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Although not as intimidating as New York or Los Angeles, Boston is by no means a place where people leave their doors unlocked. It is a major city, and as when traveling to any major city, use common sense and you shouldn't encounter any major problems.
Violent crime is not common or prevalent in Boston, but murders and robberies happen every year, just as in every other city. Boston is patrolled and kept safe by the Boston Police Department, the 20th largest force in the United States. Some neighborhoods and suburbs have their own police forces, but others are included under the BPD’s umbrella. The MBTA also has its own police force to protect passengers and to investigate crime, but public transportation in Boston is very safe and incidents of crime are rare. Additionally, most colleges and universities in Boston have their own police force or security detail.
The areas where tourists usually visit are fairly safe, even after dark. Areas such as Quincy Market, Back Bay and The North End are usually well populated with people out to enjoy themselves. During the school year, you can count on a multitude of students to be out and about late at night. As always in any crowded areas, keep note of your belongings, make sure your wallet or purse is not too easy to access. A recent rise in the murder rate has largely been confined to some of the city’s poorest areas, particularly parts of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. As always in a major U.S. city, it is wise to ask around if you plan to explore off the beaten track.