Welcome to Alarm New England's business and home security page for Nantucket, Massachusetts. This informational page provides important crime data along with additional information for those living in or considering moving to Nantucket.
Number of Households: 4,069
ZIP Codes: 02554, 02564, 02584
Based in New England since 1972, we’ve worked in the Nantucket area for decades. We know the landscape and we have good relationships with local authorities. Our team of dedicated employees live in the communities we serve. Our customers are our neighbors.
Nantucket is 39% safer than other cities in the USA. But the 55,000 tourists who visit the island each year inevitably mean a spike in crime, and Nantucket’s crime rate is 55% higher than the state average. Offenses like murder are rare, however: the violent crime rate is 37% lower than the Massachusetts average.
Its high overall rate can be accounted for a property crime rate 78% higher than the Massachusetts average. Given its transient population and the fact its home values are among the highest in the USA, the frequency of burglaries is perhaps no surprise.
Nantucket, 30 miles by plane or sea from Cape Cod, takes its name from a Wampanoag word meaning “faraway island.” Until the 1640s, over a thousand Wampanoag hunted, farmed and fished on this picturesque island. But in 1659, a group of European settlers bought portions of Nantucket from Thomas Macy, who recorded his payment of thirty pounds and “also two beaver hats, one for myself, and one for my wife.”
In 1763, 222 of the remaining 358 Native Americans living among the English in Nantucket were killed by a wave of European-introduced illness. The last indigenous inhabitant of Nantucket, Dorcas Honorable, died in 1855.
At first contenting themselves with farming, in the 1670s locals began to fashion wrought-iron harpoons to hunt the enormous whales harboring in Capaum Pond. Soon these inexperienced whalers invited a veteran of the trade, Icabod Paddock from Yarmouth, to show them his tricks. Soon, Nantucket rose to become the whaling capital of the world. At its heyday, according to Herman Melville, “Two thirds of this terraquous globe are the Nantucketers. For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own Empires.”
Whaling brought riches, but it was a precarious living. Oil prices were subject to sudden change, and conflicts like the Revolutionary Wars and the War of 1812, which froze trade, could spell ruin for isolated whaling families. By the mid-nineteenth century, as kerosene began to outsell whale oil, things looked bleak. The Great Fire of 1846 devastated Nantucket, and ruined residents left town just as the harbor silted up, preventing the entrance of larger vessels. Confederate raids soon destroyed Nantucket’s remaining whaling ships, while the Civil War claimed 73 of its sons. The golden age was over.
Strangely enough, this sad decline guaranteed Nantucket’s modern prosperity. Because
development stalled, the island was left intact. Today, the National Park Service calls Nantucket the “finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th and early 19th century New England seaport town.” Thousands of tourists flocking to Nantucket every year seem to agree.
A stroll around Nantucket is a day’s entertainment in itself. Walk down cobbled Main Street, and you won’t find neon signs, traffic lights, or any chain stores. You will find old-timey stores like The Nantucket Ship Chandlery Shop, and boutiques like Island Weaves, where wares are handwoven on site by non-mechanised looms.
Saunter down Nantucket’s residential streets, and see if you can spot the $11 million Procter and Gamble estate (it isn’t too difficult). Wander into Siasconset village and marvel over seventeenth-century cottages like Jethro Coffin Saltbox. Built in 1686 as a wedding gift for Jethro –grandson of one of the island’s original proprietors– and his wife, the untouched cottage is today open to the public.
Home to over 700 shipwrecks, it’s no surprise Nantucket’s waters are dubbed “a graveyard of the Atlantic.” Nantucket is famous for its fogs: the island is locally known as “the little grey lady.” In 1956, one such fog caused two liners to collide off the coast, killing fifty-one passengers. You can learn about this and other shipwrecks at the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum.
Or visit the African Meeting House, which was formed about 1827. Although slavery was outlawed from Nantucket by the 1700s, some fugitive slaves sought refuge on the island, and would have worshipped and studied at the Meeting House.
A visit to Nantucket would not be complete without a day spent at the Whaling Museum, part of which is housed in the town’s original chandlery. Here you can see the only beam press, used to extract oil from blubber, in the world to still stand at its original location. You can marvel at the museum’s centerpiece, a complete skeleton of a fourteen-foot sperm whale. Explore the world-leading collection of scrimshaw, while
kids find entertainment in the Children’s Discovery Room.
For a more leisurely day out, relax on one of Nantucket’s pristine beaches or rent a boat to sail, a board to surf, or –not for the faint-hearted– an instructor to take you diving with sharks.
Nantucket, in its incarnation as a leisure spot, has always attracted the rich and famous. Designers Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren own holiday houses on the island. Other frequent visitors include Bill Gates, Sharon Stone, Meghan Trainor, and Katie Couric. Bill and Hilary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden are among many politicians to find refuge from chaotic DC on the picturesque island.
John Major, former Prime Minister of Britain, penned his memoirs during a stay at the Wauwinet, looking out to sea. Funnily enough Herman Melville, the man most famously associated with the island, wrote the entirety of Moby Dick, whose hero Ishmael disembarks for his journey from Nantucket’s harbor, without ever once visiting the island himself.