If you’re from Massachusetts then you know that you have to watch out for more than just Old World ghosts in Boston, scary Witches in Salem, and grumpy New Englanders in Worcester: The Bay State has some pretty dangerous places, too.
It’s not all bougie Harvard graduates and snobby Celtics fans, either. Massachusetts has some pretty scary criminals, and they can be found in the state’s most dangerous cities. Lucky for you, RoadSnacks has created a list of the most dangerous places in Massachusetts for 2020 and we think that you should definitely check it out before you make any major moves.
How’d we determine the most dangerous places in Red Sox country? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 238 cities. We looked at the FBI’s latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 5,000 residents. We discovered that Massachusetts has some pretty interesting statistics when it comes to violent and property crime compared to the national average. The state is winning the arson game, but losing in murder and aggravated assault. And, shockingly, the city with the most assaults and murders in the state only has 13,000 residents.
While Massachusetts was not in the top ten most dangerous states in the country, Springfield is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. And if we were handing out the “Most Dangerous New England State” award, word on the street is that Massachusetts would be number one. Maybe Massachusetts’ just needs a hug? Or, maybe the state’s most dangerous cities need more police presence. We’re not entirely sure; but one thing we do know is that you should check out Massachusetts’ most dangerous places below: there may be some surprises.
If you guessed that most of Massachusetts’ problems are centered around many of the state’s biggest cities, you guessed right. Surprisingly, however, the state’s most dangerous city is not one of the state’s most populated.
So, where is the most dangerous place in The Baked Bean State? The most dangerous place in Massachusetts would be Holyoke.
If you want to know where the rest of Massachusetts’ most dangerous cities are located, take a look below. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, head to the bottom.
Learn more about the safest places in Massachusetts.
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Massachusetts
- Best Counties To Live In Massachusetts
- Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2020
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 2017-2018.
That left residents with a 1 in 24.7 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018, and a greater than 1% shot of being the victim of violence.
Just 8 miles south Holyoke, Springfield is the 3rd biggest city in Massachusetts, and the 2nd 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 101 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018.
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 over the years, 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 30.5 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.
Pittsfield coming in as the 4th most dangerous place in Massachusetts might surprise some.
But this fact may explain the mind-bogglingly high 1 in 35.4 chance residents faced of being the victim of a property crime in 2018 and the 1 in 118 chance of being the victim of violence.
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 2017-2018.
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.
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 18)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 635 (11th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,281 (7th most dangerous)
More on Hadley:
Hadley is another city that represents its county as one of the most dangerous places in Massachusetts.
Coming in at 6th on our list, Hadley mixes (relatively) middle of the pack violent crime and property crime without (relatively) excelling in either one.
We say relative because while its crime rates are middle of the pack for the top ten, they are still high for Massachusetts as a whole.
One of the largest cities on the south cost of Massachusetts, New Bedford ranks as the fourth most dangerous place in the state.
In 2018, 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.
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 9th most violent with the 9th most property crime in the state.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 583 (17th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,541 (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 one of the least violent place on this list, and has seen another 11% drop in violence from 2017-2018, the West Side is the 2nd worst place in the state in terms of property crime.
The 1 in 28.2 chance residents faced of being the victim of a property crime did not significantly change between 2017-2018.
Boston’s violent crime looks to be an issue.
Violent crime went to 4,324 occurrences between 2017-2018, leaving residents with a 1 in 160 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018.
Though Boston is the 14th most violent city in Massachusetts overall, it does only have the 10th most property crime on this list (which still leaves residents a 1 in 49.6 chance of being robbed each year).
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Massachusetts
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts for 2020?
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 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.
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 Massachusetts cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 238 cities in Massachusetts.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 238 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. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Massachusetts.
Locking It All Up In Massachusetts
The latest FBI crime data shows that Holyoke ranks as the most dangerous city in Massachusetts for 2020.
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:
- Norfolk (Pop. 11,872)
- Dover (Pop. 6,104)
- Wayland (Pop. 14,088)
For more Massachusetts reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Massachusetts
- Best Places To Retire In Massachusetts
- Richest Cities In Massachusetts
- Safest Places In Massachusetts
- Worst Places To Live In Massachusetts
Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Massachusetts?