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Bozeman among the 'safest small cities' in Montana despite increase in crime rate, police say

The Bozeman Police Department says there has been a 29% increase in felony cases since the same time last year.
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Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 20, 2024

Since 2021, the Bozeman Police Department says there has been an increase in crime around town due to several factors, including rapid population growth around the city.

"We have seen an increase in felony-related crime," says Bozeman Police Patrol Captain Joe Swanson.

On Facebook, Bozeman Police shared the department has seen a 29% increase in felony cases since last year. They also said as Bozeman continues to grow, so does the number of cases investigated each year.

Swanson says there are several factors that contribute to the increase.

"Population growth, certainly some changes at the legislative level, and just some of the focuses that we've done differently here at the police department," says Swanson.

Swanson says the Police Department has seen an increase in violence, including some aggravated assaults and attempted homicides that could contribute to the increase in felonies. They have also conducted prostitution stings.

"Prostitution recently was changed by the state legislature to include a first offense to be a felony crime," says Swanson. "Now, our detective division has put a focus on that and has run a couple of operations that resulted in nearly 20 arrests of individuals for that crime."

Although there have been more felonies committed, Swanson says the number of calls in the last two quarters of 2023 was less than in 2022. He also says that the crime rate for 2024, so far, is on par with past years.

"We haven't seen a significant increase at the current moment right now," says Swanson, "but steady in the sense of kind of on track for where we had been in 2023."

With the increase in crime, Swanson says Bozeman is still a safe place to live.

"Compared to the rest of the state of Montana, Bozeman is one of the safest small cities," says Swanson.