Worcester is a city in Worcester County, MA, and is named after an area in England called Worcestershire. It’s known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth”, which ties into their flag design with a heart in the center. Throughout the years, Worcester has continued to become a more diverse place to live, with plenty of family-friendly activities.
While we’ll get more into Worcester crime rates, we want to note that while some of the crime rates are higher than the national average, there are still plenty of safe, family-friendly, affordable, and wonderful places to settle down in Worcester, MA.
Understanding the Worcester Crime Rate | How Crime Rates Are Calculated
It’s essential to note where the crime data comes from and how the rates get calculated. In this instance, most of the rates come from the FBI when they collect and analyze crime data from local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
The data gets put into multiple categories: total crime rate, violent crime rate, and property crime rate. Know that the rates can change and vary each year for different reasons and causes. The most common include:
- Crime rates can be misleading as they don’t include all of the offenses (only the index crimes get included)
- The FBI stats don’t count shootings as an offense. Don’t get us wrong, a lot of cities do include shootings in their statistics, but there are still plenty that do not
- Crimes like domestic violence and sexual assault don’t always get reported to the police department
- Crimes don’t have a uniform definition across different cities and states
- To determine if an area is safe, the crime statistics need context
CNN discusses how crime stats can be misleading and goes on to how to understand them better. In fact, even the FBI discourages using crime statistics and rates to compare metro areas, cities, and states because it doesn’t give the entire story. The tools that share city or state crime stats are still essential, but they are not the only way to determine if a place is safe.
Since there has been a problem with the crime stats not being as accurate or detailed as they could be, in 2021, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting System was phased out and replaced with the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
This new system helps collect data on more crimes and even has 20+ indexed crime categories–requiring agencies to submit a more detailed report. While it’s good that more crimes are getting reported and categorized, it can show an increase in crime, even if nothing has changed.
What Is the Worcester Massachusetts Crime Rate?
When you’re moving to a new space, you often are curious about the crime rate. In addition to other research, it can be a good tool. Here’s the breakdown of the crime rate in Worcester, MA.
- Worcester total crime rate: 2,631 total crimes per 100k people (1 in 38 chance of becoming a victim of a crime)
- Worcester property crime rate: 1,999 property crimes per 100k people
- Worcester violent crime rate: 632 violent crimes per 100k people
Now, you might be wondering how that compares to the national crime rate and the state crime rate. Here’s a breakdown:
- Total Crime Rate Compared To National Average: 12.1% higher than the country
- Property Crime Rate Compared To National Average: 2.1% higher than the country
- Violent Crime Rate Compared To National Average: 63% higher than the country
- Total Crime Rate Compared To State: 93.2% higher than the rest of Massachusetts
- Property Crime Rate Compared To State: 89.3% higher than the rest of Massachusetts
- Violent Crime Rate Compared To State: 104.7% higher than the rest of Massachusetts
While the Worcester crime rate might be higher than the national and the Ohio crime rate average, that doesn’t mean Worcester isn’t a safe place to live. Every city has crime, and there are still plenty of safe, secure, and family-friendly areas of Worcester to call home. Worcester, MA, was voted as “One Of The Best Places To Live In The US In 2022,” according to Livability.
Worcester also has some of the best public schools in Massachusetts.
When you look at the city as a whole, it’s a great place to settle down and start a family.
Worcester Crime Map & Crime Report
Crime maps help you to get a better sense of the total crime rate in an area before you move. It allows you to see the best place to settle down while also letting you know the places to avoid. You can get a better idea regarding local crimes from sites like City-Data, Areavibes, and NeighborhoodScout. While the Worcester Police Department doesn’t have the Worcester police reports on their website, don’t be afraid to call and ask to see if you could get the total crime stats for Worcester, MA.
While they don’t have the total crime report, if you have an elderly person in your life, check out this essential document that the Worcester PD put together to help identify and prevent fraud against our older loved ones.
Violent Crime in Worcester
In 2020, the violent crime rate for murder was lower than the national average in Worcester, MA, and it’s considered a great place to live and retire. And over the years, Worcester’s violent crime rate has continued to trend downward and decrease year over year. Yes, there are areas to avoid in Worcester, but this is true for every city throughout the United States.
- Worcester murder rate per 100k people: 5 per 100k people, which is 117.4% higher than the state average, but 23.6% lower than the national average
- Worcester total number of homicides for the year: 10
- Worcester violent crime rate per 100k people: 632
- Chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Worcester: 1 in 159 residents
Also, take into consideration that the homicide rate is well-below other cities in the United States. For example, Detroit has 303 homicides per year, Indianapolis has 239 homicides per year, Milwaukee has 195 homicides per year, and Kansas City has 156 homicides per year. Worcester’s homicide rate per year is only 10, so while the total violent crime rate is higher than the state average, the murder rate is 23.6% lower than the national average. Worcester is a great place to call home.
Property Crime in Worcester
While the property crime rate is still higher than the national average, according to the Pioneer Institute of Public Policy Research, Worcester has seen a decrease in property crimes by 41% from 2010 to 2020.
- Worcester property crime rate per 100k people: 1,999 per 100k people, which is 89.8% higher than the state average, but only 2.1% higher than the national average
- Worcester total property crimes: Total property crime is 3,695: 667 for burglary, 2,581 for larceny (theft), 447 for motor vehicle theft, and 10 for arson
- Chance of becoming a victim of property crime in Worcester: 1 in 51 residence
Bad/Dangerous/High Crime Areas Of Worcester
While there are no specific neighborhoods to stay away from in Worcester, MA, just like any other city, there are places that have more crime than others. For Worcester, the higher crime areas are the south and east parts of the town, like Grafton Hill, Vernon Hill, Ward Street, Pleasant Street, and Belmont Hill, but the police department is working hard to make a change and transform those areas.
A total of 492 law enforcement employees make up the force, with 442 of that total being sworn officers or two officers per 1,000 residents.
Safest Neighborhoods In Worcester
There are so many safe neighborhoods in Worcester, MA, to call home, but here are some of the top ones.
When you think about the West Side (a.k.a. West Worcester), the first three words that come to mind are historical, safe, and family-friendly. It has great schools, plenty of fun attractions to check out, and most importantly, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Worcester! West Side is also home to a highly sought-after college prep school: MA Academy for Math & Science.
Whether you’re a young professional, have a family, or are looking to retire, the West Side has something for everyone!
With a low crime rate, fun restaurants, and cafes like the Bean Counter Bakery Cafe and Oak Barrel Tavern, Forest Grove is known for being a safe oasis. It’s a quiet space that’s great for retirees and families.
Shrewsbury Street is a safe community that’s perfect for young professionals. While it’s a safe place to settle down, Shrewsbury Street is a trendy community best known for its nightlife, restaurants, and bars. While this area might be popular for the younger generations, it’s also a highly-desirable place for families because of the low crime and amenities like local parks, splash pads, and sports fields.
When you choose one of the best, low-crime neighborhoods of Worcester, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you, your family, and your loved ones are safe.
Worcester Safety Tips | How To Avoid Crime In Worcester
Whether you’re a current resident of Massachusetts but are relocating to Worcester or are moving to Worcester, MA, for the first time, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety, especially when getting to know a new area. Here are some of the top things everyone should do to help avoid becoming a victim of a crime and ensure your safety in Worcester:
- Set up a security system
- Lock doors (even during the day)
- Keep your windows locked
- Don’t go after dark
- Carry pepper spray
- Set up video surveillance
- Travel in groups
- Increase lighting both inside and outside your home
We recommend implementing these into your new neighborhood, regardless of the neighborhood, because it’s a good practice to live by in life.
But whether you take all of these or make a list of your own, you have to decide what makes you feel safe, comfortable, and at peace in your home.
Worcester Police Department
While we’ve already talked about how the Worcester Police Department continues to grow to meet the needs of their community, there’s a handle full of different departments that handle specific needs of the community:
- Administration: This division helps with everything from administrative licensing, background investigations, crime analysis, records, and the training division
- Bureau of Investigative Services: Has everything from Gang Unit, Detective Bureau, Forensic Science, and the Vice Unit
- Bureau of Professional Standards: Helps to ensure that both officers (sworn) and other non-sworn employees uphold the standards of the department
- Operations: Helps with traffic enforcement, animal control, school liaison, problem property unit, and special operations
The Worcester PD is working hard to provide the best service and protection to this beautiful community. There are a total of 492 law enforcement employees, with 442 of that total being sworn officers – that’s two officers per 1,000 residents.
The Chief Commissioner is Steve M Sargent. Anyone can access the Worcester police reports, so if you’re curious about learning more, check out their website.
Worcester Police Department Address & Contact
- Address: 9-11 Lincoln Square, Worcester, MA 01608
- Non-emergency Phone Number: (508) 799-8630
Worcester Crime Rate FAQ
Is Worcester, MA Safe?
While the total Worcester crime rates might be higher than the national average, the simple answer is yes. Worcester is a safe place to live. There are some places to avoid, but that’s common in any city.
Where Are The Safest Worcester, MA Neighborhoods?
The safest neighborhoods in Worcester, MA, include the West Side, Forest Grove, and Shrewsbury Street.
Where Can I Find The Worcester, MA Police Reports?
You can find the Worcester Police reports here.
Are you interested in making Worcester, MA, your home? Mass Bay Movers is here to help make your transition seamless! With our hardworking, dedicated, professional team of experts, we will be there for you every step of the way. Call us at (978) 587-3775 for a free estimate!