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Community/External Quality and Safety

Boston Crime Density

The map shows crime density at block group level in Boston in the year 2017. (A block group is the smallest geographical unit for which the census bureau publishes sample data, and generally contains between 600 and 3,000 people.)

How are crime and housing related? 

Crime impacts neighborhood safety and home stability, and communities with strong social organization and engagement opportunities for youths are often associated with lower crime rates.

Unstable and inadequate housing can lead to increased crime rates, as individuals who are placed in extraordinarily challenging situations may be more likely to commit crimes. Studies show that increasing affordable housing in communities with high crime rates lowers crime density, which then benefits the safe and healthy development of families in that community. Individuals and organizations that invest in our communities by increasing residential stability, creating opportunities for youths, and building a safe environment are doing their part to improve these statistics.


What is on the top layer? 

Open spaces (parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, community gardens, natural areas, malls, squares or plazas)


How is this information calculated?

We first calculated total number of crimes reported to the Boston Police Department, ranging from non-violent minor crimes to major offenses, in each block group. We then sorted all of the block groups into quintiles and applied a category to each one: very high, high, moderate, low, and very low. The top 20% of block groups were classified into very high density of crimes reported, and the lowest 20% were classified as very low density of crimes reported.



Data Source: Department of Innovation and Technology. (2018). Crime Incident Reports (August 2015 - To Date) (Source: New System). Retrieved from

Reference: Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2016. Neighborhoods and Violent Crime. Retrieved from 

Diamond, R., & Mcquade, T. (2016). Who Wants Affordable Housing in their Backyard? An Equilibrium Analysis of Low Income Property Development. doi:10.3386/w22204

Open space of Boston source:

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