There’s no risk of succumbing to ennui in Nebraska, but there’s a genuine concern about surviving in some of the state’s most perilous areas.
We’re not discussing minor mischief here, folks. The most hazardous locations in Nebraska are witnessing daylight homicides, and doorstep deliveries are far from safe.
So, if you’re contemplating a move to Nebraska, or if you’re already a resident seeking a change, take a look at RoadSnacks’ compilation of Nebraska’s most dangerous places for 2023.
How did we pinpoint the riskiest spots in this equine-loving state? We turned to the data. We scrutinized 21 cities in total, examining the FBI’s most recent crime report for violent and property crime statistics in every locale with a population exceeding 5,000.
We found that there’s been a surge in violent crimes over the past 4 years, surpassing the national average. Nebraska hasn’t witnessed such figures since 2000, and let’s just say, 2000 wasn’t a banner year.
Moreover, cities like Omaha consistently appear on lists of the nation’s most dangerous cities, including ours, time after time.
Do we believe there’s a direct link between Nebraska areas with high joblessness and low income and those with the highest crime rates? Undoubtedly. So, if you’re fortunate enough to reside in Nebraska’s safest city, count your blessings.
However, if you need to identify the most dangerous spots in Nebraska before making a significant relocation, peruse our list below before setting off: we wouldn’t want you to end up in a dangerous situation.
10 Riskiest Places 2023
|City||Population||Rank Last Year||Violent Crimes Per 100k||Property Crimes Per 100k|
|South Sioux City||12,746||9||392||2,322|
1. North Platte
North Platte, with its remnants of the wild west’s lawlessness, tops the list as Nebraska’s most dangerous city. Known as the home of Buffalo Bill and the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park, North Platte ranks third in violent crimes and first in property crimes.
While visiting, ascend the Golden Spike Tower for a panoramic view. Its 7th-floor open-air observation deck overlooks Union Pacific Railroad Bailey Yard, the world’s largest train classification yard. You’ll witness more trains in one place than ever before.
- Population: 23,523
- Rank Last Year: 2
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 420
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,485
Omaha, a stop on the Lewis and Clark national historic trail, is renowned for its pioneer history, museums, and cultural centers. However, it still ranks second on Nebraska’s most dangerous cities list.
Lewis and Clark would be dismayed to learn that today, they’d have a 1 in 158 chance of falling victim to violent crime.
Omaha is also home to the NCAA College World Series. But be cautious, as Omaha ranks second in the state for violent and property crimes. Stay alert, especially when visiting the eastern and southern parts of the city.
The city was rocked in 1958 when two teenage boys went on a killing spree, resulting in the deaths of ten people. This event, known as the “Omaha Spree Murders,” remains one of the most horrific crimes in the city’s history.
- Population: 480,297
- Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 631 (Second most dangerous)
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,174 (Second most dangerous)
Scottsbluff, the largest city in Nebraska’s panhandle region, is named after the rounded cliff, Scotts Bluff, overlooking the Platts River.
It ranks third on the list of Nebraska’s most dangerous cities. Despite moving from its previous rank of 6.0, Scottsbluff still ranks sixth in violent crime.
While there, you might want to visit the oldest concrete road, Scotts Bluff Summit Road, or hike on the bluff. But remember to pack extra protection along with your hiking gear.
- Population: 15,665
- Rank Last Year: 6
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 383
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,917
4. Grand Island
It’s somewhat ironic that Grand Island, home to the Law Enforcement Training Center, is on this list of Nebraska’s most dangerous places. One would expect it to be among the safest.
In Grand Island, your chances of being a victim of a violent crime are 1 in 238, and a 1 in 41 chance of experiencing property crime. So, stay vigilant, even in the town that trains our future law enforcement officers.
- Population: 51,547
- Rank Last Year: 5
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 419
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,440
5. South Sioux City
Situated on the western side of the Missouri River opposite Sioux City, Iowa, South Sioux City ranks fifth on this list.
It’s home to the only half-scale exact replica of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Siouxland Freedom Park. If you can’t visit the actual memorial in Washington DC, South Sioux City offers the next best thing.
However, be cautious, as South Sioux City moved up 4 positions from last year. This is partly due to the 1 in 254 chance of being a victim of violent crime and 1 in 43 chance of experiencing property crime each year. It’s certainly not one of the safest places to live in America.
The city was shocked in 2003 when a local woman was found murdered in her apartment. This crime, which remains unsolved, is one of the most chilling in South Sioux City’s history.
- Population: 12,746
- Rank Last Year: 9
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 392
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,322
Moving on to Crete, the sixth most dangerous city in Nebraska for 2022. Crete ranks highest in violent crime, which is not ideal, to say the least.
But Crete isn’t all about crime. If you’re looking for some wholesome family fun, check out Crete’s Great Pumpkin Festival. This three-day event is a blast, but remember to stay alert while carving pumpkins and playing carnival games.
Crete is located in Saline County, 20 miles southwest of Lincoln.
- Population: 7,009
- Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 798
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,498
If you’re a travel enthusiast, Kearney might be the place for you. Founded as a railroad town, it celebrates its past with the Trails & Rails Museum. The city is just off I-80 in the south-central part of the state, making it a convenient stop for cross-country travelers.
However, be vigilant when you stop, as Kearney is the seventh most dangerous city in Nebraska. The city reports high rates of both property and violent crimes, including 548 larcenies and 79 assaults in a year.
- Population: 34,201
- Rank Last Year: –
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 356
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,982
8. Nebraska City
Nebraska City, the County seat of Otoe county, is the eighth most dangerous city in Nebraska. Home to the Applejack Festival, known as the ultimate fruit-based festival, you’ll need to stay alert and protect your belongings.
Nebraska City ranks second for burglary and fourth for property crimes in Nebraska. These stats combine to make Nebraska City the fourth worst city for property crime in the state.
Nebraska City, the eighth most dangerous city in Nebraska, was stunned in 1985 when a local woman was found murdered in her home. This crime, which remains unsolved, is one of the most horrific in Nebraska City’s history.
- Population: 7,292
- Rank Last Year: 4
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 178
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,454
If cemetery tours are your thing, Sidney, Nebraska, is the place for you. At Sidney Boot Hill Cemetery, you’ll find the graves of wild west outlaws from the 1800s. From 1876 to 1881, Sidney’s murder and attempted murder count rose to 56.
However, when visiting today, you’re still likely to be a victim of crime. Sidney ranks eighth highest in property crime and tenth highest in violent crime. So, keep your belongings close while you explore those gravestones.
- Population: 6,049
- Rank Last Year: 7
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 181
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,785
Beatrice was founded in the mid-19th century when a group of passengers stranded after a riverboat accident decided to establish a community.
Named after the daughter of one of the settlers, Beatrice, despite its small population of 12,238, is the main population center of a largely agricultural region in southeast Nebraska.
Unfortunately, even this relatively small concentration of people leads to tensions, including a high rate of violent crimes, such as 14 sexual assaults.
Despite its small-town charm, was shocked in 1985 when six people were wrongfully convicted for a local woman’s murder. This case, known as the “Beatrice Six,” remains one of the most notorious in the city’s history.
- Population: 12,238
- Rank Last Year: 20
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 318
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,380
Most Horrific Crime Ever Happened in Nebraska
One of the most horrific crimes in Nebraska’s history is the killing spree committed by Charles Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, in the late 1950s.
Over a period of two months, Starkweather and Fugate killed 11 people in Nebraska and Wyoming.
The murders, which included a family of three and a high school friend of Starkweather’s, shocked the nation and led to Starkweather’s execution in the electric chair in 1959.
Fugate, who claimed she was a hostage during the killings, was sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 1976. The Starkweather-Fugate killing spree remains one of the most infamous in American criminal history.
What is being done to improve safety in these high-crime areas in Nebraska?
Local law enforcement agencies in Nebraska are working diligently to improve safety in high-crime areas. This includes increasing police presence, implementing community policing strategies, and investing in crime prevention programs.
Additionally, state and local governments are working to address underlying issues such as poverty and unemployment that often contribute to high crime rates.
How can I stay safe while visiting these cities in Nebraska?
It’s important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially in areas known for higher crime rates.
Avoid walking alone at night, keep your belongings secure, and stay in well-lit, populated areas whenever possible. It’s also a good idea to research the specific areas you plan to visit and understand the local crime trends.
What resources are available for victims of crime in Nebraska?
Nebraska offers a variety of resources for crime victims, including the Nebraska Crime Victim’s Reparations Program, which provides financial assistance to victims of violent crime.
The Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence also offers resources and support for victims. Additionally, many local communities have organizations that provide counseling, legal assistance, and other support services for crime victims.
How can I get involved in crime prevention in my community?
There are many ways to get involved in crime prevention in your community. This could include participating in a neighborhood watch program, volunteering with local youth organizations, or advocating for policies that address the root causes of crime.
Contact your local law enforcement agency or community center to learn about opportunities in your area.
These cities, including North Platte, Omaha, and Scottsbluff, have seen a surge in violent and property crimes over the past few years.
However, it’s important to remember that crime rates can vary significantly within cities, and there are many safe and vibrant neighborhoods in each of these cities.
The correlation between high crime rates and areas with high unemployment and low income is undeniable. Therefore, addressing these underlying issues is crucial for long-term crime reduction.
Local law enforcement agencies are working tirelessly to improve safety, and there are numerous resources available for crime victims.