Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in South Dakota?
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 South Dakota — and anyone looking to move to South Dakota — 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 Mount Rushmore State:
- Rapid City (Photos)
- Mitchell (Photos)
- Pierre (Photos)
- Sioux Falls (Photos)
- Aberdeen (Photos)
- Yankton (Photos)
- Watertown (Photos)
- Spearfish (Photos)
Why did Rapid City 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 South Dakota.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in South Dakota 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 28 cities in South Dakota.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 28 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 South Dakota — Rapid City. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in South Dakota.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in South Dakota.
1. Rapid City
Population: 74,573Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 718
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,977
The 2nd most populated city in South Dakota, Rapid City is located just 30 minutes away from Mount Rushmore.
Rapid City’s crime problem has been slowly improving in recent years, with violent crime going down from 2014-16, and property crime dropping.
Still, Rapid City residents face about a 1 in 25.1 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.
Population: 15,749Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 571
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,676
Located in southeastern South Dakota, Mitchell ranks relatively poorly in both categories of crime.
On top of that, both types of crime have been steadily growing more frequent, with a 43% rise in violent crime and an 18% rise in property crime occurring between 2014-16.
That left Mitchell’s residents with a 1 in 174 shot of being the victim of violence in 2016.
Population: 14,068Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 447
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,563
The second smallest state capital in America (after Montpelier, VT), Pierre has the 1st worst rate of property crime in the state.
Though Pierre has the 7th most violent crime on this list.
Population: 2,383Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 755
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,979
Chamberlain may not be the worst place to live in South Dakota , but it does earn the title of the 4th most dangerous city in the state.
In 2016, residents of Chamberlain had a 1 in 132 chance of being raped, murdered or assaulted and a 1 in 33.6 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.
Chamberlain probably wouldn’t even be on this list if not for a very recent explosion in its crime rate — between 2014-16, instances of violent crime increased to 18 and instances of property crime went from just 13 in 2011 to 71 in 2016.
5. Sioux Falls
Population: 175,152Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 512
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,176
The most populated city in South Dakota, the Sioux Falls metropolitan area contains almost 30% of the total population of the state.
The crime situation in Sioux Falls has gotten increasingly worse in recent years, with violent crime going up between 2014-16.
That meant that in 2016, about 1 in 195 Sioux Falls residents were the victim of a violent crime.
Population: 2,296Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 609
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,482
Flandreau is the 3rd most violent of the most dangerous cities in South Dakota, but it’s 9th in terms of property crime.
That is partially due to a hike in property crime from 2014-16, which left residents with a 1 in 40.3 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2016.
Violent crime also went up during this period, so Flandreau’s trend means it might stay in the top 10 for a few years.
Population: 28,498Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 470
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,179
Aberdeen, a city in Brown County, has seen its crime increase overall for the last few years. According to the FBI, violent crimes have nearly doubled here, and residents have a 1 in 212 chance of being robbed.
Additionally, there were 134 attacks in a city of only 28,498 residents.
Population: 14,575Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 329
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,108
A city on the Missouri River, Yankton has experienced an unfortunate boom in its crime rate recently.
Between 2014-16, violent crime and property crime increased.
That left residents of Yankton with a 1 in 32.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime and a 1 in 303 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.
Population: 22,186Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 401
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,686
Located in the northeastern part of South Dakota, Watertown is the 5th largest city in the state and the 9th most dangerous.
While Watertown’s violent crime steadily declined from 2014-16, property crime went up.
With barely any net gain in crime reduction during these years, it seems Watertown is doomed to remain on the list of most dangerous cities in South Dakota.
Population: 11,429Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 244
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,298
While Spearfish is a known speed trap with rigorous enforcement of speeding laws, it is also a relative hot bed for the occurrence of crime.
As the FBI aggregates crime data based on reporting from local municipalities, it wouldn’t surprise us if Spearfish ranks highly simply because the police department does an excellent job of reporting crimes that occur within its city limits.
Spearfish has the 15th most violent crimes in South Dakota.
Locking It All Up In South Dakota
The latest FBI crime data shows that Rapid City ranks as the most dangerous city in South Dakota for 2018.
However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Rapid City’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in South Dakota:
For more South Dakota reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Dakota
- If You’re From South Dakota This Will Be The Highlight Of Your Day. No Doubt.
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In South Dakota
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In South Dakota
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