The Most Dangerous Cities In Oregon: 2021’s Ultimate List

Oregon is arguably the most visually distinct state in the northwestern United States, but not all of its cities are safe. Unfortunately, cities such as Woodburn, Warrenton, and Salem are among the most dangerous cities in Oregon. Whether it be Portland, Medford, or more, let’s take a look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Oregon.

The Most Dangerous Cities In Oregon

Not too long ago, Oregon wasn’t a state that would ever be considered glamorous or even that interesting. It was just there. However, things have changed, especially once the “Green Rush” took hold. Today, Oregon real estate is seeing a massive boom in demand among both locals and out-of-state real estate investors. It’s all green in this forest-y state, right?

Well, not quite. Oregon might be poppin’ when it comes to major city real estate prices, things aren’t exactly peachy keen everywhere. Though the state is considered to be a hot real estate market, it still has a serious crime problem that’s pervasive throughout the state.

People who are thinking of investing in Oregon need to be aware that it’s not all cannabis and artisan coffee. If you want to stay safe, you need to make sure to avoid the most dangerous cities in Oregon.

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Is Oregon Safe?

It all depends on what you’re looking at and who you are. Statistics show that Oregon is far less violent than an average state, with 290 incidents per 100,000 instead of the standard 370. If you’re worried about gang activity, don’t be. Oregon doesn’t roll like that.

However, it’s not exactly the best when it comes to property crime. Theft, arson, and burglaries are more common here. This is why many Oregonians choose to have home security devices and why children are told to keep an eye on their belongings.

Unfortunately, there’s another issue that has arisen with Oregon that needs to be addressed…

Is Oregon Safe For Minorities?

While Portland and Eugene are acclaimed for their diversity, there is something that needs to be said about the rest of the state. Oregon has become increasingly recognized for having pockets of right-wing extremists as well as white nationalist groups. This has only gotten worse in recent years.

Though there are tons of areas in Oregon that are amenable to minorities, the truth is that the concern for minorities’ safety in many areas is warranted. There are many rumors of still-active sundown towns near the border between Oregon and Idaho, as well as throughout rural patches of the state.

Many people have also accused Oregon police of covering up hate crimes. If you are concerned about discrimination or hate crimes, stick to major cities and avoid going in areas that are not overtly known for being tolerant.

What Are The Most Dangerous Places To Live In Oregon?

Contrary to the reputation for being a hipster-rich, trust fund-y place to be, Oregon can get pretty grimy when it comes to crime. To determine the most dangerous places to live, we took a look at both property crime and violent crime. Our priority was on violent crime with property crime being a secondary factor.

10. North Bend

North Bend

  • Violent Crime: 298
  • Property Crime: 4,214
  • Murder: 30.9
  • Rape: 20.6
  • Robbery: 82.4
  • Assault: 164.9
  • Burglary: 680.1
  • Theft: 3307.7
  • Car Theft: 226.7

Known for being a major city in the Oregon Trail game of yesteryear, North Bend is no longer the historic gold rush city it once was. It’s been shaping up and has become a fairly popular place to live. Popular as it may be, North Bend still has a crime issue as of late.

It’s important to realize that North Bend only has 10,000 people in it. This means that the crime rate per 100,000 people will naturally skew higher than it otherwise would. The city has witnessed several shocking events that have skewed its crime rate upwards in 2018—including three murders.

Despite all this, most people agree that North Bend is still a fairly safe city. In fact, its violent crime rate is 21 percent below the national average.

9. Prineville


  • Violent Crime: 422
  • Property Crime: 3,643
  • Murder: 0
  • Rape: 88.4
  • Robbery: 19.6
  • Assault: 314.2
  • Burglary: 736.4
  • Theft: 2739.6
  • Car Theft: 166.9

Another rural-suburban town to make out a list of the most dangerous places to live is Prineville. This area has long struggled with a number of issues, and lately, it’s been looking like the city is failing. It climbed up three ranks in crime since last year, and it’s only gotten worse in 2020.

It’s the eighth most violent city in Oregon, even though there hasn’t been a murder committed within its limits for quite some time. The big issue, for violent crime, is assault. When it comes to matters of property crime, burglary is unusually high in this city.

Burglary is so abnormally common in Prineville, the rate actually made this city beat out almost every other city on this list. A home security device is a good option here.

8. Tillamook


  • Violent Crime: 434
  • Property Crime: 3,588
  • Murder: 0
  • Rape: 75.5
  • Robbery: 95.5
  • Assault: 264.4
  • Burglary: 453.3
  • Theft: 2,983.9
  • Car Theft: 151.1

Tillamook is one of the smallest cities on this list, with only 5,300 people calling it home. So, to a point, one might be able to assume that the statistics are a little skewed. Even so, it’s hard to ignore the number of violent crimes that took place within city limits.

Locals have a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a crime victim. That number is looking to chance, since year by year crime spiked by a jaw-dropping 23 percent. Depending on how law enforcement tackles this issue, we might see this city jump up a couple of notches in the future.

7. Salem


  • Violent Crime: 417
  • Property Crime: 4,168
  • Murder: 2.9
  • Rape: 32.6
  • Robbery: 102.9
  • Assault: 279.6
  • Burglary: 543
  • Theft: 3103
  • Car Theft: 522

With its 172,000-strong population, Salem remains one of the largest cities in Oregon. Despite working to clamp down on crime, the crime rate has stayed relatively steady over the past couple of years. The high crime has become part of the city’s reputation.

Around 1 in 239 people were killed, raped, or otherwise attacked within city limits in 2018. Of course, that’s only what we know about the crime. The actual statistics are rumored to be higher.

What caused Salem to become one of the most dangerous cities in Oregon? It’s hard to tell, but many people blame an above-average unemployment rate of 5.6 percent and having 17.2 percent of people in poverty.

6. Woodburn


  • Violent Crime: 426
  • Property Crime: 3,696
  • Murder: 9
  • Rape: 42.3
  • Robbery: 119.1
  • Assault: 265.1
  • Burglary: 445.6
  • Theft: 2846.6
  • Car Theft: 403.4

What an ominous name, right? There might be a little truth to this. Statistics place Woodburn as the sixth most dangerous city in Oregon, particularly when it comes to the small city’s violent crime rate.

According to statistical analyses, people have a 1 in 27.1 chance of being a victim of theft or arson here. Marion county’s Woodburn also has an above-average car theft rate for a town of its size.

With that said, there are some good things about Woodburn that are worth saying. This is one of the most affordable cities of its size in the Beaver State. It also happens to have plenty of amenities. Whether you want to make that trade-off is up to you.

5. Warrenton


  • Violent Crime: 422
  • Property Crime: 4,870
  • Murder: 0
  • Rape: 0
  • Robbery: 105.5
  • Assault: 316.5
  • Burglary: 351.6
  • Theft: 4307.3
  • Car Theft: 211

Warrenton is a very tiny town that doesn’t really have much crime on paper. The town is so petite, its small population could be blamed for skewing the proportionality of the crime statistics for the worse. Even so, we’re going by crimes per 100,000 people so we have to include it.

There were no murders or rapes reported, but multiple assaults and six robberies. A 245-strong string of theft is what ended up clinching Warrenton’s place as one of the most dangerous cities in Oregon. Here, you have a 1 in 19 chance of being a crime victim, so while the rates are low, probabilities are high.

4. Medford


  • Violent Crime: 486
  • Property Crime: 5,390
  • Murder: 2.4
  • Rape: 39.9
  • Robbery: 112.3
  • Assault: 332.1
  • Burglary: 568.8
  • Theft: 4387.7
  • Car Theft: 433.6

Medford’s big claim to fame is the stellar views you get from the hills, as well as for having a beautiful pastoral layout. These days, it’s also starting to gain notoriety for being one of the more crime-ridden parts of the country. In fact, it’s the fourth most violent town in all of Oregon.

With that said, the violent crime is only 28 percent above the national average. For people who lived in inner cities their entire lives, the crime might not be that bad. Even so, the high rates of arson and larceny-theft would make many think twice. The rate of burglaries in the area, too, would make many people raise an eyebrow.

It’s one of the larger cities on this list, and it also happens to be in the grips of a major crime wave. Police are trying hat they can to make the violence end, but it’s not looking too good for locals.

3. Ontario


  • Violent Crime: 511
  • Property Crime: 5,265
  • Murder: 9.1
  • Rape: 73
  • Robbery: 109.5
  • Assault: 319.1
  • Burglary: 511
  • Theft: 4216.1
  • Car Theft: 538.4

With a population nearing 11,000 people, Ontario looks like a sleepy little town nestled on the Snake River near Idaho. Unfortunately, it’s not a typical sleepy rural town. This area has a number of major crime issues that make it a threat to visitors and locals alike. More specifically, violent crime has been a regular issue among local lives.

Property crime is rife here, with one case of theft or arson for every 19 people who live in the area. Burglaries, too, have made their mark on the local landscape. We strongly suggest getting a home security device if you choose to move here, simply because the chance of being a victim is so high.

While Oregon, as a state, is not known for gang activity, Ontario is an exception to the rule. Ontario does have active gang members as well as shootouts. Recently, the city made news headlines for having a gang member on the run after a drive-by shooting. The city also recently had a murder occur in a cannabis dispensary, which also attracted national attention.

Talk about bad press, right?

2. Lincoln City

Lincoln City

  • Violent Crime: 633
  • Property Crime: 5,257
  • Murder: 0
  • Rape: 100
  • Robbery: 77.8
  • Assault: 455.7
  • Burglary: 1478.1
  • Theft: 3389.6
  • Car Theft: 389

Honest Abe probably didn’t expect to see a city with his namesake make the list of the most dangerous cities in Oregon. Yet, here we are. Though the population of this town is just under 9,000, the sheer number of violent crimes made this place a disproportionately bad place to be. Alarmingly, sex crimes like rape are abnormally high.

Though assault and rape are on the rise, those aren’t the most common issues. Property crime is a full 139 percent above the national average. While no murders have been reported, a high rape and assault rate makes many people nervous to go out alone at night. You have a 1 in 17 chance of being a crime victim here, so maybe locals aren’t being foolish by being leery.

It’s worth noting that Lincoln City has a serious drug problem, not to mention an underemployment problem. These two factors are said to contribute to a sharp uptick in crime. If Lincoln City wants to cut down on crime, officials will have to find a way to address these two issues to make a crime-free life more attractive.

1. Portland


  • Violent Crime: 520
  • Property Crime: 5,460
  • Murder: 3.8
  • Rape: 66.6
  • Robbery: 160.7
  • Assault: 288.9
  • Burglary: 676.1
  • Theft: 3728.8
  • Car Theft: 1054.7

Portland might be known for its artisan coffee and donuts, but this city isn’t all sunshine. In recent years, Portland’s hipster vibe has been sidetracked by a massive spike in homelessness as well as a serious plague of hard drug addiction. This, paired with gang activity, caused a crime wave that seems to be downright unstoppable.

Portland still isn’t entirely violent, and many major cities would want to have its crime rate in this sense. However, property crime is 148 percent above the national average, which means that you are around two and a half times as likely to be a property crime victim here. Much of this is linked to the homeless encampments near the city limits as well as the gangs that reside there.

A typical Portlander has a 1 in 17 chance of being a crime victim. Car thefts are a particularly bad problem here, leading many locals to choose to get LoJack as a part of their theft prevention practice.  Along with property crimes, there are many rumors that deal with a high amount of prostitution, drug dealing, and vandalism.

Recently, police have made attempts to try to end the violence through improved gang task forces. Recent issues with protests and economic strife made this fail. Whether or not this city will be able to kick crime to the curb remains to be seen, but many are hoping for better results with the help of social services.

Crime Rates In Oregon Cities For 2020

Number Name Violent Crime Property Crime
10 North Bend 299 4,214
9 Prineville 422 3,643
8 Tillamook 434 3,588
7 Salem 417 4,168
6 Woodburn 426 3,695
5 Warrenton  422 4,870
4 Medford 487 5,390
3 Ontario 511 5,265
2 Lincoln City 633 5,256
1 Portland 520 5,460
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Related Questions

Is Eugene, Oregon a safe place?

Compared to other cities of its size, Eugene is a fairly safe city. Recent improvements to the police force, a tight-knit community, as well as new upgrades to the school system, have helped drop the crime rates significantly. This, combined with a renewed interest in real estate investment, will hopefully help further bolster Eugene’s reputation as a safe city.

What is the safest city in Oregon?

Currently, the safest city in Oregon is a small city by the name of Pendleton. This 16,000-strong community only had 42 violent crimes reported in its boundaries in the past year. Moreover, property crime is shockingly low, with only 322 reports in the past year. An excellent police force and strong neighborhood watch program contributed to it.

To give you an idea of how safe it is, Pendleton made the top 25th percentile of safe cities in America. Needless to say, people can rest easy at night in its limits.

Is cannabis legal in Oregon?

While cannabis is still illegal on a national level, it has been legalized in Oregon. However, there are certain restrictions that people should know. You can only buy it if you’re above the age of 21, and you have to buy it from a dispensary. Oregonians cannot keep more than eight ounces of cannabis in their home at any given time.

Unlike most other “green” states, Oregon allows for both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis. This has led to a massive influx of cannabis-centric tourism, simply because people are curious to try it.

Is drug addiction a major problem in Oregon?

Many of the crime rates in the most dangerous cities in Oregon have ties to drug addiction in one way or another, and this doesn’t involve cannabis. Oregon currently ranks 5th in the nation when it comes to hard drug addiction. Heroin, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepines are the most commonly abused drugs in the state.

Are there gangs in Oregon?

While Oregon might not have a reputation for gang activity, the state does have a fair amount of it. Many cities have chapters of the Bloods and Crips, but the truth is that most small towns tend to have their own “homegrown” organized crime. Motorcycle gangs, such as the Vagos or the Free Souls, are far more common than typical street gangs.

It’s also worth noting that Oregon has a severe white nationalist gang problem in many parts of the state. So while these gangs might not appear in a “gangster” stereotypical fashion, they are still very present and should be considered extremely dangerous.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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