Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Minnesota?
We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.
No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of Minnesota — and anyone looking to move to Minnesota — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.
The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the North Star State:
- Bemidji (Photos)
- Virginia (Photos)
- Brainerd (Photos)
- Minneapolis (Photos)
- West St. Paul (Photos)
- Cloquet (Photos)
- St. Cloud (Photos)
- Duluth (Photos)
- Waite Park (Photos)
- St. Paul (Photos)
Why did Bemidji take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or learn more about the safest places in Minnesota.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Minnesota for 2018?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2016 data, specifically the 2016 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available for 2017 in October 2018.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 121 cities in Minnesota.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 121 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Minnesota — Bemidji. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Minnesota.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Minnesota.
Population: 14,690Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 490
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,923
Bemidji is no stranger to our lists as it ranks as the second poorest city in Minnesota and appears in the middle of the list of the worst places to live. And it would make sense that crime contributes to its placement on both of those lists.
In this particular case for the city of over 14,690, the combination of high property crime (2nd highest in the state on a rate basis) and violent crime (6th highest) led to the 1st spot of most dangerous city in Minnesota.
Population: 8,564Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 595
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,955
Virginia takes the 2nd spot in our analysis of the most dangerous cities in Minnesota.
Much like the Queen of the North (That’s a Game of Thrones reference for those uninitiated), the “Queen City of the North” is betaken by crime and theft. It’s as if the rough and tumble nature of the iron mines surrounding the city leaks into everyday life.
The city ranks 5th for violent crime and 3rd for property crime.
Population: 13,327Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 645
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,959
Brainerd ranks as the 3rd most dangerous city in Minnesota with the 3rd highest violent crime rate in the state. That could be in part to it being somewhat of tourist location — tourists bring a lot of additional people to the area that would impact the number of crimes without impacting the population.
However, the city ranks as the poorest in Minnesota according to one of earlier analyzes, so that must also contribute to a higher than average crime rate.
Population: 416,751Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,109
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,221
Minneapolis makes an appearance on our list at number 4.
Like all big cities, crime is more prevalent in certain parts of the city versus others. In particular, violent crime is an issue as Minneapolis ranks as having the 1st highest rate of violent crime per capita in Minnesota.
At this point it’s worth putting “dangerous” in perspective. Even in the most dangerous city for violent crime in the state, you still only have a 1 in 90 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in any given year. And if you use common sense and good judgment, your chance of being a victim goes down even further.
5. West St. Paul
Population: 19,762Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 369
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,070
A stone’s throw south of St. Paul, West St. Paul ranks as the 5th most dangerous city in Minnesota.
Being only 5 sq miles big, over 19,762 people jam pack West St. Paul which must contribute to its high level of property crime (5th highest overall). Violent crime is a bit less of an issue placing 9th overall.
Population: 12,064Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 273
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,230
The largest city in Carlton County, Cloquet has experienced a 13% increase in its violent crime rate and a 19% rise in property crime rate between 2014-16.
Folks in Cloquet had about a 1 in 19.1 chance of being robbed or burnt in 2016, which is just the heavy price you pay for living in Cloquet.
7. St. Cloud
Population: 67,341Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 435
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,128
St. Cloud might not be the castle in the cloud that you’re expecting — it ranks as the 7th most dangerous city in Minnesota.
For example, they might need to build a bigger moat to help keep the 7th highest overall violent crime rate down.
On the plus side, property crime ranks 14th in the state, meaning it’s not even in the top 10% of cities in Minnesota.
Put differently, property crime hasn’t broken through the clouds to the same extent violent crime has in the city.
Population: 86,090Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 362
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,445
Duluth ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in Minnesota thanks to 11th place finish in violent crime and a 10th place finish in property crime.
The fact that the city has a port elevates its crime rate as people will frequent the city a lot without actually living there, but not to the point where it impacts most people.
9. Waite Park
Population: 7,551 Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 238
Property Crimes Per 100k: 8,594
The 9th most dangerous city in Minnesota goes to Waite Park.
And much like a walk in a major city park, you need to watch for muggers and property theft as it ranks as having the highest rate of property theft in the North Star State. You had a 1 in 11.6 chance of being a victim of a property crime in 2016 in Waite Park.
It’s not totally clear why the property crime rate is so high. People live spread out, unemployment is relatively high — but not super high –, and poverty isn’t as bad as in some other parts of the state.
10. St. Paul
Population: 303,920Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 648
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,228
Another victim of simply being a major city, St. Paul finds itself on our list of the most dangerous places in Minnesota.
Like Minneapolis, the rate of violent crime is the issue as it ranks as the 2nd highest overall in the state. However, to add proof to our theory that crime in big cities is an isolated problem that doesn’t impact overall quality of life, you won’t find St. Paul on our list of the worst places to live in Minnesota.
Locking It All Up In Minnesota
The latest FBI crime data shows that Bemidji ranks as the most dangerous city in Minnesota for 2018.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Bemidji’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Minnesota:
For more Minnesota reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Minnesota Cities With The Most Ashley Madison Accounts
- These Are The 10 Kinkiest Cities In Minnesota
- These Are The 10 Drunkest Places In Minnesota
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Minnesota
|West St. Paul||5||3||19,762|
|Spring Lake Park||16||9||6,484|
|South St. Paul||17||21||20,452|
|Inver Grove Heights||30||47||35,049|
|St. Paul Park||36||59||5,399|
|St. Louis Park||45||37||48,770|
|White Bear Lake||48||72||25,484|
|North St. Paul||55||81||12,495|
|East Grand Forks||64||79||8,649|
|Thief River Falls||95||49||8,776|
|South Lake Minnetonka||100||92||12,247|