Growing up in Branford since the age of 12 , I can definitely say that this town is a community. Like some Neighboring towns, we have a "Center of Town," with your typical average joe stores, bars, and restaurants.
Being a health nut, there's your GNC and Planet Fitness, but there's also plenty of organic stores, and a 5 star vegan restaurant right in the center.
The safety isn't a concern for the most-part. It has a capable police department, who also attend several recreation center events for kids, which I've seen first-hand as a volunteer. They feel like they care.
As a young adult, I may have to look elsewhere to live when I do decide move. I would love to live here, but knowing that it is costly, I might have to consider other options.
All told, it is a great place to grow up. From the age of 12, I haven't regretted the move and would recommend it to anyone looking for a safe and friendly suburb.