Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts?
We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.
No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of Massachusetts — and anyone looking to move to Massachusetts — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.
The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Bay State:
- Holyoke (Photos)
- North Adams (Photos)
- Springfield (Photos)
- New Bedford (Photos)
- Brockton (Photos)
- Worcester (Photos)
- West Springfield
- Pittsfield (Photos)
- Chelsea (Photos)
Why did Holyoke take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or learn more about the safest places in Massachusetts.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts for 2018?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2016 data, specifically the 2016 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available for 2017 in October 2018.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 233 cities in Massachusetts.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 233 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Massachusetts — Holyoke. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Massachusetts.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Massachusetts.
Population: 40,738Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,070
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,941
Holyoke comes in as the 1st most dangerous city in Massachusetts, losing the top position it has held in past years.
Part of the Springfield Metro area in western Mass., Holyoke experienced a small 4% rise in violent crime and 10% rise in property crime between 2014-16.
That left residents with a 1 in 20.2 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2016, and a greater than 1% shot of being the victim of violence.
2. North Adams
Population: 13,162Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,375
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,289
The smallest city to make this list and the home of the largest contemporary art museum in the country, North Adams may seem out of place on a list about dangerous cities.
Yet this center for tourism in Berkshire County has experienced a wicked 37% rise in violent crime between 2015, bringing the likelihood residents face of being the victim of violence to nearly 1%.
Property crime, meanwhile, has remained stagnant at roughly a 1 in 30.4 chance of being the victim of theft or arson each year.
North Adams was also ranked as the most stoned city in Massachusetts, according to our research.
Population: 154,102Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,030
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,291
Just 8 miles south Holyoke, Springfield is the 3rd biggest city in Massachusetts, and the 3rd most dangerous overall.
Springfield is famous for being the headquarters of Smith & Wesson, the largest producer of handguns in the world, which may help explain Springfield’s violent streak.
While property crime is 44% less common in Springfield than some other cities on the list, residents still faced a 1 in 97 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.
4. New Bedford
Population: 94,524Rank Last Year: N/A
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 866
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,093
One of the largest cities on the south cost of Massachusetts, New Bedford ranks as the fourth most dangerous place in the state.
In 2016, residents faced a 1 in 92 chance of being the victim of violence, reflective of a very modest 5% drop from 2011.
Meanwhile, property crime has remained pretty much stagnant.
Population: 95,189Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,081
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,405
Located on the eastern part of the state, Brockton is second only to Chelsea in terms of violent cities in Massachusetts.
Yet while Chelsea has experienced an impressive drop in violent crime in recent years, Brockton’s numbers in both property and violent crime have been more or less the same from 2014-16.
And with residents facing a 1 in 81 chance of being the victim of violence each year, Brockton could easily pass out Chelsea for most violent city in Mass in just a few years.
Population: 184,595Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 889
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,902
The second biggest city in New England and Massachusetts (behind Boston), Worcester is among the most dangerous cities in the state.
The “Heart of the Commonwealth” (so named for its central location) has experienced no recent change in crime for better or for worse.
And that’s not a good thing for a city in the 7th most violent with the 7th most property crime in the state.
7. West Springfield
Population: 28,689 Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 655
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,203
Located on the western side of the Connecticut River across from Springfield, West Springfield has its own crime problems.
While it is the least violent place on this list, and has seen another 11% drop in violence from 2014-16, the West Side is the 2nd worst place in the state in terms of property crime.
The 1 in 23.8 chance residents faced of being the victim of a property crime did not significantly change between 2014-16.
Population: 43,031Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 790
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,361
A smaller city on this list, Pittsfield has experienced some wild swings in crime in recent years.
While instances of violent crime fell to 340 between 2014-16, property crime now stands at 12th worst.
If they could get the same magic working for property crime as they have for violence, Pittsfield may one day be the idyllic place its residents want it to be.
Population: 40,096Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 922
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,279
Located directly across the Mystic River from Boston, Chelsea is the smallest city in Massachusetts in terms of total area (just 2.5 sq. miles).
Still, Chelsea knows how to pack a lot of violence into a small space, with residents facing 1 in 108 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.
The crazy thing is that this likelihood was 1 in 61 in 2011, meaning Chelsea has seen about a 35% drop in violent crime over the years, and is still the 6th most violent city in Mass.
Population: 5,372 Rank Last Year: 33 (Up 23)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 446
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,871
Hadley may not even be on this list in another year if the current trends continue — violent crime was more than cut in half between 2014-16, with the number of instances falling from to 24.
Property crime also fell during this time, so Hadley is improving its crime altogether.
Locking It All Up In Massachusetts
The latest FBI crime data shows that Holyoke ranks as the most dangerous city in Massachusetts for 2018.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Holyoke’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Massachusetts:
For more Massachusetts reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Massachusetts
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Massachusetts
- These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Massachusetts
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Massachusetts