Is Boston Safe in 2024? Crime Rates and Safest Areas

Boston has a population of around 675,000 within its 48-square-mile city boundaries, and there are about 4.3 million living in the greater Boston area. There are A LOT of people crammed into this small region of the Northeast, which naturally leads to the question: Is Boston safe?

Having lived in Boston for a year and a half and visited the city multiple times before that, I have generally felt safe here. But that’s not to say there aren’t precautions to take like in any other major city.

In this post, I’ll talk about the safest and most dangerous areas of Boston, current crime rates, and some safety tips to keep in mind.

Iconic brownstone buildings in Beacon Hill, Boston

Is Boston a safe place to visit?

I was surprised when I once read that Boston is less safe than 83% of U.S. cities. This number is probably skewed toward certain areas with higher crime rates.

I always considered Boston one of the safest cities I’ve ever been to, but this is perhaps because I stayed in areas that tourists are more likely to visit, including North End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and Downtown.

Overall, I would say Boston is a safe place to visit. I walked around Boston a lot as a tourist and never felt threatened, but I also exercised normal precautions, like not walking by myself late at night and staying in more crowded areas.


🚶🏻‍♀️Walk the historic Freedom Trail
🍕 Eat at Regina’s Pizzeria and Mike’s Pastry in North End
🌸 Explore the Boston Common and Public Garden

Omni Parker House or Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor

Is Boston a safe place to live?

Generally, Boston is a safe place to live, but this also depends on which neighborhood you live in. In the sections that follow, I list the safest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston.

Based on my personal experience of living in East Boston, I can say that it feels very safe during the day. I have never experienced or heard of anyone becoming victim to a crime in broad daylight.

Usually I try to avoid walking around late at night, though I have done it a handful of times. I feel a bit uneasy doing it but have never noticed anything suspicious.

We always keep our windows and doors locked when we aren’t home, and even when we are home, we keep our doors locked. Again, we haven’t heard of any break-ins where we live, but we typically lean on the side of caution.

Is Boston safe? Take a peaceful walk down Acorn Street.

Boston crime rate and statistics

Below are current statistics on violent and property crime in Boston.

Violent crime in Boston

According to Neighborhood Scout, the chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Boston is 1 in 166 or about 6 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, and murder.

In 2022, Boston’s overall crime rate dropped by 1.5% but there was an increase of 1 homicide compared to 2021 (for a total of 41 murders). All but 4 of these murders took place in neighborhoods with notoriously higher crime rates: Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain.

There were 167 reported rapes in Boston in 2022, down 25.8% from 2021.

Property crime in Boston

Neighborhood Scout says the chance of becoming a victim of property crime in Boston is 1 in 54 or about 19 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes include burglary, theft, vandalism, and arson.

In 2022, there were 11,426 property crimes in Boston, including 1,153 burglaries and 10,273 thefts.

Crime rate sources: Neighborhood Scout, Boston Herald, and Universal Hub

Is Boston safe? East Boston is one of the safer neighborhoods in the city.

Safest Places in Boston

Below is a list of the safest neighborhoods in Boston based on their lower crime rates. These are some of the best places to visit or live in Boston.

North End

North End is known as Boston’s Little Italy and is a favorite place to grab authentic Italian food. Here you can explore the dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries along Hanover Street, and visit key historic sites like Old North Church and the Paul Revere House.


Charlestown is Boston’s oldest neighborhood and is filled with architectural and artistic charm. It is home to the historic Bunker Hill Monument, and also a favorite among locals for its selection of restaurants, including the popular Monument Tavern.

Back Bay

Back Bay is known for its luxurious brownstone buildings and shopping areas like the Prudential Center and the shops on Newbury Street. The Boston Public Library and Copley Square can also be found here.

Beacon Hill

East of Back Bay is the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, one of my favorite parts of Boston. Explore the shops and boutiques along Charles Street and meander your way toward Acorn Street, one of the only streets in Boston that still has its original cobblestones.


Allston and Brighton (commonly combined as Allston-Brighton) are on the west side of Boston and are home to Boston College and Boston University. These diverse neighborhoods are filled with colorful murals and an eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes.

East Boston

East Boston (or “Eastie”) is where Boston Logan International Airport is located. Foodies love visiting Eastie for restaurants like Angela’s Cafe or Santarpio’s Pizza. Piers Park is another great place to take in some of the best Boston Harbor and skyline views.

South Boston

South Boston (or “Southie”) is known for its Irish-American heritage and is where the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place. The Seaport district is part of Southie and features many restaurants and cafes with great views of the Boston Harbor nearby.

Is Boston safe? Visit the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston's Downtown.

Most dangerous places in Boston

Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury are all in the southern part of Boston and are notoriously seen as neighborhoods to avoid if you aren’t familiar with the area, especially at night and if traveling solo.

If you are visiting Boston for the first time, you will likely naturally find yourself in one of the safer, more touristy neighborhoods like Back Bay or Beacon Hill, simply because of the historic and cultural sites they are known for.

The real most dangerous place in Boston?

I read an article once that said the most dangerous place in Boston is in a car, and I think that’s the real truth.

Local drivers have no patience on the roads and are not shy about letting you know how they feel. (They have the nickname “Massholes” for a reason.)

This impatience, coupled with the many underground tunnels and roads that veer in every direction, make for a stressful driving experience. Not to mention the traffic is terrible, and parking is both expensive and often hard to find.

Driving in Boston is nuts, and if you aren’t used to driving in the city, you’d be better off using public transportation.

The Boston subway, called the “T,” is one of the oldest and most intricate subway systems in the U.S. and will get you most places you need to go in Boston. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, Boston is a really walkable city during the day and you might enjoy getting from point A to point B by foot.

Boston Chinatown

Other safety questions

Is Boston safer than New York?

Boston’s violent crime rate is slightly higher than Manhattan, New York. Neighborhood Scout says the chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Manhattan is 1 in 192 or 5.21 per 1,000 residents (compared to 1 in 166 or 6 per 1,000 residents in Boston).

Conversely, the property crime rate is slightly higher in Manhattan at 1 in 52 or 19.62 per 1,000 residents (compared to 1 in 54 or about 19 per 1,000 residents in Boston).

Boston’s crime rate is also higher than Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, but lower than the Bronx, where the violent crime rate is 1 in 124 (7.78 per 1,000 residents) and property crime is 1 in 56 (18 per 1,000 residents).

Is Boston safer than Chicago?

Yes, overall, Boston has a lower crime rate than Chicago. The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Chicago is 1 in 115 or 8.7 per 1,000 residents, and the chance of property crime is 1 in 42 or 23.82 per 1,000 residents.

How does Boston compare to other major U.S. cities?

The table below shows how Boston stacks up compared to the 10 largest U.S. cities. The cities are ranked from lowest violent crime rate to highest violent crime rate, and the numbers are per 1,000 residents.

Boston is safer than most of these cities based on these numbers.

San Diego, CA3.9619.32
San Jose, CA4.3926.04
New York, NY5.2119
⭐️ Boston, MA6.0218.64
Los Angeles, CA7.424.6
San Antonio, TX7.5142.04
Philadelphia, PA8.1126.55
Phoenix, AZ8.4834.38
Dallas, TX8.6436.29
Chicago, IL8.723.82
Houston, TX12.442.33

Is Boston safe to travel alone?

Yes, overall, Boston is a safe place to travel solo, especially if you stick to the tourist areas like Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Downtown, and avoid walking alone at night.

Downtown Boston

Is Boston safe for international students?

According to U-Multirank, Boston has a score of 60.42, meaning it ranks 188 out of 461 cities globally for safety. Schools like Boston College and Boston University are in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood, which is known for being one of the safer neighborhoods in Boston.

Based on my experience, there aren’t any particular concerns for international students in Boston. Students should follow the same precautions as anyone else.

Is Boston public transportation safe?

Boston’s public transportation system, the MBTA or “T,” is a safe and easy way to travel around the city. I have ridden the T many times and always felt comfortable on board.

As with most things, I would avoid riding the T very late at night, as that’s when the stations become very empty and you could become an easier target for criminals.

Is it safe to walk around Boston at night?

Generally, it’s safe to walk around Boston at night if you’re in a more crowded area, like Back Bay, North End, or Downtown. I wouldn’t recommend walking alone at night if an area looks pretty empty (you know, like back alleys and such).

Is it safe to walk in downtown Boston?

Yes, most parts of Downtown Boston are very safe especially during the day. Downtown is where you will find some of the most famous historic sites of Boston, like Faneuil Hall Marketplace and other stops along the Freedom Trail. It’s also a popular area for shopping.

Is Boston safe? North End is one of the safest neighborhoods

Safety tips when traveling to Boston

Here are some general tips to keep in mind to stay safe in Boston (which could honestly apply anywhere).

  • Stay alert and trust your instincts.
  • Keep your house, hotel, or car doors locked at all times.
  • Avoid walking around at night, especially if you are alone or in less crowded areas.
  • Never keep your valuables in plain sight.
  • Use public transportation instead of driving.

Important phone numbers in Boston

The most important number to know in Boston is the emergency line: 911 (same as anywhere else in the U.S.).

For the local Boston police department (non-emergencies), call 617-343-4500.

Best places to stay in Boston

Here are two of the best hotels I recommend when staying in Boston:

📍Omni Parker House: This hotel is in Boston’s Downtown neighborhood and is within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions. It’s also one of Boston’s most historic hotels, in operation since 1855.

📍Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor: This East Boston hotel is close to the Boston Logan airport and offers a free shuttle service to both the airport and the MBTA Blue line. It’s a more mid-range hotel with beautiful views of the Boston Harbor.

Wrap-up: Is Boston safe?

Boston is safer than most major U.S. cities and has long been a beloved destination for tourists due to its many historic sights, proximity to the Boston Harbor and Atlantic Ocean, and diverse food scene.

As long as you stay vigilant and take normal safety precautions, you are sure to have a safe and enjoyable time in this amazing city!

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