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We all want the finer things in life. Love, comfort and safety are at the top of everyone's list.
For a lot of people who live in the fine state of South Dakota, safety isn't a problem, but we don't all get to live in the safest cities -- unless of course you live in Brandon.
The purpose of this post is to determine where the safest cities to live are in the Mount Rushmore State. Those places where crime is usually something you hear about on Facebook, but not from your local paper.
In all, we analyzed 28 cities in South Dakota with a population of more than 2,000 using the latest FBI crime data.
Here's the list of the safest cities in South Dakota for 2018:
How we calculated the safest cities in South Dakota
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn't want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI's most recent report of crime (Sept 2017) in South Dakota.
Specifically, we analyzed the FBI's Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year. We used two criteria:
Violent crimes per capita (murders, assaults, rapes, armed robberies)
Property crimes per capita (thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts)
For example, there were a total of 38 crimes committed in Brandon which had a reported population of 10,042. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.0038 which translates into a 1 in 264 chance of being the victim of a crime.
We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 2,000 people reported to the FBI in 2016. This left us with a total of 28 of the biggest cities in South Dakota to rank.
We ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 28 where 1 in any particular category is the safest.
Next, we averaged each places two criteria to create a Safety Index. We crowned the place with the lowest overall Safety Score "The Safest Place In South Dakota".
Note: This report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments, nor does it reflect the fact that people from out of town may come into a community and cause a crime. It simply looks at where crimes occurred most frequently, based on a city's population.
Population: 10,042 Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 0 (2nd safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 378 (1st safest) More on Brandon:Photos | Real Estate | Data
Brandon is a city in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, United States and is the largest suburb of Sioux Falls. Brandon is located five miles east of Sioux Falls. The population was estimated at 9,923 by the United States Census Bureau on July 1, 2016, which was up from 8,785 at the 2010 census.
Population: 23,971 Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 146 (8th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,560 (13th safest) More on Brookings:Photos | Real Estate | Data
Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 22,056 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brookings County, and home to South Dakota State University, the largest institution of higher education in the state. Also found in Brookings are the South Dakota Art Museum, the Children's Museum of South Dakota, the annual Brookings Summer Arts Festival, and the headquarters of a number of manufacturing companies and agricultural operations.
Population: 2,805 Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 1) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 320 (18th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 641 (5th safest) More on Winner:Photos | Real Estate | Data
Winner is a city in Tripp County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 2,897 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Tripp County. Winner also serves as the administrative center of neighboring Todd County, which does not have its own county seat. The nearest airport is Winner Regional Airport.
Winner was laid out in 1909, and named for the fact the town had emerged the "winner" as the county's most successful trading point.
Population: 6,699 Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 8) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 149 (9th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,851 (15th safest) More on Sturgis:Photos | Real Estate | Data
Sturgis is a city in Meade County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 6,627 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Meade County and is named after Union General Samuel D. Sturgis.
Population: 3,507 Rank Last Year: 11 (Down 1) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 256 (15th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,140 (9th safest) More on Hot Springs:Photos | Real Estate | Data
Hot Springs is a city in and the county seat of Fall River County, South Dakota, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 3,711. In addition, neighboring Oglala Lakota County contracts the duties of Auditor, Treasurer and Register of Deeds to the Fall River County authority in Hot Springs.
Population: 10,774 Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 2) Violent Crimes Per 100k: 185 (11th safest) Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,967 (18th safest) More on Vermillion:Photos | Real Estate | Data
Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the state of South Dakota, and the eleventh largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571. The city lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River.
There You Have It - The Safest Cities In The Mount Rushmore State
Looking at the data, you can tell that Brandon is as safe as they come, according to science and data.
But as most South Dakota residents would agree, almost every place here has its safe and not safe parts. So just make sure you're informed ahead of time.