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With a higher-than-average violent crime rate and lower-than-average property crime, South Dakota is something of an anomaly as far as its overall crime situation is concerned. Fortunately, for those seeking a safe haven in the Mount Rushmore state, South Dakota is home to three cities with favorably low rates in both key crime categories.

Brandon is South Dakota’s safest city. The quaint Sioux Falls suburb recorded a scant 26 property crimes in 2017, calculating into an extremely low 2.57 per 1,000 rate of property crime, which is lower than the national violent crime rate. Even more impressive is Brandon’s violent crime situation: none were reported in 2017, the latest year for which complete statistics are available. If there’s anywhere in South Dakota where you can be completely assured of the safety of you and your loved ones, it’s Brandon.

Ranking #2 in South Dakota is Brookings, which, with a population of 24,198, is the 4th largest city in the state. The city’s violent crime rate of 1.49 per 1,000 is around a third of South Dakota’s state average, while its property crime rate is also below the state average. This is all the more impressive considering that Brookings is home to South Dakota State University, the state’s largest higher learning institute.

Huron, named after the Huron Native American tribe, is the last of the three South Dakota cities deemed to be very safe. The city earned a 0.14 Safety Index score based on the strength of its  violent and property crime rates below state average. 

Safest Cities in South Dakota, 2019

RankCitySafety Index
1Brandon0.6
2Brookings0.34
3Huron0.14
4Watertown0.06
5Spearfish-0.07
6Pierre-0.09
7Aberdeen-0.17
8Vermillion-0.2
9Yankton-0.22
10Mitchell-0.43
11Sioux Falls-0.46
12Rapid City-0.78

Methodology

We used the most recent FBI crime statistics to create state rankings. There were initially 7,430 cities in the data set. After filtering out the cities with populations of less than 10,000, 2,929 cities remained. We then calculated violent crime rates and property crime rates by dividing the crime numbers by the population to get rates per 1,000. We also calculated the ratio of law enforcement workers to per 1,000. These were weighted with -50% for the violent crime rate, -25% for the property crime rate, and +25% for the law enforcement rate. The resulting metric gave us a the safety index score. The higher this number more safe the city is.

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