Kansas, the Sunflower State, is a Midwestern state with a population of around 2.9 million people. In addition to the band Kansas’ top hits "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind,” Kansas (the state) has another hit. Their state song is "Home on the Range” which is appropriate given the lyrics, "Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam," as the buffalo is the state animal. The buffalo live comfortably in the Big Basin Prairie Preserve. Kansas is great for nature enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and bird watchers because it is home to five other nature preservation centers and observatories that are perfect for appreciating life's natural wonders. Kansas does well in balancing big city attractions with small town charm. Whether you're a cyclist, foodie, outdoor adventurer, or just want to spend the day fishing - Kansas has a spot for you. Fun fact: Though Chicago, Illinois, is called the “Windy City," Dodge City, Kansas, is actually the windiest city in the whole United States with an average wind speed of up to 14 mph.
Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.
1. PRAIRIE VILLAGE
Prairie Village is located along the eastern edge of Kansas in Johnson County. It has a population of 21,980 and is about an hour’s drive from the state capital. They have four shopping centers as well as twelve parks that are perfect for biking, hiking, and family picnics. Prairie Village’s recreation programs cover a variety of activities from watersports to skateboarding. They celebrate the 4th of July with VillageFest which includes a pancake breakfast, rides, a classic car show, and more. They also host a critically acclaimed JazzFest. Prairie Village reported 7 violent crimes and only 10.25/1,000 people reported property crimes.
2. BEL AIRE
Bel Aire is a suburb of Wichita in Sedgwick County. It’s able to maintain its own brand of small town charm while its residents can still access big city amenities. It’s the second safest city in Kansas with crime statistics that are lower than the state's averages. Only 1.21/1000 people were affected by violent crimes (the state's average is 3/1000 people) and a low rate of 8.76/1000 people reported property crimes - significantly lower than the Kansas average of 28/1000 people. Bel Aire has both private and public schools, five public parks, and a wide variety of recreational programs for residents of all ages including yoga, line dancing, and even a barn quilt workshop. They also host festivals in spring and fall that include seasonal activities like a 10,000-Egg Easter Hunt. Bel Aire also hosts an annual event for the four-legged members of the family with their "Hot Dawgs Pool Party" where residents can bring their dogs to the community pool for a dip before it closes for the season.
3. VALLEY CENTER
Valley Center is located approximately 13 miles north of Wichita in Sedgwick County. It has a population of 7,113 and is the third safest city in Kansas. Valley Center's number of reported violent crimes was only 1.27/1,000 people (the state's average is 3/1000) and statistics show that a low number of people (9.98/1000 people) reported property crimes much lower than the state average. Much like Bel Aire, Valley Center's close proximity to a larger city gives it the benefits of big city convenience without compromising its small town atmosphere and values. Valley Center has beautiful landscaping, including five public parks, some of which are home to a children's splash pad, swimming pools, licensed fishing areas, and disc golf. In September, the city hosts its biggest event of the year, an annual fall festival.
The city of Leawood is located near the Kansas-Missouri state line and is about an hour’s drive from Kansas state capital, Topeka. It has a population of 35,047 and a low violent crime rate of 0.68/1,000 people and a property crime rate of 12.04/1000 people - both statistics are lower than the state's averages. Leawood is a tightly-knit community that places a strong emphasis on the arts. The Arts Council provides shows, concerts, and educational programming for residents of all ages and the city sponsors art competitions throughout the year. It’s home to an aquatic center, six public parks, and a unique challenge course that includes a 50 ft rock wall and a giant swing that allows visitors to swing down from a 35 ft platform. Leawood also hosts a variety of community events from races to senior luncheons and holiday events like an "Eggstravaganza" Easter event and Breakfast with Santa.
Ulysses is located in the southwest corner of the state in Grant County and is only 40 miles from the Colorado-Oklahoma state border. It has a population of 6,157 and is the fifth safest city in the state. The city reported four violent crimes (or a rate of 0.65/1,000 people) and a property crime rate of 13.81/1,000 people - both statistics lower than the state's averages. Ulysses hosts events throughout the year like a city-wide garage and sidewalk sale and a Home Products Dinner made up of locally-grown and prepared foods. Ulysses has six parks where residents can relax, picnic, or, in the case of Fraizer Park, camp. Fraizer Park Lake is the central hub of Fraizer Park and has been newly restored to provide residents with a safe and fun water recreation area and irrigation source for their lush Brentwood Golf course.
The Top 49 Safest Cities in Kansas, 2017
1. Prairie Village
2. Bel Aire
3. Valley Center
13. Overland Park
33. Garden City
25. Dodge City
45. Kansas City
26. Bonner Springs
36. Arkansas City
27. Junction City
18. Park City
48. Fort Scott
40. Great Bend
To identify the safest cities in Kansas, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000.
The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.