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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:

Missouri Top 10

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 City Crime Score
1 Bonne Terre  291
2 Glendale  350
3 Ballwin  356
4 Savannah  411
5 Greenwood  447
6 Smithville  479
7 Town and Country  498
8 Ellisville  522
9 Shrewsbury  543
10 Pleasant Hill  604
11 Battlefield  622
12 Ladue  629
13 Kearney  673
14 Creve Coeur  716
15 Willard  746
16 Webster Groves  747
17 Manchester  751
18 Eureka  768
19 Carl Junction  774
20 O'Fallon  777
21 Parkville  779
22 Grain Valley  800
23 Maryville  801
24 Crestwood  822
25 Chesterfield  848
26 Clayton  850
27 Nixa  872
28 Wentzville  913
29 Jackson  928
30 Raymore  934
31 Trenton  973
32 Park Hills  992
33 Lake St. Louis  1,003
34 Kirkwood  1,007
35 Pevely  1,013
36 Bowling Green  1,052
37 Oak Grove  1,074
38 Sunset Hills  1,106
39 Waynesville  1,124
40 Chillicothe  1,124
41 Lee's Summit  1,129
42 Republic  1,164
43 Florissant  1,175
44 Olivette  1,177
45 Liberty  1,192
46 Perryville  1,192
47 Maryland Heights  1,214
48 Cameron  1,216
49 St. Ann  1,263
50 St. Peters  1,268
51 Pacific  1,341
52 Macon  1,365
53 Troy  1,407
54 Dexter  1,442
55 Moberly  1,469
56 Marshall  1,491
57 Blue Springs  1,511
58 Washington  1,548
59 St. Charles  1,563
60 Mexico  1,627
61 Brentwood  1,634
62 Harrisonville  1,657
63 Festus  1,670
64 Ozark  1,703
65 Gladstone  1,723
66 Des Peres  1,750
67 Salem  1,769
68 Warrensburg  1,776
69 Boonville  1,778
70 Excelsior Springs  1,780
71 Monett  1,806
72 Fulton  1,822
73 Arnold  1,844
74 Bellefontaine Neighbors  1,861
75 Kirksville  1,880
76 St. John  1,900
77 Hazelwood  1,906
78 Carthage  1,914
79 De Soto  1,950
80 Jefferson City  1,992
81 Belton  2,037
82 Grandview  2,042
83 Overland  2,160
84 Richmond  2,211
85 Neosho  2,299
86 Marshfield  2,346
87 Lebanon  2,395
88 Charleston  2,407
89 Columbia  2,441
90 Webb City  2,470
91 Farmington  2,473
92 Richmond Heights  2,521
93 Union  2,569
94 Raytown  2,598
95 Rolla  2,651
96 Sullivan  2,652
97 Hannibal  2,664
98 University City  2,726
99 Berkeley  2,778
100 Clinton  2,807
101 West Plains  2,855
102 Bolivar  2,882
103 Ferguson  3,049
104 Warrenton  3,151
105 Cape Girardeau  3,174
106 Maplewood  3,432
107 Caruthersville  3,588
108 St. Joseph  3,605
109 Independence  3,667
110 Sedalia  3,857
111 Nevada  3,876
112 Bridgeton  3,909
113 St. Robert  3,984
114 Aurora  4,230
115 Jennings  4,482
116 Joplin  4,628
117 Poplar Bluff  4,707
118 Kennett  4,996
119 Sikeston  5,395
120 Branson  5,404
121 Kansas City  5,580
122 Springfield  6,467
123 St. Louis  7,136

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.

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 City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
73 Arnold 21,207 141 3,697 1,844
114 Aurora 7,493 1,228 6,006 4,230
3 Ballwin 30,517 26 688 356
11 Battlefield 5,945 17 1,581 622
74 Bellefontaine Neighbors 10,815 444 2,839 1,861
81 Belton 23,182 362 3,218 2,037
99 Berkeley 9,093 473 5,125 2,778
57 Blue Springs 53,440 157 2,567 1,511
102 Bolivar 10,523 551 4,961 2,882
1 Bonne Terre 7,310 82 424 291
69 Boonville 8,388 203 3,720 1,778
36 Bowling Green 5,553 180 2,089 1,052
120 Branson 11,168 663 10,700 5,404
61 Brentwood 8,027 125 3,688 1,634
112 Bridgeton 11,721 623 7,115 3,909
48 Cameron 9,851 386 1,502 1,216
105 Cape Girardeau 39,012 579 4,596 3,174
19 Carl Junction 7,571 40 1,836 774
78 Carthage 14,185 190 3,849 1,914
107 Caruthersville 6,003 1,366 4,031 3,588
88 Charleston 5,924 996 2,397 2,407
25 Chesterfield 47,811 71 1,527 848
40 Chillicothe 9,282 226 1,928 1,124
26 Clayton 15,871 88 1,670 850
100 Clinton 9,032 343 5,724 2,807
89 Columbia 116,847 351 3,413 2,441
24 Crestwood 11,950 25 1,916 822
14 Creve Coeur 17,874 78 1,371 716
79 De Soto 6,490 262 4,068 1,950
66 Des Peres 8,488 59 4,218 1,750
54 Dexter 7,953 101 3,294 1,442
8 Ellisville 9,183 109 882 522
18 Eureka 10,531 66 1,643 768
70 Excelsior Springs 11,496 217 3,514 1,780
91 Farmington 18,171 407 4,177 2,473
103 Ferguson 21,090 545 4,870 3,049
63 Festus 11,883 513 2,045 1,670
43 Florissant 52,387 187 1,741 1,175
72 Fulton 12,757 337 3,089 1,822
65 Gladstone 26,330 273 2,803 1,723
2 Glendale 5,921 17 861 350
22 Grain Valley 13,188 99 1,547 800
82 Grandview 25,512 321 3,347 2,042
5 Greenwood 5,427 147 608 447
97 Hannibal 17,875 375 4,766 2,664
62 Harrisonville 9,993 210 3,302 1,657
77 Hazelwood 25,662 273 3,230 1,906
109 Independence 117,321 406 5,610 3,667
29 Jackson 14,535 144 1,651 928
80 Jefferson City 43,372 307 3,069 1,992
115 Jennings 14,762 1,450 4,952 4,482
116 Joplin 50,751 514 7,779 4,628
121 Kansas City 468,417 1,251 4,835 5,580
13 Kearney 9,191 120 1,219 673
118 Kennett 10,912 880 8,853 4,996
75 Kirksville 17,594 375 2,927 1,880
34 Kirkwood 27,610 127 1,760 1,007
12 Ladue 8,569 47 1,412 629
33 Lake St. Louis 14,888 94 2,028 1,003
87 Lebanon 14,818 371 4,258 2,395
41 Lee's Summit 93,594 88 1,920 1,129
45 Liberty 30,316 211 1,814 1,192
52 Macon 5,511 290 2,486 1,365
17 Manchester 18,207 44 1,587 751
106 Maplewood 7,957 427 7,088 3,432
56 Marshall 12,992 262 2,579 1,491
86 Marshfield 6,814 323 4,828 2,346
47 Maryland Heights 27,428 222 1,845 1,214
23 Maryville 12,076 124 1,466 801
60 Mexico 11,535 191 3,242 1,627
55 Moberly 13,679 132 3,027 1,469
71 Monett 8,949 201 3,766 1,806
85 Neosho 12,234 245 4,643 2,299
111 Nevada 8,257 751 6,891 3,876
27 Nixa 20,469 117 1,554 872
20 O'Fallon 83,550 72 1,291 777
37 Oak Grove 7,874 178 2,045 1,074
44 Olivette 7,840 204 2,207 1,177
83 Overland 15,997 344 3,763 2,160
64 Ozark 18,775 256 2,961 1,703
51 Pacific 7,095 310 2,241 1,341
32 Park Hills 8,651 81 2,196 992
21 Parkville 6,018 50 1,861 779
46 Perryville 8,359 311 1,794 1,192
35 Pevely 5,587 179 1,987 1,013
10 Pleasant Hill 8,240 73 1,250 604
117 Poplar Bluff 17,345 663 8,452 4,707
30 Raymore 19,878 101 1,771 934
94 Raytown 29,502 400 4,213 2,598
42 Republic 15,794 184 2,039 1,164
84 Richmond 5,651 265 4,831 2,211
92 Richmond Heights 8,495 224 5,521 2,521
95 Rolla 19,876 548 3,975 2,651
67 Salem 5,020 100 4,382 1,769
4 Savannah 5,144 39 953 411
110 Sedalia 21,513 637 6,354 3,857
9 Shrewsbury 6,216 64 1,174 543
119 Sikeston 16,530 1,645 6,207 5,395
6 Smithville 9,084 66 947 479
122 Springfield 165,280 1,186 7,646 6,467
49 St. Ann 12,960 316 1,806 1,263
59 St. Charles 67,970 184 2,500 1,563
76 St. John 6,479 417 3,318 1,900
108 St. Joseph 77,269 454 5,557 3,605
123 St. Louis 318,574 1,679 6,253 7,136
50 St. Peters 55,362 164 2,016 1,268
113 St. Robert 5,375 1,042 6,512 3,984
96 Sullivan 7,070 297 5,700 2,652
38 Sunset Hills 8,529 94 2,439 1,106
7 Town and Country 10,939 46 1,051 498
31 Trenton 6,068 115 2,109 973
53 Troy 11,359 255 2,447 1,407
93 Union 10,645 301 5,176 2,569
98 University City 35,099 544 3,821 2,726
68 Warrensburg 20,190 233 3,195 1,776
104 Warrenton 8,072 632 5,538 3,151
58 Washington 14,043 93 3,361 1,548
39 Waynesville 5,415 351 1,607 1,124
90 Webb City 10,977 91 5,748 2,470
16 Webster Groves 23,258 181 989 747
28 Wentzville 33,282 129 1,502 913
101 West Plains 12,321 276 5,876 2,855
15 Willard 5,514 109 1,560 746

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