Safest Cities in Missouri – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Missouri does not have one of the best safety records in the U.S.: its violent and property crime rates are both above national levels, propped up by some of the more crime-ridden urban areas in the state.

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

However, there is good news for residents of the Show-Me state: violent crime in the state is declining faster than it is nationwide, with a 5.2% decrease between 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, property crime is steadily declining, as well.

The crime situation in Missouri’s 5 safest cities paints a very different picture than the state, at large, as each of them earned a violent crime rate near-or-below 1 offense per 1,000 residents in 2018, which is 20% or less of the statewide rate.

Webster Groves is Missouri’s safest city. The wealthy, medium-sized St. Louis suburb logged a crime rate just above 1 per 1,000 in 2018, while its property crime rate is just one-third of the national rate.

Missouri’s 2nd safest city is Ballwin, a St. Louis suburb repeatedly named “One of America’s Best Places to Live” by Money Magazine. On paper, Ballwin’s crime rates may be the most impressive in the state, as it’s 0.30 per 1,000 crime rate is less than a third of #1 Webster Grove’s already-low rate. The city’s slightly higher property crime rate keeps it out of the top spot.

#3 Town and Country’s violent crime rate is even lower than Ballwin’s: the suburb of 11,000 recorded just 2 violent crimes in 2018.  However, the city’s marginally higher rate of property crime drops it to the 3rd position.

Eureka, the 4th entry in the ranking, recorded crime rates only slightly less impressive than the three preceding entries. The city, which is home to the Six Flags St. Louis amusement park, has a violent crime rate just above 1 per 1,000.

Missouri’s 5th safest city, Kirkwood, is also the 5th consecutive St. Louis suburb on the list. The city’s low rates of violent and property crime are nearly identical to those of #4 Eureka’s.

Missouri’s Safest Cities

MOCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Webster Groves2287325164491898.261.097.172.14
2Ballwin301519245602548.420.308.131.99
3Town and Country1115421323013412.010.1811.832.69
4Eureka10626111302814113.271.0412.232.64
5Kirkwood27670303817941114.851.0813.772.86
6Jackson15101191793319813.111.2611.852.19
7Wentzville410571064278753312.982.5810.402.12
8O’Fallon88763145952154109712.361.6310.731.73
9Clayton16935252655629017.121.4815.653.31
10Nixa21653262493827512.701.2011.501.75
11Creve Coeur18831222895031116.521.1715.352.66
12Lake St. Louis16134122484026016.120.7415.372.48
13St. Ann12698362757331124.492.8421.665.75
14Maryville1171671692417615.020.6014.422.05
15Chesterfield476022273210875415.840.4615.382.27
16Manchester18114162673728315.620.8814.742.04
17Grain Valley14165252012822615.951.7614.191.98
18Kearney1030061491715515.050.5814.471.65
19Smithville10012101531916316.281.0015.281.90
20Festus12092562023625821.344.6316.712.98
21Liberty31842935115660418.972.9216.051.76
22Maryland Heights26930936929678529.153.4525.703.56
23Florissant513261151079112119423.262.2421.022.18
24Troy12226262442427022.082.1319.961.96
25Lee’s Summit981441182105201222322.651.2021.452.05
26St. Peters578381061248121135423.411.8321.582.09
27Raymore2145294743948322.520.4222.101.82
28Moberly137501202533637327.138.7318.402.62
29Mexico11507142892830326.331.2225.122.43
30St. Charles709251471610149175724.772.0722.702.10
31Republic16495433112535421.462.6118.851.52
32Marshall12655293002732926.002.2923.712.13
33Webb City11379103092731928.030.8827.162.37
34Ozark20203414363447723.612.0321.581.68
35Harrisonville10113362983133433.033.5629.473.07
36Hazelwood25234997347783333.013.9229.093.05
37Gladstone273821166606177628.344.2424.102.23
38Excelsior Springs11626223513337332.081.8930.192.84
39Jefferson City428561511277126142833.323.5229.802.94
40Blue Springs552771341599141173331.352.4228.932.55
41Sikeston16129976448074145.946.0139.934.96
42Arnold21151227675978937.301.0436.262.79
43University City34438108114788125536.443.1433.312.56
44Rolla203851216835680439.445.9433.512.75
45Kirksville17539445072955131.422.5128.911.65
46Farmington18740296213665034.691.5533.141.92
47Fulton12856295003452941.152.2638.892.64
48Columbia1235864463483195392931.793.6128.181.58
49Cape Girardeau393031921537114172943.994.8939.112.90
50Washington13964345263256040.102.4337.672.29
51Grandview2525617392467109743.446.8536.592.65
52Warrensburg20355786924177037.833.8334.002.01
53Bolivar10966304432747343.132.7440.402.46
54Bridgeton11663686806374864.135.8358.305.40
55Vinita Park110031445926473666.8913.0953.805.82
56Neosho12057295262955546.032.4143.632.41
57Bellefontaine Neighbors105971004623256253.039.4443.603.02
58Kansas City49311578422123618192907858.9715.9043.073.69
59Sedalia2159018394457112752.208.4843.722.64
60West Plains12277445853162951.233.5847.652.53
61Lebanon14622577314078853.893.9049.992.74
62Union11710525332758549.964.4445.522.31
63St. Louis30687555251814216082366777.1218.0059.125.24
64Hannibal175451028965099856.885.8151.072.85
65Ferguson2066312994648107552.036.2445.782.32
66St. Joseph764093743768173414254.214.8949.312.26
67Independence1173685216115285663656.544.4452.102.43
68Poplar Bluff1707485116360124873.094.9868.123.51
69Raytown29173153129546144849.635.2444.391.58
70Kennett10326506542970468.184.8463.342.81
71Branson11589851224651309112.957.33105.625.61
72Springfield1685372218118304091404883.3513.1670.192.43

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.