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North Dakota – Widely associated with open plains and native Americans, today the state is a hub of natural resource extraction and agriculture. Very sparsely populated until comparatively recently, even today, its population of only 0.7 million is spread over the 19th largest state by area. This gives North Dakota the 4th lowest population density in the US.

Economically, the state is still largely agriculturally based and that remains its largest industry but oil extraction, food processing and technology are all significant contributors to the state’s wealth. Household average incomes are around $62,000, with per capita income at $34,000. Both of these figures are slightly higher than US averages by approximately just under 5%.

2.82 Average violent crime per 1,000
25.61 Average property crime per 1,000

Historically, North Dakota has some of the lowest crime figures in the US however the position has changed rapidly over the very recent past. Some experts attribute this to the oil boom and the resulting fast population growth in certain oil-production population centers.

However, overall, North Dakota’s crimes statistics remain well below national averages:

  • It’s the 20th safest state for property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
  • Violent crime figures show 2.82 crimes per 1,000 versus a national average of 3.47 (ratio 0.81) making it also the 20th safest state for violent crime
  • Property crime levels are considerably below the national average at 25.61 per 1,000 compared to the national average of 40.43 – giving a ratio of 0.63.

The top 5 safest areas in the state are:

  1. West Fargo
  2. Dickinson
  3. Williston
  4. Minot
  5. Jamestown

Safest Cities in North Dakota, 2019

RankCityViolent CrimesProperty CrimesViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
1West Fargo534941.44713.488
7Grand Forks1831,7203.15029.609


To identify the safest cities in North Dakota, 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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