2016 Safest Places in Missouri

by Susan Gulliford

The six million residents of the Missouri care about safety. ValuePenguin analyzed the latest FBI Crime Report to determine the safest cities in the Show Me State. These 123 communities have populations of at least 5,000. The crime scores range from 291 to 7,136 and the average score for Missouri is 1,958.

The safest places were generally, but not exclusively, small cities. The top five is a mixture of working-class and affluent communities. The full report is below.

5 Safest Places in Missouri

These cities have an average final crime score of 371, which is 81% lower than their typical peer in the state. The team at ValuePenguin determined that these five are the safest cities in Missouri.

1. Bonne Terre

This small city (population of 7,310) is a one-hour drive south of St. Louis. Despite its size, Bonne Terre has 10 full-time, six part-time, and four auxiliary officers to keep the city safe. It had the lowest rate of property crime for any city in this study. Bonne Terre is home to a 2,684-bed prison, and it is a working class community with a median household income below the average for Missouri.

2. Glendale

This small suburb (population of 5,921), which is 12 miles from St. Louis, ranks second on this study. The Glendale Police Department promotes good community relations by offering services such as a "Vacation Watch" program to check up on people’s homes while they are away and clinics on public safety topics. The result is that Glendale had the second-lowest rate of violent crime and the fourth-lowest rate of property crime in this research. It is a very affluent community with a median household income 2.4 times the median for Missouri and a very high percentage of adults, nearly 78%, who are college graduates.

3. Ballwin

The largest city in the top five (population of 30,517) is Ballwin. It is very safe for people and their property; Ballwin had the fourth-lowest rate of violent crime and the third-lowest rate of violent crime in this research. The police department offers safety tips to residents and business owners to keep crime low. Ballwin is a 27-minute drive from St. Louis and residents have a median household income 73% higher than the median for Missouri, plus a low rate of poverty.

4. Savannah

Savannah’s motto is "Small Town Living at its Best." It is 19-minute drive from Saint Joseph, Mo., in the western part of the state. In addition to a low rate of property crime, Savannah had the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime. It is another working-class community with a median household income below the median for Missouri; however, the poverty rate is lower than the average for the state too.

5. Greenwood

The chief of police for Greenwood stated that “there is no room for mediocre police officers.” The result is that, in addition, to little violent crime, Greenwood had the second-lowest rate of property crime. This small city of 5,427 is approximately 20 miles southeast of Kansas City, Mo. The median household income in Greenwood is 50% higher than the median for Missouri. Greenwood also has a high rate of homeownership: Over 89% of homes are owner-occupied.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:

Safest Places in Missouri

Full List of Places in Missouri

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Missouri” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

Rank

CityCrime Score

1

Bonne Terre291

2

Glendale350

3

Ballwin356

4

Savannah411

5

Greenwood447

6

Smithville479

7

Town and Country498

8

Ellisville522

9

Shrewsbury543

10

Pleasant Hill604

11

Battlefield622

12

Ladue629

13

Kearney673

14

Creve Coeur716

15

Willard746

16

Webster Groves747

17

Manchester751

18

Eureka768

19

Carl Junction774

20

O'Fallon777

21

Parkville779

22

Grain Valley800

23

Maryville801

24

Crestwood822

25

Chesterfield848

26

Clayton850

27

Nixa872

28

Wentzville913

29

Jackson928

30

Raymore934

31

Trenton973

32

Park Hills992

33

Lake St. Louis1,003

34

Kirkwood1,007

35

Pevely1,013

36

Bowling Green1,052

37

Oak Grove1,074

38

Sunset Hills1,106

39

Waynesville1,124

40

Chillicothe1,124

41

Lee's Summit1,129

42

Republic1,164

43

Florissant1,175

44

Olivette1,177

45

Liberty1,192

46

Perryville1,192

47

Maryland Heights1,214

48

Cameron1,216

49

St. Ann1,263

50

St. Peters1,268

51

Pacific1,341

52

Macon1,365

53

Troy1,407

54

Dexter1,442

55

Moberly1,469

56

Marshall1,491

57

Blue Springs1,511

58

Washington1,548

59

St. Charles1,563

60

Mexico1,627

61

Brentwood1,634

62

Harrisonville1,657

63

Festus1,670

64

Ozark1,703

65

Gladstone1,723

66

Des Peres1,750

67

Salem1,769

68

Warrensburg1,776

69

Boonville1,778

70

Excelsior Springs1,780

71

Monett1,806

72

Fulton1,822

73

Arnold1,844

74

Bellefontaine Neighbors1,861

75

Kirksville1,880

76

St. John1,900

77

Hazelwood1,906

78

Carthage1,914

79

De Soto1,950

80

Jefferson City1,992

81

Belton2,037

82

Grandview2,042

83

Overland2,160

84

Richmond2,211

85

Neosho2,299

86

Marshfield2,346

87

Lebanon2,395

88

Charleston2,407

89

Columbia2,441

90

Webb City2,470

91

Farmington2,473

92

Richmond Heights2,521

93

Union2,569

94

Raytown2,598

95

Rolla2,651

96

Sullivan2,652

97

Hannibal2,664

98

University City2,726

99

Berkeley2,778

100

Clinton2,807

101

West Plains2,855

102

Bolivar2,882

103

Ferguson3,049

104

Warrenton3,151

105

Cape Girardeau3,174

106

Maplewood3,432

107

Caruthersville3,588

108

St. Joseph3,605

109

Independence3,667

110

Sedalia3,857

111

Nevada3,876

112

Bridgeton3,909

113

St. Robert3,984

114

Aurora4,230

115

Jennings4,482

116

Joplin4,628

117

Poplar Bluff4,707

118

Kennett4,996

119

Sikeston5,395

120

Branson5,404

121

Kansas City5,580

122

Springfield6,467

123

St. Louis7,136

Year-over-year Change

There was a great deal of consistency from 2015 to 2016. Four cities made the top five in both years. Small communities dominated in both 2015 and 2016.

The five least safest cities were consistent in both years. St. Louis, Springfield, Kansas City, Branson and Sikeston were in the bottom five in both 2015 and 2016. Additionally, St. Louis had the highest crime score both years.

Ballwin was the safest large city in both 2015 and 2016. Its low rate of violent and property crime propelled it from 10th place in 2015 to third place in 2016. No mid-size city in the top five in either year.

Safest Places in Missouri

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.

Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Rank

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KCrime Score

73

Arnold21,2071413,6971,844

114

Aurora7,4931,2286,0064,230

3

Ballwin30,51726688356

11

Battlefield5,945171,581622

74

Bellefontaine Neighbors10,8154442,8391,861

81

Belton23,1823623,2182,037

99

Berkeley9,0934735,1252,778

57

Blue Springs53,4401572,5671,511

102

Bolivar10,5235514,9612,882

1

Bonne Terre7,31082424291

69

Boonville8,3882033,7201,778

36

Bowling Green5,5531802,0891,052

120

Branson11,16866310,7005,404

61

Brentwood8,0271253,6881,634

112

Bridgeton11,7216237,1153,909

48

Cameron9,8513861,5021,216

105

Cape Girardeau39,0125794,5963,174

19

Carl Junction7,571401,836774

78

Carthage14,1851903,8491,914

107

Caruthersville6,0031,3664,0313,588

88

Charleston5,9249962,3972,407

25

Chesterfield47,811711,527848

40

Chillicothe9,2822261,9281,124

26

Clayton15,871881,670850

100

Clinton9,0323435,7242,807

89

Columbia116,8473513,4132,441

24

Crestwood11,950251,916822

14

Creve Coeur17,874781,371716

79

De Soto6,4902624,0681,950

66

Des Peres8,488594,2181,750

54

Dexter7,9531013,2941,442

8

Ellisville9,183109882522

18

Eureka10,531661,643768

70

Excelsior Springs11,4962173,5141,780

91

Farmington18,1714074,1772,473

103

Ferguson21,0905454,8703,049

63

Festus11,8835132,0451,670

43

Florissant52,3871871,7411,175

72

Fulton12,7573373,0891,822

65

Gladstone26,3302732,8031,723

2

Glendale5,92117861350

22

Grain Valley13,188991,547800

82

Grandview25,5123213,3472,042

5

Greenwood5,427147608447

97

Hannibal17,8753754,7662,664

62

Harrisonville9,9932103,3021,657

77

Hazelwood25,6622733,2301,906

109

Independence117,3214065,6103,667

29

Jackson14,5351441,651928

80

Jefferson City43,3723073,0691,992

115

Jennings14,7621,4504,9524,482

116

Joplin50,7515147,7794,628

121

Kansas City468,4171,2514,8355,580

13

Kearney9,1911201,219673

118

Kennett10,9128808,8534,996

75

Kirksville17,5943752,9271,880

34

Kirkwood27,6101271,7601,007

12

Ladue8,569471,412629

33

Lake St. Louis14,888942,0281,003

87

Lebanon14,8183714,2582,395

41

Lee's Summit93,594881,9201,129

45

Liberty30,3162111,8141,192

52

Macon5,5112902,4861,365

17

Manchester18,207441,587751

106

Maplewood7,9574277,0883,432

56

Marshall12,9922622,5791,491

86

Marshfield6,8143234,8282,346

47

Maryland Heights27,4282221,8451,214

23

Maryville12,0761241,466801

60

Mexico11,5351913,2421,627

55

Moberly13,6791323,0271,469

71

Monett8,9492013,7661,806

85

Neosho12,2342454,6432,299

111

Nevada8,2577516,8913,876

27

Nixa20,4691171,554872

20

O'Fallon83,550721,291777

37

Oak Grove7,8741782,0451,074

44

Olivette7,8402042,2071,177

83

Overland15,9973443,7632,160

64

Ozark18,7752562,9611,703

51

Pacific7,0953102,2411,341

32

Park Hills8,651812,196992

21

Parkville6,018501,861779

46

Perryville8,3593111,7941,192

35

Pevely5,5871791,9871,013

10

Pleasant Hill8,240731,250604

117

Poplar Bluff17,3456638,4524,707

30

Raymore19,8781011,771934

94

Raytown29,5024004,2132,598

42

Republic15,7941842,0391,164

84

Richmond5,6512654,8312,211

92

Richmond Heights8,4952245,5212,521

95

Rolla19,8765483,9752,651

67

Salem5,0201004,3821,769

4

Savannah5,14439953411

110

Sedalia21,5136376,3543,857

9

Shrewsbury6,216641,174543

119

Sikeston16,5301,6456,2075,395

6

Smithville9,08466947479

122

Springfield165,2801,1867,6466,467

49

St. Ann12,9603161,8061,263

59

St. Charles67,9701842,5001,563

76

St. John6,4794173,3181,900

108

St. Joseph77,2694545,5573,605

123

St. Louis318,5741,6796,2537,136

50

St. Peters55,3621642,0161,268

113

St. Robert5,3751,0426,5123,984

96

Sullivan7,0702975,7002,652

38

Sunset Hills8,529942,4391,106

7

Town and Country10,939461,051498

31

Trenton6,0681152,109973

53

Troy11,3592552,4471,407

93

Union10,6453015,1762,569

98

University City35,0995443,8212,726

68

Warrensburg20,1902333,1951,776

104

Warrenton8,0726325,5383,151

58

Washington14,043933,3611,548

39

Waynesville5,4153511,6071,124

90

Webb City10,977915,7482,470

16

Webster Groves23,258181989747

28

Wentzville33,2821291,502913

101

West Plains12,3212765,8762,855

15

Willard5,5141091,560746

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