10 Most Dangerous Cities In North Dakota 2024: From Peaceful to Perilous

North Dakota Cities

If you ever find yourself exploring the expanses of North Dakota, it’s common knowledge to keep an eye out for the unexpected presence of mountain lions in Williston or the freezing cold that could turn an egg solid in Parshall. But an often overlooked factor to be mindful of is the state’s danger zones.

You heard right! North Dakota, like any other region, has its share of risky spots. Some attribute this to the icy temperatures sparking tempers, others point fingers at the need for more quality job opportunities, while some chalk it up to simple human nature. However, regardless of the reasons, the facts remain indisputable. Luckily, I came across some eye-opening research from RoadSnacks that unveils the top ten most perilous places in the Peace Garden State for 2022.

So, how did we zero in on the most precarious locations in North Dakota? We dove into the data. Altogether, we scrutinized 21 cities. The recent FBI crime report was our guiding light, providing us with figures on violent crimes and property offenses for all areas with a population exceeding 2,000.

Our exploration revealed a few insights. Firstly, North Dakotans shouldn’t find this too startling, given they’re residing in one of the top 25 most dangerous states nationwide. Secondly, the region’s figures for violent and property crimes are skyrocketing past the national average — a grim revelation indeed. Lastly, it’s a smart move to consult our list before making any major life decisions.

Got your attention, didn’t I? Want more details about our methods and the specific locations that top North Dakota’s danger list? Stay tuned as we dive deeper.

10 Riskiest Places

Rank City Population Violent Crimes per 100k Property Crimes per 100k
1 Fargo 126,927 460 3,468
2 Devils Lake 7,339 367 3,665
3 Mandan 23,221 357 4,220
4 Wahpeton 7,731 362 2,638
5 Williston 31,046 373 2,335
6 Bismarck 74,997 346 3,294
7 Grand Forks 56,163 292 2,341
8 Jamestown 15,044 232 2,353
9 Valley City 6,288 238 1,972
10 Minot 48,108 322 2,404

1. Fargo

Fargo ND

Fargo, the infamous setting of the Coen brothers’ film, isn’t just a cinematic spectacle but a real-life hotspot for crime, ranking as North Dakota’s most dangerous city in 2022. It’s unsettling to think that each day of 2020 witnessed a car theft, and burglary rates peaked as the second highest in the state.

Visualize an audacious heist at the Fargo Air Museum — unsettling, isn’t it? Your chances of falling victim to property crime were 1 in 28, and a disconcerting 1 in 217 for violent crime. If those statistics don’t chill you to the bone, consider the fourth-highest rates for both rape and murder cases statewide.

  • Population: 126,927
  • Rank Last Year: 1 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 460 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,468 

2. Devils Lake

Devils Lake ND

In northeastern North Dakota, the sinisterly named Devils Lake seems to live up to its ominous moniker with a marked surge in violent crime. It’s a grim fact that Devils Lake tops the state in rape cases. The city also has the second highest crime rate overall, significantly overshadowing the national average, driven largely by the second highest property crime rate.

So, while the namesake lake may offer an enticing outdoorsy lure, it’d be wise to be extra vigilant about your belongings.

  • Population: 7,339
  • Rank Last Year: 4 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 367 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,665

3. Mandan

Sitting across the Missouri River from Bismarck, Mandan, home to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, holds the dubious distinction of being the third most dangerous place in North Dakota.

One could imagine Lincoln turning in his grave at the rampant crime here, featuring the fifth highest rates of murder and rape statewide. Add to that 980 reported property crimes in 2020, and you can see why residents have a good reason for concern.

  • Population: 23,221
  • Rank Last Year: 2 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 357 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,220 

4. Wahpeton

Wahpeton ND

As well as boasting the world’s largest catfish, Wahpeton unfortunately has another, less charming claim to fame — the fourth highest crime rate in North Dakota for 2022.

This town an hour south of Fargo may not be particularly violent, but property crimes are a concern, with residents facing a 1 in 37 chance of being victimized in 2020. A home security system might be a prudent investment here.

  • Population: 7,731
  • Rank Last Year: 9 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 362 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,638 

5. Williston

Williston, despite a slight dip in its crime rates, still faces significant challenges. This booming city in the state’s northwest has its police force working overtime, with violent crime proving particularly troublesome.

In 2020, residents faced a 1 in 267 chance of being violently assaulted, including both rape and murder, which ranked in the top five statewide. It’d be wise to keep a close eye on your belongings, especially when visiting Fort Union Trading Post.

  • Population: 31,046
  • Rank Last Year: 3 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 373 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,335 

6. Bismarck

Bismarck, North Dakota

Despite being the state’s capital and its second-largest city, Bismarck has a dark underbelly, with crime rates that need urgent attention. The city’s Dakota Zoo may house wildlife, but the real predators are out on the streets, causing alarm with the sixth highest violent crime rate and fourth highest property crime rate statewide. Unpleasantly, Bismarck features in the top ten for burglary, rape, and murder rates.

  • Population: 74,997
  • Rank Last Year: 5 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 346 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,294 

7. Grand Forks

grand forks

As the state’s third-largest city and host to the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks has a rather unattractive side to it — ranking as the seventh most dangerous place to reside. Its eighth highest burglary rate statewide means residents need to be on guard. Worse still, violent crime rates are trending upwards — in 2020, residents had a 1 in 342 chance of facing a violent attack.

In Grand Forks, one of the most horrific crimes that shook the city was the brutal murder of Anna Marie Korynta in 1987. The 19-year-old was found stabbed to death in her basement apartment in downtown Grand Forks. The shocking crime remains unsolved, leaving a chilling mark on the city’s history.

  • Population: 56,163
  • Rank Last Year: 6 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 292 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,341 

8. Jamestown

jamestown ND

Jamestown, nestled midway between Bismarck and Fargo on I-94, may not be as dangerous as those larger cities, but it’s not without its issues. With the eighth-highest rate of rape cases and ranking in the top ten for both property and violent crime, the actual Jamestown might not feel as safe as the recreated Frontier Village.

  • Population: 15,044
  • Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 232 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,353 

9. Valley City

Though the smallest on this list, Valley City, situated about an hour west of Fargo, is proof that danger isn’t exclusive to larger cities. Over the past year, it’s seen an uptick in violent crime, earning it the ninth highest violent crime rate statewide. Property crime rates, however, remained steady, but considering it has the ninth highest property crime rate, that’s hardly a victory.

  • Population: 6,288
  • Rank Last Year: 7 
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 238 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,972 

10. Minot

minot ND

Even in the rural idyll of Minot, crime is an unwelcome guest. The city is home to the Minot Air Force Base and a host of attractions, like the Dakota Territory Air Museum, the Scandinavian Heritage Association, and the North Dakota State Fair Center. Despite these charms, Minot also has a dark side — it’s the tenth most dangerous place in North Dakota.

As for Minot, the city was rocked by the murder of Anita Knutson in 2007. The Minot State University student was found stabbed to death in her off-campus apartment. The case remained unsolved for years, adding a layer of mystery and fear to the city’s narrative.

  • Population: 48,108
  • Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 322 (Seventh most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k:

Most Horrific Crime 

The most horrific crime in North Dakota’s history, however, is arguably the Wolf family murders in 1920. Jakob Wolf, his wife, and their six children were brutally murdered on their farm near Turtle Lake.

The crime was so shocking that it remains one of the most disturbing killings in North Dakota history. The gruesome nature of the crime and the fact that it was committed against an entire family makes it a dark chapter in the state’s history.


Our methodology for determining the most dangerous cities in North Dakota for 2022 is based on the most recent data from the FBI’s 2020 Crime In The United States Report. We focused on cities with a population of over 2,000, which gave us a total of 21 cities.

We ranked each city from 1 to 21 for two criteria: violent crimes per capita and property crimes per capita, with a #1 ranking indicating the highest level of danger for that criterion. We then averaged the two rankings to create a “Danger Index”, with the city having the lowest index being deemed the most dangerous. In the event of a tie, the smaller city was ranked as more dangerous. The city with the lowest “Danger Index” in North Dakota for 2022 was Fargo.

Safety Tips

  1. Share your itinerary: Before you set off on your trip to North Dakota, ensure a few close friends or family members are aware of your plans. This way, they can reach you in case of an emergency.
  2. Respect wildlife: North Dakota is known for its wild, rugged landscapes. It’s important to respect nature and the habitats of animals. Avoid encounters with large animals and wear bright colors when hiking off-trail.
  3. Stay alert: Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Try to avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially at night. Display confidence when you walk.
  4. Check the weather: Before embarking on any outdoor adventures in North Dakota, make sure to check the current and forecasted weather conditions.
  5. Be discreet with valuables: Avoid flaunting cash or jewelry unnecessarily as it may attract unwanted attention.


What measures are being taken to reduce crime?

Law enforcement agencies across North Dakota are continuously working to reduce crime and enhance public safety. This includes community policing initiatives, crime prevention programs, and partnerships with local organizations. Additionally, many cities have crime stoppers programs that encourage citizens to report information about criminal activity.

How can I stay safe while visiting North Dakota’s national parks and outdoor spaces?

When visiting North Dakota’s national parks and outdoor spaces, it’s important to stay on marked trails, keep a safe distance from wildlife, and be aware of the weather conditions. Always carry a map, plenty of water, and a first-aid kit. If you’re hiking, let someone know your route and when you plan to return.

What should I do if I witness a crime in North Dakota?

If you witness a crime in North Dakota, it’s important to report it to the local authorities immediately. Try to remember as many details as possible about the incident, including the location, the time, the people involved, and any vehicles. Your information could be crucial in helping law enforcement solve the crime.

Are there any resources available for crime victims?

Yes, North Dakota has several resources available for crime victims. The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has a Victim Services program that provides support and information to victims. Additionally, the North Dakota Department of Health offers services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes.

How does North Dakota’s crime rate compare to other states?

As of the latest data, North Dakota’s crime rates for both violent and property crimes are higher than the national average. However, crime rates can vary significantly from one city or region to another, and it’s important to look at local crime statistics for a more accurate picture.

What are some ways to prevent becoming a victim of crime in North Dakota?

Preventing crime often involves being aware of your surroundings, securing your home and belongings, and taking precautions when out and about. This can include locking your doors and windows, not leaving valuables in your car, walking in well-lit areas at night, and being aware of common scams. Additionally, participating in local neighborhood watch programs can help enhance community safety.

Final Words

While North Dakota is renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks and dangers. The state, like any other, has its share of crime, with certain cities experiencing higher rates of violent and property crimes. Fargo, Devils Lake, and Mandan top the list as the most dangerous cities based on the latest data from the FBI’s 2020 Crime In The United States Report.

However, it’s important to remember that these statistics don’t define the entire state. North Dakota is also home to many safe and welcoming communities. The key is to stay informed, take necessary precautions, and be vigilant about personal safety. This includes sharing your itinerary with loved ones, respecting wildlife, staying alert to your surroundings, checking the weather before outdoor activities, and being discreet with valuables.

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