The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Boston: 2020’s Ultimate List


The Worst Neighborhoods In Boston

Boston (or Bawhhhhh-ston!) is considered to be one of the very first cities in American history, and it’s seen a fairly large amount of history throughout its time. As one of the most educated cities in America, many of the former college students who moved here for this town tend to stay within city limits post-graduation.

Going here means you get to enjoy some of the best seafood you can buy in the country, not to mention some of the best sodas. (Looking at you, Moxie!) For the most part, Bostonians are a proud bunch who are thrilled to share their spirit of Massachusetts with the world. It’s a great place to go, minus the traffic.

Is Boston Safe?

Compared to the average city of its size, Boston remains extraordinarily safe for tourists. However, studies show that there’s a dark side to the sterling reputation of this city. Boston happens to be one of the top six cities for hate crimes—and they’re reported in almost every neighborhood.

As a result of the high hate crime ratio, it’s important to be careful where you go in Boston. This is especially true if you are a minority or if you are traveling to an area where you don’t know the general vibe. Staying in groups when you’re out at night is wise, as is keeping an eye on local crime beats.

With that said, don’t let the hate crimes stop you from visiting Boston. It’s not a bad place!

If you’re feeling a little curious about moving here and want to have a chance at affordable real estate, it still makes sense to avoid certain neighborhoods. That’s why it’s smart to watch out for renting in the wrong side of town using our list of the worst neighborhoods in Boston.

Where Are The Worst Neighborhoods In Boston?

With its rugged Northeastern charm, it’s hard to figure out which parts of Boston are safe and which aren’t by sheer looks alone. To find out which neighborhoods are the most dangerous, we took a look at the straight statistics and then placed violent crimes at the top of the list. Here’s what we uncovered about each ‘hood.

10. Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain

  • Violent Crime: 452
  • Property Crime: 1,492

On the large scale of things, living in Jamaica Plain isn’t that bad a thing. Even the more dangerous parts of Boston are still a little bit better than most other rough neighborhoods. Be that as it may, Jamaica Plain still has a fair amount of crime.

For the most part, crime here isn’t as bad as it could be, though violent crime is still 19 percent more than the national average. The violent crime in this area is mostly relegated to assaults, but thefts and burglaries are still considered to be somewhat problematic.

9. Hyde Park

Hyde Park

  • Violent Crime: 456
  • Property Crime: 1,389

In many other cities in the country, Hyde Park would be considered to be a fairly nice place to live. However, it’s still one of the most dangerous places in Boston due to its violent crime rate being 20 percent higher than the national average.

Overall, the crime rate is still 28 percent lower than the national average. So while it is considered to be dangerous in relation to the overall crime rate of Boston, it’s still rough around the edges. Theft and assaults are generally deemed to be the most common crimes committed here.

8. South Boston

South Boston

  • Violent Crime: 489
  • Property Crime: 1,522

For the most part, Boston is considered to be a generally nice area. The same could be said of this small city portion, which still isn’t that bad as far as livability goes. Here, a slightly higher violent crime rate means that things like robberies and assaults still happen from time to time.

The high price of real estate and decent schooling options have been slowly pushing the crime out of the region, so it might not be on future lists of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston for much longer.

7. Back Bay-Beacon Hill

Back Bay-Beacon Hill

  • Violent Crime: 584
  • Property Crime: 3,434

Now that we are getting closer to the number one spot, we’re going to start seeing a sharp uptick in crime rates. Back Bay-Beacon Hill is actually fairly active when it comes to criminal activity, particularly when it comes to property crimes.

Across the board, the crime in this neighborhood is 53 percent higher than the national average. If you live here, you have a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a victim of crime. With that being said, good schools and a tough police force has slowed crime down by as much as 4 percent over recent years.

Even though the Back Bay-Beacon Hill neighborhood has been working through its crime rates, it’s still not the best part of Boston to be in. Who knows? Maybe a little more real estate investment could make this place a great neighborhood for upcoming families.

6. North Dorchester

North Dorchester

  • Violent Crime: 738
  • Property Crime: 2,937

With its proximity to a bunch of colleges and its lower rents, it’s easy to see why North Dorchester would be attractive to people new to Boston. However, you might want to rethink a decision to move to North Dorchester if you can. Though Boston itself is considered to be a relatively safe place to live, this is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston.

The issues with North Dorchester are manifold. Unlike many of the other parts featured on this list, North Dorchester’s crime is above the national average on all counts. Worse, the crime rate is increasing, especially when it comes to property crime.

Part of the reason for this is the poor schooling, where only 76 percent of all high schoolers will actually go on to walk the stage. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

5. South Dorchester

South Dorchester

  • Violent Crime: 840
  • Property Crime: 2,601

If you thought North Dorchester’s Southern brother would be much better, think again. Life is just a little worse if you live in South Dorchester. Like number six on our list, South Dorchester suffers from bad schools and a fairly low (relative to Boston) income level. That might explain the crime rate.

South Dorchester has less property crime than its Northern counterpart, but their violent crime is noticeably higher. This means you are more likely to be assaulted, robbed, raped, or killed in this area than in most other parts of Boston.

Both North and South Dorchester were their own cities prior to being incorporated into Boston. Maybe the “Dot” is just a bad town to be in?

4. Mattapan

Mattapan

  • Violent Crime: 901
  • Property Crime: 2,489

What’s going on with you, Mattapan? Why do you have a violent crime rate that’s over 130 percent above the national average? In a city like Boston, hearing about high rates of violent crime is something that is rather rare. No wonder many Bostonites avoid Mattapan at night.

At one point, Mattapan was a section of the Dorchesters prior to being incorporated into Boston. Nowadays, they seem to share the same crime rate, though Mattapan tends to be the part with more public housing and small residential buildings.

It’s worth pointing out that Mattapan is starting to gain a lot of traction as an LGBTQIA hotspot. So, if you’re looking for a place that has a rich gay community, this might be an up-and-coming neighborhood to check out.

3. South End

South End

  • Violent Crime: 940
  • Property crime: 2,896

South End has been considered to be a bad neighborhood in Boston for ages, and while the overall crime rate has dropped, it’s still pretty up there. The total crime rate in this neighborhood is 49 percent above the national average, and violent crime is up by a whopping 147 percent.

Both violent and property crimes are equally high up there, though violent crime has a much higher proportion than normal. Our advice? If you find yourself in South End, keep an eye out for thieves, don’t get into arguments with people who just came from the local bars, and get a security system for your home.

2. Roxbury

Roxbury

  • Violent Crime: 1,264
  • Property Crime: 3,505

Contrary to the movie that bears the same name, most people wouldn’t want to spend a night at this particular Roxbury. Why? Because it’s legitimately one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston as well as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the surrounding area.

The Roxbury violent crime rate is approximately twice the typical rate of Boston, and 232 percent higher than the national average. So, it’s safe to say that this is one of the very few places in Boston that you can and should watch out for.

Assaults, robberies, and even light spates of gang activity have all been reported here. Should you move to this place, you have a 1 in 21 chance of being a victim of a crime. Even with all those scary statistics, Roxbury still remains safer than 16 percent of cities in Massachusetts.

1. Central

Central

  • Violent Crime: 1,597
  • Property Crime: 4,610

Central has around 33,000 people living in it, making it the largest of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston. It also happens to be the most dangerous part of Boston proper, which means that it’s one of the very few areas where you should probably avoid walking alone at night.

What makes Central unique in Boston’s neighborhood profiles is the violent crime rate, which is 320 percent higher than the national average. This makes it, by default, a legitimately dangerous place to live. Most aggravated assaults and murders that occur in Boston happen within Central. So, don’t take this lightly.

Boston Central has a lot of tourist attractions that make it a great place to visit, including multiple museums, a sports arena, as well as tons of historical walks. It also happens to be one of the richest neighborhoods in Boston. Just be aware, it’s not as safe as you’d expect it to be.

Crime Rates In Boston Neighborhoods For 2020

Rank Name Property Crime (Per 100,000) Violent Crime (Per 100,000)
10 Jamaica Plain 1,492 452
9 Hyde Park 1,389 456
8 South Boston 1,522 489
7 Back Bay-Beacon Hill 3,434 584
6 North Dorchester 2,937 738
5 South Dorchester 2,601 840
4 Mattapan 2,489 901
3 South End 2,896 940
2 Roxbury 3,505 1,264
1 Central 4,610 1,597

Related Questions

Is the Boston subway safe at night?

Boston’s MBTA is still relatively safe during evening hours, but that doesn’t mean it’s popular. The trains have a little bit of a lag during off-peak hours, so you will often wait a longer time for your train to arrive. Thankfully, most police officers keep an eye on the subways to ensure there isn’t much crime afoot.

Is Boston cleaner than New York City?

While New York City has made impressive strides in cleaning up its pollution-heavy act, anyone who’s visited both towns will tell you that Boston is a clear winner. Boston has a very stringent environmental policy that involves reducing emissions, avoiding littering, and keeping things green.

Why is Boston so expensive?

Boston has been expensive for decades, and it’s mostly a matter of supply and demand. The demand for housing in Boston is far greater than the amount of housing that is out there. As a result, rent and real estate prices have steadily climbed for decades.

Are Bostonians rude?

Though it’s a common belief that Boston is home to rude people, this isn’t quite true. Bostonians are very egalitarian, quite blunt, and not afraid to tell people off when they feel disrespected. However, they don’t go out of their way to be rude to people. It can take some getting used to, but they mean no harm.

How can you tell if you have a Bostonian accent?

Bostonians are known for their wicked cool accent that always sounds a little posh. A common quip about this region’s distinctive accent is this: “If two people from California say that you sound like the Kennedys, you probably have a Boston accent.”

How old do you have to be in order to own a gun in Boston?

Boston has a surprisingly lax firearms code. As long as you are 15 years old and apply for a gun license, you could be well on your way to having a gun. However, your license has to be approved by the local police department before you can officially own it.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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