Safest Cities Montana - header

Montana – A north-western state that is famed for its wide-open spaces. Once the site of numerous “Indian Wars”, Montana divides roughly into the prairie and badlands east, and the mountainous west. Several ranges of the Rockies run through the state and are a major tourist attraction.

Montana’s population is approximately 1 million, spread over the 4th largest state of the union. That makes its population density one of the lowest in the US, which is currently ranked 44th. In economic terms, Montana is a major raw materials producer through mining. There is also a large energy sector. Tourism is a significant factor in overall state wealth, with three of the five entrances to the Yellowstone National Park locagted here, as well as the Battle of the Little Big Horn historic site. Household income levels in the state sit around $54,000, which is approximately 10% below US national levels. That also applies to per capita income at $29,000 for the state

4.44 Average violent crime per 1,000
42.09 Average property crime per 1,000

Montana has some challenges with crime, where rates are above the national average. Specifically:

  • It’s the 46th safest state for property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
  • The violent crime rate is significantly above the national average (ratio=1.28) with 4.44 crimes per 1,000 versus a national average of 3.47. This makes it the 36th safest state for violent crime.
  • The state’s property crime levels are slightly above national averages, being 42.09 per 1,000 compared to the national average of 40.43 – giving a ratio of 1.04.

Statistically, the safest areas in Montana are:

  1. Kalispell
  2. Bozeman
  3. Helena
  4. Great Falls
  5. Missoula

Safest Cities in Montana, 2019

RankCityViolent CrimesProperty CrimesViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
1Kalispell727973.09834.290
2Bozeman1301,1432.78224.461
3Helena2171,3466.85242.503
4Great Falls2463,0234.15851.093
5Missoula3523,3424.80245.591
6Billings5496,0764.93254.583

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Montana, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. A total of 7,639 cities were factored into this ranking with populations ranging from 7,639 to 4,007,147. However, we eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.

Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and incidence of crime.

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then rated them using the population of the city and created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and we normalized it so the final number became a score between 0 and 1.

Next, we computed a new variable called Police Adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees). We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. We transformed and normalized this police adequacy variable also, resulting in a score between 0 and 1. Finally, we combined the two scores to create a safety score for each city.

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