Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Boston

Jun 9th 2024
As one of America’s great historic cities, Boston has great waterfront views, world-class museums, and a booming economy. Colonial Boston played a key role in the founding of the United States, and the city currently plays a major role in the culture and economy of the New England region. With many reasons to live in Boston, the safety question is a common concern. To make the most of visiting or relocating, we’ve compiled a list of the twelve most dangerous places to live in Boston.

hash-mark12 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Boston

  1. Central 
  2. Roxbury
  3. South End
  4. North Dorchester 
  5. South Dorchester
  6. Mattapan
  7. Back Bay-Beacon Hill
  8. Chelsea
  9. Chinatown
  10. South Boston
  11. Hyde Park
  12. Jamaica Plain

hash-mark1. Central

The most dangerous neighborhood in Boston is Central. Although this area is in the heart of the city and has a population of around 33,000 residents, it is considered the worst part of Boston. Central’s violent crime rate is exorbitantly high, being 321% higher than the national average. Despite its high crime rate, Central has multiple tourist attractions, including museums, arenas, and plenty of historical sites. Being located in Boston proper, Central benefits from being a convenient location. 

hash-mark2. Roxbury 

Roxbury is another one of the most dangerous Boston neighborhoods. This area of Boston is known for having a high rate of violent crimes, gang activity, and property crime. With a population of 63,672, Roxbury has a crime rate that is 237% higher than the Massachusetts average. In addition, much of this neighborhood has fallen victim to disrepair and urban decay, with some parts of the neighborhood being revitalized. 

hash-mark3. South End

South End is another one of the worst areas in Boston for crime. South End has a population of 34,304 and a crime rate that is 169% higher than the state average. South End doesn’t have a high violent crime rate, but property crime occurs often. Residents are advised to not keep personal belongings in their cars as they are often broken into. Despite having a high crime rate, the average home price in South End is still $568,400. 

hash-mark4. North Dorchester 

North Dorchester has a population of 27,791 and a crime rate that is 156% higher than the national average. North Dorchester is a relatively low-income area with poorly rated schools and below-average employment options. Violent crime remains somewhat of a problem, with property crimes such as theft and vehicle theft being the most common. 

hash-mark5. South Dorchester

South Dorchester is a dangerous Boston neighborhood with a total crime rate of 3,295 per 100,000, which is 142% higher than the Massachusetts state average. While violent crime does occur in this neighborhood, most of the crime is related to property crime. However, violent crime is still prevalent, with assaults and robberies happening sporadically. It is advised to stay aware of your surroundings and use common sense if you are passing through South Dorchester. 

hash-mark6. Mattapan

Mattapan has a population of 39,010 and a crime rate that is 141% higher than the state average, making it one of the worst neighborhoods in Boston for crime. Mattapan has a high property crime rate, with theft, car break-ins, and larceny being common. Despite this, Mattapan is considered to be an up-and-coming neighborhood that is undergoing revitalization. Much of Mattapan’s housing remains public housing and small residential buildings. 

hash-mark7. Back Bay-Beacon Hill

Back Bay is a historic waterfront neighborhood known for its rows of Victorian brownstone houses. While crime may not be the largest concern for residents, Back Bay still has a crime rate that is 141% higher than the Massachusetts state average. However, most of this is property crimes such as car break-ins, vehicle theft, and other petty crimes. Back Bay is a relatively affluent community with a median income of $61,578 and a median home price of $352,652.

hash-mark8. Chelsea

Chelsea is another dangerous area in Boston. Situated directly across the Mystic River from Boston, Chelsea is a city that’s home to about 40,000 residents. It’s the second most densely populated city in Massachusetts after Somerville. Chelsea is famous for its historic buildings and authentic restaurants. However, it’s also one of the more dangerous parts of the Boston area. The violent crime rate in Chelsea is 117% higher than the national average and 17% higher than the rest of Boston. It’s more dangerous than 90% of US cities, and your odds of being the victim of a crime in Chelsea are 1 in 39. 

hash-mark9. Chinatown

Chinatown is another dangerous Boston neighborhood. Considered a part of downtown Boston, Chinatown is a lively neighborhood known for its delicious dumpling houses and nightlife venues. It’s one of Boston’s most densely populated neighborhoods and it’s one of the largest Chinatowns in the US, outside of New York City. Although not the most dangerous city in Boston, Chinatown does feature a violent crime rate that is significantly higher than the national average. The violent crime rate in Boston’s Chinatown is 691 crimes per 100,000 residents, which is 39% higher than the rest of the country.

hash-mark10. South Boston

South Boston is also one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Boston. South Boston is a relatively affluent area with access to ports, downtown, and entertainment options. Residents are advised to watch out for car theft and petty crime, and usually, this can be avoided if proper caution is used. Much of the existing criminal element in this neighborhood is being driven out by rising rent and home prices. 

hash-mark11. Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a dangerous Boston neighborhood that is situated just 7.9 miles south of Downtown. Although Hyde Park has a violent crime rate that is 20% higher than the national average, it is considered relatively safe when it comes to violent crime. Most of the crimes in Hyde Park are property crimes, with the most common types of crime being theft and burglaries. However, assaults are not uncommon, so you should always be aware of your surroundings in the neighborhood. Hyde Park still attracts many visitors and residents, with a median home price of $324,484. 

hash-mark12. Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain is another dangerous Boston neighborhood. It has a population of 45,158 and a crime rate that is 36% higher than the Massachusetts average. Jamaica Plain has been revitalized in recent years, with many older homes being rebuilt. The violent crime rate in this neighborhood is mostly assaults, with thefts and burglaries occurring sporadically.