As a resident of Massachusetts, you might like to know about the Massachusetts crime rate, whether you live in one of its safest cities, and how home security solutions could benefit you. After all, the global pandemic brought with it a spike in national crime rates. Although those statistics have slowly decreased since 2020, they haven’t fallen back to pre-pandemic numbers yet.  

The Council of Criminal Justice reports that while nationwide violent crimes have decreased in 2023, thefts and property damage continue climbing. Could your Massachusetts property fall prey to rising theft rates? Should you invest in an alarm system to thwart would-be burglars? 

Home Security Life’s team of security professionals dug into national and state-level statistics to provide answers to your questions. 

Historical Context of Crime Rates in Massachusetts

From 2011 to 2020, Massachusetts has experienced a consistent, downward trend in its overall crime rates, as demonstrated by the FBI’s Criminal Data Explorer. While national crime statistics began rising in 2020, Massachusetts crime rates continued plummeting. The state’s population increased steadily from 2010 to 2020

Increased population correlates with rising crime rates in many areas. However, Massachusetts consistently bucked that trend throughout the past decade.

Poverty rates consistently influence influxes of criminal activity, and Massachusetts is no exception. Crime and poverty rates spiked between 2010 and 2013. Both rates decreased throughout the decade, with a sharp but small increase in 2020 because of the pandemic.   

Comparison to National Crime Rates

When discussing patterns of criminal activity, remember there are two main types of crime: violent crime and property crime. Property crimes typically include burglary, theft, larceny, and other varieties of property damage. Violent crime, on the other hand, insinuates murder, rape, assault, and the like. Both crime types can instill financial loss, trauma, reputation damage, and growing mistrust within a community.

The differentiation comes into play with the following statistics. In 2011, federal crime rates for both violent and property-related crimes sat significantly lower than Massachusetts’ statistics. However, a fascinating trend would surface during the pandemic.

From 2011 through 2020, Massachusetts property crimes consistently lowered. While state statistics couldn’t keep up with the federal level’s continuous downward trend initially, Massachusetts’ violent crime rate would plummet below federal rates through 2020 and beyond. Federal violent crimes would significantly increase throughout the pandemic.

What do these numbers mean? They mean that Massachusetts is one of the safest states in the country.  

Factors Influencing Crime Rates in Massachusetts

Although many states experience influxes in criminal activity, Massachusetts residents enjoyed the opposite. How can any state increase its population while keeping both violent and property-related crimes so low? Residents of Northeastern states tend to enjoy the following privileges more than their Southern and Western counterparts:

  • Community initiatives: State and municipal governments allocate numerous resources to provide for their communities. These resources include crime prevention campaigns that focus on police departments’ relationships with citizens.  
  • Education: Northeastern American culture boasts high-ranking academic institutions. The proximity of these institutions allows residents to easily access quality information, courses, training, and other higher-learning initiatives. 
  • Stability: Massachusetts and other Northeastern states boast higher income and lower poverty rates compared to their counterparts in other areas of the country. 

The quality of police institutions, economic stability, and access to educational institutions all directly influence an area’s crime rate. Since Massachusetts residents can enjoy these and other privileges, they can also reap the benefits of a relatively safe state. 

Specific Types of Crime

By examining the data, you’ll notice a significant decrease in the overall Massachusetts crime rate from 2011 to 2021. These rates include both property and violent crimes. 

Homicide stayed far below the national level. A small uptick in 2017 kept Massachusetts’ homicide rates at 2.5 per 100,000 people vs. 5.3 federally. Aggravated assault cases dropped significantly from 2015 through 2020, while robbery steadily decreased from 2013 with no significant influxes. 

Property crimes like burglaries and thefts have steadily declined — even throughout the pandemic. You’ll find some key statistics from the Criminal Data Explorer listed below:

  • Burglary: 149.7 reported cases per 100,000 people in 2020
  • Larceny-theft: 804.3 cases per 100,000 people in 2020
  • Motor vehicle theft: 99.2 cases per 100,000 people in 2020

Safest Cities in Massachusetts

Which Massachusetts cities boast some of the lowest crime rates? You’ll find a selection of 10 of the safest cities, along with their relative statistics per 1,000 residents, below. Each city’s ranking depends on its total crime rate from greatest to least.

  1. WestfordThe city’s 25,834 citizens statistically report only eight violent crimes annually. However, property crimes rose to a significant 63 cases.
  2. PembrokeThis city’s 19,505 citizens statistically experience 10 violent crimes and 50 property crimes annually. 
  3. ScituateScituate’s population of 20,046 residents will likely report 15 violent crimes vs. 34 property crimes per year.
  4. DuxburyWith a population of 16,780, Duxbury’s crime statistics show only 10 violent crimes and 35 property crimes annually.
  5. HopkintonThe town’s population of 19,192 will statistically experience 13 violent and 29 property crimes per 1,000 people each year.
  6. Holden: Holden’s population is just below 20,0000. Residents report 11 violent crimes and 29 property crimes per year.
  7. NorthboroughNorthborough’s 15,223 residents statistically face five violent crimes and 32 property crimes each year.
  8. GraftonThis town’s population of 19,347 only reports nine violent crimes and 27 property crimes annually.
  9. Clinton: Clinton, MA’s population sits at just over 14,000. Residents statistically report four violent crimes and seven property crimes each year.
  10. WaylandWith a population of nearly 14,000, Wayland, MA, has an overall annual crime rate of zero.

Although Massachusetts boasts some of the safest cities and lowest crime rates, property crimes far exceed most violent crimes. If you’ve avoided installing business or residential security solutions because of your area’s safety, reconsider that approach. 

Explore all of the options for home security companies in Massachusetts to ensure your property is protected.