10 Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota For 2020

We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the North Star State for 2020.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our fifth time ranking the most dangerous places to live in Minnesota and is updated for 2020.

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Water is the 3rd leading cause of injury death in the world and Minnesota is The Land of 10,000 Lakes; but, folks, there is something more dangerous in this Midwest State.

That’s right. Minnesota has super dangerous cities; and lucky for you, RoadSnacks is here to tell you just where the most dangerous places in Minnesota for 2020 are located.

How’d we do it? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 124 cities. We looked at the FBI’s latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 5,000 residents. We discovered that Minnesota’s violent and property crime numbers, while not the worst in the country, could be better.

If you asked most Minnesotans, they would say that their little corner of this flyover state is the best, but that’s not the case for the people who live in Minnesota’s most dangerous places. The residents in these places are not only witnessing high crime, they are dealing with unemployment, low wages, and lack of rehabilitation programs. This is shocking because Minnesota is the second wealthiest state in the country. (The trickle down effect must be stopping after Minnesota’s best cities are taken care of…)

And while Minnesota might not be one of the top ten most dangerous states in the country, the state’s most dangerous places do need some work. Maybe more police? Security cameras? Drug programs? We’re not entirely sure. One thing that we are sure about, however, is that you should take a look below at the list of Minnesota’s most dangerous places before you make any life changing decisions.

Yes, there are about 185 police officers per 100,000 residents in Minnesota, but they just can’t be everywhere. So, smaller Minnesota cities like Bemidji and Brainerd are starting to suffer the consequences. But, the place that’s getting hit the worst, is Minnesota’s most dangerous place, Bemidji.

To see how your city faired, take a look at the list below; and if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, head to the bottom.

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.

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Minnesota

Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota Graph

Click To Enlarge

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Minnesota For 2020

Bemidji, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,528
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 508 (3rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,045 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Bemidji:  Data | Photos

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 15,528, the combination of high property crime (2nd highest in the state on a rate basis) and violent crime (3rd highest) led to the 1st spot of most dangerous city in Minnesota.

Review Of Bemidji by HomeSnacks User

Came up to Bemidji,MN for school seemed like a nice quaint town. And first year of school was great… at least up until the end. End of 2nd semester of college I broke my jaw… ok it sucked but the town was nice still. Boy was i wrong. Cant find a decent paying job, moved tword the police station and within the first 3 months in the house it was broken into and a shooting happened close to where I live. Not to mention I had a gun pulled out on me. The job market it terrible. Cant find a job and the ones you can find dont allow you to save money. They pay so little and rent is high being it is a college town. If you are thinking about moving here I’d suggest you dont, unless you have a specific skill or trade you get a job offer for. And I’m not talking selling drugs. Huge homeless problem along with M**h and H****n. I give it a 2 star being it is not the worst place I have ever lived. I’m from a city where 1+ murder not including all the other shootings in one night is not out of the ordinary. It is beautiful up here, if you live in the right area you can keep away from all the stealing and drug abusers. There is alot of nothing up here and alot of lakes for fishing and public land for hunting. But with the huge drug trade not even 40 miles north in Red lake, the problem with people stealing babies from the hospital here, the very live s*x trafficking around the area, and all of the nothingness, I’d be willing to bet more goes on here that meets the eye.

I basically said everything I have to say about bemidji. Not the worse town in America if your in the right places. It really is not that bad on the surface, but if you dont have a trade or skill to get work. Prepare to become traped in this cold h**l hole.

Waite Park, MN

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Population: 7,512
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 386 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 10,010 (1st most dangerous)
More on Waite Park:  Data | Photos

The 2nd 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 10.0 chance of being a victim of a property crime in 2018 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.

Minneapolis, MN

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Population: 428,261
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 792 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,911 (9th most dangerous)
More on Minneapolis:  Data | Photos

Minneapolis makes an appearance on our list at number 3.

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 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 126 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.

Review Of Minneapolis by HomeSnacks User

I used to love to visit Minneapolis/St. Paul. The city was clean and well-lit, the people were friendly and willing to help, and I did not feel uneasy while walking about the city.

Recently, an influx of Somalian ‘refugees’ flooded into the city/metroplex. These ‘refugees’ have destroyed many areas of the once beautiful city; turning them into slums and crime ridden areas. These people also cause civil disturbance and make visitors feel uncomfortable and add a sense of danger while visiting.

Spring Lake Park, MN

Source: Public domain

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Population: 6,515
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 15)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 414 (5th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,466 (6th most dangerous)
More on Spring Lake Park:  Data | Photos

Spring Lake Park isn’t the worst in state in terms of either violent or property crime statistics, but bad rankings in each earn it the title of the 4th most dangerous city in the North Star State.

The good news is that instances of property crime dropped between 2017-2018, but the bad news is that violent crime rose in the same time period.

That left Spring Lake Park residents with a 1 in 241 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2018, making the city the 5th most violent place in Minnesota.

West St. Paul, MN

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Population: 19,798
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 373 (10th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,848 (4th most dangerous)
More on West St. Paul:  Data | Photos

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 19,798 people jam pack West St. Paul which must contribute to its high level of property crime (4th highest overall). Violent crime is a bit less of an issue placing 10th overall.

St. Cloud, MN

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Population: 68,282
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 383 (8th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,771 (10th most dangerous)
More on St. Cloud:  Data | Photos

St. Cloud might not be the castle in the cloud that you’re expecting — it ranks as the 6th most dangerous city in Minnesota.

For example, they might need to build a bigger moat to help keep the 8th highest overall violent crime rate down.

On the plus side, property crime ranks 10th 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.

Virginia, MN

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Population: 8,458
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 413 (6th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,464 (14th most dangerous)
More on Virginia:  Data | Photos

Virginia takes the 7th 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 6th for violent crime and 14th for property crime.

Review Of Virginia by HomeSnacks User

Virginia suffers the same way much of rural America does. The iron mines used to be the biggest employeer, but a combination of higher competition and more efficient production methods have killed many of the jobs. Combine the unemployment and high levels of drug use and a breeding ground for property crime has emerged. By and large, the locals are friendly, but rather aloof. Any newcomers may feel a bit lonely and will likely have to make an effort to establish meaningful relationships. Houses are remarkably low priced, so if you do manage to find a good paying job, you will be able to find a house at a fraction of the cost you would pay almost anywhere else.

The Good- In the summer the two lakes in the town are lovely. Lots of ducks, geese, and even some loons and swans. The mine pits have some wonderful overlooks on them as well. The town also has some interesting sculptures, artwork, and a nice park.

The Bad- Drug use is quite high for a town of it’s size. Good paying jobs are very hard to find. The number of car thefts and break-ins are ridiculous for such a small town. The local hospital, while trying their best, has an awful reputation for care.

The Ugly- Some of the streets are in terrible condition and the downtown and local mall are filled with empty storefronts. The city infrastructure is in very rough shape. One hundred year old steam pipes have breaks and cracks all over.

The Really Ugly- Winters are a b***h. If you cannot tolerate snow and cold, you will not last more than a year or two. Snow can last until May, and January temps can get down to -30.

Brainerd, MN

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Population: 13,404
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 455 (4th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,379 (17th most dangerous)
More on Brainerd:  Data | Photos

Brainerd ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in Minnesota with the 4th 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.

Review Of Brainerd by HomeSnacks User

I grew up in Brainerd and have been amazed at the cultural community that has sprung up since I left home. I return every year and an amazed at all the big city perks in a small town. Of course, now that the money has gone to Bacter because of the highway 371 bypass it has hurt Brainerd economically. But the people are the tops and I am proud to be from Brainerd.

Since it is the tourist Mecca for up north, that is where people in the cities go to get away from the rat trap, crime, sirens constantly wailing etc for beauty and fun. There was plenty to do years ago when they didn’t have all the perks. Swim in one of a thousand lakes in the Brainerd area

Duluth, MN

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Population: 86,048
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 357 (13th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,285 (8th most dangerous)
More on Duluth:  Data | Photos

Duluth ranks as the 9th most dangerous city in Minnesota thanks to a 13th place finish in violent crime and a 8th 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.

Review Of Duluth by HomeSnacks User

Duluth is an awesome city in Northern Minnesota. It’s amazing in the Autumn because the trees turn fiery colors. The forest becomes a rainbow of fall colors. I also love sitting on the shore of Lake Superior and watching the crashing waves. It’s also fun to go down to the harbor and watch the giant ships pass through the channel. In the summertime you might be lucky if you get to see the Ancient Maritime ships. Duluth is also the home of Glensheen Manor, which is truly haunted, but is also famous for the movie with Patty Duke, “You’ll Like My Mother”. Duluth is a pretty hilly city. It’s not flat at all as far as driving. There are a lot of unique victorian houses.

Favorite places would be the Maritime museum, watching the seagulls s****h food from people’s hands. Also the Duluth Zoo and walking along the boardwalk. It’s also just a hop, skip, and jump from Superior Wisconsin. The ship wrecks are really cool too!

St. Paul, MN

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 309,756
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 626 (2nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,254 (19th most dangerous)
More on St. Paul:  Data | Photos

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.

Review Of St. Paul by HomeSnacks User

The weather s***s! It’s now May, and we have snow up north-! Winters are freezing cold, summers are super hot with mosquitoes, the State bird! Taxes are ridiculous and the roads have potholes the size of Texas!

Stillwater is a beautiful city on the river, with lots of cute shops and restaurants, which is worth your trip!

How we determined the most dangerous cities in Minnesota for 2020?

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 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.

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 Minnesota cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 124 cities in Minnesota.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 124 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. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities 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 2020.

We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Bemidji and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.

If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Minnesota:

  1. South Lake Minnetonka (Pop. 12,731)
  2. Orono (Pop. 20,225)
  3. Kasson (Pop. 6,444)

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Bemidji 15,528 508 7,045
2 Waite Park 7,512 386 10,010
3 Minneapolis 428,261 792 3,911
4 Spring Lake Park 6,515 414 4,466
5 West St. Paul 19,798 373 4,848
6 St. Cloud 68,282 383 3,771
7 Virginia 8,458 413 3,464
8 Brainerd 13,404 455 3,379
9 Duluth 86,048 357 4,285
10 St. Paul 309,756 626 3,254

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.