Living in Idaho can be a great experience – the natural beauty, activities, and scenery provide plenty of explore! In fact, you’d love to live in the safest cities in Idaho.
Idaho is one of the safest states in the US. But just like any other state, Idaho has its fair share of worst places to avoid.
From high crime rate cities to rural areas with poor medical care facilities, there are certain parts of the state where you better think twice before calling home.
So, I’ll share some of the most dangerous cities in Idaho you better avoid living in.
Discover more dangerous and safe places to live and travel.
13 Most Dangerous Cities in Idaho
In addition to this list, don’t forget to look at the FBI’s data for crime rates in Idaho to make an informed decision about exploring Idaho or living in it.
Let’s start with the most dangerous places in Idaho where you should be particularly cautious.
1/ Garden City
Garden City is one of the most dangerous cities in the state. Located in Ada County, Garden City has a population of 12,316, according to the 2020 census. Boise nearly surrounds the city and retains its own unique identity.
Garden City is known for its high crime rate and lack of safety measures. Over the past few years, the city has seen increased violent crimes such as robberies and shootings.
Also, there have been reports of drug trafficking and gang activity. Garden City is known for being unsafe due to its high poverty rate and lack of resources.
Many residents cannot afford necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. This increases the risk of criminal activity as people turn to desperate measures to make ends meet.
Despite these issues, Garden City still offers many attractions for visitors, including Chinese gardens, Memorial Stadium, Pierce-Borah House, and even gambling opportunities.
The city also boasts a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars and restaurants for visitors to enjoy. But overall, Garden City is a dangerous place in Idaho, but it still offers many attractions worth visiting.
With proper safety precautions, visitors can enjoy all that Garden City offers without fear of becoming victims of crime or violence.
Pocatello is a city located in southeast Idaho with a population of 56,637 according to the 2020 census.
Unfortunately, it has been considered one of the most unsafe places in Idaho due to its high crime rate. There are several reasons why Pocatello is considered unsafe.
Drug use is one of the biggest reasons for the high crime rate in Pocatello. Pocatello has been known as a hub for drug trafficking and homelessness. This has increased property crimes such as theft, burglary, and vandalism.
Drug use also contributes to violent crimes such as assault and domestic violence. Another reason for Pocatello’s status as an unsafe place is the high poverty rate.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Pocatello is higher than the national average. Poverty often leads to desperation, which can result in criminal activity.
Pocatello experiences a range of crimes, including property crimes like theft and vandalism, drug-related crimes, violent crimes like assault and murder, and white-collar crimes such as embezzlement and fraud.
The city has taken steps to reduce crime rates. The Pocatello Police Department has implemented community policing strategies to help reduce crime.
Also, the police department has increased street patrols and surveillance to deter criminals from committing crimes. Despite its reputation as unsafe, Pocatello has many attractions that make it worth visiting.
These include museums, art galleries, and outdoor recreational opportunities like hiking, fishing, and skiing.
In conclusion, Pocatello is considered unsafe in Idaho due to its high crime rate, poverty rate, and drug use. You must exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings to avoid becoming victims of crime.
3/ Twin Falls
Twin Falls, Idaho, is a city with a low overall risk for safety. However, it is not the safest city in Idaho by any means.
Crime rates in Twin Falls are higher than the average for the United States, and several neighborhoods are considered dangerous.
Downtown Twin Falls is one of the most dangerous areas in the city, with reports of property theft and vandalism taking place here.
The 2020 crime rate in Twin Falls is 232 (City-Data.com crime index), which is about the average for U.S. cities but higher than 80% of them.
There have been incidents of violence reported here as well, ranking Twin Falls in the top 25% of most violent cities out of 4,473 cities that reported such incidents.
Blackfoot, Idaho, is a small city in Bingham County, with a population of approximately 11,900, according to the 2020 census. Unfortunately, Blackfoot is often considered one of the most dangerous cities in Idaho.
The city has a significantly higher crime rate than the Idaho and national averages. This includes violent crimes such as assault, robbery, and murder, as well as property crimes like theft and burglary.
Drug use is one of the main reasons for the high crime rate in Blackfoot.
Like many other cities in the United States, Blackfoot has seen increased drug use and drug-related crime in recent years. This has led to increased property crimes, domestic violence, and other violent crimes.
In addition to the prevalence of drugs, Blackfoot also has a relatively high poverty rate. According to the United States Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Blackfoot is higher than the national average.
Poverty often leads to desperation, which can result in criminal activity.
Despite its reputation as an unsafe place, Blackfoot still offers many attractions for visitors, including the Idaho Potato Museum, Jensen Grove Park, and the Eastern Idaho State Fair.
The city also boasts many restaurants, shops, and outdoor recreational opportunities like fishing, hiking, and camping.
Chubbuck is located in the southeastern part of the state and has a population of around 13,000. It is known for its rural lifestyle and small-town charm.
Unfortunately, it also has one of the highest crime rates in Idaho, making it one of the top places to avoid in Idaho.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), Chubbuck has a violent crime rate of 8.3 per 1,000 residents, significantly higher than the national average of 4.5 per 1,000.
Property crimes are also high in Chubbuck, with a rate of 39.2 per 1,000 residents compared to the national average of 24.1 per 1,000.
The most common crimes in Chubbuck include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and aggravated assault.
The city’s police department works hard to keep crime levels low, but it can be difficult due to limited resources and personnel.
In addition, Chubbuck is located close to larger cities such as Boise and Pocatello, which can attract criminals from outside the area looking for easy targets or victims.
6/ Mountain Home
Mountain Home is a small town located in Elmore County, Idaho with a population of around 14,000 people.
Despite its small size, it has one of the highest crime rates in Idaho, with a violent crime rate of 8 per 1,000 residents, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
This is significantly higher than the national average of 4.5 per 1,000 residents and puts Mountain Home among some of the most dangerous cities in Idaho.
Property crimes are also high in Mountain Home, with a rate of 35 per 1,000 residents compared to the national average of 24 per 1,000.
The most common crimes reported include burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft, and occasional cases of aggravated assault or robbery.
Of course, it depends on location within town limits or nearby rural areas outside city limits where law enforcement may not have jurisdiction over specific incidents.
Caldwell is located just west of Boise along I-84, with a population estimated at around 50 thousand people, making it one of Idaho’s most significant cities by population size.
Unfortunately, like many other large cities across America, Caldwell also has one of the highest crime rates in Idaho, making it one of the top dangerous cities in Idaho.
According to data collected by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), Caldwell has a violent crime rate 9 times higher than the national average. It is 43 per 1000 residents, compared to only 4 per 1000 nationally.
Property crimes are also high in Caldwell, with 37 property crimes occurring every 1000 citizens. This is higher than the national average of 24.
The most common types of crimes reported in Caldwell include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, robbery, vandalism, and arson. These crimes contribute to Caldwell’s safety ranking.
Law enforcement works hard in Caldwell but is often stretched thin due to limited resources. This results in criminals taking advantage of these situations, leading to further increases in criminal activity throughout the streets of Caldwell.
Residents must take extra precautions when out in public, such as staying in well-lit areas at night and avoiding suspicious people or activities.
Nampa is a city located in Canyon County and has a population of over 100,000 residents. While Nampa is picturesque, with its beautiful parks and historic downtown, it’s also been ranked as one of the worst cities in Idaho to avoid.
According to recent crime statistics, Nampa has a crime rate 82% higher than the national average.
Property crime is also a significant issue in Nampa, with the city’s property crime rate being nearly two times higher than the national average.
Payette is a small city located in Southwestern Idaho with a population of around 7,500 residents.
Despite its small size, Payette has been labeled as one of the most dangerous cities in Idaho. One of the reasons why Payette is considered unsafe is due to its high crime rate.
According to recent statistics, Payette has a total crime rate of 70% higher than the national average.
Also, the violent crime rate, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, is substantially higher than the national average.
Lewiston is a city in northern Idaho located in Nez Perce County. Lewiston has a population of over 32,000 residents and is known for its outdoor recreational activities, including fishing, hiking, and camping.
Despite its natural beauty, Lewiston has a higher crime rate than the national average, with the total crime rate being 38% higher than the national average. It’s one of the worst places to live in Idaho.
One of the primary concerns in Lewiston is property crime, which is nearly two times higher than the national average.
11/ Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’Alene is located in Kootenai County, Idaho, with a population of over 50,000 residents. It’s known for its stunning lakeside setting and vibrant downtown area, making it a popular tourist destination.
However, Coeur d’Alene has also been labeled as a dangerous place to live. Its total crime rate is 41% higher than the national average, making it one of Idaho’s worst places to live.
The violent crime rate in Coeur d’Alene is twice as high as the national average, making it a dangerous place to live.
12/ Sandpoint, Idaho
Sandpoint has a reputation for being one of the more dangerous or worst places to live in the state. Statistical data from the FBI reveal that residents in Sandpoint face a considerable risk of becoming victims of both violent and property crimes.
In fact, the chances of experiencing such crimes in Sandpoint are estimated at 1 in 69, indicating a higher-than-average crime rate for the area.
Comparatively, when examining crime rates across Idaho, Sandpoint’s crime rate stands higher than approximately 82% of cities and towns of all sizes in the state. These figures make Sandpoint one of the worst places to live in Idaho.
While Sandpoint may offer certain desirable qualities, such as its picturesque natural surroundings and small-town charm, you should still be aware of the crime levels that exist.
While this rate is -10.32% lower than the national average of 2,346.0 incidents per 100,000 people, it is still 55.33% higher than the total crime rate for Idaho (1,354.5 incidents per 100,000 people).
These statistics indicate that residents of Jerome face a greater risk of falling victim to various types of crimes compared to the national and state averages.
The elevated crime rate in Jerome raises concerns about the safety and security of the community.
While Jerome may have its unique characteristics and attractions, it is essential for residents and potential residents to remain cautious and take appropriate safety measures.
Staying informed about local crime trends, participating in community initiatives, and cooperating with law enforcement can help create safety within the town.
FAQs for the Worst Places to Avoid in Idaho
Is Idaho dangerous?
Idaho, as a whole, is not considered excessively dangerous. While there are crime incidents like in any other state, the overall crime rates in Idaho tend to be lower than the national average. But it’s advisable to take general safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings, as in any location.
What is the most dangerous city in Idaho with the highest crime rate?
Garden City, located near Boise, is probably the most dangerous city in Idaho. With a population of 12,000, it has a high violent crime rate of 688 incidents per 100,000 people, almost double the national average. This includes crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault.
What are the downsides of living in Idaho?
These are some of the cons of living in Idaho:
- Harsh winters with heavy snowfall
- Limited job opportunities in specific industries
- Lagging transportation infrastructure
- Some residents enjoy the isolation
- Relatively high property taxes
- Rapid population increase
- High and rising home prices
- Limited public transit
- Lack of luxury shopping
- Harsh winter weather
- High-income tax rates
What is the poorest city in Idaho?
The poorest city in Idaho is Rexburg, with a median household income of $33,278. This is significantly lower than the state median household income of $58,915. The median home value in Rexburg is $221,700, slightly below the state median home value of $235,600.
What are 3 unusual facts about Idaho?
While there are tons of fun facts about Idaho, here are 3 most unusual ones:
- Idaho has the world’s deepest river gorge called Hells Canyon. It’s even more profound than the Grand Canyon and stretches 18 miles wide, offering stunning views.
- Idaho is famous for being the largest potato producer in the United States. The state’s potatoes are known for their excellent quality and delicious taste.
- Idaho is home to the largest petrified forest in the world, located in the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. This unique site holds over 50 million fossils from millions of years ago, including dinosaurs, fish, birds, and mammals.
These facts showcase Idaho’s natural wonders and agricultural significance in an easy-to-understand manner.
That concludes the most dangerous cities in Idaho, which are advisable to avoid for both living and traveling purposes.