South Dakota’s
Safest Cities

2019

Located in the Northern part of the country, South Dakota has a population of 833,354, according to the 2012 United States Census, and borders Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Its capital is Pierre, with Watertown, Aberdeen, Brookings, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls rounding out the rest of South Dakota’s largest cities. With a Gross Domestic Product of over $42 million, the state’s biggest industries include agriculture (think corn, hogs, soybeans, wheat, and cattle), finance, tourism, mining, and more. The state is known most for Mount Rushmore, a mountain with famous presidents’ faces carved out. It’s no wonder it’s known as the Mount Rushmore State! Aside from Mount Rushmore, South Dakota has Harney Peak, which is actually the highest mountain in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. On the other hand, the state also has one of the deepest mines in the country with the Homestake Mine, at 8,000 feet into the Earth.

Aside from Mount Rushmore, here are some things in South Dakota that you can’t afford to miss:

  • Badlands National Park: If you love natural formations, you’ll enjoy these 244,000 acres of prairie grass, geological formations, and wild animals like bighorn sheep and bison.
  • World’s Only Corn Palace: Yes, you read that right. This Moorish Revival landmark is full of corn-made murals.
  • Sylvan Lake: Whether you like hiking, swimming, climbing, or simply relaxing in a beautiful park, this is the place to be in South Dakota.

No matter where you go, staying safe and secure is always a priority. South Dakota’s safest city is Brandon, the largest suburb of Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County. With a population just over 10,000 and a high median income over $80,000, Brandon saw absolutely no violent crimes and only 2.58 property crimes for every 1,000 residents! Other top picks include Madison, Brookings, and Tea.

4.336

This statistic shows the number of violent crimes per 1,000 people in the past year. Violent crimes include forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, as defined by the FBI. 

1.59
This statistic shows how many motor vehicles were stolen per 1,000 of the city’s inhabitants. Across the United States, the rate was 238.8 per every 100,000 inhabitants, according to the FBI.
18.762

Finally, this number shows how many property crimes were committed in the past year per every 1,000 of the city’s residents. Property crimes include burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and larceny-theft.

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Curious about how we selected the safest cities in South Dakota? Scroll to the bottom of the page for a complete methodology.
1
Brandon, South Dakota
Brandon
Safety Score: 90.7

Brandon, SD

Population 10,090
Median Income 80,727
Households 3,476
Violent Crime 0
Violent Crime 0
Property Crimes 2.58
Property Crime -1.2

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2
Madison, South Dakota
Madison
Safety Score: 83.25

Madison, SD

Population 7,584
Median Income 45,781
Households 21
Violent Crime 1.45
Violent Crime +0.91
Property Crimes 11.47
Property Crime 1.21

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3
Brookings, South Dakota
Brookings
Safety Score: 82.14

Brookings, SD

Population 24,198
Median Income 47,506
Households 8,635
Violent Crime 1.49
Violent Crime +0.03
Property Crimes 13.02
Property Crime -2.58

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4
Tea, South Dakota
Tea
Safety Score: 81.36

Tea, SD

Population 5,261
Median Income 79,978
Households 1,572
Violent Crime 1.71
Violent Crime -0.07
Property Crimes 13.69
Property Crime 0.46

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5
Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Belle Fourc.
Safety Score: 79.61

Belle Fourche, SD

Population 5,662
Median Income 41,145
Households 2,434
Violent Crime 1.59
Violent Crime -0.69
Property Crimes 16.6
Property Crime 3.3

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6
Huron, South Dakota
Huron
Safety Score: 78.3

Huron, SD

Population 13,204
Median Income 44,459
Households 5,621
Violent Crime 3.71
Violent Crime +1.11
Property Crimes 15.98
Property Crime -3.12

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7
Box Elder, South Dakota
Box Elder
Safety Score: 75.45

Box Elder, SD

Population 9,623
Median Income 49,290
Households 3,275
Violent Crime 3.33
Violent Crime +0.21
Property Crimes 20.16
Property Crime 2.67

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8
Watertown, South Dakota
Watertown
Safety Score: 75.43

Watertown, SD

Population 22,283
Median Income 48,485
Households 9,555
Violent Crime 3.64
Violent Crime -0.37
Property Crimes 19.93
Property Crime -6.93

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9
Vermillion, South Dakota
Vermillion
Safety Score: 74.24

Vermillion, SD

Population 10,892
Median Income 34,972
Households 4,037
Violent Crime 3.95
Violent Crime +2.09
Property Crimes 21.39
Property Crime 1.71

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10
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Aberdeen
Safety Score: 72.96

Aberdeen, SD

Population 28,800
Median Income 47,506
Households 12,075
Violent Crime 3.44
Violent Crime -1.26
Property Crimes 23.65
Property Crime 1.86

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11
Yankton, South Dakota
Yankton
Safety Score: 71.65

Yankton, SD

Population 14,579
Median Income 41,727
Households 6,206
Violent Crime 3.91
Violent Crime +0.62
Property Crimes 24.97
Property Crime -6.11

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12
Sturgis, South Dakota
Sturgis
Safety Score: 70.81

Sturgis, SD

Population 6,868
Median Income 37,388
Households 2,965
Violent Crime 2.62
Violent Crime +1.13
Property Crimes 28.1
Property Crime 9.59

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13
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls
Safety Score: 68.49

Sioux Falls, SD

Population 177,888
Median Income 56,714
Households 69,055
Violent Crime 4.5
Violent Crime -0.62
Property Crimes 28.57
Property Crime -3.19

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14
Spearfish, South Dakota
Spearfish
Safety Score: 66.77

Spearfish, SD

Population 11,697
Median Income 43,692
Households 4,853
Violent Crime 3.51
Violent Crime +1.06
Property Crimes 32.4
Property Crime -0.59

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15
Pierre, South Dakota
Pierre
Safety Score: 63.33

Pierre, SD

Population 14,064
Median Income 56,110
Households 6,049
Violent Crime 3.91
Violent Crime -0.57
Property Crimes 37.04
Property Crime -8.6

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16
Mitchell, South Dakota
Mitchell
Safety Score: 62.47

Mitchell, SD

Population 15,806
Median Income 45,264
Households 7,044
Violent Crime 5.57
Violent Crime -0.14
Property Crimes 36.06
Property Crime -0.7

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17
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City
Safety Score: 60.22

Rapid City, SD

Population 74,986
Median Income 48,895
Households 29,723
Violent Crime 6.4
Violent Crime -0.79
Property Crimes 38.3
Property Crime -1.47

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How Did We Determine the Safest Cities?

Of course, this isn’t just the safest cities according to personal opinion. Rather, we used the FBI’s 2017 and 2016 Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data to choose our top picks, based on factors like:

  • Murder rate
  • Rape rate
  • Robbery Rate
  • Assault rate
  • Burglary rate
  • Theft rate
  • Vehicle theft rate
  • Arson rates
  • Median Income

For each city, we’ll provide the most important information that you need to know, such as the city’s population, violent and property crime rates and trends, median income, average household income, and an overall safety score and ranking. Plus, we’ll show you all the specific numbers for the above rates, in addition to larceny theft rates and the total number of civilians working in law offices.

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