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10 Most Dangerous Cities in Montana

police car with police tape

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

We’ve compiled this list to compare per capita statistics in 10 cities in Montana. We will compare murder, violent crime, and property crime to the national averages of 5.0 (FBI), 205.8, and 178.6 (City Data), respectively. Remember that state and country numbers are usually updated within one year, while most city-to-city statistics are typically several years behind. Unless otherwise noted, the numbers reflected are used from the most recent FBI and City Data statistics from 2019.

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The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Montana: A Quick Look

1. Wolf Point, MT

Wolf Point, Montana

Population: 2,730
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 470.8
Property Crimes (per capita): 150.3

According to 2019 statistics, the crime rate in Wolf Point went up 39% compared to the previous year. Over the last five years, violent crime has been steadily climbing in this small town of less than 3000.

The violent crime rate sitting at 470.8 puts Wolf Point’s crime well over double the national average. On the plus side, even though it’s higher than the previous year, its property crime is slightly below the national average. Another positive is that there hasn’t been a murder recorded in Wolf Point since 2008.

2. Ronan, MT

Ronan, Montana

Population: 2,116
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 473.3
Property Crimes (per capita): 163.3

Ronan is another small town in this list that shows smaller isn’t always safer. However, the 5-year trend shows a decline in violent and property crimes. This has brought property crime below the national average compared to the year before, but violent crime is still more than double the average.

The stats between Ronan and Wolf Point are similar across most categories, but one place that Ronan stands out is in auto theft, which was a five-to-one difference. The number doesn’t seem high, but in relation to its population, it is much higher than the national average statistically.

3. Missoula, MT

Missoula, Montana

Population: 75,516
Murders (per capita): 4.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 261.2
Property Crimes (per capita): 295.5

Missoula is our first larger city on the list and the first one with homicides. However, at four homicides per capita, it is still below the national average. In 2019, the crime rate fell by 8% compared to the previous year, and violent and property crimes have also been on a downward trend over the last 5 years.

This has brought violent crime nearly down to the national average, but property crime has a long way to go. One category that is exceptionally high in Missoula is theft.

4. Cut Bank, MT

Cut Bank, Montana

Population: 3,061
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 658.3
Property Crimes (per capita): 258.4

It was shocking to see the crime rate jump 26% in 2019 for such a small town. Even worse, violent and property crime rates have been climbing steadily over the last five years. Property crimes such as theft and burglary contribute to above-average property crime.

The most frightening statistic is that the violent crime rate is more than three times the national average, and assault is the most significant contributing factor to this statistic. Compared to the small population, these statistics put Cut Bank in the top five percentile of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

5. Helena, MT

Helena, Montana

Population: 33,124
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 376.5
Property Crimes (per capita): 293.1

Although Helena is dangerous, a positive note is that the crime rate decreased by 15% in 2019 compared to the previous year. The 5-year trend also shows a decline in violent crime, and property crime is also starting to show a decrease.

Although there were no murders, according to these latest stats, there was a lot of physical and sexual assault. There was also a lot of theft. So, there are quite a few contributing factors to the well-above-average crime rates.

6. Polson, MT

Poison, Montana

Population: 5,060
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 275.9
Property Crimes (per capita): 275.9

While the violent crime rate is still well above the national average in Polson compared to the rate of 517.5 in 2018, it shows a significant improvement. A reasonably high number of crimes in most categories keeps violent and property crime rates from hitting the national average.

However, if this small town can keep making leaps as it did in 2019, hopefully, within a few years, it will be a much safer place to live and visit.

7. Great Falls, MT

Great Falls, Montana

Population: 58,434
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 290.4
Property Crimes (per capita): 416.2

Quite often, the smallest towns have the highest crime rates because of how the statistics are calculated by population. However, in the case of Great Falls, they don’t have a small population to blame for the high statistics.

Violent and property crime rates have risen over the last 5 years. Violent crime rates aren’t much more extreme than the other cities on this list, but the property crime rate is more than double the national average. In addition to burglary, auto and property theft are all driving up the property crime rate numbers and have been doing so for several years.

8. Havre, MT

Havre, Montana

Population: 9,791
Murders (per capita): 0.0
Violent Crimes (per capita): 254.6
Property Crimes (per capita): 291.6

Havre suffers the same high crime rates as the other cities on this list. However, they seem to be more stable in the sense that they only rose slightly in 2019.

The significant drop must be noted as a positive when the current violent crime rate of 254.6 is compared to the 10-year high of 570.7 in 2017. For its size, Havre struggles most with theft. It is the main contributing factor to the high property crime rate.

9. Billings, MT

Billings, Montana

Population: 109,577
Murders (per capita): 7.2
Violent Crimes (per capita): 306.2
Property Crimes (per capita): 343.6

Billings is one of two cities on this list with a higher murder rate than the national average. It is also the largest city. So, when you take a population of over 100,000 people, a 7.2 per capita rate is only eight actual murders. Any number of murders is terrible, but that is a much less shocking statistic in light of the population.

Overall, property and violent crime are still high—well above the national average. Theft and assault are the two main contributing factors to these stats.

10. Hamilton, MT

Hamilton, Montana

Population: 4,898
Murders (per capita): 20.5
Violent Crimes (per capita): 306.2
Property Crimes (per capita): 343.6

Our final city and the second city with a murder rate higher than the national average is Hamilton. At first glance, 20.5 appears to be shocking. However, when the population is considered, this rate works out to only one murder.

Before the murder in 2019, the last murder in Hamilton was in 2014. So, this is not a rampant problem. Another positive note for this small town is that its violent and property crime rates have decreased over the last 5 years.

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How Has the Pandemic Affected These Numbers?

Overall, the state of Montana has seen a reasonable spike in crime during the pandemic. For example, according to Montana’s Board of Crime Control, in 2020, there was an increase of almost 14% in violent crime across the state. Furthermore, the data shows that the two major contributing factors to the increase in 2020 from 2019 were homicides and robberies. (Montana Gov)

How to Stay Safe in Montana

Staying safe in any of the dangerous cities in Montana may look different depending on whether you are living in the city or traveling through.

Crime Scene Do Not Cross Signage
Photo Credit By: kat wilcox, Pexels

Staying Safe While Traveling

Nationwide released a free resource detailing seven steps that you can take to stay safe in a dangerous city while traveling. (Nationwide)

  • Research the area you will be in, consult the locals, and read reviews on the city.
  • Keep a low profile. Don’t wear expensive-looking clothes or jewelry, and try not to appear lost.
  • Keep copies of critical documents just in case something happens and you are robbed.
  • Make sure someone knows you are traveling, and keep them updated in case something happens.
  • Don’t do any sensitive business over public Wi-Fi since hackers may be able to get your information.
  • Follow best practices to keep your hotel room secure. Keep the door locked and windows shut. Always make it seem like the room is occupied even when you’re out, and don’t let anyone you don’t know in.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t have too much to drink, and if you find yourself in a shady area, make sure your cell phone is readily available.

Staying Safe in a New City

Many of the same points made about staying safe while traveling in dangerous cities also apply to living in a dangerous city. In addition, investing in a security system for your new home is advised by most safety experts. Meeting your neighbors and developing relationships is also beneficial. It makes a much safer neighborhood if everyone is watching out for everyone.

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Montana is a beautiful state with many incredible things to see and a vast backcountry to explore. There are also fantastic cities to live in and travel through, but like anywhere else in the world, there are places you will want to avoid if possible or at least be more careful in. We hope this list has given you the information you need to travel and live safely in Montana.

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Featured Image Credit: Filmbildfabrik, Shutterstock


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