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Welcome to Alarm New England's business and home security page for Lowell, Massachusetts. This informational page provides important crime data along with additional information for those living in or considering moving to Lowell.
Number of Households: 39,258
ZIP Codes: 01850, 01851, 01852, 01853
Lowell has come a long way from its past as a city notorious for drug trafficking and gang activity. Once the location for a documentary titled High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, the city’s crime rates have plummeted in recent years. Crime rates in Lowell have generally decreased since 2012, and actually fell by 10% in 2016 alone.
In Lowell, residents have a 1 in 289 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime, while in Massachusetts as a whole, that chance is 1 in 265. Violent crime in Lowell is 9% lower than the average rate of crime in Massachusetts and 11% lower than the national average. In 2016, not one case of murder or manslaughter occurred in Lowell, compared to the 49 in Boston.
Although violent crime rates in Lowell are lower than the state average, the chance of a resident in Lowell becoming a victim of a property crime is higher in Lowell than it is in Massachusetts as a whole. In Lowell, the chance is 1 in 50, while in Massachusetts, the chance of becoming a victim of a property crime is 1 in 64.
Once known as the farming community of East Chelmsford Massachusetts, Lowell was officially incorporated as the city of Lowell in 1826. Located along the Merrimack River and just 25 miles northwest of Boston, Lowell was initially designed as a mill town and its founders named the city after Francis Cabot Lowell, a famous American textile industrialist.
Lowell quickly became known as the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, and was even nicknamed the “Manchester of America” – after the British industrial city. By the 1850s, Lowell had one of the largest industrial centers in the nation. Many of the men who made up the labor force in Lowell in the 1800s were fleeing famine in Ireland. Though, mill workers at the time were often young single women – famously called Mill Girls – who came from farm families in rural New England and enjoyed their new-found financial independence.
Lowell was tied closely to the South economically, as Lowell’s textile industry wove cotton produced in the South. By some estimates, in 1860 there were more cotton spindles in Lowell than in all the states in the Confederacy combined. Much of the cheap, coarse cottons produced in Lowell were then later returned to the South to clothe slaves.
As a huge manufacturing center, Lowell attracted many migrant workers from around the world to its mills. Included in these waves of immigration were Germans and French Canadians in the 1870s and 1880s, and later waves of Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Greek and eastern European Jew immigrants. By 1900, nearly 50% of the city’s population were born abroad. During the Cambodian genocide, refugees from Cambodia fled to Lowell, leading Lowell to have America’s second-largest Cambodian-American population. Up until 2015, Khmer has remained the most common foreign language spoken by youth in Lowell after Spanish.
As the Great Depression hit, Lowell’s textile industry crumbled and companies moved to the South. Lowell increasingly began to shed its industrial identity, and focused more on developing its burgeoning art and cultural scene.
If you happen to be visiting Lowell during the summer months, you can attend a range of summer music events including the Lowell Folk Festival, which is the country’s second largest free folk festival. For more than three decades, the event has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to participate in three days of street parades, dance parties, and folk music. Lowell also hosts the Lowell Summer Music Series, a fun event where one can bring a blanket and snacks to, and enjoy the music among a park’s verdant landscaping.
For those interested in Lowell’s rich history as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, head over to the Lowell National Historic Park. Park guides take visitors through various former factories along the Merrimack River, and visitors can learn how the cotton mill worked and how textiles were made. Main features of the tour include the Mill Girls and Immigrants Boarding House, the Suffolk Mill Turbine and Powerhouse, and the Boott Cotton Mill.
For another fascinating history tour, look no further than Lowell’s National Streetcar Museum. There, you can find examples of transportation vehicles and learn about how public transportation has evolved over the years. The museum has one working streetcar (which is obviously named Desire!) and visitors can take a ride on it between the months of May and October each year.
Literary fans among you may know that Lowell is also the birthplace of Jack Kerouac, an American writer with French-Canadian heritage, who was best known for the novel On the Road. Lowell is also the location of many of Kerouac’s novels, and a park was erected in the author’s honor in downtown Lowell. Monuments to Kerouac are scattered throughout the park, and diehard fans of the voice of the Beat Generation can seek out each and every one. Kerouac’s gravesite is also in Lowell, where he was laid to rest after a mass at St. Jean Baptiste Cathedral—the very church where he had once served as an altar boy.
The most famous Lowell native is, of course, Jack Kerouac. The house where he was born on Lupine Road is now a private residence with a marked plaque. Every October, the city hosts the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, where a series of readings and pub crawls are arranged in the writer’s honor.
Italian-American ballerina and dancer Giuseppina Morlacchi, who was known for introducing the can-can to the American audience, settled in Lowell with her husband and remained there after his death.
Michael Chiklis, who won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his role as LAPD Detective Vic Mackey on the crime drama television series, The Shield, was born in Lowell.