Safest Cities in Kansas – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Crime is higher than you’d expect in Kansas, in light of its image as a modest, down-to-earth midwestern state. The state’s violent crime increased by 10.9% in 2018, and its violent crime and property rates are both higher than national averages. That said, the situation in Kansas’ safest cities stands in contrast to that of the state at large. Each of the state’s 5 safest cities logged crime rates below state and national levels in both major categories.

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Crime rate per 1,000
0
Law enforcement per 1,000

McPherson is Kansas’ safest city. The county seat of the county sharing its name, McPherson has a rich history dating back to the mid 19th century, and is home to two colleges. Additionally, the city has remarkably low crime: its violent crime rate of 1.74 per 1,000 is well below half of the statewide rate, while its property crime rate is less than 10% of national levels.

#2 Leawood recorded equally low crime rates in 2018. The Kansas City suburb of 35,000 earned the state’s lowest rate of violent crime, a remarkable 0.77 per 1,000. While Leawood’s property crime rate is not quite as low, it is nevertheless below state and nationwide levels.

Kansas’ 3rd safest city is Lenexa, which, with a population topping 54K, is the largest city in the top 5. The city is notable as the birthplace of tech giant Garwin, and recorded impressive crime rates for a city its size, including a violent crime rate less-than-half of the statewide rate.

There’s a slight uptick in violent crime between Lenexa and the following two entries on the list, however, #4 Lansing still performed well in 2018. The small Leavenworth County city managed to earn a violent crime rate 57% of the statewide rate, while its property crime is well below half of the statewide level.

Closing out the list is Gardner (#5), the 3rd Johnson County city in the top 5. Gardner recorded respectable violent and property crime rates just a notch higher than those of Lansing, the preceding entry on the list.

Kansas’ Safest Cities

KSCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1McPherson13211232237453.411.741.672.80
2Leawood35070275438157016.250.7715.482.31
3Lenexa5434910783813094517.391.9715.422.39
4Lansing12043301361816613.782.4911.291.49
5Gardner21945563083936416.592.5514.041.78
6Emporia24698284295045718.501.1317.372.02
7Olathe1391543051957211226216.262.1914.061.52
8Shawnee659831651076114124118.812.5016.311.73
9Derby23842375055554222.731.5521.182.31
10Garden City269021236087673127.174.5722.602.83
11Dodge City27756905925868224.573.2421.332.09
12Overland Park1938774403739295417921.552.2719.291.52
13Haysville11343462832832929.004.0624.952.47
14Ottawa12300633133237630.575.1225.452.60
15Atchison10589432692431229.464.0625.402.27
16El Dorado12960283832541131.712.1629.551.93
17Newton188301315604269136.706.9629.742.23
18Leavenworth36331345113076147540.609.5031.102.09
19Hutchinson40573166162497179044.124.0940.032.39
20Great Bend152511125773768945.187.3437.832.43
21Arkansas City11791505102956047.494.2443.252.46
22Topeka1263997666560324732657.966.0651.902.56

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.