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 for 2019:
- Holyoke (Photos)
- North Adams (Photos)
- Springfield (Photos)
- Pittsfield (Photos)
- New Bedford (Photos)
- West Springfield
- Brockton (Photos)
- Worcester (Photos)
- Boston (Photos)
- Chicopee (Photos)
After analyzing 237 cities in Massachusetts, 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.
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Massachusetts
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Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Massachusetts
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts for 2019?
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 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.
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 237 cities in Massachusetts.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 237 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.
Holyoke comes in as the most dangerous city in Massachusetts.
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 2015-17.
That left residents with a 1 in 20.8 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017, and a greater than 1% shot of being the victim of violence.
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 2016, 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 32.5 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.
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 114 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.
Pittsfield residents faced a 1 in 113 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017 and a 1 in 39.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime — both statistics that have barely changed in recent years.
It’s the 5th most violent city.
One of the largest cities on the south cost of Massachusetts, New Bedford ranks as the fourth most dangerous place in the state.
In 2017, 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.
6. West Springfield
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 607 (19th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,858 (2nd most dangerous)
More on West Springfield:
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 2015-17, the West Side is the 2nd worst place in the state in terms of property crime.
The 1 in 25.9 chance residents faced of being the victim of a property crime did not significantly change between 2015-17.
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 2015-17.
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.
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 11th most violent with the 12th most property crime in the state.
Boston has the 15th highest rate of violent crime, giving it a 9th place danger ranking overall.
Folks in Boston had a 1 in 149 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017, a 5% increase from 2016.
Property crime went up during this interval, giving a Boston resident a 1 in 47.9 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.
Chicopee is one of the most crime-ridden cities in Massachusetts.
Violent crime and property crime have become an issue between 2015-17, which left Chicopee’s residents with a 1 in 194 chance of being the victim of violence, and a 1 in 40.7 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.
Locking It All Up In Massachusetts
The latest FBI crime data shows that Holyoke ranks as the most dangerous city in Massachusetts for 2019.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Holyoke and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Massachusetts:
- Boxford (Pop. 8,333)
- Wayland (Pop. 13,976)
- Norton (Pop. 19,654)
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
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- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Massachusetts
- 10 Safest Places In Massachusetts
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Massachusetts
Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous Cities In Massachusetts