Where Not to Stay in Boston

Planning a trip to Boston? To enjoy the visit as much as possible, one should take into consideration the choice of a safe residential area with good living conditions. Boston is one of America’s oldest and most historic cities. Millions of people visit every year to walk the Freedom Trail, cheer on the Red Sox, and take in sights like the USS Constitution and Faneuil Hall.

Boston is a great city known for its rich history, amazing culture, and fun attractions; however, certain parts where not to stay in Boston and need to be avoided because they have increased crime rates and more unsafe environments. The following is a useful overview of what to consider before making hotel reservations for Beantown.

Key Takeaways

  • Areas like Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester have serious issues with gang violence, drug activity, and gun crimes.
  • Other neighborhoods like South End, Back Bay, Hyde Park, and South Boston battle more petty theft and tourist-targeted scams.
  • Avoid isolated areas such as Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester, especially at night, travel in groups, and don’t carry valuables to stay safe.
  • Use police crime maps and hotel staff tips to research neighborhood safety in advance.
  • North End, Beacon Hill, Seaport, Cambridge, and Brookline are examples of safer, walkable alternative areas to stay.

However, like any major city, Boston has its share of dangerous areas. Choosing the right neighborhood to stay in is key to having a fun and hassle-free visit. This guide takes an in-depth look at Boston’s most problematic neighborhoods for safety.

Where Not to Stay in Boston: Boston’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods

While no area of Boston is safe or dangerous, some neighborhoods stand out for higher crime rates, gang activity, and concerning safety trends.


  • Struggles with violent crime from active gangs and the drug trade.
  • Police data shows high rates of homicide, rape, and aggravated assault.
  • Sections near Blue Hill Ave, Dudley Square, and Malcolm X Park are most problematic.
  • Needles and overt drug use are not an uncommon sight.
  • Petty theft like grab-and-run robberies frequently occurs as well.


  • Faces serious gun and gang violence fueled by the drug trade.
  • Homicide and shooting rates are extremely high here.
  • Areas near Blue Hill Ave, Woodruff Way, and Maryknoll Street tend to be most dangerous.
  • Visitors should be cautious about walking alone or at night.

Dorchester (South)

  • Ongoing gang violence associated with a sprawling housing project.
  • Shootings and gun-related homicides happen often.
  • Theft from tourists’ rental cars and robberies are also an issue.
  • Areas closer to Roxbury and Mattapan tend to be more dangerous.

Dorchester (North)

  • Struggles with violent crimes including shootings, stabbings, and homicide.
  • Problematic areas include Uphams Corner, Codman Square, and Four Corners.
  • Visitors should be extra cautious walking alone or using ATMs here.

Hyde Park

  • Sees regular incidents of gun violence, assault, robbery, and homicide.
  • Gangs like the Latin Kings have a strong presence.
  • Sections closer to Mattapan and Roxbury feel less safe.
  • Property crimes like car break-ins and home burglaries also occur.

South End

  • Growing safety concerns from illegal drug sales and use.
  • Criminal activity emanates from certain housing projects.
  • Sections near Massachusetts Ave and Melnea Cass Blvd are more dangerous.
  • Muggings, armed robberies, and physical assaults occur, especially at night.

Back Bay – Beacon Hill

  • These popular and upscale neighborhoods still battle petty crime.
  • Grab-and-run thefts, pickpocketing, and locker room robberies at the Prudential Center.
  • Areas near Boston Common, Public Garden, and Newbury St. see more tourist-targeted theft.
  • Overall violent crime rates are lower than other neighborhoods.


  • No longer as dangerous as its historic reputation due to gentrification.
  • Petty theft, mugging, home burglaries, and vehicle break-ins still occur.
  • Areas near Paul Revere Park, Medford St, and Main St see more incidents.
  • Tourists may be targeted, especially after leaving bars at night.

South Boston

  • Sees assaults and robberies late at night near the busy bar scene.
  • Petty theft and tourist scams are not uncommon.
  • Areas around West Broadway, Day Boulevard, and P Street tend to have more crime.
  • The scenic waterfront is generally safer.

How to Stay Safe in Boston

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize risks, regardless of where you stay:

  • Stick to well-lit, busy streets, especially at night.
  • Avoid isolated alleys, vacant lots, tunnels, and parks after dark.
  • Leave expensive jewelry, bags, and electronics at home or your hotel.
  • Stay alert and trust your instincts if a place feels unsafe.
  • Travel in groups rather than alone when possible.
  • Research areas in advance using police crime maps.
  • Ask your hotel concierge for safety tips about the local neighborhood.
  • Use only licensed taxis or ride shares, never unlicensed cars.
  • Try not to use ATMs late at night or in desolate spots.

Also Read Best Way to Travel in Boston: Transports/Cost/Sights (2024)

Safer Neighborhood Alternatives in Boston

Luckily, Boston also boasts many vibrant, walkable neighborhoods known for safety, charm, and convenience:

  • North End – Boston’s Little Italy with amazing cuisine and old-world ambiance.
  • Beacon Hill – Historic gas-lit streets and brick sidewalks with boutique shopping and dining.
  • Back Bay – Upscale brownstones, tree-lined streets, and high-end stores.
  • South Boston Waterfront – The vibrant Seaport District along Boston Harbor with restaurants, parks, and attractions.
  • Cambridge – Intellectual vibe with Harvard and M.I.T. campuses and eclectic squares.
  • Brookline – Peaceful community feel with parks, indie shops, and easy transit access.

Don’t Let Safety Concerns Spoil Your Trip

Boston’s most high-risk neighborhoods definitely require extra precautions. However, taking basic safety measures allows you to experience all this iconic city offers. Spend your days strolling cobblestone streets, visiting historic sites, enjoying delicious seafood, and cheering on the Celtics or Bruins. By staying in a safer area and using common sense, you can have the Boston adventure of a lifetime.

Also Read Boston Best Italian Restaurants: Must Visit Right Now (2024)

Resources for Further Information

For more details on the safety of specific neighborhoods, check out:

Final Thoughts

Some sections of Boston necessitate additional care, but the entire area is full of many attractions that range from sightseeing, to eating, art, and culture. Selecting appropriate accommodations and staying conscious of basic safety tips will give you a wonderful experience in experiencing one of the classic destinations of America—New England. 

Let the priceless history and life buzzing of Boston make you fall in love with it, but be wary and avoid the city’s most dangerous areas.

How does this draft look? I sought to present an in-depth discussion using bullet points that will be useful to those visiting Boston. If you want me to edit this draft blog post or make changes, feel free to let me know. Thus, I am glad to improve upon this content to make it perfect for publishing on your website.


Is Boston safe for solo female travellers?

Boston is generally considered quite safe for solo female travelers. As with any big city, it’s best to be alert, avoid deserted areas at night, and take normal safety precautions. The downtown areas frequented by tourists are typically very safe.

What part of Boston has the highest crime rate?

Roxbury, Mattapan, and parts of Dorchester tend to have higher crime rates than other Boston neighborhoods. However, many areas within these neighborhoods are perfectly fine.

Where are the poorest areas of Boston?

The poorest neighborhoods in Boston are parts of Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester. Poverty rates tend to be highest in certain sections of these areas.

Is Boston safer than New York?

Boston is considered safer overall than New York City in terms of violent crime rates. However, petty crime like pickpocketing can happen in tourist areas of both cities.

What is the poorest neighborhood in Boston?

Roxbury has been called the poorest neighborhood in Boston, with the largest public housing development in New England. Other very low-income areas include parts of Mattapan and Dorchester.

Is downtown Boston safe for tourists?

Downtown Boston, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End, Seaport, and Cambridge are generally quite safe for solo female travelers and tourists. Sticking to well-lit public areas in these neighborhoods should minimize risks.

Where is it safe to travel alone as a woman?

In general, larger cities in wealthier countries with good infrastructure and policing tend to be safer for solo female travel. This includes cities like Boston, New York, Toronto, and London. Taking normal safety precautions is still advised.

How safe is Boston 2024?

As of 2024, Boston remains a very safe major U.S. city compared to others. While petty crime persists, violent crime rates are relatively low. Using caution in problem areas, Boston is reasonably safe for tourists and solo travelers.

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