Boston is New England’s leading city in virtually every respect: sports teams, jobs, population, universities, and historical significance. Homes to the Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox, Boston is undoubtedly a sports dynamo. On the other hand, many first associate Boston as a city of intellectuals, due to both MIT and Harvard being located just over the river. While there is a City of Boston, many people use the name to refer to the Greater Boston area, extending Weymouth in the south to Saugus in the north.
Including the harbor, Boston consists of nearly 90 square miles and is home to roughly 695,000 residents. When you consider the wider Boston region, there are dozens upon dozens of individual towns and communities. In fact, the Greater Boston area may contain upwards of five million people. If you’re planning on relocating to Boston, you’ll definitely have your work cut out for you when choosing a neighborhood to settle in.
The City of Boston, often called Boston proper, has 23 official neighborhoods. Within each of these communities are unique micro-neighborhoods or enclaves. Boston can be the ideal place to raise a family, work, and study with its diverse array of restaurants, shopping opportunities, arts and culture, historical sites, and outdoor adventures. Although, Boston is considered one of the top five most expensive cities to live in the United States.
Despite the challenges related to affordable housing, moving to Boston is still a popular and viable option for those that can afford the high cost of living. When it comes to selecting the perfect Boston community to move to, most will pick based on their finances or particular income bracket. However, one factor, regardless of where you are relocating, remains the most important consideration of all: safety.
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What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in Boston?
As in any major city in the nation, crime can be an issue in Boston, and this applies to both property and violent crime. Given that the city attracts a large number of tourists yearly with all the museums, monuments, and other attractions, pickpockets are unfortunately commonplace. As a general note, Boston can be a dangerous place after dark. This is when most of the drug-related and other violent crime is more likely to occur.
However, Boston is relatively safe during the daytime and as long as both tourists and residents know which areas to avoid and which to stick to, they can stay safe during their stay in the city. The areas to avoid are typically the impoverished areas where gang activity is more prevalent. Just like any other populous city, you should always take the necessary safety precautions in Boston.
In order to determine the safest areas in Boston, we took a look at published FBI crime data. More specifically, we analyzed the population, violent crime, property crime, and total crime in a given area. Those communities that had the least amount of crimes per 100K people for 2020 made our list of the top ten safest neighborhoods in Boston:
- West Roxbury
- East Boston
- Hyde Park
- Jamaica Plain
- South Boston
Let’s dive in and explore each individual community in detail, along with its characteristics, crime rates, and livability.
1. West Roxbury
- Violent Crimes Per 100K:202
- Property Crime Per 100K: 712
- Population: 32,855
The West Roxbury neighborhood checks all the boxes of your Standard Boston residential suburb: an upscale grocery store, streets lined with post-war ranch homes, and even a highly-recommended Italian steakhouse. With its single-family homes, quiet evenings, and clean, lush parks, looks and feels like a suburb. It also offers a prime location with its proximity to the heart of the city.
Located just a quick 30-minute commute to downtown, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare features a burrito joint, a quaint bakery, several coffee shops, and a Boomerangs. West Roxbury is the ideal community for young families to settle down. Homes in this area hover in the $600,000 range, a much better deal when compared to the pricey condos downtown. Overall, West Roxbury is a relatively affordable Boston neighborhood.
It also earns the top slot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in the city. West Roxbury experiences 65% less crime than both the Boston average and the national average. Violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 202 and property crime per capita is 712 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 345
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,062
- Population: 326,129
Roslindale is a primarily residential Boston neighborhood that is a nice mix of cultural diversity and idyllic beauty that isn’t present in many other areas of Boston. In fact, the community was named for the dales and hills in the region. Many decades ago, several areas of Roslindale fell into disrepair, resulting in vacant storefronts and a general lack of activity. In more recent years, the downtown has undergone a rebirth with new businesses popping up frequently.
The residents of Roslindale are a blend of young professionals, hipsters, families with deep roots in the area, and older retirees. It is a relatively affordable neighborhood but real estate prices are steadily rising as Bostonians seek out more budget-friendly communities across the city.
With a crime rate significantly lower than both the national and city average, Roslindale takes the second spot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Boston. The violent crimes per 100K sits at 345, while property crime per capita is 1,062 for 2020.
3. East Boston
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 413
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,203
- Population: 43,436
Annexed to the city back in 1836, East Boston, or Eastie, is home to around 43,436 residents. The area is considered an immigrant stronghold, as it has long provided homes for Irish, Russian Jews, Italians, and, more recently, Latinos. In the last few years, the community has become especially popular among young professionals because of its (relatively) reasonable cost of living and the vicinity to downtown.
While there are some downsides to living in Eastie, such as parking, traffic, and airplane noise from the nearby Logan International airport, the area offers some spectacular green spaces. Piers Park, just one example, will give you serious Sesame Street vibes. Residents can also enjoy the wildlife at Belle Isle Marsh, or soak up the sun on Constitution Beach.
Although East Boston has a violent crime rate that is 9% above the national average, it is still considered the third safest neighborhood in Boston. Its total crime is well below both the national and Boston averages. Violent crime per 100K people is 413 and property crime per capita comes in at 1,203 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 317
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,318
- Population: 67,713
The Allston-Brighton area is a set of two interlocking Boston neighborhoods with a combined population of roughly 68,000 residents. Though it is often perceived as separate from the city since much of the Greater Boston area is independently governed, Allston-Brighton is in fact part of Boston. When it was annexed to the city, it became one the nation’s first streetcar suburbs and was home to some of Boston’s moderately wealthy citizens.
Nowadays, Allston-Brighton is a middle-class area consisting of a mix of small businesses and dense residential neighborhoods. On the commercial side, it is home to the New Balance Headquarters and the WBGH Educational Foundation. A large demographic in the area includes students of Boston’s many universities, as well as young professionals, artists, and recent immigrants, making for one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the city. The neighborhood is often described as having a “Bohemian vibe.”
Allston-Brighton earns the fourth slot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Boston. The violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 317 and property crime is 1,318 for 2020.
5. Hyde Park
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 456
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,389
- Population: 35,116
Located in the southernmost portion of Boston, Hyde Park is roughly 7.9 miles from downtown. Its motto is “A Small Town in the City,” and for good reason. Despite it being positioned just a few stops away on the Commuter Rail, Hyde Park feels worlds away from the “big city” lifestyle.
Hyde Park was occupied in the 19th and early 20th centuries as Bostonians fled the more cramped communities looking for fresh air, open living spaces, and natural beauty. While it has suburban characteristics and a suburban feel, Hyde Park does contain sections of industrial areas. These are remnants of its history as an epicenter of manufacturing.
The community is home to a diverse mix of people, social groups, and housing types. Residents of Hyde Park enjoy almost all the amenities of a city, but in a suburban environment. The cost of living is particularly reasonable, especially when you consider the amount of resources.
By our calculations, Hyde Park is considered the fifth safest neighborhood in Boston. Although violent crime is high in this area, total crime is 28% lower than the national average. The violent crimes per 100K people are 456 and property crime per capita sits at 1,389 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 374
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,516
- Population: 38,280
While it is a recognized singular neighborhood for administration purposes, Fenway-Kenmore actually consists of multiple sections: East Fenway, West Fenway, Kenmore Square, and Audubon Circle. In casual conversation among locals, the area is generally referred to as simply “Fenway,” “The Fenway,” “Kenmore,” or “Kenmore Square.”
This community is best known for being the home of the Red Sox and the famous Fenway Park. However, it is also one of the city’s cultural and academic centers. Boston Latin School, America’s first public school put Fenway-Kenmore on the map in regards to strong academics. In addition to this, you’ll find nearly a dozen of the 100 colleges and universities in Greater Boston here in this neighborhood.
The large population of students and young individuals gives Fenway-Kenmore a very energetic ambiance. Residents all across the city are drawn to the lively clubs and bars that dot Lansdowne Street. You’ll also find prominent green spaces and exceptional arts and cultural centers throughout Fenway-Kenmore.
Fenway-Kenmore takes the sixth slot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Boston. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 374, while property crime is 1,516 for 2020.
7. Jamaica Plain
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 452
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,492
- Population: 45,158
A neighborhood of approximately 4.4 square miles, Jamaica Plain is home to roughly 45,158 Bostonians. In the 19th century, this community established itself as one of America’s first streetcar suburbs. Nowadays, instead of streets flooded with trollies, the roads are navigated by Subarus and bicycles.
Residents of Jamaica Plain are an eclectic group, ranging from activists and artists to professionals and young families. The neighborhood is primarily centered around the main thoroughfare, Centre Street, which is a hub of activity. This area hosts a diverse array of small businesses including restaurants, boutiques, ice cream shops, and even a Boomerangs. Jamaica Plain is the ideal choice for those who enjoy color Victorian homes, hipster jaunts, and abundant public parks.
Boston’s Jamaica Plain community is the seventh safest neighborhood in the city. The violent crimes per 100K people sits at 452 and property crime is 1,492 for 2020.
8. South Boston
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 489
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,522
- Population: 38,206
A densely populated area of Boston, South Boston is located south and east of the Fort Point Channel and neighboring Dorchester Bay. Since its annexation back in 1804, South Boston, or Southie, has undergone a number of demographic transformations. It is most prevalently known as being a majority Irish Catholic neighborhood, as it is home to the Dorchester National Historic site and Castle Island.
However, the community is now attracting an abundance of families and young professionals, South Boston is also home to the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade drawing in people from all over the state. Unfortunately, South Boston has experienced some heavy gentrification that has caused the housing prices to become some of the highest in the city.
Despite the housing boom, Southie has managed to retain much of its charm. The area is filled with quaint row homes that line the streets, and many of them are only a brief walk to the waterfront. South Boston is the perfect neighborhood for those who enjoy sea breezes, an annual energetic parade, and a plethora of Irish pubs.
Although violent crime in this community is higher than the national average, South Boston is still the eighth safest neighborhood in Boston. The violent crimes per 100K people comes in at 489 and property crime is 1,522 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 417
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,632
- Population: 17,208
Charlestown is considered the oldest neighborhood in Boston and has always been a very sought-after place to live. It is steeped in history, and especially with regard to the Revolutionary War. The area served as both a battleground and a meeting place for historical figures. As a result, there is an abundance of plaques and landmarks in Charlestown, included the beloved Freedom Trail.
With young professionals and families making up the majority of Charlestown’s population, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of dozens of new moms pushing top-of-the-line strollers. The area also offers peaks at its Irish working-class roots.
Although its old-world charm is very desirable, there are some drawbacks to settling in Charlestown. More specifically, its restaurants and shops, although great, are all concentrated along Main Street and the lone supermarket is Whole Foods. Even if it doesn’t contain some of the same conveniences as other neighborhoods, it is still a very energetic community.
Charlestown earns the ninth spot on our list of the safest neighborhoods across the city of Boston. The violent crime rate per 100K people sits at 417, while property crime comes in at 1,632 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 901
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,489
- Population: 39,010
With a majority immigrant population, the Mattapan Boston neighborhood is home to approximately 39,000 residents. This area offers some more affordable options when it comes to single-family homes. Like most neighborhoods in Boston, Mattapan is also submerged in history. What was once home to the Mattahunt tribe, became a thriving Jewish locale after European colonization. Nowadays, Mattapan is a vibrant immigrant community with primarily Haitian, Caribbean, and African influence.
Mattapan Square anchors the neighborhood, a lively commercial center with residential areas branching off of it. You’ll find gorgeous Victorian homes and triple-deckers cascading throughout the streets of Mattapan. This area is largely quiet, and the hilly thoroughfares off of Blue Hill Avenue are beautiful, calm communities where most residents have no issue with walking their dogs after dark.
Mattapan rounds out our list as the tenth safest neighborhood in Boston. Though, based on statistics, the area has 28% more crime than the Boston average, it still ranks on this list. The violent crime rate per 100K people is 901 and property crime comes in at 2,489 for 2020.
Safest Neighborhoods in Boston for 2020
|Rank||Neighborhood||Population||Violent Crime (per 100K)||Property Crime (per 100K)|
Wrapping It Up
Just like any city in the United States, Boston contains both its safe and unsafe areas. Whether you’re relocating to the city or just a visitor, as long as you stick to the safest neighborhoods and know the most dangerous ones to avoid, you’ll be able to successfully enjoy your stay in “the Hub” (yes, we know it’s not “Beantown”).