FIVE SAFEST CITIES

Three of the five safest cities in Montana are in the northeastern part of the state.

While most would agree that Montana is a relatively safe state to live in when it comes to violent crime and related factors but there are obviously some places in the state that are safer to live in than others.

Safewise, a company that contextualizes national crime and safety trends to show how they affect people and their neighborhoods, annually compiles a list of the safest cities in each state.

While nearby Glendive retained their rank as the safest city in Montana, Sidney improved their ranking from 13th last year to No. 5 this year.

According to FBI statistics, Sidney’s violent crime rating was 8.4 in 2019, 6.4 in 2020 and 4.7 in 2021. The numbers reflect the number of incidents per 1,000 residents.

Sidney’s personal crime rating has improved over the past three years as well. Sidney’s personal crime rating was 19.1 for 2019, 13.7 for 2020 and 11.9 for 2021. Again, the number reflects the number of incidents per 1,000 residents.

Other nearby cities that made the Top 10 include Glasgow at No. 4 and Miles City at No. 7.

Statewide, Montana experienced a sharp rise in violent crimes compared to last year with the violent crime rate jumping from 3.7 per 1,000 people to 4.0, the fourth-highest increase in the US. In contrast, the property crime rate had a steep drop from 25 per 1,000 to 21.9.

Of the eight states in the Mountain region, Montana had the fourth-highest violent crime rate (4.0) behind New Mexico (8.3), Nevada (4.9), and Arizona (4.6). With regard to property crime, The Treasure State had the fourth-lowest property crime rate (21.9) above Idaho (12.2), Wyoming (15.7), and Utah (21.7).

Montana’s crime rates are just above average compared to the rest of the nation. Among all 50 states, Montana had the nineteenth-highest violent crime rate and the twenty-third-highest property crime rate.

The survey asked Montana residents which crimes they worry may happen to them.

Despite an increase in reported violent crimes and survey respondents’ personal experiences with them this year, around two-thirds of residents feel safe in their state. Montanans also appear to have considerably lower concern for police and gun violence—and higher confidence in law enforcement than the national average.

66% of Montanans reported feeling safe in their state compared to 55% of Americans.9% of people in Montana reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the last 12 months—up from 8% last year. Murder is the least-common violent crime in Big Sky Country, making up just 0.6% of violent crimes (US 1%)—the state’s 5 safest cities averaged 3%.Rape accounts for 14.4% of violent crimes in Montana (US 8.2%) but the 5 safest cities come in with a slightly higher number of incidents at 16.2%.34% of survey respondents report using some form of personal protection—matching the US average.36% of Montana residents say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 44% of Americans. Montana residents also had a more positive view of law enforcement than many other states.

40% of Montana residents cited gun violence as a top safety concern—noticeably lower than the US average of 53%.8% of survey respondents reported an experience with gun violence in the last 12 months, an increase from last year. There were 2 mass shootings in Montana in 2019 and none in 2020.30% of Montanans worry about police violence daily—lower than the US average of 40%.61% of Montana residents reported having confidence in law enforcement. This is higher than the US average of 56%.There were 19 officer-involved shootings in 2020, a 90% increase from 10 in 2019.Unlike with violent crime, Montana’s property crime rate is actually higher than the national average. Even so, fewer residents reported personally experiencing property crime this year.

When it comes to property crimes, more Montanans are concerned about package theft and property crime happening to them than any type of violent crime but less concerned than the nation as a whole.

Fewer Montana residents (16%) reported personal experiences with property crime this year compared to last year (27%)—a decrease of over 40%.Burglary accounts for 12% of all property crimes in Big Sky Country (the 5 safest cities average 17%), which is about a quarter less than the US rate of 16%.15% of participants reported experiencing package theft in the last 12 months, putting Montana well below the US average of 20%. This is the fourth-lowest in the country.49% of survey respondents use some form of property protection. This is below the 60% national average. Montana’s top form of property protection this year was firearms with 30% of survey respondents using them. This is higher than the 26% national average.24% of Montanans say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the security of their property—this is lower than the US average of 29%.Safewise uses FBI crime statistics data to rank cities in each state and across the country. To add extra insight and depth to that assessment, they include demographic information and the results of our proprietary State of Safety research study. The “safest” cities rankings are intended to highlight cities with low crime rates and ignite conversation and action around how to make all cities and communities safer. For the purposes of city ranking reports, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

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