Massachusetts cities are prominent on 2018’s safest US cities list

by Megan Donofrio

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Nineteen of the 100 cities ranked on this year’s annual NeighborhoodScout list of Top 100 Safest Cities in the United States are in Massachusetts. Among the nation’s top 10 safest cities in 2018 are four Boston-area cities: Franklin, Lexington, Shrewsbury and Billerica.

To create its list, NeighborhoodScout compares cities across the country with a minimum population of 25,000. Crimes reported by the nation’s total 18,000 local law enforcement agencies are factored into the data. Each city’s population and reported number of crimes are divided by 1,000 to provide a crime rate per 1,000 residents.

Across the country, low annual crime rates in residential suburbs within metro areas and near major cities have made real estate in these places very appealing. Called “bedroom communities,” the cites that ranked on the Safest Cities list from states like Massachusetts, Connecticut and Illinois offer residents life in a more quiet neighborhood, while enjoying close access to the big cities of Boston, New York and Chicago.

  • Franklin (No. 3) is safer than 93 percent of cities in the U.S., according to NeighborhoodScout’s data. The city’s crime rate is 4.04 percent per 1,000 residents.
  • Lexington (No. 4) is safer than 91 percent of cities in the U.S. The city’s crime rate is 4.79 percent per 1,000 residents.
  • Shrewsbury (No. 5) is safer than 90 percent of cities in the U.S. The city’s crime rate is 4.90 percent per 1,000 residents.
  • Billerica (No. 10) is safer than 87 percent of cities in the U.S. The city’s crime rate is 5.90 percent per 1,000 residents.

Other Massachusetts cities included on the list are Needham (No. 12), Marshfield (No. 14), Arlington (No. 17), Andover (No. 23), Reading (No. 31), Belmont (No. 32), North Andover (No. 33), Plymouth (No. 37), Newton (No. 41), Wellesley (No. 42), Melrose (No. 46), Milton (No. 50), Beverly (No. 68), Gloucester (No. 77), and Wakefield (No. 80).

“We continue to see bedroom communities, which are within large metro areas and near major urban centers like Boston, Chicago and New York, make the top of our list,” said Dr. Andrew Schiller, CEO and founder of Location, Inc. and NeighborhoodScout. “These safe communities within the urban/suburban fabric of America’s largest metropolitan areas often combine access to high-paying jobs in the urban center, decent schools and a high quality of life. This access to opportunity increases home values, with the result often being lower crime.”

NeighborhoodScout is a website and online database of U.S. neighborhood analytics that serves as a resource for for nationwide crime data, school ratings, demographics and more. The Top 100 Safest U.S. cities list began in 2012.

Ranking Among Top 100 Safest U.S. Cities City Number of Violent Crimes Number of Total Crimes Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)
3 Franklin 3 134 4.04
4 Lexington 23 160 4.79
5 Shrewsbury 4 180 4.90
10 Billerica 43 252 5.90
12 Needham 6 185 6.02
14 Marshfield 32 162 6.28
17 Arlington 54 290 6.44
23 Andover 23 240 6.76
31 Reading 11 191 7.39
32 Belmont 14 195 7.45
33 North Andover 14 232 7.57
37 Plymouth 94 477 8.04
41 Newton 58 741 8.32
42 Wellesley 23 245 8.39
46 Melrose 19 237 8.49
50 Milton 9 234 8.56
68 Beverly 65 396 9.57
77 Gloucester 73 303 10.17
80 Wakefield 60 274 10.24

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