrinthine corridors lined with artist studios, boutiques, and galleries, offering a unique shopping and cultural experience.

Delve into the artistic realm at the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, a haven for creatives showcasing diverse works ranging from paintings to sculptures.

The collaborative also hosts regular events, providing opportunities to engage with local artists and immerse oneself in Pawtucket’s burgeoning cultural scene.

For a taste of Pawtucket’s eclectic culinary landscape, head to the Hope Artiste Village.

This revitalized mill complex houses an array of eateries, artisanal shops, and farmers’ markets, promising a culinary journey through diverse flavors and local specialties.

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the scenic confines of Slater Memorial Park, a sprawling oasis teeming with recreational possibilities.

From tranquil strolls along the winding paths to leisurely boat rides on the picturesque Looff Carousel, the park offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Festival Pier offers easy access to the river if you have a boat, or it’s a nice place to enjoy the view otherwise.

One quirky place to visit in Pawtucket is the Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration.

For $10, you can play as many pinball games as you want for the day.

They have about 100 games to choose from, and you won’t have to worry about inserting quarters.

Sports aficionados won’t want to miss catching a game at McCoy Stadium, home to the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Places to Avoid in Pawtucket

Pawtucket isn’t a place with a dangerous part of town or an area to avoid.

That said, since the area is largely residential, you should avoid going into neighborhoods if you don’t know anyone there.

Since crime patterns can change and there isn’t one “bad” area, there can be a block or two within an otherwise safe neighborhood that is a higher risk.

You can also review Reddit posts about the city, as I found many comments and threads from people who live there and were happy to answer questions.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Pawtucket

  1. Pawtucket has its own police department. Follow them @pawtucket.police on Facebook. You can also call (401)727-9100 to ask specific safety questions.
  2. Sign up for emergency alerts through the CodeRED system. This will deliver emergency messages about severe weather, hazards, road closures, and other public safety concerns.
  3. Pawtucket has road cameras that can catch you speeding or running a red light. You won’t know you received the ticket until it is mailed to you. Yes, they can track down rental cars. Avoid this risk by sticking to the speed limit and stopping at yellow lights.
  4. If more than two inches of snow falls, the city will enact a “snow emergency.” That sounds worse than it is – but it does impact where you can park. This is another important reason to get safety alerts and follow police on social media.
  5. You can review the latest crime activity using the interactive crime map. This allows you to see recent crimes up to the previous day so that you can get a better grasp on crime trends before your visit.
  6. Research parking in Pawtucket, depending on whether you use the commuter trains or just want to walk around. Each option comes with different costs and rules.
  7. Pawtucket has seen an increase in car thefts, and police recommend using a wheel lock to limit your risk. Also, avoid renting a Hyundai or Kia, as those are the most commonly stolen.
  8. While the Blackston River Valley National Heritage Corridor is part of the National Park System, you should use the blackstoneheritagecorridor.org website to find out more information about the historic sites. They manage the properties.
  9. If you plan on fishing, check out the Rhode Island Outdoors website to purchase a fishing license. Be aware that there are freshwater and saltwater licenses here, and certain species might require a special permit.
  10. Instead of using a state traffic app, try New England 511. It covers all the states yet allows you to select a smaller region, so you don’t get too much information.

So... How Safe Is Pawtucket Really?

To begin with, Rhode Island is a safe state.

The crime rates are 55% lower than the national average.

So, if you see a rate higher than the state average, that shouldn’t be concerning.

That said, Pawtucket’s violent crime rate is 75% higher than the state average while still 25% lower than the national average.

In 2022, 26% of those crimes were against strangers, and 45% happened in private homes.

That almost immediately cuts your risk in half.

Petty theft is one thing to worry about here.

Car break-ins and accessory thefts make up 47% of all thefts.

While the number could be exaggerated due to people leaving cars unlocked, keys in the car, or warming up a car unattended, you can lower your risk by learning from those mistakes.

You should never leave a car door unlocked or the window rolled down when you park.

Remove all personal items from inside, even your phone charger cord.

The Pawtucket Police Department has recently added community business and residential cameras, with willing participants, to help curb crime.

There’s nothing about Pawtucket that should concern you when visiting, especially with all the historical sites that will be well-guarded and safe for families.

How Does Pawtucket Compare?

CitySafety Index
Pawtucket80
Houston59
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

Visiting the U.S.? International travelers require a visa or visa waiver (eligible countries only) and a passport valid for at least 6 months. Start your visa journey at the U.S. State Department website.

Currency

Currency

The U.S. Dollar is the currency of the land. The Providence and Boston airports have currency exchange services. However, you can take care of that through your home bank at lower fees.

Weather

Weather

The region gets the typical four seasons, albeit with a long cold season. Don't pack until you review the forecast; the temperatures just fluctuate a lot within a season. Big winter storms can close down airports or roads, even for brief periods of time - I'd pack a few extra things just in case.

Airports

Airports

T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) is the airport near Providence, located in Warwick. That's just 14 miles from Pawtucket. Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) if 46 miles northeast.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Before buying travel insurance, consider if you need additional rental car insurance or health coverage in the U.S. Comprehensive insurance generally covers all your needs.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Pawtucket Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 0° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 5° C
Apr 10° C
May 16° C
Jun 21° C
Jul 24° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 8° C
Dec 4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
45814202528272418127
Low
°C
-4-31611172019161041
High
°F
394146576877828175645445
Low
°F
252734435263686661503934

Rhode Island - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Burrillville79
Cranston88
Cumberland84
Jamestown82
Johnston79
Little Compton81
Narragansett82
Newport80
North Kingstown83
Pawtucket80
Providence68
Warwick85
Westerly82
Woonsocket65

Where to Next?

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