Despite its reputation for friendly folks and a laid-back lifestyle, New Hampshire, fondly known as the Granite State, isn’t without its challenges. Indeed, there are some areas that are considered quite risky to live in.
RoadSnacks has done the legwork for you, compiling a list of the most hazardous locales in New Hampshire for 2024.
How did we go about it? We crunched the numbers. We scrutinized 70 cities in total, using the FBI’s most recent crime report as our guide.
We examined both violent and property crime statistics for every location with a population exceeding 5,000. While New Hampshire’s overall crime rates are higher than the national average, the figures for the state’s most dangerous areas leave room for improvement.
Ask any New Hampshirite, and they’ll likely tell you that their little slice of this New England state is second to none. However, for those residing in the state’s riskiest areas, the reality is quite different.
These communities are not only grappling with high crime rates but also struggling with unemployment, low income, and a dearth of rehabilitation programs.
This is particularly surprising given that New Hampshire is the richest state in the nation. Could it be time for the state to reconsider its income and sales tax policies to better address these issues?
We can’t say for sure, but it does seem that the benefits aren’t trickling down to these troubled areas after the state’s top cities have had their share.
10 Riskiest Places 2024
|Violent Crimes Per 100k
|Property Crimes Per 100k
- Population: 113,018
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 592
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,265
Manchester, the most populous city in New Hampshire, holds the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous city in the state.
With a population of 113,018, Manchester reported 2,096 violent crimes and 2,560 property crimes in 2020. This makes it a city where the safety of your person and property might be at risk.
Despite its central location along the Merrimack River and proximity to Boston, Massachusetts, Manchester’s crime rates are alarmingly high.
The city, often referred to as the Queen City, may be known for its thriving small businesses and successful retailers in downtown, but these positive aspects are overshadowed by the risks associated with living there.
- Population: 31,762
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 226
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,748
Rochester, the second most dangerous city in New Hampshire, has a significant number of property crimes, violent crimes, and aggravated assaults. Despite its relatively low murder rate, the chance of being involved in a violent or property crime in Rochester is 1 in 33.
Rochester’s crime rate surpasses that of both larger cities and smaller towns in the state. In 2020, the city reported 72 violent crimes and 873 property crimes.
Located in the southeast part of the state, Rochester, also known as the Lilac City, is one of the largest cities in New Hampshire and is situated close to the White Mountains.
- Population: 10,269
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 223
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,976
Conway, a popular tourist destination in New Hampshire, is unfortunately not as safe as the rest of the state. The city’s large tourism industry and seasonal resident population contribute to its growing crime rate, with many crimes committed against out-of-town visitors.
In 2020, Conway ranked first for rapes, sixth for property crimes, and fifth highest for overall crimes in the state.
Conway is the most populous community in Carroll County, with about 20% of the county’s population residing there.
It is located near the White Mountain National Forest and the popular Echo Lake State Park, making it a popular destination for climbers visiting Cathedral Ledge.
- Population: 5,862
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 255
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,620
Littleton, a small town in New Hampshire with a population of just 5,862, ranks high in violent crimes and murders.
Despite its small size, Littleton has more murders each year than cities three times its size, making it the fourth most dangerous place in the state.
Littleton is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy skiing, hiking, or biking. However, if you plan to visit Littleton’s historic Opera House or the world’s longest candy counter, it’s advisable to do so during the day and to remain vigilant about your safety.
- Population: 12,005
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 166
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,298
In Somersworth, New Hampshire, the risk of falling victim to property crime or larceny is higher than the risk of getting struck by lightning or facing a tax audit. In 2020, the residents of Somersworth reported 396 property crimes and 366 cases of larceny.
For a city with a population of 12,005 residents, this makes Somersworth the city with the highest total crime rate in the state.
Despite its high crime rate, Somersworth is one of the most affordable places to live in New Hampshire. This affordability might explain some of the property crimes prevalent in the area.
The city is located about an hour north of Boston and is in close proximity to historic Portsmouth. It shares a border with Maine along the Salmon Falls River.
- Population: 7,342
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 204
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,729
Belmont, a small town located in the Lakes Region in southern New Hampshire, has a population of 7,342. Despite its small size and quiet community feel, Belmont ranks seventh highest in violent crimes and seventh in burglaries in the state. In Belmont, you have a 1 in 51 chance of being involved in a crime.
The crime situation in Belmont does not appear to be improving, as both violent and property crimes have consistently increased since 2016.
Prior to this, Belmont had a lower crime rate than many other parts of New Hampshire. However, its crime rate is still lower than the national average.
- Population: 7,003
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 228
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,513
Farmington, a small town with a population of just 7,003, has an industrial past and was once known as “The Shoe Capital of New Hampshire.”
However, today it’s known as the seventh most dangerous spot in New Hampshire, with a high rate of burglaries and violent crime.
Despite its rural name and small-town charm, Farmington has seen a shift in its reputation. The town is the birthplace of a vice president of the United States, Henry Wilson, who served under Ulysses S. Grant in the 1870s. However, its past glory has been overshadowed by its current crime rates.
- Population: 43,737
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 192
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,662
Concord, the capital city of New Hampshire and the third most populous city in the state, ranks tenth highest in total crime.
This makes it one of the most dangerous cities in New Hampshire. Despite this, the local government and law enforcement professionals have worked tirelessly to reduce the amount of crime in the city.
Most of the crimes in Concord are property crimes and larceny, with 727 property crimes and 626 instances of larceny reported in 2020. While most of the crime is centered in the downtown area and its surroundings, this doesn’t make the other parts of town particularly safe.
- Population: 22,707
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 167
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,739
Keene, New Hampshire is known for its annual pumpkin festival where it sets the world record for the most jack o lanterns on display at once.
However, the city is also known as one of the most dangerous in the state. At the time of this writing, Keene ranks eighth highest for total crime in all of New Hampshire.
Despite the relative safety risk, there are a lot of things to do in Keene that keep tourists visiting the area, such as Mount Monadnock and the unique Hannah Grimes Marketplace.
This college town still feels safe for the students of the two colleges located there: Keene State College and Antioch University New England.
- Population: 16,669
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 137
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,969
Laconia, a picturesque city located near lakes and mountains, hides a darker reality as the tenth most dangerous city in New Hampshire.
With a high number of property crimes reported per year, Laconia ranks second in property crimes and second in overall crimes for 2022 in the state.
While most of the crime is centered in the downtown area and its surroundings, this doesn’t make the other parts of town particularly safe.
The town continues to try to clean up its crime rate but it hasn’t been successful. Combined with an overall lack of employment opportunities, Laconia is unlikely to be found on any list of the best places to live in New Hampshire.
5 Safety Tips for Traveling to New Hampshire
- Despite being one of the safest states, New Hampshire residents and visitors are prone to scams – especially digital ones. Scammers are creative and are always trying to introduce a new angle to an unsuspecting individual. Stay alert and research the area for potential scam alerts issued by authorities.
- Share your travel itinerary with a few trusted friends or family members.
Make sure a few people have a general idea of where you will be during your New Hampshire jaunt. This way, should they need to contact you, they will have a good vantage point from which to start.
- New Hampshire is a mountainous winter wonderland, which means winters can be brutal. While the average snowfall in New Hampshire is an impressive five feet, the reality is that certain pockets – especially higher elevations, receive significantly more snow than coastal New Hampshire. For example, New Hampshire’s highest peak – Mount Washington in the White Mountains – has the snowiest U.S. locations – averaging more than 23 feet each year.
- Your best defense is an offense – stay alert and vigilant to where you are going and your surroundings.
If walking alone or in unfamiliar territory, walk with purpose and confidence. Avoid wandering and fussing with a map as that telegraphs to would-be criminals that you are not paying attention to anything but trying to avoid getting lost. It is best not to wander about, looking confused while reading a map.
- Drive the speed limit as state police monitor speeding throughout the state. Pay attention to posted speed limits. Speeding is not only illegal; it is against the law. Remember that New Hampshire has no state income or sales tax. Much of its revenue comes from state-run packie (liquor stores), the lottery, the racetrack, legal fines, and more.
What is being done to reduce crime rates in the most dangerous cities in New Hampshire?
Local governments and law enforcement professionals in these cities are working tirelessly to reduce crime rates.
This includes implementing community policing strategies, increasing police presence in high-crime areas, and investing in crime prevention programs. However, the effectiveness of these efforts varies from city to city.
Are there specific areas within these cities that are more dangerous than others?
Yes, in many of these cities, most of the crime is centered in the downtown area and its surroundings. However, this doesn’t make the other parts of town particularly safe. It’s always a good idea to research the specific areas of a city before visiting or moving there.
How does the crime rate in New Hampshire compare to the national average?
While New Hampshire’s overall crime rates are higher than the national average, it’s important to note that these figures are heavily influenced by the high crime rates in the state’s most dangerous areas. Many parts of New Hampshire have crime rates that are much lower than the national average.
What types of crimes are most common in these dangerous cities?
Property crimes, including burglary and larceny, are the most common types of crimes in these cities. Violent crimes, such as assault and robbery, are also a significant concern.
Are tourists at risk in these cities?
Tourists can be at risk, especially in cities with a large tourism industry like Conway. Many crimes in these cities are committed against out-of-town visitors.
However, by staying vigilant and taking precautions, tourists can significantly reduce their risk of becoming a victim of crime.
How does the crime rate impact the cost of living in these cities?
Cities with high crime rates often have a lower cost of living, as people are less likely to want to live in areas where crime is a significant concern.
However, this is not always the case, and other factors, such as employment opportunities and the local economy, can also influence the cost of living.
What safety measures should visitors take when visiting these cities?
Visitors should stay alert and vigilant, especially when in unfamiliar areas. It’s also a good idea to share your travel itinerary with trusted friends or family members, and to research the area for potential scam alerts issued by authorities.
If visiting during the winter, be prepared for harsh weather conditions, especially in mountainous areas.
In conclusion, while New Hampshire is known for its friendly folks and laid-back lifestyle, it’s important to be aware that there are areas within the state that pose certain risks due to higher crime rates.
Cities like Manchester, Rochester, and Conway, among others, have been identified as some of the most dangerous places in the state.
However, it’s crucial to remember that these statistics don’t define the entirety of New Hampshire, and there are many safe and welcoming communities throughout the state.