The Most Dangerous Top 10 Cities to Live in Montana

Montana, often romanticized for its vast open spaces and picturesque landscapes, also contends with the realities of crime in certain cities. In this detailed exploration, we delve into the top 10 most dangerous cities in Montana as of 2024, examining the nature of their crime issues and offering insights into the risks associated with living in or visiting these areas.

1. Helena: The State Capital with High Crime Rates

Population: Over 30,000

Helena, Montana’s state capital, offers excellent housing and schooling but struggles with high rates of violent and property crimes, including the highest rate of rape in the state. The city has ranked second and fourth for violent and property crimes, respectively, at various points​​​​.

2. Missoula: One of Montana’s Largest Cities with Persistent Crime

Population: 76,468

Missoula, the state’s second most populated region, faces challenges with high property crime rates and has been labeled one of Montana’s murder capitals. The city reported 4 murders and 60 rapes in a year, contributing to its reputation as a dangerous place​​​​​​.

3. Great Falls: High Rates of Violent and Property Crimes

Population: 60,000

Great Falls has a crime index of 2 out of 100, making it only safer than 2% of cities. With a crime rate of 51 per 1,000 residents, the city’s chance of becoming a victim of a crime is approximately 1 in 20. Great Falls has high rates of violent crime, including offenses such as rape, murder, and armed robbery​​​​.

4. Billings: Montana’s Largest City with a Troubling Crime Rate

Population: 109,577

Billings, the largest city in Montana, experiences high rates of theft and assault. The city has a murder rate higher than the national average, with eight actual murders. Overall, property and violent crime rates in Billings remain well above the national average​​​​.

5. Wolf Point: High Violent Crime Rate in a Small City

Population: 2,744

Wolf Point, hosting Montana’s oldest rodeo, has one of the state’s highest violent crime rates. With a population of only 2,744, its violent crime rate translates to 1,202 per 100,000 people, the highest in Montana. However, its property crime rate is comparatively lower​​​​.

6. Hamilton: A Tourist City with Underlying Violence

Population: 4,898

Hamilton, despite being a tourist attraction, experiences high rates of rape and property crime. While the city had only one murder, its violent and property crime rates are concerning, especially given its small population​​​​.

7. Polson: Property Crime as a Major Issue

Population: 5,060

Polson, located in Montana’s Northwest, faces significant property crime issues, with a probability of 1 in 26 of becoming a property crime victim. The town also deals with violent crimes related to theft​​​​.

8. Havre: Struggling with Theft and Violent Crimes

Population: 9,791

Havre experiences high rates of theft and violent crime. While there has been a decrease in violent crime rates compared to previous years, theft remains a major contributing factor to the town’s high property crime rate​​​​.

9. Ronan: Assault and Property Crime in a Small Town

Population: Over 2,000

Ronan, part of the Flathead Indian reservation, faces significant violent crime issues, particularly assault. The town also suffers from property crimes, making it one of Montana’s most dangerous places to live​​​​.

10. Cut Bank: High Crime Rates in a Small City

Population: 3,049

Cut Bank, with a population of 3,049, has a high total crime rate of 49 per 1,000 residents. The town’s residents claim that the south area is the most dangerous, with one’s chance of being a victim as high as 1 in 8​​​​.

Understanding the Challenges

“Understanding the Challenges” refers to comprehending the underlying issues and factors contributing to the high crime rates in the mentioned cities. This understanding is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Socio-Economic Factors: Many of the cities with high crime rates often struggle with socio-economic challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and limited educational opportunities. Recognizing these factors helps in understanding why certain crimes are more prevalent in these areas.
  2. Drug and Substance Abuse: In many cities, drug and substance abuse contribute significantly to the crime rate. Understanding the extent of these issues can shed light on the types of crimes committed and the demographics most affected.
  3. Community Dynamics: Every city has unique community dynamics, including family structures, community engagement, and cultural diversity. Understanding these dynamics can provide insights into the social fabric of the city and how it influences crime rates.
  4. Law Enforcement and Judicial Systems: The effectiveness of law enforcement strategies and the judicial system in a city can significantly impact crime rates. Understanding these systems’ strengths and weaknesses can reveal areas for improvement in reducing crime.
  5. Historical Context: Some cities may have historical issues that contribute to current crime rates, such as historical economic downturns, racial tensions, or legacy of gang activities.
  6. Mental Health and Education: The availability of mental health resources and the quality of education also play critical roles in shaping a city’s crime rate. Understanding these aspects can highlight preventive measures.

Staying Safe

“Staying Safe” focuses on practical measures and precautions that individuals can take to protect themselves in cities with high crime rates. These measures are crucial for residents and visitors to mitigate risks:

  1. Awareness and Vigilance: Being aware of one’s surroundings and staying vigilant, especially in high-crime areas, can prevent becoming a victim of crime. This includes being mindful of suspicious activities and avoiding distractions like smartphones when walking in public spaces.
  2. Avoiding High-Risk Areas: Understanding which parts of a city are more prone to crime and avoiding these areas, especially during night or when alone, can reduce the risk of encountering dangerous situations.
  3. Securing Personal Property: Taking steps to secure personal property, such as not leaving valuables in plain sight in cars, using home security systems, and being cautious with personal belongings in public places, can deter theft and burglary.
  4. Community Engagement: Participating in community watch programs and being engaged in local safety initiatives can help in creating a safer neighborhood environment.
  5. Emergency Preparedness: Having a plan for emergencies, including knowing emergency contact numbers, exit routes in public places, and having a personal safety app or device, can be crucial during unexpected situations.
  6. Self-Defense Awareness: While resorting to violence is never encouraged, being aware of basic self-defense techniques or carrying legal, non-lethal means of self-defense can provide an added layer of security.
  7. Travel Safety: For visitors, researching the safety of areas before traveling, staying in reputable accommodations, and using reliable transportation services can help in staying safe.
  8. Reporting Crimes: Promptly reporting any crimes or suspicious activities to the police can not only ensure personal safety but also contribute to broader community safety.

By understanding the challenges and employing safety measures, individuals can better navigate and contribute to the safety of cities with higher crime rates.