A state-by-state comparison of crime data in 2003 ranked North Dakota the safest, according to a March study by the Morgan Quitno Press. Vermont and Maine followed North Dakota as the second and third safest states, respectively. The remaining district states ranked among the top 15. The most dangerous state in the country was Nevada, followed by Louisiana and Arizona. The state rankings are based on weighted values for six crimes: assault, burglary, murder, rape, robbery and vehicle theft, compared with national averages.
The number of property crimes per 100,000 people has dropped steadily since the early 1990s in the United States and in district states, based on data through 2002 from the U.S. Department of Justice. Violent crime rates have also decreased in the United States and in the district, except in Montana, which showed increases in rates for aggravated assault and robbery since the early 1990s. Crime rates among district states have remained lower than those in the rest of the nation since the early 1960s; rates in North Dakota and South Dakota have consistently stayed about half the national rate.
According to the Morgan Quitno Press, several districts cities ranked in the top 20 safest metro areas out of 320 total, including Bismarck, N.D. (3rd), La Crosse, Wis. (10th), Fargo, N.D. (18th) and Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. (20th).