11 of Montana’s Most Dangerous Cities

Hey, are you ready to dive into the darker side of Montana?

Well, buckle up because we’re about to take a journey through 11 of Montana’s most dangerous cities, where crime lurks in the shadows and caution is the name of the game.

Now, I know what you might be thinking – Montana, with its breathtaking landscapes and peaceful charm, surely can’t be home to dangerous cities.

While Montana’s stunning Rocky Mountains and delightful small towns often steal the spotlight, it’s important to address the less savory aspects of our lovely state.

From homicide hotspots to property-related issues, these towns have their own unique tales of caution.

But, before you think I’m trying to scare you away from visiting our beautiful state, fear not! This is not meant to discourage you, but rather to empower you with knowledge.

Whether you’re a seasoned Montanan or a curious traveler, understanding the crime landscape of a state is essential for making informed decisions about where to explore and enjoy outdoor activities.

So, join me as we uncover the hidden truths behind these dangerous cities and navigate your way safely through Montana’s stunning landscapes.

Grab your map, hold on tight, and join me as we navigate through the untamed paths of Montana’s crime underbelly.

What Makes a City Dangerous?

A man holding a rifle.

What makes a city dangerous?

It’s a complex question with a multitude of factors at play. Let’s take a look at each one, shall we?

  1. City’s Population Size – As a general rule, larger cities tend to have higher crime rates. With more individuals comes a greater chance of encounters with individuals with malicious intent.
  2. Local Economy – When poverty is widespread, crime rates tend to rise as people facing financial hardships and unmet needs may resort to criminal behavior due to desperation.
  3. Access to Weapons – The presence of firearms and other dangerous weapons can turn even the simplest dispute into a dangerous encounter.
  4. Political Instability – Reduced law enforcement, corruption, bad economic times, social unrest, armed organizations, and extremist ideologies are all ways that political instability contributes to crime in cities.
  5. Threat of Terrorist Attacks – The possibility of terrorist attacks can impact a city’s crime rate by instilling fear among residents, prompting heightened security measures, and diverting law enforcement resources away from addressing other types of crime.

The crime rate of a city is influenced by a complex interplay of various factors.

This delicate balance significantly impacts the safety and well-being of the people living in those neighborhoods, making it crucial for us to pay attention and stay informed.

As responsible individuals, we should take necessary precautions and be mindful of our surroundings.

While it may be challenging, we can equip ourselves with knowledge and awareness to navigate through any city’s crime challenges effectively.

11 of Montana’s Most Dangerous Cities

A road with mountains in the background.

Montana may be known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities, but it’s important not to overlook the safety factor when exploring its cities.

From the quiet town of Wolf Point to the bustling metropolis of East Helena, these cities in Montana have crime rates that far exceed the national average.

As we explore the criminal scenarios in Montana’s most dangerous cities, the following table presents a summary of crime rates per 1,000 residents in these areas: 

  CityViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
Wolf Point55300
Cut Bank49100
Great Falls8060

Violent crimes, property crimes, and even murder capitals dot the landscape of Montana, making it clear that this state has its fair share of cities with high crime rates.

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, being aware of the crime threats in these cities is essential for ensuring your well-being.

1. Wolf Point

A snow covered street located in Wolf Point, Montana
source: wikimedia.org

Nestled amid the rugged Rocky Mountains, Wolf Point, Montana has gained a reputation for its concerning crime rates.

Wolf Point, a small community with less than 3,000 residents, saw a startling 39% increase in crime in 2019 compared to the previous year, with violent crime on the rise.

Due to this, the town is now more dangerous than 87% of American communities, placing it in the 13th percentile for safety, which raises some red flags.

Wolf Point’s overall crime rate receives a D- grade, with crimes occurring on average every day and six hours, making it a matter of worry for residents.

Statistics also show a 300% higher chance of a house getting broken into without a security system, prompting residents to consider extra protection for their homes.

But it’s not all bad news. Let’s look at the positive aspects.

Wolf Point has roughly 55 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Now, that may sound alarming, but considering the population, it’s actually not as high as you might think.

And on the plus side, even though it’s higher than the previous year, its property crime is slightly below the national average.

Here’s another silver lining – there hasn’t been a murder recorded in Wolf Point since 2008. So while it may have its fair share of crime-related issues, Wolf Point’s murder rate is thankfully low.

Although the crime rates may cause unease, it’s crucial to recognize that Wolf Point is more than just its statistics.

2. Ronan

A house with a blue door in the middle of a grassy yard located in Ronan, Montana
source: wikimedia.org

Ronan, with its small-town charm and pleasant atmosphere, is facing significant safety concerns that demand attention.

Ranking in the 34th percentile for safety might raise eyebrows, as it means 66% of U.S. cities are safer than Ronan.

With a population of just over 2,000 residents, the town of Ronan experiences a crime rate of approximately 34 incidents per 1,000 residents.

Among the prevalent types of crime, assault takes the lead, but property crime follows closely, creating a delicate balance in the town’s crime statistics.

To navigate safety in Ronan, being aware of neighborhood variations is vital.

The southwest neighborhoods of Ronan offer a sense of security and tranquility, while the eastern areas raise caution, with approximately a 1 in 21 chance of becoming a victim compared to the safer zones with a 1 in 58 chance.

Despite these challenges, Ronan boasts unique offerings, with scenic landscapes and outdoor activities that Montana is renowned for.

Yet, enjoying these delights should be accompanied by a vigilant awareness of the prevailing crime rate and the necessity to take appropriate precautions for personal safety.

Despite higher-than-desired crime rates, visitors and residents can still embrace all that Ronan has to offer.

3. Polson

A lake with snow capped mountains in the background, located in Polson, Montana

Nestled in the heart of Montana, this town faces its own set of unique challenges, particularly concerning crime.

Polson’s property crime rate, ranking as the highest per capita in the state, is a cause for concern, urging residents and visitors to be extra vigilant in safeguarding their belongings.

With a crime rate of 50 incidents per 1,000 residents, it’s definitely eyebrow-raising. Out of every 1,000 people in Polson, there are a whopping 50 occasions of crime. Yikes!

To make matters worse, Polson has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the entire country, with offenses like rape, murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault being unfortunately all too common in this area.

Polson also faces a notable presence of property crime, with a concerning statistic of 1 in 26 chance of falling victim to such incidents. These include burglaries, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and even arson.

It’s essential for residents to be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.

Positively, Polson’s violent crime rate did notice a noticeable improvement in 2019, even though it is still significantly higher than the national average.

If this trend continues, there’s hope for a safer future in this small town.

Apart from crime, Polson faces challenges like high unemployment rates and relatively low median household income, contributing to the factors perpetuating crime in the community.

Nevertheless, Polson’s allure lies in the stunning Rocky Mountains and the serenity of Flathead Lake, offering outdoor enthusiasts an enticing backdrop.

Hopefully, with continued progress, crime will decrease over time, making Polson a safer place to live and visit.

4. Havre

An aerial view of a small town in Havre, Montana

With its population of 9,377, the town of Havre unfortunately falls on the wrong side of the crime scale.

In a place where the crime rate is 37 per 1,000 residents, it’s definitely not a place where you can let your guard down.

Havre is on our list of unsafe cities because it has one of the worst rates of violent crime in the country.

Havre is also at risk for property crime, particularly larceny, burglary, auto theft, and even arson. With 29 crimes committed for every 1,000 residents, both locals and visitors face a serious risk.

In fact, your chances of falling victim to car theft in Havre are 1 in 291, a stat that casts a shadow of apprehension over this otherwise lovely town.

It’s interesting to note that Havre’s northeastern region appears to be the safest section of the city, whilst the more lively areas can be riskier.

It serves as a reminder that one must be cautious and mindful of their surroundings, especially in a town famed for its outdoor activities.

Havre appears to have seen a minor increase in crime rates in recent years, according to crime trends.

However, it’s worth noting that this rise has been relatively stable since 2019. While the specific factors contributing to this drop may vary, Havre’s proactive approach to tackling crime is encouraging.

This provides a glimmer of hope that the city can maintain its current levels and work towards a safer environment for its residents.

5. Cut Bank

A river in the middle of a cliff overlooking one of Montana's most dangerous cities
source: wikimedia.org

When it comes to dangerous cities in Montana, Cut Bank stands out.

With a population of just 3,049 residents, this seemingly small town conceals a dark underbelly of crime.

Cut Bank’s crime grade score of D- and a crime occurring, on average, every day and 12 hours are unsettling.

It finds itself in the 11th percentile for safety, meaning 89% of cities and towns in Montana are safer.

The town’s crime rate, with 49 crimes reported per 1,000 residents, is a cause for concern.

Property crimes contribute to the higher-than-average property crime rate, painting a bleak picture for residents and visitors.

The trend of increasing crime rates in Cut Bank is alarming, with violent and property crime rates climbing steadily over the past five years.

Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of Cut Bank’s crime statistics is the violent crime rate, which stands at more than three times the national average.

Assaults are the primary contributors to this chilling statistic, making it clear that danger lurks around every corner.

Considering its small population, Cut Bank’s placement among the most dangerous cities in the United States is sobering.

Economic issues likely play a role in exacerbating the overall crime problem in the town.

Cut Bank may be small, but its above-average crime rates and concerning trends make it a place where caution is crucial.

6. Hamilton

A building with a blue awning in Hamilton, Montana
source: wikimedia.org

Hamilton, Montana, is a vibrant city nestled in the stunning Rocky Mountains, attracting outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers with its charm and friendly locals.

Despite its small population of around 4,600 residents, Hamilton has faced its share of crime, with rates exceeding the national average.

Unfortunately, crime occurs, on average, every day and one hour in this town, placing Hamilton in the 52nd percentile for safety compared to other cities in Montana.

Certain neighborhoods in Hamilton are riskier than others, particularly the central areas, with a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim, while the southeast parts are relatively safer at 1 in 73.

While the murder rate in Hamilton is higher than the national average, it’s worth noting that recorded murders were infrequent until 2019.

Despite these concerns, there is some hope as both violent and property crime rates have declined over the past five years, showing efforts to combat crime are making a difference and offering reassurance to residents.

While caution is advised, there are still safer areas within Hamilton to explore.

7. Great Falls

A car driving down a highway in Great Falls, Montana
source: wikimedia.org

This charming city nestled in Montana’s vast landscapes has an unexpected twist when it comes to crime.

Surprisingly, despite its population of 60,000, Great Falls has a crime index of just 2 out of 100, meaning it’s safer than only 2% of cities. That’s quite concerning, wouldn’t you say?

Over the past five years, both violent and property crime rates have been increasing in Great Falls.

While the violent crime rates are not excessively high compared to other cities on my list, the property crime rate is particularly alarming, exceeding the national average by more than double.

Burglary, auto theft, and property theft contribute significantly to this disconcerting trend.

With a crime rate of 51 incidents per 1,000 residents, the likelihood of falling victim to crime in Great Falls is approximately 1 in 20—certainly not a statistic to take lightly.

To make matters worse, the town has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the nation, with offenses like rape, murder, armed robbery, and aggravated assault occurring too frequently.

The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Great Falls is approximately 1 in 186.

To add to the worries, Great Falls also boasts one of the highest rates of car theft in the entire country, even when compared to towns of all sizes.

It serves as a stark reminder that vigilance is necessary, even in what may seem like a tranquil corner of Montana.

8. Billings

An aerial view of Billings, Montana

Billings, with its sizable population of 117,445, is known as one of Montana’s largest cities.

However, beneath its charming exterior lies a troubling truth: the city is grappling with a high crime rate that affects both its residents and visitors, making them feel uneasy.

In fact, Billings is unfortunately ranked among the most dangerous cities in the entire nation.

The alarming crime rate of 55 incidents per 1,000 residents means that your chances of encountering crime in Billings are as high as 1 in 18. It’s a sobering reality that demands attention and caution.

These statistics paint a bleak picture of safety in this bustling city, where danger lurks around every corner.

It is the violent crime rate that truly sends shivers down one’s spine.

Billings boasts one of the highest rates of violent crime in the nation, making it a hotbed for offenses such as rape, armed robbery, manslaughter, aggravated assault, and even murder.

Shockingly, the likelihood of becoming a victim of such heinous crimes stands at 1 in 101. These numbers highlight the urgent need for heightened vigilance and caution.

However, it is not only violent crime that plagues Billings.

Property crime is also rampant, with a chance of falling victim to burglary, auto theft, or property theft standing at an alarming 1 in 22. This makes Billings a hot spot for all manner of property-related issues.

As you wander through its streets, keep a watchful eye on your belongings. But who knows, amidst the thrill of the chase, you might just uncover the hidden gems that make Billings a city like no other.

9. Helena

Montana's Helena city with mountains in the background

The charming capital city of Helena also holds its fair share of surprises when it comes to crime.

With a crime rate that leaves residents and visitors alike with a 1 in 25 chance of falling victim to violent crimes, one can’t help but feel a sense of unease lingering in the air.

Helena has gained a reputation for its high violent crime rates, landing it among the top contenders in the United States.

The list of commonly reported crimes in this seemingly lovely town includes rape, murder, armed robbery, and assault. It’s a chilling reminder that danger can lurk in the most unexpected corners.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Property crimes also plague the streets of Helena, with a daunting 1 in 30 chance of becoming a victim. Larceny, car theft, arson, and burglary have become all too familiar in the lives of its residents.

However, there is a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness.

In 2019, Helena experienced a 15% decrease in its overall crime rate compared to the previous year. This promising trend extends to both violent crimes and property crimes, showing signs of a turning tide.

As of 2019, Helena didn’t have any reported murders, but we can’t ignore the significant occurrence of physical and sexual assault, along with burglary.

It’s a wake-up call, reminding us that even in the most beautiful towns, crime can still be a harsh reality.

As the sun sets over the Rocky Mountains, Helena is determined to make its community safer, aiming for a brighter future where residents can feel secure and protected.

10. Missoula

A river with mountains in Missoula, Montana

Missoula, oh, it’s such an intriguing place.

With a population of 120,000, its allure captivates people from around the world. But behind the enchanting surface, there’s a deeper, more unsettling truth.

Missoula, the notorious murder capital of Montana, holds a crime index of a mere 5 out of 100—97% of communities in the state being safer than this perplexing city.

Here, the odds are not in your favor. Your chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Missoula is a chilling 1 in 24.

Yes, you heard that right. This place has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the entire country.

Imagine the distressing notion of standing among a crowd, where one in every 149 people has experienced the horror of a violent crime.

And it doesn’t end there. With an equally astonishing rate, the chance of falling victim to larceny, burglary, car theft, or even arson in Missoula stands at a disheartening 1 in 24.

However, there is a glimmer of hope amidst this dark narrative.

In the year 2019, a glimmer of hope shone through the darkness of crime—a remarkable 8% drop in the overall crime rate compared to the previous year.

Over the last five years, both violent and property crimes have been steadily declining, gradually bringing Missoula closer to the national average for violent crime.

It’s a positive trend that offers a sense of progress and safety for the community.

Tread carefully, for one category stands remarkably tall in the midst of this chaos—theft. Yes, my perplexed companion, theft is a seemingly omnipresent shadow lurking in the corners of Missoula’s streets.

In this bewitching city that boasts both positive features and a vivid tapestry of perplexity, explore with caution. Venture into its depths, but be ever mindful of its darker secrets.

11. Kalispell

A street with cars driving down in Kalispell, Montana

Kalispell is a city with an intriguing blend of enchantment and high crime rates.

Let me unveil the harsh truth: the odds of becoming a casualty of crime in Kalispell is a daunting 1 in 25.

Yes, my friend, the crime rate here is higher than the national average, making it a dangerous place to wander.

When it comes to violent crimes, Kalispell showcases a darker side.

Murders, manslaughters, aggravated assaults, and rapes are alarmingly more prevalent compared to most cities across the nation.

The unsettling reality is that these crimes occur all too frequently within the boundaries of this scenic paradise.

Property crimes, too, cast a shadow of concern. The thefts, the arsons—they tend to thrive here, more than they should. Kalispell struggles with property-related issues, with a crime rate that surpasses the national average.

But amidst this troubling narrative, a flicker of hope emerges. Kalispell experienced a 30% decrease in overall crime rates from the previous year, a positive sign that shows progress.

Over the past five years, both violent and property crimes have been on a decline, offering a glimmer of optimism for Kalispell’s future.

Perhaps this captivating city can shake off its dangerous reputation and embark on a path toward safety.

Montana Living and Traveling Safety Tips

A row of orange and white traffic cones in Montana

Montana might be known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities, but like any place, it’s important to prioritize safety, especially in more dangerous cities.

Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind when living or traveling in Montana:

  1. Dress Appropriately – Avoid attracting unnecessary attention by dressing in a flashy or provocative manner. Opt for comfortable yet discreet clothing that blends in with the local surroundings.
  2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings – Maintain a heightened sense of awareness at all times. Stay alert, keep your head up, and avoid distractions like using your phone excessively.
  3. Avoid Walking Alone at Night – Whenever possible, try to arrange for a ride or make use of public transportation. If walking is unavoidable, stick to well-lit and busy areas where there is a higher likelihood of other people being around.
  4. Keep Your Valuables Out of Sight – It’s essential not to flaunt your valuables in public. Keep your phone, wallet, and other valuable items hidden in a secure location, such as a backpack or a bag worn close to your body.
  5. Keep Your Phone Charged and Easily Accessible – Your phone can be a lifeline in case of an emergency, so make sure it’s always charged and within reach. Program important phone numbers, including the police and trusted friends or family members, for quick and easy access.

Remember, these safety tips apply not just in dangerous cities but everywhere in Montana.

By being proactive and aware, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to common crimes and ensure a safer experience while enjoying all that Montana has to offer.

Montana’s Most Dangerous Cities Final Thoughts

Mountains with grassy fields in Montana

It is indeed important to be aware of the crime rates when venturing into this majestic state.

The recent Montana crime statistics reveal some concerning trends in dangerous cities, highlighting the need for caution and vigilance.

With higher-than-average rates of violent and property crimes in certain areas, it’s important to be prepared and take precautions to ensure your well-being.

Whether you find yourself in the bustling streets of Missoula or the natural wonders of Glacier National Park, don’t be lured into complacency by Montana’s stunning beauty.

When traveling to Montana, it’s crucial to prepare for emergencies and the unexpected.

Being aware of crime rates and taking precautions is crucial for both residents and visitors in Montana.

While the state offers a wealth of outdoor activities and lovely towns, it’s important to prioritize safety and respect local wildlife.

By following these safety tips and staying vigilant, you can have a memorable and secure experience exploring the wonders of Montana.

Remember, your safety should never be compromised, so always trust your instincts and take necessary precautions. Stay informed about the local crime rates and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.

It is important to always know the good and the bad sides of living in Montana especially when choosing a place to live or stay.

Stay safe and enjoy your time in Montana, taking in the beauty of the state while keeping yourself protected.

Montana’s Most Dangerous Cities FAQs

1. Is There a Lot of Crime in Montana?

In 2022, the great state of Montana experienced a rather curious trend.

While the violent crime rate saw a rise from 4.2 per 1,000 people to 4.7, the property crime rate, on the other hand, experienced a slight decline, going from 22.4 per 1,000 to 21.2.

However, Montana’s property crime rate still hovers above the national average of 19.6.

2. What Are Some of Montana’s Safest Cities?

Let’s take a closer look at some of Montana’s safest cities, where you can embrace the wonders of this breathtaking state without the nagging worry of crime.

  1. Colstrip – Population: 2,446, 73% Below National Crime Rate
  2. Glendive – Population: 5,232, 64% Below National Crime Rate
  3. Whitefish – Population: 7,309, 31% Below National Crime Rate
  4. Columbia Falls – Population: 5,225, 34% Below National Crime Rate
  5. Deer Lodge – Population: 2,976, 66% Below National Crime Rate

3. What Cities Have the Highest Crime Rate in the United States?

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, the 5 most hazardous states in the U.S. in 2023 are:

  1. Louisiana – Has a total crime rate of 537.5/100,000 people, making it the most dangerous.
  2. Mississippi – Has a total crime rate of 413.2/100,000 people.
  3. Alaska – Despite a low population, it has a high overall crime rate of 386.2/100,000 people.
  4. Arkansas – Has a total crime rate of 385.9/100,000 people.
  5. New Mexico – Has a total crime rate of 369.5/100,000 people.

Delve deeper into the state of Montana by giving these other great articles a read:

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Written by:

Chris Hall
Hi, I'm Chris Hall, co-founder of PocketMontana.com. Growing up among Montana's breathtaking landscapes ignited my passion for travel. While I've journeyed to many corners of the world, the allure of Montana's wild beauty always draws me back. To me, travel is about understanding the soul of a place, and Montana has a special place in my heart. It's where endless adventures meet raw nature.

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