If you’re looking for the best apartment rentals websites in Boston, you’re probably considering the usual factors: building amenities, nearby establishments, and the monthly rent. In fact, you might even be looking into the cheapest neighborhoods in Boston! However, there is another essential factor you might be overlooking: the safety and security of a Boston neighborhood.
Just like any other major city in the USA, there are areas in Boston that are safer than others. In general, these areas have low rates of violent and property crime, as well as overall total crime. These areas are hugely popular with young families and retirees, as well as singles who don’t want to worry about living alone.
Here are our picks for the five safest neighborhoods in Boston, and what you can expect in these neighborhoods.
How to Determine If a Neighborhood is Safe
For first-time renters in Boston, it is only natural that you are not familiar with the different neighborhoods in the city. However, it is essential for your peace of mind and security to know more about the area. You won’t be able to enjoy all the great things that Boston has to offer if you’re worried about your safety!
Here are four ways to determine if a potential neighborhood in Boston is safe:
Check crime mapping services
Crime mapping services are great online resources because they are free and easy to use. They work by collating police and crime reports, so you can quickly check all recent reports in a certain location. Two of the most popular services are SpotCrime and NeighborhoodScout. AreaVibes is also a great resource for comparing crime rates between similar cities in a state.
To know more about a particular Boston neighborhood, you simply enter the address of the potential apartment you want to rent in their database. You’ll get a detailed list of all the crimes committed in the area, including the date and type of the crime. You can use these tools to compare the crime incidence rates and find the safest neighborhoods that fall into your search parameters.
Check the number of available rentals in the area
Using apartment rental websites, you can check the number of available rentals in a neighborhood. The number of vacant units could be an indicator of its safety rating; when families feel safe, they do not want to leave. They are comfortable laying down roots and raising families, resulting in a low turnover rate of apartments.
Another useful indicator to check is the length of time that residents stay in a certain neighborhood. If the locals are long-term residents, it could be a good sign that they feel safe and secure in that neighborhood.
Pay a personal visit before you move in
If you can, visit a potential apartment and neighborhood in person. You’ll get a feel for what it is like to live in that neighborhood. You might even consider visiting in the day and during the night to see if it feels the same.
The overall state of the area will tell you a lot about the environment -- look for things like well-light and clean streets, as well as well-maintained apartments. Generally, safe neighborhoods have homes that are well-kept because the residents take pride in their homes. While one or two unsightly apartments are not unusual, a large number should be a red flag.
Talk with the locals
When you visit a Boston neighborhood, take the time to chat with the residents. A quick conversation can get you more in-depth information than any online search. After all, they’ll have first-hand experience in how safe it is to live in that neighborhood! Introduce yourself as someone who is looking to rent an apartment, and ask about their experience living in the area. In most cases, the locals would be happy to give you an inside look at how it is to live there.
Another way to get inside information is by using Facebook housing groups. If you can’t pay a personal visit, you can use these groups to connect with locals and voice any concerns you might have. In some cases, you might even get detailed information that you won’t hear in person!
5 Safest Neighborhoods in Boston
- East Boston
- Hyde Park
- Jamaica Plain
- South Boston
In this list, we compiled the five safest neighborhoods in Boston based on the overall crime rate, specifically non-violent crimes.
The Allston-Brighton area is one of the largest neighborhoods in Boston, as it is made up of two interlocked regions. With 317 violent crimes per 100k residents, this neighborhood is one of the safest areas in Massachusetts. In fact, according to AreaVibes, Allston-Brighton is safer than 82% of the cities in the state, with violent crimes being 16% lower than the national average.
This neighborhood is a firmly middle-class area, with a mix of residential and commercial pockets. Some of the notable businesses that have made Allston-Brighton home include the WBGH Education Foundation and the sports giant New Balance. On the residential side, Allston-Brighton is highly popular with students, young professionals, and singles. You’ll find a largely Bohemian and trendy vibe here.
Historically, East Boston was considered a haven for immigrants as it had a large population of Italian, Russian Jews, and Irish communities who settled down in this neighborhood. Recently, the Latino community has also noticeably increased as well, resulting in one of the most culturally diverse areas in Boston. Crime rates in East Boston have steadily gone down through the years, and it is considered to be safer than 69% of other neighborhoods in Massachusetts.
Its proximity to Logan International Airport as well as affordable apartment rates makes this neighborhood popular with students and young professionals. There are also great green spaces for residents to enjoy, such as Constitution Beach, Piers Park, and Belle Isle Marsh.
Hyde Park is a relatively small neighborhood located in the southernmost area of Boston. With a population of only around 35,000 people, living here will feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of a suburb. It’s not accidental either; the motto is “A small town in the city”, and the residents take pride in their tightly knit community. With only 1 violent crime and 11 property crimes per 1000 residents, Hyde Park is considered to be safer than 78% of cities in Massachusetts.
Since it is mostly a residential area, most of the businesses in this neighborhood are owned by locals. Chain stores and commercial coffee shops are the exception; it’s not uncommon for business owners to know their customers by name! Aside from their strong community spirit, the locals are also fiercely proud of their green spaces like Stony Brook Park and Neponset River Reservation. If you’ve got a dog, make sure to bring them to Dedham Dog Park, one of the best dog parks in Boston.
If you’re looking for a Boston neighborhood that’s culturally diverse, look no further than Jamaica Plain. This area has a huge Latin and African-American community, as well as an Asian community that is slowly laying down roots over the years. Jamaica Plain is also very LGBTQ+ friendly, with Centre Street catering to this demographic. The crime rates in Jamaica Plain rank in the 55th percentile for safety, which means that it is safer than 55% of U.S. cities.
Jamaica Plain is a foodie’s paradise. You’ll find culinary influences from all over the world, and you’ll never run out of a new restaurant, coffee shop, or bar to try. However, if you’re looking for a tried-and-true local destination, The Galway House offers American-Italian fusion fare with a selection of microbrews.
South Boston is a densely populated neighborhood, attracting young families, singles, and professionals because of its low crime rates and vibrant dining scene. However, the downside to living in South Boston is the relatively expensive rent for large apartments; a 2-bedroom apartment costs around $2,744 per month on average. If you’re looking for an affordable Boston apartment, there are great apartment rental websites where you can find a unit that fits your budget.
Every year, South Boston becomes a buzzing neighborhood during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Once the hubbub dies down, residents can go back to the quiet and charming life that is synonymous with this area. The waterfront is home to great Irish pubs such as Shenanigans Bar and J.J. Foley’s Cafe.
Least Safe Neighborhoods in Boston
We have also compiled a list of the least safe neighborhoods in Boston based on crime statistics and reviews. Please note that we are not discouraging renters from finding apartments in these areas, we are simply advising them to exercise a little bit of extra caution.
The information was gathered from USA Electronic System for Travel Authorization Online, as well as Housely.com.
Fenway Park is great to visit during the day, especially if you are a Red Sox fan. However, the surrounding area might not be as safe at night. The nearby bars can get crowded and rowdy during home games while the local homeless population frequent the public neighborhood gardens. While the crime rates are 24% lower than the national average, you will have a 1 in 53 chance of becoming a victim of crime.
Compared to other nearby neighborhoods such as Roslindale and Dorchester, Mattapan has a lower rate of gentrification and a higher crime rate incidence. According to AreaVibes, there is a 1 in 30 chance that you will be a victim of crime in this neighborhood. The crime rates are 37% higher than the national average.
Choosing Your Neighborhood in Boston
Finding the safest neighborhood for you in Boston might seem hard, but with a little bit of research and some precautions, there is no reason for you not to find an apartment where you will be safe. Overall, Boston is a great city with so much to offer, from diverse neighborhoods to amazing restaurants, and some of the country’s best schools such as Cambridge and Harvard!
Paying a personal visit to a potential neighborhood is one of the best ways to gauge how it would be like to live there. You should look for some common features that are present among the safest neighborhoods in Boston, such as welcoming neighbors, maintained homes, and a general feeling of safety when in public areas. You should also look for signs that the local government invests in public infrastructures such as well-kept green spaces, well-lit streets, and clean public areas.