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10 Most Dangerous Cities In Missouri 2024: No Place for the Faint-Hearted

Missouri most dangerous cities

It appears that Missouri has more to be concerned about than just disgruntled St. Louis Cardinal supporters and trucks equipped with loaded gun racks; it’s also home to some incredibly hazardous locations.

Frankly, Missouri’s residents shouldn’t be too taken aback. After all, they inhabit the tenth most dangerous state in the nation. Petty fan disputes and rural folks flaunting their possessions should be the least of the public’s worries. The real issue everyone should focus on is identifying the places in the Show Me State where one can live without constant fear.

So, if you’re currently residing in Missouri and considering a move, or if you’re planning to relocate to Missouri, I’d recommend that you examine our list of the most dangerous places in the Cave State for 2024 before making any significant life choices.

Why did I compile this list? I did it for those who may not necessarily wish to visit these places, but are interested in knowing the facts. And the facts are as follows: firstly, the state’s violent and property crime rates are above the national average and still on the rise; secondly, these increasing numbers continue to impact many of Missouri’s largest cities. Cities like Kansas City and Springfield just can’t seem to get a break.

How did I accomplish this? I turned to the data. In total, I scrutinized 110 cities. I referred to the FBI’s most recent crime report for statistics on violent crime and property crime in every location with a population exceeding 5,000.

The 10 Riskiest Places to Reside

1. St. Louis


St. Louis, renowned for the Gateway Arch, is also infamous for its high crime rates. It’s the most violent city in Missouri, with 6,017 reported incidents of rape, murder, robbery, and assault in 2020.

St. Louis has the second highest murder rate in Missouri, with a murder occurring roughly every other day throughout the year.

Even your car isn’t safe in St. Louis, as evidenced by the 3,221 auto thefts reported in 2020. This is just a fraction of the 17,399 property crimes committed.

One of the most infamous crimes in St. Louis history is the “St. Louis Exorcism” case, which inspired the novel and film “The Exorcist.” In 1949, a series of exorcisms were performed on a young boy, identified as “Roland Doe,” who was believed to be possessed by demons.

  • Population: 298,422
  • Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 2,016 (Most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,830 (Sixth most dangerous) 

2. Springfield

Springfield Missouri

For the third consecutive year, Springfield, Missouri’s third-largest city, ranks as the second most dangerous place to live in the state. Despite not ranking #1 in either violent or property crime, its fifth-place ranking in both categories lands it at the top of this list.

Springfield had the ninth highest rate of rape cases in Missouri for 2020, averaging about one per day throughout the year. Additionally, Springfield had the fifth highest burglary rate in Missouri, so it’s advisable to keep your doors locked here.

Overall, residents had a 1 in 14 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2020, so be sure to keep an eye on your wallets and purses when you’re walking around Nathanial Greene/Close Memorial Park.

The murder of three women, known as “The Springfield Three,” is a notorious unsolved mystery. In 1992, Sherrill Levitt, her daughter Suzie Streeter, and Suzie’s friend Stacy McCall disappeared from Levitt’s home. Despite extensive investigations and media coverage, no trace of the women has been found.

  • Population: 168,856
  • Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,507 (Fifth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,951 (Third most dangerous) 

3. Nevada

Nevada Missouri

Surprise! We’re heading to Nevada! Get ready to stack those chips and hit the buffets, it’s time for a “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” type of vacation.

Wait…what? This is Nevada, Missouri. Okay, not the trip we had planned, but it could still be fun. After all, there’s a Bushwhacker Museum and a golf course.

But, unfortunately, there’s also a significant crime problem. Violent crime is a particular concern. With a population of just 8,246 people, this Nevada experienced 149 aggravated assaults and 9 sexual assaults.

  • Population: 8,246
  • Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 21)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,976 (Third most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,748 (Seventh most dangerous) 

4. Kennett

kennet MO

Kennett is a town of 10,005 residents located in the far southeastern part of Missouri, near the Arkansas border. This spot, nestled in a largely rural part of the state, has one major claim to fame: it’s the birthplace of singer Sheryl Crow. However, when she returns home, her main concern is avoiding theft.

The community suffers from the highest rate of burglaries in the state. It also experiences a frighteningly high rate of violent crimes. This includes 12 sexual assaults, resulting in one of the most alarming rates in Missouri.

  • Population: 10,005
  • Rank Last Year: –
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 899 (Ninth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,717 (Eighth most dangerous) 

5. Branson

branson Missouri

Branson, known as the Live Entertainment Capital of the World, is a popular tourist destination. The constant influx of visitors doesn’t help Branson’s crime situation.

In fact, Branson has the highest property crime rate in the state, which is wide enough to give the city the highest overall crime rate — more than four times higher than the national average.

So, be cautious after enjoying a show, or you could join the 1 in 12 Branson residents who had their belongings stolen or damaged in 2020.

  • Population: 11,745
  • Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 681 (18th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,952 (Most dangerous) 

6. Vinita Park

Vinita Park

Situated just outside of St. Louis, Vinita Park ranks as Missouri’s sixth least safe city. Despite its small size, Vinita Park had 14 murders in 2020, giving it the highest murder rate in the state.

Overall, residents had a 1 in 68 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2020. The Vinita Park Police Department certainly has its hands full.

Not only do they have to deal with high rates of violence, but also Vinita Park’s alarmingly high burglary rate, which ranked as the 14th highest in Missouri.

  • Population: 10,951
  • Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,461 (Sixth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,620 (18th most dangerous) 

7. Bridgeton

Located on the outskirts of St. Louis, Bridgeton consistently housed fewer than 200 residents in the decades prior to 1950. Then — boom! — a massive expansion during the following couple decades.

By 1970, almost 20,000 people lived in a bustling suburb situated on the northwest edge of St. Louis’ urban sprawl. Unfortunately, it’s been a slow downward trajectory from that peak. Nowadays, the town has 11,521 people and a reputation as the number 7 most dangerous cities in Missouri.

A high rate of larceny contributes to this, with overall 811 property crimes taking place over the span of a year.

  • Population: 11,521
  • Rank Last Year: –
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 633 (23rd most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,039 (Second most dangerous)

8. Joplin

Joplin Missouri

Located in southwestern Missouri, Joplin has a substantial property crime problem. JoMo’s property crime rate ranked as the fifth highest in Missouri, with burglary rates ranking as the 19th highest.

In other words, you’re more likely to have your phone stolen than to lose it over Joplin’s Grand Falls.

Overall, Joplin is the least violent place on this list. There is a catch, though, as the citystill had the 11th highest rate of rape cases in Missouri in 2020.

  • Population: 50,935
  • Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 663 (20th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,431 (Fifth most dangerous)

9. Kansas City

Kansas City Missouri

Kansas City is accustomed to winning, thanks to the Chiefs and the Royals. But getting used to high crime rates is a different story.

Missouri’s largest city had the fourth highest murder rate in 2020, recording about three per week on average. Overall, residents had a 1 in 63 chance of being the victim of a violent attack over the year.

On the flip side, the property crime rate in Kansas City is the lowest on this list. And, being a large place, if you stick to Kansas City’s safest neighborhoods, you should be fine.

  • Population: 499,335
  • Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,585 (Fourth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,119 (24th most dangerous)

10. Ferguson

These days, almost everyone has heard of Ferguson. This suburb of St. Louis made national headlines in 2014 when the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer sparked waves of protests and looting.

Unfortunately, the added attention has done little to heal the underlying social problems that led to the unrest. These issues have far from disappeared since the incident faded from people’s Twitter feeds. The people of Ferguson still toil in the number 10 most dangerous community in Missouri. Much of the problem centers around property crime. That includes a high rate of car thefts, robberies and burglaries.

  • Population: 20,454
  • Rank Last Year: –
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 689 (16th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,192 (14th most dangerous)

Most Horrific Crime In Missouri

 

One of the most infamous crimes in Missouri’s history is the Kansas City Massacre in 1933. This event involved an attempt by Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Vernon Miller, and Adam Richetti to free their fellow gang member, Frank Nash, who was in police custody. The attempt resulted in the deaths of four law enforcement officers and Nash. This event marked a significant turning point in the history of American law enforcement and led to significant changes in the way law enforcement agencies pursued and apprehended criminals.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Missouri

1. Avoid Emotionally Charged Environments

While protests and political rallies are less likely to occur in small towns, in larger cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, it’s crucial to stay away from large gatherings in case they become hostile.

Always follow police instructions if you accidentally end up in the middle of a conflict where police are involved.

The best rule is to head in the other direction if you see protests or rallies.

2. Avoid Secluded Areas at Night

Suppose you’re planning to head out for the evening.

In that case, avoiding dark alleys and unlit or secluded areas is always advisable, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the surroundings late at night.

If you’re in a group, stick to the main roads populated with other pedestrians.

3. Never Leave your Drink Unattended

If you’re out at a bar or restaurant, always watch your drink.

While this is important for men and women, solo female travelers should especially be cautious.

While it’s advisable for solo female travelers not to drink in bars alone at night, watch your drink if that is your plan.

Also, respectfully decline any drinks sent over from a patron unless you watch the bartender pour and pass the glass to you.

4. Keep Friends and Family Updated

When traveling to an unfamiliar place, even within the United States, inform your family and friends where you’re staying and your daily itinerary in advance, and maintain regular contact with them during your trip.

This will give them peace of mind that you’re enjoying your trip without incident.

5. Be Aware of Public Wi-Fi

Most public Wi-Fi networks are unsecured, meaning they aren’t protected.

As a result, when using public Wi-Fi in places like St. Louis or Kansas City, hackers could attempt to steal sensitive information, including a Social Security or credit card number.

If you require wireless services in public locations where you will be accessing confidential information, set up a virtual private network that provides extra encryption and security during your stay.

FAQ

1. What are the most dangerous cities in Missouri?

The most dangerous cities in Missouri, based on crime rates, include St. Louis, Springfield, Nevada, Kennett, Branson, Vinita Park, Bridgeton, Joplin, Kansas City, and Ferguson. These cities have high rates of violent and property crimes.

2. What is the most horrific crime in Missouri’s history?

One of the most infamous crimes in Missouri’s history is the Kansas City Massacre in 1933. This event involved an attempt by Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Vernon Miller, and Adam Richetti to free their fellow gang member, Frank Nash, who was in police custody. The attempt resulted in the deaths of four law enforcement officers and Nash.

3. What are the safest cities in Missouri?

According to SafeWise, the safest cities in Missouri include Cottleville, Greenwood, Ballwin, Nixa, Raymore, O’Fallon, Pleasant Hill, Willard, Savannah, and Holts Summit. These cities have lower-than-average crime rates compared to the state.

4. How has crime changed over time?

Missouri’s violent crime rates and property crime rates have both dropped since the previous year. However, the state still has higher crime rates than most states. The state’s safest cities have lower-than-average crime rates compared to the state.

5. What are some safety tips for traveling to Missouri?

Some safety tips for traveling to Missouri include avoiding emotionally charged environments, avoiding secluded areas at night, never leaving your drink unattended, keeping friends and family updated about your whereabouts, and being aware of public Wi-Fi networks.

6. How do Missouri residents feel about crime in their state?

Survey responses in Missouri reflect the state’s above-average violent crime rate with fewer than half of residents feeling safe in the state. High percentages of personal experiences with gun violence could play a role in this mentality.

7. What is the attitude towards gun violence in Missouri?

54% of Missouri residents cited gun violence as a safety concern, which is higher than the US average of 47%. 12% of survey participants reported an experience with gun violence in the 12 months prior to the survey.

8. What is the property crime situation?

Missouri has the ninth-highest property crime rate in the country. This lines up with surveyed residents reporting an increase in personal experiences with property crime. On the whole, the state saw slightly fewer property crimes per 1,000 people year over year.

Final Words

In conclusion, Missouri faces significant challenges when it comes to crime and safety. The state has several cities that rank among the most dangerous in the nation, including St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City. These cities experience high rates of violent crimes, such as murder, assault, and rape, as well as property crimes like burglary and theft.

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