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:
- Missoula (Photos)
- Kalispell (Photos)
- Havre (Photos)
- Deer Lodge
- Billings (Photos)
- Helena (Photos)
- Cut Bank
- Wolf Point
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.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Montana 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 2,000 in population. That left us with 30 cities in Montana.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 30 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.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Montana.
Population: 4,744Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 822
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,913
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 2016.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, violent crime bumped up between 2014-16, making Polson the 1st most violent city in Montana.
Population: 71,860Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 524
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,233
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 2014-16, violent crime rose and property crime increased, which “earned” Missoula the title of 2nd most dangerous city in Montana.
Population: 22,470Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 404
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,732
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 2014-16, but unfortunately, property crime also went up during this period.
Population: 9,896Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 677
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,910
Named after the French city, Le Havre, the Montanan version of the city is the 4th most dangerous place in the state.
Located in the northern-central part of the state, Havre experienced an impressive drop in violent crime between 2014-16, 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.
5. Deer Lodge
Population: 2,938Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 612
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,118
Deer Lodge is the smallest city to make this list.
Violent crime rose between 2014-16, leaving residents a 1 in 163 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016 (a rate that would earn a top 10 spot in most states).
Deer Lodge’s already horrible property crime statistics also got worse in these years, going up between 2014-16.
Population: 111,447Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 461
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,680
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 2014-16, with violence going up by 15% and property crime by 19%.
The 1 in 21.4 chance that residents faced of being the victim of theft or arson in 2016 was the 5th worst odds in the state.
Population: 31,052Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 653
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,874
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 2014-16, property crime rose, meaning that, overall, Helena’s instances of crime have been increasing.
Residents of Helena had a 1 in 152 chance of being the victim of violence and a 1 in 25.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2016.
8. Cut Bank
Population: 3,023Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 793
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,646
Cut Bank is located in the northwestern part of Montana, and has the distinction of having the 13th worst property crime per capita of any place on this list.
And the good news doesn’t stop there — violent crime fell between 2014-16.
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.
9. Wolf Point
Population: 2,901Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 723
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,447
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 9th most dangerous city in the state.
The good news is that instances of property crime dropped between 2014-16, but the bad news is that violent crime rose in the same time period.
That left Wolf Point residents with a 1 in 138 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2016, making the city the 3rd most violent place in Montana.
Population: 4,659Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 364
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,927
The county seat of Ravalli County in the west-central part of Montana, Hamilton is the 14th most violent and 10th most dangerous city in the state.
Residents faced a 1 in 274 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016, which reflected a drop from 2011.
Hamilton’s made reductions in property crime as well, with a drop between 2014-16.
Locking It All Up In Montana
The latest FBI crime data shows that Polson ranks as the most dangerous city in Montana for 2018.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Polson’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Montana:
- East Helena
For more Montana reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Montana
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Montana
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Montana
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Montana