Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Montana?
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 Montana — and anyone looking to move to Montana — 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 Treasure State for 2019:
- Polson (Photos)
- Havre (Photos)
- Billings (Photos)
- Helena (Photos)
- Missoula (Photos)
- Great Falls (Photos)
- Wolf Point (Photos)
- Hamilton (Photos)
- Cut Bank (Photos)
- Kalispell (Photos)
After analyzing 31 cities in Montana, why did Polson 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 Montana.
For more Montana reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Montana
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Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Montana
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Montana for 2019?
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 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.
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 2,000 in population. That left us with 31 cities in Montana.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 31 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 — Polson.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Montana.
Located on the southern shore of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, Polson has placed 1st for property crime per capita in the state.
Residents of Polson faced a 1 in 1st chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, violent crime bumped up between 2015-17, making Polson the 4th most violent city in Montana.
Named after the French city, Le Havre, the Montanan version of the city is the 2nd most dangerous place in the state.
Located in the northern-central part of the state, Havre experienced an impressive drop in violent crime between 2015-17, which removed it from the top 5 most violent places in Montana.
Property crime remained high during this time period though, with residents facing about a 5% chance of being the victim of theft or arson each year.
The most populated in city in Montana, Billings is the hub of commercial and industrial life in south-central Montana and the surrounding states.
Billings experienced a rise in both violent and property crime between 2015-17, with violence going up by 15% and property crime by 19%.
The 1 in 18.3 chance that residents faced of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017 was the 2nd worst odds in the state.
Located in the western part of the state, Montana’s capital, Helena, is unfortunately in the top ten for worst violent and property crime rates in the state.
While violence fell between 2015-17, property crime rose, meaning that, overall, Helena’s instances of crime have been increasing.
Residents of Helena had a 1 in 145 chance of being the victim of violence and a 1 in 23.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2017.
The 2nd most populated city in the state and home of the University of Montana, Missoula’s recent rise in crime lands it on this list.
Between 2015-17, violent crime rose and property crime increased, which “earned” Missoula the title of 5th most dangerous city in Montana.
Great Falls isn’t in the top for either category of crime, but a cumulatively bad score lands it in 6th place.
On the bright side, violent crime was reformed in a serious way between 2016, with the instances dropping to 246.
That amounts to a 1 in 240 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017.
Located in the northeastern part of Montana, Wolf Point 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 7th most dangerous city in the state.
The good news is that instances of property crime dropped between 2015-17, but the bad news is that violent crime rose in the same time period.
That left Wolf Point residents with a 1 in 202 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017, making the city the 7th most violent place in Montana.
The county seat of Ravalli County in the west-central part of Montana, Hamilton is the 10th most violent and 8th most dangerous city in the state.
Residents faced a 1 in 215 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017, which reflected a drop from 2011.
Hamilton’s made reductions in property crime as well, with a drop between 2015-17.
Cut Bank is located in the northwestern part of Montana, and has the distinction of having the 17th worst property crime per capita of any place on this list.
And the good news doesn’t stop there — violent crime fell between 2015-17.
Cut Bank’s violent crime statistics in 2011 would have made it the 3rd most violent city in the state, so these recent reductions are the only reason Cut Bank isn’t way higher up on this list.
Located in northwestern Montana, Kalispell is, by a wide margin, one of the least violent places on this list, and around the middle of the pack when compared to all Montanan cities violent crime statistics.
The good news for the commercial center of northwestern Montana is that violent crime dropped between 2015-17, but unfortunately, property crime also went up during this period.
Locking It All Up In Montana
The latest FBI crime data shows that Polson ranks as the most dangerous city in Montana for 2019.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Polson 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 Montana:
- Columbus (Pop. 2,050)
- Colstrip (Pop. 2,326)
- Baker (Pop. 2,029)
For more Montana reading, check out:
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- 10 Safest Places In Montana
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Montana
Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous Cities In Montana