In a place like Missouri, where in the north there are plains, in the south the are the Ozarks, and, dotted throughout, there are cities and towns as different as can be, it may not come as a surprise that the crime rates are nearly as changing as the landscape.
There are the big cities, like Springfield or St. Louis, where crime is much more prevalent; and then there are the places like Chesterfield, or Ballwin, where residents are safer, statistically. But which place in Missouri is the very safest? According to Movoto Real Estate’s crime ranking, that reassuring honor goes to Town and Country; but it isn’t the only place where residents can rest easy. Here are the 10 safest places in Missouri:
1. City of Town and Country
2. City of Ballwin
3. City of Chesterfield
4. City of Webster Groves
5. City of O'Fallon
6. City of Creve Coeur
7. City of Manchester
8. City of Maryville
9. City of Raymore
10. City of Nixa
What makes Town and Country so safe, and how did we come up with the order of this list? In the following paragraphs we’ll discuss the method behind our analysis, and just why each of these 10 places are safer than the rest.
How We Created This Ranking
In order to come up with this list of the safest places in Missouri, we looked at the FBI’s crime statistics from 2012, the organization’s latest full report. We used the locations in the state with populations over 10,000 people, which left us with a total of 75 places. From there, we looked at each of these places in terms of three criteria:
- Violent crime (rape, murder, and assault)
- Property crime (theft, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts)
- The chance a resident will be a victim of crime
Each place was ranked with a score from 1 to 75 according to each criteria above (the lower the score, the better). In order to create a fair ranking that accounts for varying populations, we used a standard analytic practice of comparing crimes per 100,000 residents to create our ranking.
Since not all crimes are created equal, we weighted the results so that violent crime accounted for 50 percent of each place’s final score, property crime made up 30 percent, and the chance of being the victim of a crime made up 20 percent.
In the end, the place with the lowest score, and therefore the safest our list, was Town and Country.
To see the rankings for the top 50 safest cities, check out the end of the post for a complete list. Otherwise, keep reading to see the specific figures that made each of these 10 places so safe.
Source: Google Maps
This St. Louis suburb of 10,833 residents saw a total of just three violent crimes in 2012, giving it the lowest number of violent crimes in the state. Of those violent crimes, two were aggravated assaults and one was a robbery. To put that into perspective, Branson, a city with a similar-sized population, had a total of 165 violent crimes and 1,297 property crimes in 2012 alone.
Speaking of property crimes, Town and Country also had a very low number of these as well, just 97 throughout the year. This total of 100 crimes in 2012 gave residents a low chance of being the victim of a crime, just one in 108.
Source: Flickr user Tom Feary
Another suburb of St. Louis, Ballwin came in high on our list for its low number of property crimes and small chance that residents would be involved in a crime. With 30,454 residents, Ballwin saw a total of just 234 crimes, meaning residents had a one in 130 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Of those crimes, 216 were property crimes, the remaining 18 being violent. To break that down further for you, there were 52 burglaries, 154 thefts, 10 motor vehicle thefts, 16 aggravated assaults, and one rape and robbery each.
This 14th-largest city in Missouri is yet another suburb of St. Louis. It may be best known among residents as a place chock full of restaurants, shopping, and things to do; but underlying all of that, this city is one of the safest in the state.
With a population of 47,560 residents, Chesterfield saw a total of just 778 crimes in 2012, 755 of which were property crimes and 23 of which were violent. All told, this meant that residents had a one in 61 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Source: Flickr user kla4067
This St. Louis suburb is not only one of the more affluent communities in Missouri, but it is also one of the safest; the fourth safest in the state, in fact. Webster Groves earned this honor for its low number of property crimes and the small likelihood that residents should be the victim of a crime.
Starting with the number of property crimes, Webster Groves saw just 264 in 2012: 195 reports of larceny/theft, 59 burglaries, and 10 motor vehicle thefts. In addition, there were 21 reports of violent crime that year, making a total of 285 crimes, and giving residents just a one in 81 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Source: Flickr user Pablo 2008-09
Located in St. Charles County, the No. 5 place on our list has been hailed in recent years as one of the Best 100 Places to Live by Money Magazine, and after looking at these numbers, it is pretty clear why.
O’Fallon residents had just a one in 61 chance of being the victim of a crime, with a population of 80,670 and just 1,320 total crimes in 2012. An overwhelming 94 percent were property crimes (1,236), the remaining 74 being violent crimes. Of those property crimes, 1,100 were thefts, 125 were burglaries, and 21 were motor vehicle thefts. Of the violent crimes, there were two murders, five rapes, four robberies, and 63 aggravated assaults.
Of course, this may not sound so peaceful spelled out like this, but remember, O’Fallon is a city of over 80,000 residents. For comparison’s sake, take a look at Jefferson City. It’s half the size of O’Fallon and still had 1,847 total crimes in 2012, 261 of which were violent.
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Source: Flickr user Discoverstl
Located in West St. Louis County, and just next to our No. 1 place, Town and Country, Creve Coeur came in high on our list for its proportionally low number of crimes overall, but particularly property crimes. With a total of 17,863 residents, Creve Coeur had just 270 reports of property crime in 2012. Additionally, there were 17 violent crimes, giving the city a total of just 287 crimes for the year. That’s 287 crimes for nearly 18,000 people, meaning residents had just a one in 62 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Compare that to Branson, the least safe city on our list, where residents had a one in seven chance of being the victim of a crime, and it is clear why Creve Coeur has that safe, cozy, community feel; because that’s exactly what it is.
Source: Flickr user Wampa-one
Manchester has all of the benefits of being near the big city—shops, restaurants, and plenty to do—but the additional benefits of being its own unique community; namely, the added safety.
This city with a small town feel had one of the lowest violent crime rankings on our entire list, with just nine violent crimes for its population of 18,124. That means that residents had just a one in 2,014 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2012. To put that into perspective, just look at Poplar Bluff. This city has a similarly sized population (17,167) had a total of 138 violent crimes in 2012, giving residents a one in 124 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Source: Flickr user Bob Weston
The first of the three cities on our list not located in the St. Louis metropolitan area is Maryville. This seat of Nodaway County is perhaps best known as a hub of higher education, as it is home to Northwest University Northwest Technical School, and the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Computing. After looking at the data, it’s clear that this place is much more than a college town; it’s a safe haven for people of all ages.
With a population of 12,039, Maryville saw a total of just 228 crimes in 2012, 12 of which were violent and 216 of which were property crimes. That means that residents had a one in 53 chance of being the victim of a crime. Of the property crimes mentioned, a majority (183) were thefts, 27 were burglaries, and just six were motor vehicle thefts. Of the violent crimes reported, one was a murder, two were robberies, and nine were cases of aggravated assault.
Source: Flickr user Hereigoalaska
Just outside of Kansas City, Raymore is one of the fastest growing cities in Missouri. This city of 19,354 residents had a total of 412 crimes in 2012, giving residents a one in 47 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown. Of those 412 crimes, 393 were property crimes: 346 reports of theft, 35 burglaries, and 12 motor vehicle thefts. The remaining 19 crimes were violent, broken down into one rape, five robberies, and 13 aggravated assaults.
Source: Flickr user Allen Cheung
While Raymore may be one of the fastest growing in the state, according to the city’s website, Nixa is the fastest growing city in the state. People flock to this city just south of Springfield for its excellent schools, close-knit community, and, perhaps above all else, its safety.
According to our analysis, Nixa, with a population of 19,339, had just 380 total crimes in 2012, giving residents just a one in 51 chance of being the victim of a crime. Of those 380 crimes, the vast majority, or 357, were property crimes (287 thefts, 64 burglaries, and six motor vehicle thefts) and 23 were violent crimes (17 aggravated assaults, five rapes, and one robbery). Compare that to similarly sized Poplar Bluff, where there were 138 violent and 1,344 property crimes in 2012, and it’s clear why this is the fastest growing city in the state.
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The Most Dangerous Places in Missouri
We wouldn’t be doing you justice if we just listed the 10 safest places in the state, without warning you about some of the most dangerous.
St. Louis, for example, is easily the largest city in the state, and yet, proportionally, the crime rate here was through the roof. But it was nothing compared to that of Springfield, which had 16,100 crimes in 2012; and nearly infinitesimal when compared to Missouri’s most dangerous place, Branson. This small city in the Ozarks may be known as a vacation spot in Missouri, but if you’re planning on visiting, you should know that residents here have a 1 in 7 chance of being the victim of a crime.
So, if you find yourself in any one of these three cities (or in Bridgeton or Poplar Bluff, for that matter), keep your head on a swivel. Or, you could just head to Town and Country.
(click to enlarge table)
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