As a researcher, I’ve always been intrigued by the unexpected. Water, the third leading cause of injury death worldwide, is a significant concern, especially in Minnesota, famously known as The Land of 10,000 Lakes. But, my friends, there’s a more menacing threat lurking in this Midwest State.
Yes, you heard it right. Minnesota, as serene and picturesque as it may seem, is home to some incredibly dangerous cities.
Being the curious soul that I am, I decided to delve deeper into this, and what I found was quite startling.
My journey began with a comprehensive analysis of 120 cities, guided by the illuminating beacon of data. I turned to the FBI’s latest crime report, scrutinizing violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with a population exceeding 5,000.
The findings were eye-opening. Minnesota’s crime rates, while not the highest in the nation, certainly have room for improvement.
Most Minnesotans I’ve spoken to are fiercely proud of their home, viewing their little slice of this often-overlooked state as a haven. But, sadly, this isn’t the reality for those residing in Minnesota’s most dangerous locales.
These folks are not just bystanders to high crime rates; they’re grappling with unemployment, low wages, and a dearth of rehabilitation programs.
This is particularly shocking considering Minnesota’s status as the country’s second wealthiest state. It seems the prosperity isn’t trickling down as one might expect.
Despite not being in the top ten most dangerous states, Minnesota’s riskier areas certainly need attention. More law enforcement? Surveillance systems? Substance abuse programs?
I’m still figuring that out. But one thing I’m certain of is this: if you’re considering a move to Minnesota, you might want to take a gander at my list of the state’s most dangerous places. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, right?
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Minnesota
|City||Population||Violent Crimes Per 100k||Property Crimes Per 100k|
|West St. Paul||20,007||434||7,792|
Bemidji, the dwelling place of folklore heroes Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, and the setting for Netflix’s Fargo, holds a less glamorous title as Minnesota’s most dangerous city.
In 2020, residents had a 1 in 13 chance of falling victim to a property crime. So, if you’re planning a visit, keep a close eye on your belongings or you might find yourself exclaiming, “oh, jeez!”
Moreover, Bemidji recorded the third highest violent crime rate in the state, with an aggravated assault happening more than once a week on average.
- Population: 15,567
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 603
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,329
In the tale of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis plays the role of the more troublesome twin. In the City of Lakes, it’s wise to have a companion, as the city reported nearly one murder per week, making it the third highest in the state for this grim statistic.
Additionally, Minneapolis had the ninth-highest rate of rape cases in Minnesota. Overall, residents had a 1 in 86 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Even homes weren’t safe, with Minneapolis recording the highest burglary rate statewide. However, by sticking to safer neighborhoods and exercising caution, you can mitigate these risks.
- Population: 435,116
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,154
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,558
3. West St. Paul
Just south of St. Paul, you’ll find West St. Paul, a compact city of 20,007 residents spread across five square miles.
Given its density, it’s perhaps not surprising that it had the second highest property crime rate, with residents facing a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim.
While violent crime was less prevalent, West St. Paul did have the fifth highest murder rate. So, it’s best to avoid solitary late-night strolls in places like St. Clair Park.
- Population: 20,007
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 434
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,792
4. St. Paul
St. Paul, the other half of the Twin Cities, suffers from the typical big city syndrome. With a plethora of vibrant neighborhoods and attractions, it naturally draws a larger crowd, which unfortunately inflates crime statistics.
However, some of St. Paul’s crime figures are hard to dismiss, like residents having a 1 in 133 chance of being the victim of a violent crime over a year, or the city witnessing about two murders a month, making it the seventh highest in the state for this crime.
Property crime rates are relatively lower, but St. Paul still recorded higher rates of car theft and arson than Minneapolis in 2020.
- Population: 309,859
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 748
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,802
5. Waite Park
Despite ranking fifth on this list, Waite Park holds the dubious distinction of having the highest overall crime rate in Minnesota, exceeding the national average by a staggering 300%.
The reason? Waite Park has the highest property crime rate in the state. On average, two cars are stolen each month in this city of just 7,812 residents.
However, most other property crimes are larcenies, which is understandable given the city’s extensive retail sector. Nevertheless, there’s a reason we’ve included it among Minnesota’s least desirable places to live.
- Population: 7,812
- Violent Crimes Per 100k:332
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 10,112
Brainerd, the administrative hub of Crow Wing County, is renowned for its stunning lakes. Regrettably, it’s also infamous for its elevated violent crime rates.
In 2020, Brainerd reported approximately 1.5 rape cases per month, earning it the unenviable title of having the highest rate of rape cases in Minnesota.
Overall, residents had a 1 in 191 chance of being a victim of a violent crime over the year. While some of this can be attributed to the influx of tourists, it doesn’t negate the fact that crime is relatively high for the local population.
- Population: 13,417
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 521
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,644
Virginia, fondly referred to as the Queen City of the North, is unfortunately beset by high crime rates. To begin with, Virginia had the 12th highest burglary rate in Minnesota.
But it’s the violent crime that casts a shadow over the city, making it unsafe to linger in Olcott Park after dark. With the 26th highest rate of rape cases statewide, Virginia ranks as the fourth most violent place in Minnesota.
- Population: 8,337
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 539
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,514
8. Brooklyn Center
While Brooklyn Center may share a name with a borough adjacent to Manhattan, its reality is quite different. Situated just north of Minneapolis, this suburb boasts golf courses and parks along the Mississippi River.
However, it also has a less appealing side, marked by a high crime rate, including 200 car thefts and 44 robberies among its 30,744 residents.
- Population: 30,744
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 481
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,607
Fridley, another suburb of Minneapolis, finds its place on this list. Nestled just north of the big city and along the Mississippi River, Fridley offers picturesque parks and the charming Moore Lake.
However, late-night riverside strolls are not recommended due to the high incidence of robberies, with 32 reported in a population of 27,892. The rates for car thefts and larcenies are also worryingly high.
- Population: 27,892
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 340
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,589
Roseville, another community in the vicinity of Minneapolis, is unfortunately part of this list. Located northeast of the city center, Roseville saw significant growth in the mid-20th century.
However, its recent history has been marred by high property crime rates, despite violence being relatively rare. In a population of 36,675, there were 283 burglaries and 59 robberies, along with a significant number of car thefts.
Particularly disturbing case, a local jewelry store was the target of a violent robbery, leaving the community in shock. Despite violence being relatively rare, this incident contributed to the high property crime rates in the city.
- Population: 36,675
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 316
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,462
Most Terrible Crime Ever Happened in Minnesota
In the annals of Minnesota’s criminal history, one chilling case stands out, casting a long, dark shadow over the state’s otherwise serene landscape.
The infamous “Weepy-Voiced Killer” case of the early 1980s remains one of the most terrifying and bizarre crimes ever committed in the state.
The killer, Paul Michael Stephani, earned his nickname from the remorseful, tear-choked phone calls he would make to the police following his brutal attacks, providing them with details only the perpetrator could know.
His reign of terror began on New Year’s Eve 1980, when he brutally attacked a 20-year-old woman with a tire iron. Over the next two years, Stephani would go on to murder three women and severely injure two others.
The chilling audiotapes of his calls, filled with sobs and pleas for the police to catch him, added a surreal and haunting dimension to the already horrifying crimes.
Despite his attempts to stop himself, Stephani’s violent impulses continued until his capture in 1982, following his final attack.
This grim chapter in Minnesota’s history serves as a stark reminder of the darkness that can lurk beneath the surface of even the most idyllic places.
If you’re planning a trip to Minnesota, it’s important to be aware of the crime landscape in various cities. While you’re at it, why not consider some safer outdoor activities? Here’s a great resource for camping in Minnesota.
5 Safety Tips
- Only carry what you absolutely need. Keep what you do have as hidden as possible.
- When in a vehicle, park in well-lit areas. Do not stop to assist stranded motorists, call for help and keep going.
- Be aware at all times. Stay off your phone, do not wear headphones, and look around.
- Know where you are going and how to get there. It also helps if you have an alternate route planned.
- If you are confronted by a robber, stay calm and give up your valuables. Nothing is worth your life. Call 911 as soon as you can.
What are some of the factors contributing to high crime rates in Minnesota’s cities?
There are several factors that contribute to high crime rates in cities, including socioeconomic conditions such as unemployment, low wages, and lack of access to rehabilitation programs.
In some cities, the influx of tourists can also contribute to higher crime rates. Additionally, larger cities naturally draw larger crowds, which can unfortunately inflate crime statistics.
How does Minnesota’s crime rate compare to the national average?
While the text does not provide specific comparisons to the national average, it does indicate that Minnesota’s crime rates are not the highest in the nation, but they do have room for improvement.
It’s important to note that crime rates can vary significantly from city to city within the state.
What measures are being considered to improve safety in Minnesota’s most dangerous cities?
The text does not provide specific measures being considered, but it does suggest that more law enforcement, surveillance systems, and substance abuse programs might be beneficial.
It’s likely that local authorities are considering a range of strategies tailored to the specific challenges and needs of each city.
How can residents and visitors protect themselves from becoming victims of crime in these cities?
The text suggests that being aware of your surroundings, sticking to safer neighborhoods, and exercising caution can help mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings, especially in cities with high property crime rates.
What is the “Weepy-Voiced Killer” case and why is it significant in Minnesota’s criminal history?
The “Weepy-Voiced Killer” case refers to a series of murders committed by Paul Michael Stephani in the early 1980s. Stephani earned his nickname from the remorseful, tear-choked phone calls he would make to the police following his brutal attacks.
His reign of terror began on New Year’s Eve 1980 and continued until his capture in 1982. The case is significant due to its chilling nature and the haunting audiotapes of Stephani’s calls, which added a surreal dimension to the already horrifying crimes.
In conclusion, while Minnesota is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and serene lakes, it is not immune to the societal challenges that come with crime.
The state’s most dangerous cities, as highlighted in this analysis, grapple with high rates of both violent and property crimes.
These issues are complex and multifaceted, often intertwined with socioeconomic factors such as unemployment and low wages. However, it’s important to remember that these statistics do not define these cities in their entirety.
They are home to vibrant communities, rich histories, and individuals working tirelessly to improve their neighborhoods.