West Roxbury, Allston/Brighton and Dorchester top the list for "safest" neighborhoods in Boston.
"Safe" is always a murky term since you can't quantify safety purely on the amount of crime in an area — however, a lot of renters who reach out to me asking about safety cite crime as the primary metric they're concerned about. I sifted through data from the Boston Police Department to compile an accurate list of the safest neighborhoods in Boston.
I'll stress that this post should definitely be a conversation!
I completely understand that residents are protective of their neighborhoods, so I want to make sure I'm representing the data totally accurately. I've had some great input on Twitter from some residents about how to best represent the data. A few key shoutouts go to:
- Marcos Luna, Associate Professor of Geography at Salem State University, for helping me make this list as accurate as possible! Orginally, I was just tallying total crimes and he helped us understand that crime rates (i.e. crimes per 1000 people) are a far more relevant and telling statistic.
- Gavin Schoch, who astutely observed that even though the BPD website only lists one neighborhood for each district, police districts actually cover multiple neighborhoods (let's call them neighborhood groups). That bit of insight definitely adjusted the rankings a bit!
- @PlunkettPrime, who called me out in a recent update (in September 2015) for not having the right population data for District D-14, which is BOTH Allston and Brighton. I had been only using the population for Brighton. That's fixed now, which made a huge difference — Allston/Brighton jumped from #6 to #2!
Here's the rundown that I compiled from the data (click image to view data):
HEADS UP! The police districts in Boston don't correspond to specific neighborhoods. They overlap and blend across neighborhood lines, which makes it nearly impossible to do a true apples-to-apples analysis about crime in specific neighborhoods. Check out the Boston Police Department District Map compared to the Boston neighborhood map below for context!
Safest Neighborhoods (and Neighborhood Groups) in Boston — by crime rate:
#1 — West Roxbury / Roslindale
CRIME RATE: 8.3
Lowest crime rate in Boston! 492 total crimes reported over a population of 59,146 people, which is a 15% decrease from last year. Do you live in West Roxbury? You're in the top 5! Tell everyone how safe and awesome your neighborhood is!
#2 — Allston/Brighton
CRIME RATE: 12.1
904 total crimes reported over a population of 45,801 people, which is a 2% increase from last year.
#3 — Dorchester
CRIME RATE: 13.1
1502 total crimes reported over a population of 114,235 people, which is a 16% decrease from last year.
#4 — East Boston
CRIME RATE: 14.4
582 total crimes reported over a population of 40,508 people, which is a 16% decrease from last year. Do you live in East Boston? You're in the top 5! Tell everyone how safe and awesome your neighborhood is!
#5 — Charlestown
CRIME RATE: 15.6
256 total crimes reported, which is a 9% decrease from last year. Do you live in Charlestown? Tell everyone how safe and awesome your neighborhood is!
#6 — Jamaica Plain
CRIME RATE: 19
711 total crimes reported over a population of 37,468 people, which is a 16% decrease from last year.
#7 — Hyde Park
CRIME RATE: 20
612 total crimes reported over a population of 30,637 people, which is a 6% increaes from last year.
#8 — South Boston
CRIME RATE: 28.1
935 total crimes reported over a population of 33,311 people, which is a 3% decrease from last year.
#9 — Roxbury / Mission Hill
CRIME RATE: 30.1
1,950 total crimes reported over a population of 64,759, which is a 4% decrease from last year.
Least "safe" neighborhoods in Boston.
#10 — South End / Back Bay / Fenway
CRIME RATE: 35
2,675 total crimes reported over a population of 76,461 people, which is a 16% decrease from last year.
#11 — Downtown
CRIME RATE: 41.7
According to a note on the BPD's website from A-1's Captain Kenneth Fong, "Downtown* encompasses Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, Downtown North Association, Financial District, Leather District, Midtown Park Plaza Neighborhood Association, North End, West End, and the Wharf District.
1,705 total crimes reported over a population of 40,844, which is a 23% decrease from last year.
#12 — Mattapan
CRIME RATE: 43.3
979 total crimes reported over a population of 22,600 people, which is a 14% decreaes from last year.
Note: You'll notice that not every neighborhood in Boston is listed above. There are only 12 "districts" that the Boston Police Department covers, some of which include multiple neighborhoods. You can see the full list of BPD districts here. Neighborhood images source: Boston Redevelopment Authority
Trulia does a nice job as well.
If you're interested in seeing a more interactive view of the safest neighborhoods in Boston, feel free to check out Trulia Local to see their "Crime Risk" heat map below.
Image source: Trulia
Want to learn more about Boston's neighborhoods?
Check out our Boston Neighborhoods interactive map! Here's a screenshot of the web app — browse neighborhoods by commute time, by neighborhood amenities, rent prices and a lot more.