You’ll Never Guess Which City Has the Highest Crime Rate in Massachusetts

When examining crime rates in Massachusetts, one might assume that larger, more populous cities like Boston or Worcester would rank highest. However, the title for the city with the highest crime rate in Massachusetts might catch you off guard—it’s not among the state’s most populated cities but rather a smaller locale known as Holyoke.

Taking a Deeper Look at Holyoke

Holyoke, boasting a population of around 37,720, holds an overall crime rate of 43.98 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 34.3 per 1,000. Concerning violent crimes, Holyoke reports a rate of 739 incidents per 100,000 people. The City Center and Holyoke Southeast neighborhoods are identified as the most perilous areas.

Historically, Holyoke served as a mill town, once responsible for producing 80% of the nation’s writing paper. Its strategic location on the Hadley Falls, coupled with its establishment as a Dam city on a grid plan, led to its association with paper, silk, and even alpaca wool mills.

However, since its peak population of 60,000 in 1920, the city has experienced a decline, primarily due to the decrease in mills during the latter stages of the 20th century.

Crime in Massachusetts as a Whole

Despite Holyoke’s elevated crime rate, it’s essential to highlight that Massachusetts, overall, is considered safer than the national average. In 2020, the most recent year with complete FBI statistics, The Bay State reported 1,362 crimes per 100,000 population. The violent crime rate corresponds to 338 crimes per 100,000 people.


While Holyoke claims the top spot for the highest crime rate in Massachusetts, it’s crucial to acknowledge that crime rates can significantly differ from one neighborhood to another within a city.

Moreover, while crime rates offer some insight into a city’s safety, they represent just one facet to consider. Additional factors such as community programs, economic conditions, and local law enforcement efforts also wield substantial influence on a city’s overall safety.


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