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:
- Helena (Photos)
- Havre (Photos)
- Missoula (Photos)
- Billings (Photos)
- Kalispell (Photos)
- Deer Lodge
- Wolf Point
- Great Falls (Photos)
Why did Helena 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 2017?
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 second release of 2015 data, specifically the 2015 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available for 2016 in September 2017.
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 29 cities in Montana.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 29 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 — Helena. 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: 30,363Violent Crimes Per 100k: 638
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,126
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 2013-15, property crime rose, meaning that, overall, Helena’s instances of crime have been increasing.
Residents of Helena had a 1 in 156 chance of being the victim of violence and a 1 in 24.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2015.
Population: 9,873Violent Crimes Per 100k: 617
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,122
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 2013-15, 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.
Population: 4,634Violent Crimes Per 100k: 496
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,646
Located on the southern shore of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, Polson has placed 2nd for property crime per capita in the state.
Residents of Polson faced a 1 in 2nd chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2015.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, violent crime bumped up between 2013-15, making Polson the 8th most violent city in Montana.
Population: 70,553Violent Crimes Per 100k: 527
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,488
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 2013-15, violent crime rose and property crime increased, which “earned” Missoula the title of 4th most dangerous city in Montana.
Population: 109,997Violent Crimes Per 100k: 440
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,705
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 2013-15, with violence going up by 15% and property crime by 19%.
The 1 in 21.3 chance that residents faced of being the victim of theft or arson in 2015 was the 3rd worst odds in the state.
Population: 4,652Violent Crimes Per 100k: 558
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,439
The county seat of Ravalli County in the west-central part of Montana, Hamilton is the 4th most violent and 6th most dangerous city in the state.
Residents faced a 1 in 178 chance of being the victim of violence in 2015, which reflected a drop from 2011.
Hamilton’s made reductions in property crime as well, with a drop between 2013-15.
Population: 21,932Violent Crimes Per 100k: 259
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,675
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 2013-15, but unfortunately, property crime also went up during this period.
8. Deer Lodge
Population: 2,996Violent Crimes Per 100k: 433
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,137
Located in eastern Montana, Deer Lodge is one of the smaller cities to appear on this list.
Deer Lodge has achieved some impressive improvements in its crime rate in recent years, with violent crime falling by 34% from 2013-15, and property crime falling by about half as much.
Still, folks living in Deer Lodge had a 1 in 31.9 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2015, which is pretty unacceptable.
9. Wolf Point
Population: 2,891Violent Crimes Per 100k: 518
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,905
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 2013-15, but the bad news is that violent crime rose in the same time period.
That left Wolf Point residents with a 1 in 192 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2015, making the city the 7th most violent place in Montana.
10. Great Falls
Population: 59,252Violent Crimes Per 100k: 258
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,499
Great Falls may not even be on this list in another year if the current trends continue — violent crime was more than cut in half between 2013-15, with the number of instances falling from to 153.
Property crime also fell during this time, so Great Falls is improving its crime altogether.
Locking It All Up In Montana
The latest FBI crime data shows that Helena ranks as the most dangerous city in Montana for 2017.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Helena’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 Best Places To Retire In Montana
- These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In Montana
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Montana
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Montana