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Despite perception, crime in Fall River and Massachusetts continues to decline



If you were to enter Fall River social media groups and were not familiar with the area, you would assume that crime in Fall River continues to increase, however, that is not the case.

When crime is reported on, and posted to, social media, such as Facebook, you will almost certainly run into multiple comments along the lines of “this city is getting so bad” or “Fall River is getting worse and worse. It just isn’t a safe place.” The statistics represent a different picture.

Last fall, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its 2019 edition of Crime in the United States, which showed that violent crime decreased nationwide for the third consecutive year. After decreases in both 2017 and 2018, the violent crime rate dropped an additional one percent in 2020 and the property crime rate decreased 4.5 percent.

The 2019 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 366.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the estimated rate of property crime was 2,109.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate fell 1.0% when compared with the 2018 rate; the property crime rate declined 4.5%.

Within Massachusetts, 22,578 violent crimes-crimes that fall into the categories of aggravated assault, rape, robbery, and murder and non-negligent manslaughter-were reported. A drop of 3.6%. Last year the state saw 23,424. The biggest drop was in robberies where there were over 400 fewer than 2018.

Now in specifically Fall River, there were 908 violent crimes in 2018, according to the report. In 2019, the statistic dropped to 773. 5 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters, 51 rapes, 113 robberies, 604 aggravated assaults, 1,074 property crimes, 412 burglaries, 499 larceny thefts, 163 motor vehicle thefts, and 21 arsons were reported.

Preliminary statistics in Fall River for 2020 have also shown a decrease in crime which could at least partially be related to the pandemic and more residents staying home.

crime rate data fall river 3
Chart courtesy of

As the chart above reveals from, crime in Fall River just hasn’t decreased in the last year or two. It has been decreasing for years (use the zoom feature to get a closer look on statistics).

More people are tapped into scanners and news on social media than ever before which can explain some of the incorrect perception. Residents listening to or reading scanner calls assuming how the incident is first reported is exactly what took place is also an issue as how a call comes across a scanner often changes into something very different and is often a lesser crime if a crime at all.

Now I am not suggesting by any means that Fall River is Duxbury. The crime rate is still high. In 2019, Fall River was determined the most dangerous city in Massachusetts. In 2020 Fall River came in at #2. That doesn’t mean, however, that crime in Fall River hasn’t made great strides. Because it has.

Here are the most dangerous cities in Massachusetts ranked based on Violent Crimes Per Capita (the combination of aggravated assaults, rapes, robberies, murders, and non-negligent manslaughter.

#11 – New Bedford
Population: 94,613
Violent Crimes: 628
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 6.63
Murder: 3

#10 – Chelsea
Population: 40,496
Violent Crimes: 270
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 6.66
Murder: 0

#9 – Lawrence
Population: 80,243
Violent Crimes: 541
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 6.74
Murder: 3

#8 – Pittsfield
Population: 42,268
Violent Crimes: 300
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 7.09
Murder: 2

#7 – Wareham
Population: 22,592
Violent Crimes: 161
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 7.12
Murder: 1

#6 – Webster
Population: 16,295
Violent Crimes: 122
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 7.20
Murder: 0

#5 – Tisbury
Population: 4,116
Violent Crimes: 30
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 7.28
Murder: 3

#4 – Brockton
Population: 95,287
Violent Crimes: 782
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 8.20
Murder: 5

#3 – Holyoke
Population: 40,178
Violent Crimes: 345
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 8.58
Murder: 4

#2 – Fall River
Population: 89,066
Violent Crimes: 773
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 8.67
Murder: 5

#1 – Springfield
Population: 154,306
Violent Crimes: 1,397
Violent Crimes Per Capita: 9.05
Murder: 20

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