These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota For 2018


We analyzed over 120 places in Minnesota to identify the most dangerous in the state.

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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:

  1. Bemidji (Photos)
  2. Virginia (Photos)
  3. Brainerd (Photos)
  4. Minneapolis (Photos)
  5. West St. Paul (Photos)
  6. Cloquet (Photos)
  7. St. Cloud (Photos)
  8. Duluth (Photos)
  9. Waite Park (Photos)
  10. 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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the most dangerous cities in America or the most dangerous states in America.

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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.

Here’s a visualization of the criteria:
Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota Graph

Click To Enlarge

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Minnesota.

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1. Bemidji

Bemidji, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,690
Rank 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.

2. Virginia

Virginia, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,564
Rank 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.

3. Brainerd

Brainerd, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,327
Rank 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.

4. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 416,751
Rank 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

West St. Paul, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,762
Rank 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.

6. Cloquet

Cloquet, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,064
Rank 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

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 67,341
Rank 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.

8. Duluth

Duluth, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 86,090
Rank 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

St. Paul, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 303,920
Rank 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:

  1. Corcoran
  2. Dayton
  3. Orono

For more Minnesota reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Minnesota

City Rank Previous Rank Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
Bemidji 1 4 14,690 490 6,923
Virginia 2 2 8,564 595 5,955
Brainerd 3 1 13,327 645 4,959
Minneapolis 4 5 416,751 1,109 4,221
West St. Paul 5 3 19,762 369 5,070
Cloquet 6 13 12,064 273 5,230
St. Cloud 7 8 67,341 435 4,128
Duluth 8 7 86,090 362 4,445
Waite Park 9 6 7,551 238 8,594
St. Paul 10 10 303,920 648 3,228
Brooklyn Center 11 11 30,893 362 3,508
Maplewood 12 23 41,071 248 4,265
Redwood Falls 13 12 5,024 318 3,403
Fridley 14 16 27,811 280 3,487
Brooklyn Park 15 17 79,800 388 3,042
Spring Lake Park 16 9 6,484 215 4,472
South St. Paul 17 21 20,452 620 2,894
Mankato 18 14 41,300 271 3,217
Roseville 19 25 35,954 197 5,042
Baxter 20 58 7,993 175 4,466
Anoka 21 24 17,389 207 3,392
Fergus Falls 22 15 13,312 195 3,680
Forest Lake 23 31 19,867 206 3,296
Red Wing 24 28 16,442 237 2,955
Austin 25 20 24,529 273 2,405
Alexandria 26 27 12,006 216 2,923
Bloomington 27 29 87,134 203 3,224
Faribault 28 19 23,708 282 2,210
Richfield 29 33 36,410 214 2,521
Inver Grove Heights 30 47 35,049 239 2,268
Willmar 31 18 19,641 249 2,138
Winona 32 44 27,001 170 2,977
Mounds View 33 32 13,063 160 3,153
Burnsville 34 41 61,697 202 2,679
Oakdale 35 35 28,211 159 3,016
St. Paul Park 36 59 5,399 185 2,593
Coon Rapids 37 30 62,380 166 2,861
Columbia Heights 38 40 19,754 217 2,156
Hopkins 39 46 18,169 242 2,080
Rochester 40 50 113,306 213 2,187
Cambridge 41 34 8,515 117 3,581
Hastings 42 38 22,627 203 2,187
Moorhead 43 39 42,507 159 2,286
Owatonna 44 26 25,760 147 2,375
St. Louis Park 45 37 48,770 135 2,429
Hermantown 46 66 9,761 81 4,354
Blaine 47 51 63,115 123 2,714
White Bear Lake 48 72 25,484 129 2,377
Fairmont 49 64 10,137 187 2,032
Apple Valley 50 67 51,648 123 2,224
Shakopee 51 43 40,524 165 1,959
New Brighton 52 80 22,521 119 2,282
Crystal 53 42 23,102 129 2,043
Waseca 54 75 9,207 130 1,965
North St. Paul 55 81 12,495 120 2,096
Morris 56 60 5,367 204 1,509
Grand Rapids 57 36 11,181 143 1,878
Wayzata 58 6,627 150 1,750
Stillwater 59 90 19,051 104 2,136
Buffalo 60 68 16,134 111 1,977
Sauk Rapids 61 65 13,545 73 2,458
Detroit Lakes 62 55 9,075 121 1,884
New Hope 63 77 21,168 127 1,842
East Grand Forks 64 79 8,649 80 2,196
Worthington 65 61 13,151 159 1,490
Mendota Heights 66 57 11,252 124 1,653
Hutchinson 67 70 13,867 93 2,026
Albert Lea 68 54 17,604 107 1,880
Crookston 69 78 7,765 244 734
Elk River 70 71 24,150 99 1,896
St. Anthony 71 97 9,150 76 2,098
Litchfield 72 63 6,643 105 1,595
Marshall 73 52 13,645 109 1,465
Golden Valley 74 69 21,454 74 1,901
North Branch 75 73 10,233 68 1,915
Woodbury 76 98 69,032 66 1,939
Lakes Area 77 82 9,322 96 1,373
Rogers 78 94 12,847 93 1,440
Champlin 79 99 24,048 99 1,264
Big Lake 80 85 10,421 143 729
Centennial Lakes 81 114 10,937 100 1,170
Hibbing 82 48 16,176 123 853
New Prague 83 83 7,631 78 1,533
St. Peter 84 74 11,763 85 1,334
Montevideo 85 113 5,184 38 2,044
Maple Grove 86 100 69,783 63 1,700
Eagan 87 89 66,698 59 1,715
Edina 88 101 50,577 51 1,848
Jordan 89 112 6,203 112 806
Sartell 90 87 16,943 47 1,847
West Hennepin 91 110 5,575 107 825
Isanti 92 53 5,493 18 1,893
Kasson 93 96 6,157 81 1,055
Rosemount 94 93 23,717 101 809
Thief River Falls 95 49 8,776 68 1,173
Medina 96 115 6,216 48 1,592
Little Falls 97 62 8,611 46 1,695
Plymouth 98 102 76,996 62 1,310
Northfield 99 120 20,445 78 1,032
South Lake Minnetonka 100 92 12,247 81 930

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