Top 10

Top 10 Dangerous Cities to Live in South Dakota



South Dakota, often celebrated for its majestic natural beauty and historical landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, has a lesser-known side to its narrative. While it offers picturesque landscapes and a rich cultural heritage, certain cities within the state grapple with higher crime rates, posing risks to both residents and visitors.

Understanding the safety landscape of these areas is crucial, especially for those planning to visit or relocate. Here’s an insightful look at the top 10 most dangerous cities in South Dakota, backed by the latest crime statistics and data.

1. Rapid City

  • Population: 78,492
  • Violent Crime Rate: 33.7 (per 1000 residents)
  • Property Crime Rate: Higher than national average

As the gateway to the Black Hills and a hub of tourism, Rapid City’s crime rates stand in stark contrast to its tourist appeal. The city has a violent crime rate significantly higher than the national average, earning it the top spot on this list.

2. Chamberlain

  • Population: 2,364
  • Overall Crime Rate: 66% higher than the national average

Chamberlain, though small, faces substantial crime challenges. Its position as second in both violent and property crime rates in the state underscores a significant safety concern for its residents.

3. Pierre

  • Population: 13,888
  • Property Crime Rate: Well above the national average

Pierre, the state capital, might be small, but its crime statistics are alarmingly high, especially in terms of property crimes, making it the third most dangerous city in South Dakota.

4. Yankton

  • Population: 15,600
  • Violent Crime Rate: 564 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 3,145 per 100,000

Yankton’s historical charm is overshadowed by its crime rates. It ranks fourth in overall crime occurrences, with a particular spike in property crimes.

5. Sioux Falls

  • Population: 197,500
  • Violent Crime Rate: 1,031 incidents last year
  • Property Crime Rate: 5,545 incidents last year

As the largest city in the state, Sioux Falls’ crime issues have grown alongside its population. The city has seen a worrying increase in violent crimes, including assaults and rapes.

6. Mitchell

  • Population: 15,600
  • Violent Crimes: 70 reported last year
  • Property Crimes: 335 reported last year

Known for its unique attractions, Mitchell’s high rank in property crime is concerning. Despite a recent decline in crime rates, it still remains a city with significant safety issues.

7. Box Elder

  • Population: 12,310
  • Violent Crimes: 63 reported last year
  • Property Crimes: 231 reported last year

Box Elder’s small population belies its high crime rate. This town, influenced by its military and academic population, continues to face challenges in curbing violent and property crimes.

8. Aberdeen

  • Population: 29,000
  • Violent Crime Rate: 558 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 2,192 per 100,000

Aberdeen, the third-largest city in South Dakota, struggles with stagnant crime rates. Its position as a key economic hub contrasts with the safety issues it faces.

9. Spearfish

  • Population: 11,902
  • Violent Crime Rate: 294 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 2,579 per 100,000

Spearfish’s rich history is marred by its current crime statistics. The city, though smaller, has significant crime issues, including high rates of robbery and arson.

10. Huron

  • Population: 13,469
  • Violent Crime Rate: 319 per 100,000
  • Property Crime Rate: 2,138 per 100,000

Famous for hosting the South Dakota State Fair, Huron’s crime rate, particularly in violent and property crimes, poses a stark contrast to its cultural festivities.

Safety Tips for Visitors and Residents

  1. Stay Informed: Research crime rates in different cities and towns before visiting or moving.
  2. Be Aware: Always be conscious of your surroundings, avoid isolated areas, especially after dark.
  3. Secure Your Valuables: Theft can happen anywhere. Secure your belongings in public places and use hotel safes.
  4. Safe Driving: Be cautious when driving, especially in rural areas at night and during unpredictable weather conditions.
  5. Respect Wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from animals in natural areas and national parks.


While South Dakota boasts beautiful landscapes and rich history, it’s important to be aware of the higher crime rates in certain cities. Taking precautions and staying informed can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the state.