Welcome to Alarm New England's business and home security page for Worcester, Massachusetts. This informational page provides important crime data along with additional information for those living in or considering moving to Worcester.
Number of Households: 68,850
ZIP Codes: 01602, 01603, 01604, 01605, 01606, 01607, 01608, 01609, 01610, 01612, 01655
Worcester’s crime rate is relatively high; it is 97% more dangerous than Massachusetts taken as a whole. The violent crime rate here is one of the highest in the nation, when compared to communities of all sizes, and property crime is above average too. However, when population is controlled for, Worcester is shown to have a crime rate similar to other cities of its size. One area of concern, however, is the city’s rate of motor vehicle theft, which is one of the highest in the nation. Residents of and visitors to Worcester have a 1 in 353 chance of having their car stolen.
More serious crimes have been known to take place here too. Until his 2008 death, Worcester native Nathaniel Bar-Jonah was serving a 130-year sentence for the child molestation, serial killing, and cannibalism he had been engaging in undetected for two decades prior to his capture.
The original inhabitants of Worcester, Massachusetts were members of the Nipmuc tribe, or “people of the freshwater pond”. Descendants of the Algonquian people, the Nipmuc had chosen to settle forty miles west of present-day Boston on Lake Quinsigamond, or “the pickerel fishing place”. As the English began to explore the bountiful countryside of Massachusetts, a group of pioneers purchased some land west of Lake Quinsigamond from the Nipmuc for “twelve pounds of lawful money”. They laid the foundations for their colonial village in 1673 but before long, King Philip’s War had broken out.
The settlers fled the hostilities, leaving their nascent settlement to the Nipmuc who, siding with King Philip, wasted no time in burning it to the ground. Although the settlers eventually returned to Quinsigamond, they were forced into retreat once again with the outbreak of Queen Anne’s War in 1702. However, the third time proved the charm. In 1713, one of the original settlers, Jonas Rice, returned to the area and began to build a town, which was incorporated in 1722 and christened “Worcester”.
Its proximity to Boston ensured Worcester’s prominent role in the Revolutionary War, and covert activities like underground publishing flourished here throughout the 1770s. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in Worcester in in 1776, in fact.
In the 1820s and 30s, canals and railroads were built linking Worcester to Boston and Providence, paving the way for the burgeoning city’s manufacturing boom. Shoe, textile, and clothing factories sprang up on Blackstone River, taking advantage of its new canal. European immigrants began to flock to the city in search of work, especially after Ichabod Washburn opened the largest wire manufactory in North America on Worcester’s soil in 1831. Following the Civil War the population grew exponentially, jumping from 50 000 to 118 000 in several decades. The city flourished, with the President of the Worcester County Mechanics Association boasting in 1835, “Our wares of every description readily find their way to the remotest parts of the republic . . . on our frontier settlements is heard the crack of a Worcester rifle, and tomorrow will be found our plows and hoes.”
Commonly referred to as the heart of Massachusetts, Worcester in this period showcased the New England spirit of industry and ingenuity. In 1840, Worcester factory owner Loring Coes invented the money wrench, shortly before his near neighbor Charles Thurber patented the first modern-day typewriter, in 1843. In 1847, Esther Howard published the first Valentines Day cards from her Worcester sitting room, while another local, Justin White, dreamt up the sport of candlepin bowling, which he debuted in 1879. At the same time, Worcester became a center of progressive political activity: the city had long been an abolitionist stronghold, and in 1850 it hosted the first national convention for women’s rights.
Although the decline in manufacturing after WWII sent the city’s industries and population into decline, Worcester remains a vibrant destination promising many delights and fascinations. One of Worcester’s most famous attractions is its world class art museum, which holds a collection of pieces dating from antiquity. These include rare Roman mosaics, the second-largest armory collection in the USA, pre-Colombian gold works, and a plenitude of Monets, Matisses, Rembrandts and El Grecos.
Nearby you will find the American Antiquarian Society building, inaugurated by Isaiah Thomas, who conducted that first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. This treasure trove hosts the largest collection of pre-1876 books in the USA, including its crown jewel, the 1640 Bay Psalms Book, the first book ever published on these shores. If it’s history you’re after you cannot miss Salisbury Mansion, built as a shop and house in 1772, and now open to the public, nor Timothy Paine House, home of the loyalist judge and a fine example of a clapboard, gabled roof Revolutionary-era abode.
Children will enjoy a visit to New England’s leading science and nature museum, Worcester’s Ecotarium. Here they can explore live animal habitats like ant colonies and otter homes, gaze in awe as they take in the digital planetarium, take part in daily Science Discovery programs, or play in the Nature Explore Outdoor Exhibit. For evening entertainment, Hanover Theatre –rated by POLLSTAR as one of the top theatres in the world– can be counted on to offer leading Broadway musicals such as Les Miserables, international comedians like Dave Chappelle and Jay Leno, and musical acts that have included John Legend and Aretha Franklin.
Given Worcester’s fame rests partly on its innovate genius, it’s no surprise that over the years many successful industrialists have called the city home. Richard Sellars, the late CEO of Johnson & Johnson, resided in Worcester, as did Irving Price, co-founder of Fisher Price.
John Adams studied law in Worcester in the 1750s, before graduating into the American presidency. Other notable residents have included Lilian Asplund, the last survivor of the RMS Titanic old enough to remember the ship’s sinking. Worcester has also been home to many actors and artists, including the venerable songwriter Cole Porter, and the poet Elizabeth Bishop.