Crime in South Dakota

South Dakota's crime rate

There were 19,197 crimes reported in South Dakota in 2019, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, South Dakota's crime rate is 2,170 crimes per 100,000 residents.

How does South Dakota compare?

Crime is less common in South Dakota than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,489 per 100,000 people is 15% higher. Of the 50 states, 32 have a higher crime rate than South Dakota.

Crime rates nationwide range from 1,361 per 100,000 in Maine to 3,945 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.

Property crime

The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2019. This share was slightly lower in South Dakota, with property crimes accounting for 82% of all crimes reported in the state.

There were 15,667 property crimes reported in South Dakota in 2019, or 1,771 per 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 2,110 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the 17th lowest rate of the 50 states.


Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,086,096 reported incidents nationwide in 2019 accounted for 73% of all property crime. South Dakota's rate of 1,273 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,550 per 100,000 and is the 16th lowest among states.


An estimated 2,646 break-ins were reported in South Dakota in 2019, or 299 per 100,000 state residents -- the 22nd lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,117,696 break-ins nationwide, or 341 break-ins per 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle theft

Across the U.S., there were 721,885 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2019, a rate of 220 per 100,000 people. South Dakota's rate of 198 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was lower than this national rate and the 24th lowest rate compared to all states.

Violent crime

Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In South Dakota, violent crimes account for 18% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.

While South Dakota has the 18th lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 31st lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 399 per 100,000 people is higher than the national rate of 379 per 100,000. There were 3,530 violent crimes reported to South Dakota law enforcement agencies in 2019.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 821,182 aggravated assaults in 2019, accounting for 66% of violent crimes across the country. In South Dakota, 2,676 aggravated assaults were reported in 2019. South Dakota's rate of aggravated assault of 302 per 100,000 people is higher than the national rate of 250 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 195 robberies reported in South Dakota in 2019, or 22 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is just a fraction of the national rate of 82 robberies per 100,000 people, and the seventh lowest robbery rate among states.


There were 642 reported rapes in 2019 in South Dakota. The state's rate of rape of 72.6 per 100,000 residents is much higher than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. South Dakota has the third highest rate of rape.


In 2019, there were 17 murders reported to law enforcement in South Dakota. The state’s murder rate of 1.9 per 100,000 residents is less than half the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. South Dakota's murder rate is the fourth 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 South Dakota

The city with the highest total crime rate in South Dakota is Rapid City, with a crime rate of 3,922 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.

Because property crimes are much more common than violent crimes, it is often the case that the city with the highest total crime rate in a state is a city with an especially high property crime rate but not the highest violent crime rate. However, this is not the case in South Dakota. Not only does the city have the highest total crime rate in the state, but it also has the highest violent crime rate, making it the most dangerous in the state. Its violent crime rate of 707 per 100,000 residents is 77% higher the statewide rate.

Crime over time

National historical trend

The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This 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 2,489 per 100,000, a 58% decline in 28 years.

South Dakota's historical trend

In 1960, South Dakota's crime rate was 1,164 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 1997 at 3,245 per 100,000, an increase of 179%.

Crime changes 2014-2019

Over the five years since 2014, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 15.2%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 37.0%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 11.3% between 2014 and 2019.

With a decrease of 1.7%, South Dakota's crime rate has fallen much slower than the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 48 states over this time period, and almost all of them declined faster than in South Dakota.

How South Dakota has compared to other states historically

Since 1960, South Dakota has always had a lower crime rate than the majority of states. Over these 60 years, the state has been among the 10 states with the lowest crime rates in 54 of them, but never among the states with the highest crime rates. Notably, South Dakota has been the state with the lowest crime rate in the country in seven years since 1960.

All cities in South Dakota

Here are all South Dakota cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2019 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.

Click here to see a list of all city crime pages.

Click here to see a list of all state crime pages.

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