The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the eighth annual Safest Cities report.
South Dakota’s 10 Safest Cities of 2022
Here are the 10 Safest Cities in South Dakota for 2022
See if your city made the full list.
If you call The Mount Rushmore State home, chances are you don’t spend a lot of time worrying about crime and safety. South Dakota’s level of concern is nearly 30% lower than the rest of the country, despite the state's relatively high violent crime rate. For those in the state’s safest cities, that concern might be closer to nil, with crime rates that are about half of what we found statewide.
In this report
2022 South Dakota crime rates
South Dakota is one of only nine states to see a rise in both violent and property crime since last year. The violent crime rate increased from 4.0 incidents per 1,000 people to 5.0—an increase of 27% since last year. Only Pennsylvania saw a larger increase. South Dakota’s property crime rate rose from 17.7 incidents per 1,000 people last year to 19.6, matching the national rate.
In the West North Central region, South Dakota has the second-highest violent crime rate behind Missouri (5.4). Property crime fares a bit better, with South Dakota ranking third-lowest behind Iowa (17.0) and Nebraska (19.1).
Nationally, The Mount Rushmore State's violent crime rate is higher than the national average while the property crime rate is the same as the national rate. Across all 50 states, South Dakota has the seventh-highest violent crime rate and the twenty-first-highest property crime rate.
Level of concern and experience with crime in South Dakota
Overall concern about safety fell three percentage points year over year, from 37% in 2020 to 34% this State of Safety survey year—making South Dakota 28% less concerned than the rest of the country. On the national scale, South Dakota is the sixth least-concerned state in the country when it comes to general safety and security.
Experience with both violent crime and gun violence rose slightly year over year, while those who had a run-in with property crime dropped from 23% to 22%. South Dakotans are slightly more likely than other states to have an experience with either property or violent crime.
Despite more reported experience with crime, a full 73% of survey respondents said they feel safe in South Dakota, compared to 55% of Americans.
Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.
Crime concerns in South Dakota
We asked South Dakota residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if South Dakotans are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.
View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.
Violent crime in South Dakota: Fear vs. reality
Concern about violent crime—and proactive measures to protect oneself—are much lower in South Dakota despite violent crime rates that are consistently higher than the national average. South Dakotans also told us they experienced violent crime 50% more often than the national average.
- The statewide violent crime rate jumped 27% in the last year.
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1.8 incidents per 1,000 people—over 50% below both national and state averages.
- Reports of rape in the safest cities made up 17% of all violent crimes, compared to 13% statewide.
- Aggravated assault accounts for 80% of all violent crime in South Dakota as well as in its safest cities. That puts South Dakota 14% higher than the rest of the country—only Montana, Kansas, and Tennessee were higher.
- 28% of survey respondents use some type of personal protection like pepper spray (US 34%).
- 41% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).
Attitudes about gun violence in South Dakota
- 37% named gun violence their top safety concern (US 53%), and South Dakota sees far fewer gun violence incidents than most of the country.
- There was 1 mass shooting incident in South Dakota in 2021 (same as 2020).
- 33% of South Dakota residents are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%), compared to their concern for property crimes, package theft, and other violent crimes.
- 28% of South Dakotans worry about police violence daily—30% lower than the national average of 40%.
- 72% have confidence in law enforcement’s approach to crime prevention—29% higher than the national average of 56%.
Property crime in South Dakota: Fear vs. reality
South Dakota generally does a good job of keeping property crime rates low, but an 11% increase this year brought it up to the national average. And 22% of survey respondents told us that they personally experienced property crime this reporting year.
- Burglary makes up 17% of South Dakota's property crimes (18% in the safest cities)—both higher than the 16% national average.
- Larceny-theft is the most-reported property crime in South Dakota and its safest cities. Among our top 10 cities, larceny-theft accounts for 76% of all property crime—7 percentage points higher than the state ratio of 69%.
- Burglaries are slightly more common in the safest cities than in the state. Though second-ranked Sisseton reported 0 burglaries in 2021.
- Fewer motor vehicle thefts were reported among the safest cities (6%), which is less than half of rising nationwide trends during the pandemic (13%). That said, the statewide motor-vehicle-theft rate matches the national average.
- Every safest city, except ninth-ranked Summerset, came in below state, regional, and US property crime rates.
- 58% of survey participants use some form of property protection (US 60%), with firearms used more often than any other home security measure.
- 25% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
A closer look at the safest cities in South Dakota
For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
- 27 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Brandon is the safest city in South Dakota for the third year in a row.
- Summerset climbed 4 spots to break into the top 10 this year. It also has the lowest violent crime rate in the state, with only a single reported assault.
- Brookings (population 24,682) is the only city in the top 10 with a population higher than 10,500.
- 4 cities on our list improved in rank since last year.
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1.6 incidents per 1,000 people—less than half of state (5.0), regional (3.9), and national averages (4.0).
- There were 0 murders reported among the safest cities and only 3 robberies—much lower (proportionately) than the rest of the state.
- Like last year, 90% of the cities on our list reported fewer than 20 total violent crimes. Brookings is the only exception with 38 (16 fewer incidents than last year).
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 8.1 incidents per 1,000—less than half of the state and national rates (19.6).
- Brandon (3.0), Sisseton (3.3), Hot Springs (3.7), and Lennox (4.8) had the lowest property crime rates in the state.
- 90% of the cities on our list reported fewer than 70 total property crimes.
How we determined the safest cities
Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.
How to make a safe home anywhere
Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.
Find security and safety resources in your area
Didn't find your city in the top South Dakota?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state, sign up for our email newsletter (we make it easy in a quick form below!) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.
NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2020.
Find the safest cities in each state
Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.
Related articles on SafeWise
FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.
US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.
Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.
SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.
Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.
For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.