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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
|7||Town and Country||498|
|33||Lake St. Louis||1,003|
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.
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!
Crime per 100K
Crime per 100K
|33||Lake St. Louis||14,888||94||2,028||1,003|
|7||Town and Country||10,939||46||1,051||498|