Listomaniac WalletHub throws a bunch of numbers in a pot and figures that South Dakota ranks 43rd among states for “safety”, a construct of crime, financial security, highway calamity, owies at work, and climate disasters. Even greater danger zones are Montana, Arkansas, Missouri, South Caroline, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The safest five states are Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.
Out of all those data points, one jumps out at me this morning: WalletHub says South Dakota has more sex offenders relative to population than all but three other states. Mashing up numbers from Parents for Megan’s Law with Census data agrees: only Delaware, Wisconsin, and Oregon have higher rates of sex offenders among their populations. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children disagrees, saying five states out-perv us:
How does small-town, family-values, great-place-to-raise-kids South Dakota end up with a higher concentration of sex offenders than dens of sin like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Nevada, all of which have offender-per-population rates right by (California, Illinois) or below (the rest) the national rate?
These stats count registered sex offenders, so you could argue that South Dakota is just better at catching and registering kiddie diddlers and other menaces. But by one count from this 2014 analysis, South Dakota is among states with weaker sex offender laws:
Most other states require offenders to stay on their registries longer than we do. One would think that offenders would cycle off our list more quickly, but it appears South Dakotans have a higher proclivity for getting on that list than do folks in neighboring states. Yuck.