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Old 12-30-2016, 08:20 AM
 
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Hi,

We are a young couple moving to Billings soon. Compared to most cities, Billings would be considered fairly safe, but the high rates of drunk driving and robbery/burglaries worries me a little. I tried looking into something similar to a crime map but could find none. Does anyone in the forum know which neighborhoods are considered high risk for crime and which are the lowest risk? Is it possible to live in a safe neighborhood close to the downtown area?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Last edited by chicken83; 12-30-2016 at 08:45 AM..
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:48 PM
 
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I don't live in Billings. I can say that if I only read the online edition of the Billings Gazette I would believe it was a crime ridden H***hole. I have not experienced that.

The South side going out 27th has always had the reputation for being the bad neighborhood part of town. I do believe that it has improved somewhat, but the reputation persists. So I would avoid that general area.

Perhaps someone who lives in Billings will respond with better info.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:58 PM
 
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I've never had Billings on my radar. Not a very nice place, but I guess you could do worse. Great Falls comes to mind.


We used to have to travel to Billings for medical and dental care, and to do any real shopping. Pretty good place in those categories, but it is a smelly, scuzzy town. We would travel there from Sheridan, which pretty much has zero crime, and in Billings you need to lock your doors. Don't leave anything valuable in the open. Lots of tweakers and dirtbags. Never really have seen a "nice" part of town, although I'm sure it exists.


Gets brutally cold in the summer, and sunny and hot in the winter time. Fall and spring are pretty much non-existent.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:08 PM
 
Location: C-U metro
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@Dangerous Dave: You obviously never lived in Sheridan during an oil or coal boom. Plenty of drunks and break-ins and a heck of a lot more than Billings on a per capita basis during those times. During the bust, sure, it's quiet.


@OP: Montana is generally #1 when it comes to drunk driving statistics. That is because most places do not have a bus system and those that do have them shut down at 6PM. There isn't much of an opportunity to get home safely from the bar if you've had too much. In Montana, daytime crimes are pretty rare outside of the occasional casino/bank robbery or someone steeling vehicles that are being warmed up in the driveway in winter.


Downtown Billings is pretty tame as far as activity but it is the only place with nightlife that does not consist of cover bands and $1 PBR. If you have $$, look at the area just west of Division and north of Broadwater. It's walking distance to Billings Central HS (Catholic) and Billings Senior HS (Public) and has big historic homes. The area around Senior HS is also pretty nice but a bit further from the brewpubs. During the winter months, you'll definitely want to drive there and back since it's over a mile away.


Billings is at night is safe provided you stay away from the area east of the 25th St E below the Rims and 3 blocks north of the ballpark. That is the only area of town that I know of where you could get into trouble driving through at night. Even the Southside (South of 1st Ave S to I-90) is safe for driving through at night but I wouldn't recommend walking there at night. Outside of downtown and those two areas I mentioned, Billings is pretty sleepy. Anything west of 12th St. W would be on par with any standard suburb of a major metropolitan area.
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Old 12-30-2016, 08:41 PM
 
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@historyfan and dangerousdave: Thanks - from my brief visit and some online searching we have learned to avoid the south side.

@flyingcat2k: Thanks for the recommendations on places to look. There were some nice looking neighborhoods, at least on googlemaps and zillow. Not a lot of options in regards to renting, but seems like there are many homes for sale. How are the neighborhoods north of rimrock road just below the rims?

In regards to winter weather driving in Montana in general, do people switch out to all season tires in the winter? Out here in New England I have not needed to do it because they plow the roads well.

Really excited to explore the hiking trails/camping sites in the area. Heard there are lots near Red Lodge which isn't too far away, and also at Big Horn Canyon?
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:53 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,662 posts, read 8,952,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerous Dave View Post
I've never had Billings on my radar. Not a very nice place, but I guess you could do worse. Great Falls comes to mind.


We used to have to travel to Billings for medical and dental care, and to do any real shopping. Pretty good place in those categories, but it is a smelly, scuzzy town. We would travel there from Sheridan, which pretty much has zero crime, and in Billings you need to lock your doors. Don't leave anything valuable in the open. Lots of tweakers and dirtbags. Never really have seen a "nice" part of town, although I'm sure it exists.


Gets brutally cold in the summer, and sunny and hot in the winter time. Fall and spring are pretty much non-existent.
You're acting like Billings is bad as South Central LA. To the OP, use common sense and you'll be fine. Also, I'm assuming you meant to say it gets brutally cold in winter and sunny and hot in the summer time.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:10 AM
 
Location: C-U metro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicken83 View Post
@historyfan and dangerousdave: Thanks - from my brief visit and some online searching we have learned to avoid the south side.

@flyingcat2k: Thanks for the recommendations on places to look. There were some nice looking neighborhoods, at least on googlemaps and zillow. Not a lot of options in regards to renting, but seems like there are many homes for sale. How are the neighborhoods north of rimrock road just below the rims?

In regards to winter weather driving in Montana in general, do people switch out to all season tires in the winter? Out here in New England I have not needed to do it because they plow the roads well.

Really excited to explore the hiking trails/camping sites in the area. Heard there are lots near Red Lodge which isn't too far away, and also at Big Horn Canyon?
The nighborhoods below the rims are pretty good but there is one thing you should be cautious of. The properties between Rimrock Rd and the Rims will have higher insurance premiums than the rest of the city. That area has been designated as "at risk" and the city is not liable for any stone that falls off the Rims and impacts/destroys property. There is a case working its way through the courts now and the city has been winning on this designation. Rocks hitting the homes are very rare occurrences (mostly small rocks) and the court case is one where the home was nearly destroyed by the boulder.

Billings and other cities in Montana do not plow residential streets unless conditions on those streets will cause school closures. This is largely due to not having enough funds to do so. Montana has high state property taxes but the cities and counties are small portions of that. Most of the property tax goes to the state and school district so schools are good but you will notice a drop in municipal services compared to New England.

The majority of the hiking opportunities are in the mountains. Red Lodge is nice but much more pricy than Billings. Big Horn Canyon is surrounded by the Crow Reservation and I would not recommend living there. It is a very high poverty and crime area. The recreational area is nice and the lake and river area are safe but just don't venture too far away from the touristy areas.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:12 PM
 
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@NDak15: Yes, we plan to be cautious - we have lived in high crime areas before, but wanted to ensure that we live in the safest possible neighborhoods.

@flyingcat2k: Thanks for the information about the higher insurance premiums. We will keep that in mind. I guess will need at least an AWD vehicle with all season tires to get around?

High property taxes are news to me - from what I could find it seems low in Montana, but I guess that is relative to Connecticut and what my parents pay in Texas.

In regards to Red Lodge and Big Horn Canyon - didn't mean to live there, but to explore, hike, and camp. Interested in photography, and it seems that the big horn canyon would be a great place to photograph stars and the milky way.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:52 PM
 
Location: C-U metro
1,365 posts, read 2,722,984 times
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Default Car suggestions

For winter driving, an AWD vehicle would be good. It isn't necessary if you live in Billings because it is laid out on a grid and there are arterial streets every 4 or 5 blocks. With an AWD, you'll be able to get out almost any day whereas a standard front wheel will have issues occasionally. Rear wheel drive vehicles are not recommended for Montana driving.

For hiking, Red Lodge is great. My family homesteaded in that area and I spent most of my summers growing up there. Bighorn Canyon is good for stargazing. The better areas will be near the Wyoming border on the lake where the canyon walls are not so tall.
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Old 01-02-2017, 04:32 PM
 
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[quote=flyingcat2k;46681067]For winter driving, an AWD vehicle would be good. It isn't necessary if you live in Billings because it is laid out on a grid and there are arterial streets every 4 or 5 blocks. With an AWD, you'll be able to get out almost any day whereas a standard front wheel will have issues occasionally. Rear wheel drive vehicles are not recommended for Montana driving.

For hiking, Red Lodge is great. My family homesteaded in that area and I spent most of my summers growing up there. Bighorn Canyon is good for stargazing. The better areas will be near the Wyoming border on the lake where the canyon walls are

Perhaps you are thinking of cars when you say rear wheel drive is not recommended for Montana? Because all pickups & suburbans I can think of are rear wheel drive, and most are likely also 4wheel drive. These most likely are the most popluar vehicles driven in Montana.

Subaru Outbacks are probably the most common cars in towns with Caddies & Lincolns the most common in the country.

We put studded snow tires on cars (Lincoln TCs), all seasons on mostly driven on highway 4wheel drive 3/4 T & 1 T pickups, and mud & snows with tire chains on mostly on ranch all winter pickups (older versions of prev metioned). Extra weight in trunk or o rear axles of pickups is also a good idea if severe conditions are expected. Find a good tire shop recommended by coworkers & get whatever they recommend for your vehicle & situation. Do not stint on tires.

Last edited by historyfan; 01-02-2017 at 04:33 PM.. Reason: edit
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