10 Safest Cities in Montana

Updated On October 10, 2023

Montana is one of the larger states by land area but has just over 1 million people.

It has the 14th best crime index in the nation, but its sparse population can make the crime rate seem higher than it really is.

It has the 12th highest violent crime rate at 469 per 100,000 and the national average is 369.

Montana has the 11th lowest number of violent crimes in the nation.

10 Safest Cities in Montana

Glendive, Montana
Glendive, Montana


Glendive is a town of 5,000 on the Yellowstone River on the eastern side of the state, near the North Dakota border.

It is an isolated area that has very little crime.

Over the past three years, it has averaged about one violent crime per 1,000 people, and three years ago it had two per 1,000.

The property crime rate is also very low, at six per 1,000.

That number dived in 2021 to 2.8, but about six is the long-term average.

There were six violent crimes last year; no murders and no robberies.

Its total crime rate is 70 percent below the national average.

Whitefish, Montana
Whitefish, Montana


Whitefish is another isolated town.

It has 7,000 people and is in the northern part of the state near Glacier National Park, and 50 miles from Canada

The crime rate has gone up a bit, but it is still very low.

In 2022, violent crime was at 1.9 per 1,000, and in 2020 it was at 1.2.

Property crime is a little higher and is going down.

It was at 10 per 1000 in 2022 and it was 16.7 per 1000 in 2020.

Last year there were 16 violent crimes.

There were no murders or robberies but there were two rapes.

Its overall crime rate is 50 percent below the national average.

Miles City, Montana
Miles City, Montana

Miles City

Miles City is about 20 miles south of Glendive on Interstate 94, or along the Yellowstone River.

That area is fairly isolated and crime is very low.

Miles City has a low violent crime rate at about two per 1,000 residents and that has remained constant in recent years.

The property crime rate is higher but is going down.

In 2022 it was at 13 per 1,000 people and shot up to 29 per 1000 in 2021.

Even that is still below the national average. 

There were 16 violent crimes last year, including three rapes, but no murders or robberies. 

The city is still 40 percent below the national average.

Dillon, Montana
Dillon, Montana


Dillon is a town of 4400 in the southwest part of the state, in the Rocky Mountains. 

Its violent crime rate has gone up and down in recent years, but it remains low, at 40 percent below the national average.

There were three crimes per 1000 in 2022, and 2 per 1000 the previous year. 

Its property crime rate is very low, at 2.3 per 1,000 in 2022, down from 6.1 in 2020. 

Its crime rate is 69 percent lower than the national average and its cost of living is also lower.

The cost of living is lower than the state average and schools are highly rated.

Lewistown, Montana
Lewistown, Montana


Lewiston is a town of 6,000 in the middle of the state and relatively remote.

Its crime rate is going down.

In 2022, there were 3.6 violent crimes per 1000, down from 4.7 in 2020.

In 2022, the property crime rate was 7.4 per 1,000, nearly half the rate of 13.1 in 2020.

The crime rate is 57 percent below the state average.

It has a lot going for it in other areas as well, with the cost of living 13 percent lower than the state average, and real estate costing half the state average. 

Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman, Montana


Bozeman is the fourth-largest city in the state with almost 50,000 residents.

Its crime rate is surprisingly low for a town its size, at 36 percent lower than the state average.

There were 157 violent crimes last year, and 120 of those were assaults.

There were, however, 33 rapes, which is high for a city this size.

There were 1,344 property crimes per 100,000, which is well below the state average of 2100 and the national average of 1958.

The most common crime was theft.

Bozeman ranks high in safety and amenities, but low in cost of living and employment.

Kalispell, Montana
Kalispell, Montana


Kalispell is in the western part of the state and has the second-lowest crime rate among cities of more than 10,000 residents.

Kalispell has 24,000 people, and its overall crime rate of 31 per 1,000 is four percent above the state average.  

Violent crime is 20 percent below the national average but its property crime rate is 20 percent above.

There were 78 violent crimes last year, and 60 were assaults.

There were nearly 600 property crimes and 507 of those involved theft.

There have been no murders in Kalispell for two years.

Columbia Falls, Montana
Columbia Falls, Montana

Columbia Falls

Columbia Falls is a town of 6,000 in the northern part of the state, in the heart of the rocky mountains and along a river.

It is a scenic town that attracts tourists, but the crime rate stays low.

Its overall crime rate is 34 percent lower than the state average.

There were 18 violent crimes last year.

Four of those were assaults and there were three rapes.

There were 85 property crimes, and 72 of those were theft.

Its property crime rate was 35 percent below the state average.

Even though it is relatively safe, its year-over-year crime rate has increased.

Laurel, Montana
Laurel, Montana


Laurel is a town of 7,000 about 40 miles southwest of Billings and is one of the safer cities in the state.

Its overall crime rate is similar to the national average, but its violent crime rate is 32 percent below that average.

The property crime rate is slightly above the national average.

There were 18 violent crimes last year, and 14 of those were assaults.

There were no murders.

There were 149 property crimes and 126 of those were theft.

The city rates well for the cost of living, amenities, and safety, but poorly on employment and housing.

Belgrade, Montana
Belgrade, Montana


Belgrade is a city of 11,000 in the southern part of the state near Bozeman. 

Its crime rate is just above the national average.

Its violent crime rate is 21 percent below the state and national average, but the property crime rate is 15 percent above.

There were two murders last year, but there had not been any in years before.

There were no robberies reported last year.

There were 220 property crimes last year, and 202 of those were thefts.

 Belgrade ranks well for amenities and schools, but low on employment and housing.

Five Safety Tips For Traveling to Montana

  1. Avoid looking like a tourist. Do not carry big maps around, or show your electronics or cash. Try to look like a local person. Act like you know where you are and where you are going, whether you or not. 
  2. Be mindful of where you are. Montana is beautiful and some areas are very remote. There may not be a phone signal if you are too far from civilization, and there may not be a gas station for 100 miles. Keep this in mind if you are driving.
  3. Keep everything locked up. Montana is very safe, but there is some crime. Theft of property is the most common crime in Montana. Most criminals will not try to break a lock. They look for things left unprotected, so don’t give them an opportunity.
  4. Keep family informed. Always let someone know where you are going and when you intend to return or arrive at your destination. There are very remote areas and, in some cases, you might not see another person for several days. Make sure someone knows where to go looking if you don’t show up in a reasonable amount of time.
  5. Stay hydrated. The air is very dry and you can get dehydrated before you realize it. Keep water in your car, and carry some, just in case you have trouble. Drink a lot of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can dry you out as well.

Montana Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Montana Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What city in Montana has the highest crime rate?

Havre, Montana is a town of 10,000 near the Canadian border and has the highest crime rate in the state.

Its overall crime rate is 45 percent above the state average.

Its rape rate is more than double the national rate, but its robbery rate is less than half the national average.

Thefts, and property crime, in general, are also nearly double the national average.

What city has the most rapes?

Bozeman had 33 rapes last year, which comes to 64 per 100,000 people.

The city of Missoula had 87 per 100,000.

Both are more than twice the national rate of 38 per 100,000.

Montana had the ninth most rapes per 100,000 people in the nation last year.

What is the most common crime in Montana?

Theft is the most common crime and its 21.2 per 100,000 people rate is higher than the national average.

On the other hand, the 19 robberies per 100,000 are below the national average and the fifth-lowest in the nation.

4 Comments on 10 Safest Cities in Montana

  1. Montana may have a low crime rate overall, but it is always important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings when traveling. Avoid looking like a tourist, keep your belongings secure, and make sure someone knows your plans. And don’t forget to stay hydrated in the dry climate.

  2. S
    Sydney Davies says:

    Great list! I’ve lived in Missoula for years and always felt safe. It’s nice to see it recognized here.

  3. D
    Deborah Lister says:

    As a parent, safety is a top priority for me. I’m glad to see Bozeman on this list; it gives me peace of mind knowing my family is in a secure environment

  4. R
    Richard Collins says:

    Living in Helena for a while now, I can vouch for its safety. It’s not just about low crime rates; the community here really looks out for each other.

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