Orono is the safest city in Minnesota


But beware the mean streets of Bemidji, Minnesota's most crime-ridden city (relatively speaking). Matthew Stinar

If you’re one of those guys who’s scared to go to Olive Garden without a gun, Orono is calling you. It’s the safest city in Minnesota, according to the latest FBI crime stats.

And if you can’t afford Orono, you could always move to Big Lake, Rosemount, Farmington, or Hibbing, which land at 2-5, respectively.

The rankings were calculated by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade group representing alarm companies and contractors. It charted Minnesota’s 84 cities with populations over 10,000, giving extra weight to violent crimes (felony assault, murder, rape, and robbery) as opposed to property crimes, and factoring them on a per capita basis.

Orono sailed away with the top spot, recording a mere three violent crimes in 2017. Big Lake, located northeast of Monticello, finished second with 15. Rosemount finished third with 24.

Rounding out the Top 10 were South Lake Minnetonka, Minnetonka, Lino Lakes, Lakefield, and Northfield.

There appears to be no singular link between demographics and safety, though the entire Top 10 share at least one of two traits: They’re either affluent or they sit in the exurbs and beyond, apparently too far away for the feloniously inclined to drive.

Alas, taking up residence in the former won’t come cheap. The median-priced home in Orono runs a daunting $715,000. Vacant lots can go for as much as $385,000, and starter homes begin at just below $400,000. Multimillion-dollar shacks are the rule rather than the exception.

Big Lake offers a much better deal for the safety-conscious on a budget. Its median home price is just $215,000, which will buy you a styleless yet perfectly respectable house in a subdivision. But Big Lake’s also 40 miles from Minneapolis, meaning your commute may require extra provisions and a team of Sherpas every time it snows.

If both of these options prove unsuitable, the better move might be to simply avoid the most crime-ridden cities. The 10 worst, in order: Bemidji, Brainerd, Minneapolis, Cloquet, West St. Paul, Roseville, Duluth, St. Cloud, Maplewood, and St. Paul.

Then again, Minnesota’s violent crime rate is among the 10 lowest in the nation. Which means that “worst,” in this case, is a very relative term.

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