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Did You Know that Massachusetts is the Safest State?

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According to an analysis of crime data by the website, NeighborhoodScout.com, more than a quarter of the safest 100 towns and cities with populations of more than 25,000 (out of approximately 1,500) in the United States are in Massachusetts, though this year, Ridgefield, Connecticut, knocked off Franklin, Massachusetts, as the safest town in the country. These ratings are based on the chances of becoming a victim of crime. Here’s how the Massachusetts towns did with their national rankings:

  • Franklin (2)
  • Marshfield (4)
  • Arlington (5)
  • Lexington (8)
  • Milton (13)
  • Needham (14)
  • Wakefield (18)
  • Billerica (24)
  • Reading (26)
  • North Andover (27)
  • Wellesley (28)
  • Andover (32)
  • Waltham (36)
  • Melrose (40)
  • Beverly (43)
  • Shrewsbury (46)
  • Dracut (47)
  • Newton (49)
  • Belmont (55)
  • Easton (58)
  • Milford (69)
  • Chelmsford (75)
  • Amherst (76)
  • Gloucester (78)
  • Watertown (98)
  • Walpole (99)

The state with the next highest number of safe municipalities is Texas with 10. This is interesting given their very different approach to gun control and perhaps law enforcement. Most of the other states with a high number of safe communities are in the upper midwest: Illinois with eight, Michigan and Ohio with six each, Indiana with five and Wisconsin with four.

The rest of New England fares well. Connecticut has four safe communities, Rhode Island four and New Hampshire five. Vermont and Maine towns don’t make the top-100 list, but one wonders how much these numbers are artifacts of the number of qualifying towns and cities in each state.

Utah and New Jersey both have three communities on the list and the following states each have two: Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Arizona. These states each have one: Idaho, Kentucky, Colorado, Missouri, Washington, Minnesota, Iowa and Alabama.

What does this tell us?

It’s not so clear what this means. Safety from crime reflects many factors including law enforcement practices, education and work opportunities, median age since most crimes are carried out by young people, and social supports. But again, the two safest states, Texas and Massachusetts, would seem to be very different on all these factors.

Texas and Massachusetts also appear to be relatively safe states when looking at large cities. Of the 15 safest large cities in the United States according to an analysis by MoneyGeek, several are in Texas, including El Paso (4), Arlington (12) and Austin (15). Boston ranks as the 10th safest of the 68 cities with more than 300,000 residents. The safest is Honolulu. St. Louis is the most dangerous.

We must be doing something right in Massachusetts, but what? Let us know what you think.

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