10 Safest Cities in Missouri (2022 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Located in the Midwest and bordered by eight other states, Missouri is relatively small (21st on the list of the largest states), but very beautiful and welcoming. Named after the famous Missouri River, it is home to 6.1 million people. But what about safety, though? How high is the violent crime rate over there? And should you be worried about property crime?
Here are the facts: the “Mother of the West” has a higher crime rate than the national average (3.1K/100K people in the state vs. the 2.3K/100K average in the US). With the eighth-highest violent and twelfth-highest property crime rates, it might not look like a great place for you to move in with a family. However, a recent survey showed that only 46% of Missourians worry about their safety, despite the slightly alarming crime rate.
Besides, Missouri is home to dozens of small towns with a crime rate lower than the state, region, and national average. So, join us, and let’s take a closer look. These cities were rated based on the latest updates on crime rate, murder rate, average income, population, and more. Take your time with the list, and we’re confident that you’ll find your perfectly safe new home!
The 10 Safest Cities in Missouri: A Quick Look
1. Clever, MO
We begin the list with the safest city in Missouri—Clever. With no reported murder, rape, or robbery incidents in an entire year, it is, indeed, quite safe. Clever has a rather modest population (less than 3K people), and in 2021, only two violent crime cases were reported. The number of property crimes was a bit higher (12), but still 78% lower than the national average. It’s also important to mention the positive dynamic. Back in 2019, the VC rate was 1.5; it changed to 0.7 in 2020 and stayed consistent throughout 2021. The situation with the PC rate is a little different. In 2020, back when the pandemic was raging, it went from 5.2 to 6.2; on the bright side, the rate dropped in 2021 (4.3). Now, with a 79/100 livability score and affordable real estate prices (31 cheaper than the state average), Clever could very well be a perfect town for you to live in with your kids, parents, and enjoy a trouble-free life.
2. Vandalia, MO
Despite the somewhat scary name, Vandalia is one of the safest cities in the state of Missouri. Last year, it jumped 19 positions up, which landed it the #2 spot. Back in 2019, the VC rate was at 1.6, but in 2021, it’s as low as 0.2. In contrast, the PC rate went from 6.4 in 2019 to 8.1 in 2020 and then back down to 7.4 in 2021. While the property crime rate is still 62% lower than the national average, the dynamic is slightly negative. On top of that, the median income is pretty low for the “Cave State”, but that’s compensated by affordable housing (real estate prices are 50% lower than the state average). Oh, and by the way, there’s a prison in Vandalia, located within City Limits, and with 1,000 prisoners. So, the actual population is +/- 3K people. The town has three schools: elementary, middle, and high, plus a lending library.
3. Savannah, MO
The average income in Savannah isn’t particularly high, either, but it is decent enough for a small American town. The violent crime rate is 0.2, which means you won’t have to worry about the safety of your family while living there. In 2020, the VC rate saw a minor spike (it went from 0.8 to 1.2), but it went down in 2021. As for the PC rate, it’s been in a steady decline since 2019, reaching an all-time low of 8.3 in 2021. The murder rate is zero; the same is true for the robbery rate. With only five violent crimes reported in 2021 and 38 property crimes, the total crime rate is 65% below the average in the United States. Housing isn’t much cheaper than the state average, but the livability score is pretty high, thanks to local healthcare programs, culture and environment, infrastructure, and education.
4. Oronogo, MO
If you haven’t heard of Oronogo before, that’s probably because it’s pretty small and has a very modest population (2.7K people). In fact, this is the least-populated city on today’s list, but that’s a good thing for safety. The reason: folks over there all know each other. This makes it harder for potential criminals to escape the law easily. In 2021, the city jumped 59 positions up on the safety list—quite an impressive result. The violent crime rate is really low (0.4), while the property rate is 8.2. Like in most towns across the States, the crime and property rates spiked a bit in 2020 but went back down in 2021. Fun fact: the very first settlers arrived there back in the 1840s, and it was the mining industry that helped Oronogo “catch up” to neighboring cities. As for its name, it derives from the Spanish word “Oro”, which stands for ore. Right now, Oronogo is one of the fastest-growing communities in Missouri.
5. Cottleville, MO
And what can you expect from Cottleville, a tiny city with a population of less than 6K people? First, it’s a safe city, with low VC and PC rates. But we do have to mention that while in 2019, the property rate was 4.8/1K and it dropped significantly in 2020 (2.6), unfortunately, it went up last year, reaching 6.2. This is still a very low rate, of course. Besides, there were no murder, rape, robbery, or assault cases reported in 2021, which is great news. Named by a Black Hawk veteran, Lorenzo Cottle, this town is famous for its beautiful parks, greenways, and lakes full of fish. So, if you’re looking for a calm, picturesque city with a rural atmosphere, this could be it. The local pavilions, in turn, are perfect for family gatherings. Reservations are quite affordable and include BBQ grilles, large playgrounds, and dog parks.
6. Glendale, MO
One of the biggest “selling points” of Glendale is, of course, the median income—it is way above the state average. In addition, the local public schools are highly rated (both by parents and monitoring agencies) and the residents are mostly conservative. Plus, there’s no shortage of restaurants or coffee shops. As for the violent crime rate, it’s extremely low (0.2/1K, and only two reported incidents). More importantly, it has significantly improved over the last several years. The situation with property crime is a bit worse, though. Right now, the rate is 9.7. In 2019, it was at 8.3; in 2020, Glendale’s PC rate dropped to 5.4 (yes, during the pandemic). Still, the “Getaway City” is a safe town, one that you’ll instantly feel at home in. The lovely festivals, churches, and helpful government incentives will make sure of that.
7. Battlefield, MO
Here, we have another city with a somewhat misleading name. No, the local roads and houses don’t look like a battlefield. Instead, it’s a nice, quiet, and safe town with a non-existent violent crime rate. It is the only town on the list with a 0.0 VC rate. It gradually decreased from 0.3 in 2019 to 0.2 in 2020 and to zero in 2021. The property rate, unfortunately, is pretty high: 11.3/1K, but it’s significantly lower than in 2019 (20.2). On the downside, in 2020, the PC rate was twice as low (6.6). Fun fact: it was the 1861 Battle of Wilson’s Creek that gave Battlefield its name. The cost of living there is equal to the state average; the same is true for the real estate and rental prices. The good news is – the public schools are pretty great, and the town is mostly populated by young families.
8. Higginsville, MO
There are lots of conservation areas in Higginsville, along with a vinery, a chapel, and several lush parks, perfect for taking a stroll with your family. Along with public schools, there’s also one private institution. Most citizens rent their homes, and they’re predominantly conservative. And, thanks to the low VC rate (0.7), the locals don’t have to arm themselves or go to any extremes for safety. The violent crime rate has been in decline since 2019. The same can be said about the PC rate (9.6 in 2021 vs. 11.9 in 2019), although it did go up a bit in 2020. Like Cottleville, no murder, rape, assault, or robbery cases were reported in the city within 12 months. And with only two burglary and five vehicle theft reports, it’s safe to say that the Higginsville citizens enjoy a quiet, trouble-free life.
9. Pleasant Valley, MO
Does this city live up to its name? Or is it just another run-of-the-mill American town with little to no fun activities and opportunities? Well, it is small and has a below-average population of a little over 3K people. The average income isn’t anywhere near Glendale or Cottleville, but it is still significantly above the national average. The violent crime rate is low (0.3/1K, a big improvement over 2.6 in 2019 and 1.6 in 2020). Sadly, the property crime rate is high and reached 11.4 in 2021, even though it was at the 10.1 mark in 2020. The PC rate is only 14% lower than the US average, and that’s the worst statistic on today’s list. If safety is your #1 concern, the locals recommend renting or buying a house in the northern part of the city. The cost of living, by the way, is 2% higher than elsewhere in Missouri, while the rental prices are as much as 15% higher.
10. Kearney, MO
The last stop for us today is Kearney—the most-populated city on the list. Compared to the average population of US towns (6.2K people), it’s rather big. Kearney is the birthplace of the notorious outlaw, Jesse James, and there’s an annual festival that recognizes this famous historical figure. Is this city safe, though? The answer is yes, it is relatively safe, even though it is located at the #10 spot. The violent and property crime rate dynamic is positive, and Kearney managed to “gain” 12 positions over the rest of the Missouri cities last year. The VC rate went from 1.1 in 2019 to 0.7 in 2021, while the PC rate plummeted from 15.3 to 10.2. The overall crime rate is 55% lower than the state average. Sadly, the cost of living, real estate, and rent are higher, just like in Pleasant Valley.
How to Stay Safe in Missouri
As we learned earlier, the violent and property crime rates in Missouri are slightly higher than the national average. So, while the cities from today’s list are, indeed, reasonably safe, you still need to worry about protecting yourself and your loved ones. In 2021, 64% of the state’s population named gun violence their top concern. To secure your house from burglars, we recommend installing motion sensor lights and indoor security cameras.
These might not be very cheap, but in the long run, the investment will be well worth it. On top of that, consider going with smaller doorbells and locks. Statistics show that these simple measures make it harder for criminals to break into a house. Being friendly with the neighbors is also very important. Most towns that we reviewed today have a population of 2.5–5K people.
That means your neighbors may notice suspicious activity near your home while you’re away. Last, but not least, let’s talk about natural disasters. Storms, floods, cold winters, and power outages—that’s what you’ll have to deal with if you move to Missouri. During a flood, the first thing you gotta do is turn off any connected appliances.
Next, make sure you shut off gas and water. With that out of the way, move to higher ground and tune in to government radio channels for updates. And don’t forget to grab emergency supplies! There’s very little one can do during a power outage apart from waiting for the authorities to handle it. Now, the winters aren’t extreme in Missouri, but it can get pretty cold. If you have a furnace, burn everything that you can spare.
To survive a storm, experts recommend seeking shelter in a basement. If you’re outside, do your best to avoid fences, trees, and wires. Again, try to find a low-lying area—that’s your best bet against storms. To prepare or recover from a natural disaster, consider reaching out to the authorities through the state’s website. They have incredible resources that can, indeed, provide much-needed help.
Missouri may not be the safest place in America, but there are lots of quiet, slow-paced, and, most importantly, safe towns in this fine state. As mentioned, less than 50% of the Missourians worry about safety daily, which means you’ll have nothing to be concerned about, as long as you pick one of the cities from today’s list. More good news: the crime rate in 2021 went down compared to the year before.
While the decrease in state-wide crime wasn’t as impressive as in previous years, the dynamic was still positive. Say, the violent crime rate went from 5.0 to 4.9, while the property crime rate (the biggest concern for the locals) dropped from 26.5 to 26.4. And remember: small towns are much safer than big cities. Stay vigilant out there and check back with us for the latest updates on the safest cities in the United States!
Featured Image Credit: Goodfreephotos_com, Pixabay