10 Most Dangerous Cities In Idaho (2024 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Idaho is one of the safest states in the country. Idaho manages to keep crime low because of its low population, lack of dense urban centers, and largely rural demographic. Despite that, not everywhere in Idaho is safe. Some cities have seen rising crime rates and a higher prevalence of violent crimes including things like murder, assault, and rape.
For the purposes of this article, we have pulled raw data from both the Idaho State Police and the FBI databases and used that in conjunction with grades provided by Crime Grades for a complete overview.
Taking that into consideration, these are the ten most dangerous cities in Idaho.
The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Idaho: A Quick Look
1. Blackfoot, ID
Blackfoot, Idaho, is a small town that lies along Interstate 15 between Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
The low population of Blackfoot means that any amount of crime above the baseline will cause its crime rates to shoot up, and the numbers show that’s the case. For a city with less than 12,000, it reported 42 incidents of violent crime in 2019, giving it a higher-than-average violent crime rate.
The violent crime rate is 3.24 per 1,000 residents, which is higher than the state average. That number puts Blackfoot in the bottom 20% of most dangerous cities in the United States. Only 19% of US cities are more dangerous.
2. Chubbuck, ID
Chubbuck is one town over from the next city on this list, Pocatello, and boasts higher than average crime rates. Like Blackfoot, that is due in large part to its small population. With just over 15,000 people, Chubbuck is one of the smaller towns on this list. That is why its reported violent crimes, 37, stand out and jump the rate of violent crime well above the state average.
The crime rating index gives Chubbuck a rating of 16, meaning that it is more dangerous than 84% of US cities. Chubbuck also has a very high property crime rate. At 24.6, the rate of property crime is two and a half times higher than Idaho’s state average. Together, it gives Chubbuck poor marks overall on crime.
Despite the grim numbers, Crime Grades gives the city a C+, which is technically passing. Because the city is smaller, it should see the crime rates begin to fall if it can cut down on just a few incidents in the coming year.
3. Pocatello, ID
Pocatello is the county seat of Bannock County and is the largest city in southeastern Idaho. Pocatello is a popular stop along the Interstate between Salt Lake City and Montana. It is home to a historic downtown district and Zoo Idaho. However, Pocatello has a violent crime rate nearly double that of the rest of the state.
The violent crime rate is 4.24, which is derived from the 233 reported incidents of violent crime in the city. The violent crime rate statewide is just 2.4. That high violent crime rate drops Pocatello to just the 16th percentile for safety, meaning that it is more dangerous than 84% of US cities. Not a great metric.
Despite the high rates of violent crime, Pocatello has a reasonably low rate of property crime which keeps its crime grade at a respectable B-. The lower rate of personal and property crime rescues the town’s overall crime profile. Besides, Pocatello is unavoidable in this area of Idaho. It is one of the only towns around and offers the local population many entertainment options.
4. Garden City, ID
Garden City is a suburb of Boise located just north of the city along the banks of the Boise River. The area is known for its craft breweries and nightlife for people in the Boise area. But Garden City manages to have one of the highest violent crime rates in the state. The total number of violent crimes and assaults, 96, fuels a crime rate of 6.82, which is three times the state average. A person is three times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in Garden City than anywhere else in Idaho.
Garden City is a lively area that is growing. It is popular with the younger crowds that frequent Boise, but until it can bring down its abnormally high rate of violent crime, it will stubbornly remain on this list.
Part of the reason for the high crime rate is the low population which causes each incident to inflate the rate faster than the surrounding area. The rest of Garden City is relatively safe which gives it a crime grade of B-. If the violent crime rate falls, that grade should quickly rise.
5. Twin Falls, ID
Twin Falls is a city that stands alone in southern Idaho. It is known as a popular stop for tourists looking to explore the nearby Snake River. The Snake River has a series of canyons and waterfalls that are a big tourist draw. Unfortunately, the city is one of the least safe in Idaho.
Twin Falls has a violent crime rate of 5.00, which is double the state average. Twin Falls also suffers from high rates of crime in general. This is likely due in part to the touristy nature of the city. The presence of a lot of tourists and people passing through often entices local people to crime. Tourists are some of the easiest and most common targets of property crime. The result is a crime grade of D+, which is not ideal. D+ is one of the worst crime grades on this list.
6. Mountain Home, ID
Mountain Home is a small town southeast of Boise. It services the nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base but makes the list due to high rates of violent crime. The assault rate in Mountain Home is 2.5. According to Crime Grade, there are parts of Mountain Home where the likelihood of becoming the victim of a crime is 1 in 9. That is because of the usually high number of reported incidents of violent crime. Fifty-four reports in a town of just 14,476 people is a lot. The large number of violent crimes combined with a poor track record on property crime lands Mountain Home a crime grade of D+.
The nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base has a long, storied history. It was opened during World War II, housed a part of the USA’s nuclear arsenal during the Cold War, and is now home to high-tech fighters and air command units.
7. Caldwell, ID
Caldwell stands out for its unusually high rate of motor vehicle theft. With 125 reports of motor vehicle theft in 2019, Caldwell is third only behind Boise and Nampa, both of which are much larger than Caldwell. The city of Caldwell has the highest rate of motor vehicle theft in the state, and it is not even close.
On top of that, the town also reported 203 incidents of violent crime which is also one of the highest in the state. That number is in line with other cities on this list of a similar size. The violent crime incidents combined with one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the state lands Caldwell solidly on this list. Despite that, it still manages to cling to a crime grade of C. Considering the data, that grade could be worse.
Caldwell lies next door to Nampa, another city facing a growing crime problem, and is home to Idaho College.
8. Nampa, ID
Nampa is a city going in the wrong direction in terms of crime. The city lies in southwest Idaho near the Oregon border and is not too far from Boise. Lately, its crime numbers have started rising along with the population. It is in the top five for violent crimes, rapes, and assaults in the state of Idaho, netting it a crime grade of D-, the worst on this list.
Nampa is growing, along with much of southern Idaho, but along with the growth has come an even faster-growing crime scene. There are currently an estimated 63 crimes per square mile in Nampa, three times the state average of 19.
Within the general uptick in crime, violent crime is leading the way. Violent crime reports are way up in Nampa, and it has pushed the city from obscurity towards the top of the list in all categories.
Unfortunately, what is happening in Nampa is happening all across the county. Violent crime rates have risen year over year since 2019 at concerning rates, and that trend does not look like it is going away this year. Expect Nampa to struggle with the violent crime wave in 2022 and beyond unless something drastically changes.
9. Boise, ID
On the whole, Boise is a fairly safe city compared to other large cities. However, it makes the list because it has the highest number of crimes committed by any city in Idaho, and it is not even close. This is due in large part because it is the largest city in Idaho and the greater number of people leads to a more significant number of crimes. Boise also has multiple universities that increase the rate of alcohol-related crime and sexual crimes.
Despite the large numbers of crimes committed, Boise still manages to pull in a crime grade of B- which is not all that bad. But Boise is a rapidly growing city. As cities grow larger and larger, so too does the rate of crime. And oftentimes, that includes violent crime. As Boise continues to grow, it is expected that the crime rate in Boise will continue to creep upwards in the near future.
10. Coeur d’Alene, ID
Coeur d’Alene is one of Idaho’s most popular cities and is a big tourist draw for nearby Washingtonians looking to have a good time. The town is situated on a lake and has a bevy of bars and restaurants to enjoy for a low price. The weather is often beautiful, and the town is growing. But all of that fun and fancy brings with it a price. Crime in Coeur d’Alene is on the rise, and much of it is tied to boozy tourism and growing pains.
The city gets a crime grade of C, but it has some concerning markers. There were 38 rapes reported in the city in 2019, along with 86 aggravated assaults. It may not sound like much, but those numbers put Coeur d’Alene near the top of the Idaho cities list in both categories.
As the tourism market rebounds and the city continues to grow, it is likely that crime rates will stay similar or even rise a bit in the coming years. That is not to say you can’t still enjoy the beauty and fun Coeur d’Alene offers, but the crime rates are starting to creep upwards.
How safe is Idaho compared to other states?
Very safe. According to US News, Idaho is the third safest state in the United States. Only Maine and New Hampshire rank higher than Idaho. The state’s dispersed population and lack of large city centers keep crime rates down statewide. Crime often spikes in densely populated areas, of which Idaho has none.
The state is growing, and growth usually brings some increases in crime, but overall it is still one of the safest states in the country by far.
What makes crime rates in Idaho different from other areas?
Crime in Idaho is very sparse. While the crime rates in certain communities are high, that is due in large part due to the town’s small populations. Small populations are subject to faster rises in crime rates because a spike in raw crime numbers can spike the crime rate faster than larger areas that can absorb the numbers more easily. If you look at the total of crimes committed in Idaho, the number is comparatively tiny compared to other states. So while some areas’ crime rates look scary on paper, the number of actual crimes being committed is actually quite low.
Best ways to stay safe in Idaho
The best and easiest way to avoid crime and stay safe in Idaho is to simply avoid high crime areas. In some places, that can be tricky, but it is easy to avoid those kinds of locations in Idaho. Idaho is very safe and has low crime rates, so identifying areas where crime is higher can be practical.
If you do find yourself in a high crime area, the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to decrease the potential for crimes of opportunity. Do not make yourself a target. Do not leave valuables in your car. Do not leave your car unlocked. Decreasing these kinds of easy crimes for potential perpetrators to get away with will vastly reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim.
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Idaho is very safe, but areas are struggling with higher than average crime rates. Some of these cities simply have way more people than the surrounding areas while other, small towns are battling high crime rates due to their low populations. Whatever the case, crime exists everywhere, even in our safest places.
Luckily, Idaho continues to retain its place as one of the safest states in the USA, but that might change in the near future. Idaho is growing rapidly and attracting more and more people every year, which will only increase the chance of crime.
Featured Image Credit: Pinpals, Pixabay