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.

Join RoadSnacks
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.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

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:

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Minnesota For 2020

Bemidji, MN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

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.

Waite Park, MN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

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

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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.

Spring Lake Park, MN

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

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 is slightly less dangerous than some of the others on the list, but it is still a very uncomfortable place to live if you cherish safety. While the number of robberies here has gone down lately, violent crimes have gone up. Statistically, 1 out of 241 people was attacked in 2018.

West St. Paul, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

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

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

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

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

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.

Brainerd, MN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

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.

Duluth, MN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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.

St. Paul, MN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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.

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Minnesota

Most Dangerous Cities In Minnesota Graph

Click To Enlarge

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.