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There really are more dangerous things in Montana than grizzly bears, the most frigid temperatures in Havre, trucks with loaded gun racks, and rodeo in Kalispell on a Friday night? BIg Sky Country has its fair share of dangerous cities too.
Do you think that you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Montana? Before you lock your doors and grab your taser, we suggest that you take a look at RoadSnacks' list of the most dangerous places in Montana for 2021, there might be some that surprise you.
How'd we do it? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 23 cities. We looked at the FBI's latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 2,000 residents. We discovered that Montana's violent and property crime numbers, while not the worst in the country, could be better.
If you guessed that most of the state's problems are centralized around some of Montana's largest cities, Billings and Missoula, you're partially right. But honestly, the Treasure State has done a fair job of keeping it's crazy spread evenly across the state.
And while Montana 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 at our list of Montana's most dangerous places before you make any life changing decisions.
To see our list of Montana cities with more issues than the Helena's Independent Record, take a look below.
We do recommend that you take a minute to look at Montana's most dangerous places before you make any life changing decisions. And if you choose to live in one of these dangerous cities, know that you will need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. There are a ton of 'wolves in sheep's clothing' out there..or just wolves.it is wild Montana, after all.
So, where is Montana's most dangerous place? That would be, Cut Bank.
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 Montana.
For more Montana reading, check out:
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Montana For 2021
You've heard the expression "good things come in small packages?" Well, it can go the other way as well. Just look at Cut Bank, Montana. It's a town of 3,038 people that still tops the list of the state's most dangerous places.
Located about 30 miles south of the Canadian border, Cut Bank gets its name from a nearby gorge. However, the designation could suggest something a little darker: the violent nature of town. In an area with just a few thousand people people, Cut Bank suffered 36 violent crimes. That's a violent crime rate of 1,184/100k people, the highest rate in the state.
Cut Bank is a little better when it comes to property crime. The town reported 114 property crimes during the year, or a rate of 3,752/100k people. That pace puts it at fifth highest on the state's list for property crime.
Every elementary-school student can name Helena as the political capital of Montana. Sadly, it's also the state's capital of something else: rape. The city of 32,806 people reported 57 rapes during the year. That's one for every 575.5 inhabitants - by far the highest rate in the Big Sky state.
Total violent crimes reached 190 during the year, putting Helena fourth highest in the state in that category. The city also suffered 1,400 property crimes over the course of 12 months. That pace projects to a figure of about 4,267/100k people - the second highest rate in Montana.
Historically an important industrial and transportation center in the state, Great Falls boasts the 2nd highest population in Montana, with 58,637 residents. Unfortunately, a large population often comes with some downsides. In this case, residents of Great Falls have to contend with the highest rate of property crime in the state.
The city reported 3,405 property crimes over the course of a year. Putting that into perspective, it equates to a per-capita pace of 5,806/100k people. With this epidemic of property crime, Great Falls also ranks highest in the state in overall crime, with a pace of 6,321/100k people.
One bright spot: Great Falls is a little better when it comes to violent crime. While it did have 302 of those during the year. As a result, it ranked only sixth highest in the state in its violent-crime rate.
Situated in the northwestern corner of Montana, Polson is located within the Flathead Indian Reservation. Unfortunately, life in this relatively small town comes with its challenges. It ranks as the 4 most dangerous place in Montana, suffering 197 property crimes and 26 violent crimes over the course of the year.
In raw numbers, those might not seem particularly scary. But it's important to put those figures into perspective. Putting it in terms of population, Polson has per-capita rate of violent crime of 512/100k people. That's about the same as Great Falls, Montana, a city with about 11 times more people.
Looking at property crimes, the rate comes in at 3,881/100k people. This gives Polson the fourth highest pace in Montana.
You can think of East Helena as a suburb of Helena, the capital of Montana. Located a short 5 miles from the center of political power in the state, East Helena counts as its own municipality. With a population of just 2,098 people, the city also ranks as one of the most dangerous places in Montana.
Over the course of a year, East Helena suffered 55 property crimes and 11 violent crimes. That's probably less than a single police precinct would see in a single day in New York City. But when compared to East Helena's scant population, it represents a virtual crime wave.
Put in terms of population, East Helena reported per-capita rate of violent crime of 524/100k people and a pace of 2,621/100k people for property crimes. Those rank fifth highest and ninth highest in the state, respectively. As far as violence is concerned, that means that East Helena is more dangerous than cities like Missoula, Montana, a city with more than 30 times more people.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 899 (Third most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,366 (11th most dangerous)
More on Ronan City:
Part of the Flathead Indian Reservation in the northwest section of Montana, Ronan sports a population of just 2,113 people. However, on a per-capita basis, it ranks as one of the most dangerous spots in the state, coming in at third highest on that unfortunate list.
During the course of a year, the residents of Ronan suffered 50 property crimes. That equates to a rate of 2,366/100k people - enough to put it at 11th highest in Montana.
The true danger in Ronan comes as a result of violence. The small town saw 19violent crimes during the year. Comparing that to the total population, and you get a per-capita pace of 899/100k people, enough to rank third highest in the state as a whole. Aggravated assaults made up most of the violent crimes in the area.
Never heard of Wolf Point, Montana? You must not be a rodeo fan. The city hosts the oldest rodeo in Montana. However, visitors beware. A traveler to Wolf Point has more to fear than wild bulls. Unfortunately, Wolf Point also sports one of the highest violent crime rates in the state.
The main population center on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, located in the northeastern part of the state, Wolf Point suffered 26 violent crimes during a year. That might not sound like much, but consider that the city has a population of just 2,761. In terms of rate, the city had a per-capita pace of violent crimes of 941/100k people - ranking it second highest in the state for that category.
The news isn't all bad for rodeo fans, though. The city's property crime rate was relatively low, with a per-capita rate of 1,955/100k people in that category. That figure puts it 13th highest in the state for property-related issues.
Having a population of 75,422 might not seem like much compared to places like New York City and San Francisco. But, for Montana, that number allows Missoula to rank among the biggest cities in the state. That size comes with a dark side, though. Missoula also holds the dubious distinction of being one of the murder capitals of Montana.
The city reported 3 murders over a year, out of 310 violent crimes for the 12-month period. In a small-population state, where everyone's spread out over a huge area, this ranks as the most killings for any municipality. Missoula also suffered 75 rapes during the year.
In addition to this violent streak, Missoula has a significant problem with property crime. The city saw 3,082 such occurrences during the year, ranking second highest ing burglaries and sixth highest in car thefts. In terms of rate, Missoula had a per-capita pace of property crimes of 4,086/100k people - the third highest pace in Montana.
Kalispell, or "flat land above the lake" in the local native Salish language, is known for its quaint beauty - so much so, that it provided the backdrop for the famed 11980 Hollywood film Heaven's Gate. But the gorgeous landscape hides an ominous secret: Kalispell ranks as the 9 most dangerous city in the state.
With a population of 24,473, Kalispell is among the commercial hubs of the northwestern part of the state. Unfortunately, this prosperity comes with a property-crime problem. The city reported 821 such events during a year, a per-capita rate of 3,354/100k people. This pace equates to the sixth highest in the state.
Kalispell also had 102 violent crimes during the year. That would give it the 11th highest violent-crime rate in Montana.
Hamilton, Montana, was not named after everyone's favorite rapping founding father. Rather, it was named for a local man who provided the right-of-way necessary to build the railroad. But like the musical Hamilton, this city in the far western part of the state has its share of violence and gunplay.
While its general violent-crime rate is relatively low, Hamilton has its share of murders, despite a population of just 4,879. At the same time, the area has the third highest scariest rate of rapes in Montana.
Property crime is an issue as well. With 148 occurrences in a year, Hamilton had a per-capita rate of 3,033/100k people - enough to rank seventh highest in Montana for that category.
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Montana
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Montana for 2021?
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 2019 data, specifically the 2019 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2021.
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 Montana cities over 2,000 in population. That left us with 23 cities in Montana.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 23 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 Montana -- Cut Bank. 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 Montana.
Locking It All Up In Montana
The latest FBI crime data shows that Cut Bank ranks as the most dangerous city in Montana for 2021.
We want to point out again that there's still safes places in Cut Bank and that this isn't a comment on the people that live there. So please don't beat us up.
Here are the safest cities in Montana:
- Stevensville (Pop. 2,051)
- Glasgow (Pop. 3,334)
- Belgrade (Pop. 9,204)
- Libby (Pop. 2,750)
- Columbia Falls (Pop. 5,695)
- Red Lodge (Pop. 2,316)
- Deer Lodge (Pop. 2,888)
- Dillon (Pop. 4,276)
- Glendive (Pop. 4,964)
- Colstrip (Pop. 2,271)
For more Montana reading, check out:
Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Montana?