Montana's crime rate
There were 30,492 crimes reported in Montana in 2018, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, Montana's crime rate is 2,870 crimes per 100,000 residents.
How does Montana compare?
Crime is more common in Montana than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,580 per 100,000 people is 10% lower. Of the 50 states, 18 have a higher crime rate than Montana.
Crime rates nationwide range from 1,422 per 100,000 in New Hampshire to 4,276 per 100,000 in New Mexico, the states with the lowest and highest crime rates, respectively.
Here are the crime rates for all 50 states.
What types of crimes are being committed?
The FBI's crime rate includes seven crime categories: three property crimes -- larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, and four violent crimes -- aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.
The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2018. This share was slightly higher in Montana, with property crimes accounting for 87% of all crimes reported in the state.
There were 26,518 property crimes reported in Montana in 2018, or 2,496 per 100,000 residents. This is higher than the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the 17th highest rate of the 50 states.
Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,217,055 reported incidents nationwide in 2018 accounted for 72% of all property crime. Montana's rate of 1,926 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is higher than the nationwide rate of 1,595 per 100,000 and is the 13th highest among states.
An estimated 3,257 break-ins were reported in Montana in 2018, or 307 per 100,000 state residents -- the 18th lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,230,149 break-ins nationwide, or 376 break-ins per 100,000 people.
Motor vehicle theft
Across the U.S., there were 748,841 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2018, a rate of 229 per 100,000 people. Montana's rate of 263 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was higher than this national rate and the 16th highest rate compared to all states.
Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In Montana, violent crimes account for just 13% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.
While Montana has the 32nd lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 27th lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 374 per 100,000 people is on par with the national rate of 381 per 100,000. There were 3,974 violent crimes reported to Montana law enforcement agencies in 2018.
Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 807,410 aggravated assaults in 2018, accounting for 65% of violent crimes across the country. In Montana, 3,120 aggravated assaults were reported in 2018. Montana's rate of aggravated assault of 294 per 100,000 people is higher than the national rate of 247 per 100,000 and is the 16th highest of all states.
Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 269 robberies reported in Montana in 2018, or 25 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is just a fraction of the national rate of 86 robberies per 100,000 people, and the sixth lowest robbery rate among states.
There were 551 reported rapes in 2018 in Montana. The state's rate of rape of 51.9 per 100,000 residents is higher than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. Montana has the 13th highest rate of rape.
In 2018, there were 34 murders reported to law enforcement in Montana. The state’s murder rate of 3.2 per 100,000 residents is lower than the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Montana's murder rate is the 20th lowest in the country.
Where are these crimes being committed?
Because crime is influenced by local circumstances, crime levels vary considerably within each state. Often a state’s dense urban areas will have higher crime rates than its rural areas. Even in a state with an exceptionally low crime rate, there is often at least one area where crime rates exceed the nation.
City with the highest crime rate in Montana
The city with the highest total crime rate in Montana is Helena, with a crime rate of 5,925 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.
While the city may have the highest total crime rate in the state, the rate is driven by property crime. Therefore, Helena is likely less dangerous than other cities in the state where more violent crimes are committed.
The most dangerous city in the state is Sidney. This city has the highest violent crime rate in Montana, at 647 per 100,000 residents, more than 70% higher than the statewide rate.
Crime over time
National historical trend
The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This nearly 60-year span, can be divided into three periods. Crime skyrocketed between 1960 and 1980, with the crime rate more than tripling in just 20 years from 1,887 crimes per 100,000 Americans to 5,950 crimes per 100,000 Americans.
Crime remained high in the 1980s and reached its second highest peak in 1991. Since that year, crime has fallen steadily nationwide, reaching its current rate of 2,580 per 100,000, a 56% decline in 27 years.
Montana's historical trend
In 1960, Montana's crime rate was 2,053 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 1980 at 5,025 per 100,000, an increase of 145%.
Crime changes 2013-2018
Over the five years since 2013, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 16.8%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 43.6%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 19.0% between 2013 and 2018.
Montana is the only state where the crime rate is the same in 2018 as it was five years earlier.
How Montana has compared to other states historically
Despite the state's current relatively high crime rate, since 1960, Montana has typically had a lower crime rate than the majority of states. However, it has also almost never been among the states where crime was especially low.
All cities in Montana
Here are all Montana cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2018 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.