With beautiful mountains and the perfect balance between urban and rural landscapes, Missouri offers something for everyone. If you’re considering moving to this state, knowing a list of the safest cities in Missouri will help you choose a perfect place that’s both safe and what you want out of life. Find our rankings of the most popular cities in the state and the places with the highest crime rates.
Missouri lies in the Midwestern region of the United States and has 6,154,913 residents. It borders eight states: Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Iowa. Along with some of the best cities in Missouri, the south portion of the state is enriched with the Ozark Mountains, which bring minerals, timber, and many fun activities.
Missouri gained its name after the Missouri river. When French settlers came to the area, they decided to name the river by a group of indigenous people who populated that portion of the land. Economically, Missouri has a unique blend of urban and rural landscapes, creating a balance between high levels of industrial activity, and agricultural and farming.
Is Missouri a Dangerous Place to Live?
The average crime rate in Missouri is 3,134 per 100,000 people, ranking above the national average. Notably, Missouri is more dangerous than most other states, ranking eighth for violent crime.
The explanation for this crime rate isn’t all just interpretations about economic status, as the median household income in Missouri sits at $55,461, and the per capita earnings amount to $30,810. Almost 13% of residents live in poverty.
Safest Cities in Missouri for 2022
Cottleville is a city in Missouri that is part of St. Charles County, and it has a population of 5,611 residents.
Cottleville was founded in 1798, but the actual site wasn’t laid out until 1839. It was named in honor of Captain Lorenzo Cottle, an early settler and a veteran of the Seminole Wars and the Black Hawk War. In 1843, residents built a post office, which attracted more people to the area.
Even though it’s pretty small, Cottleville is among the best cities in Missouri for families. The town boasts excellent schools, such as the Francis Howell Central High School, Louis C. Saeger Middle School, and Warren Elementary School, and the children of Cottleville also attend St. Joseph Catholic School.
Residents of Cottleville enjoy a high quality of living. The median household income in the city is above the Missouri average, sitting at $108,036, and the per capita earnings amount to $51,118. Only 4.2% of residents live in poverty.
The official data shows that Cottleville is the safest city in Missouri. Its crime rate is only 701 per 100,000 residents, and law enforcement reported five violent and 36 property crimes in 2019.
If you’re interested in moving to this city, you should know that the median gross rent is $1,241, and the median house price sits at $354,200.
Savannah is the county seat of Andrew County and is among the smaller cities in Missouri, with a population of only 5,069 residents.
Those wondering what city in Missouri has the lowest crime rate should look into Savannah as its crime rate is only 844 offenses per 100,000 residents. In 2019, law enforcement filed reports for 43 property crimes and one violent offense.
Savannah was founded in 1841, and it gained its name in honor of the child of the first settler, Savannah Woods. The city came to life after the residents opened a post office in the area. About 50 years later, in 1898, Andrew County Courthouse was built in Savannah, and the courthouse became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
While it’s one of the safest towns, Savannah is not among the best cities to live in Missouri if you’re looking for a high salary. The median household income is $49,042, and the per capita earnings sit at $24,949. Still, the percentage of residents living in poverty is below the state average at 9.2%, indicating a balance in the potential earnings and cost of living.
The median house price in Savannah is $165,900, and the median gross rent is below the average for Missouri, at $753.
Glendale belongs to St. Louis County of Missouri. The latest official data shows that the city has 6,176 residents, and it is a perfect place of residence for everyone Googling “what is the safest small town in Missouri” trying to find a secure and small community to relocate to.
The city gained its name after a small station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. First, residents came to the town during the Civil War, then after a few failed attempts, Glendale officially became a city of Missouri in 1916. Today, Glendale is a planned community mostly restricted to one-family units. That’s why various publications named the city the best place to live in Missouri.
Another reason to move to Glendale is high income. The median household earnings in the city are $140,184, and the per capita income is above the state average, at $61,806. Less than 4% of residents live in poverty, but higher earnings seemingly come with more expensive properties. The median house cost in Glendale is $446,200, and the median rent is also high, at $1,407.
It’s safe to say that properties are well worth the price as Glendale is one of the safest cities in Missouri. Its crime rate is 988 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents reported 57 property offenses and only one violent crime.
Odessa belongs to the Lafayette County of Missouri. It’s a city near Kansas, which makes it part of the Kansas City Metro Area, and it currently has 5,593 residents.
The city was founded in 1878, and the name was inspired by one of the most populated cities in Ukraine. After the post office opened, Odessa became home to many new residents. Still, the population increase wasn’t significant and it remains one of the smallest but safest places to live in Missouri.
Among the prominent buildings in this city is the Odessa Ice Cream Company Building. It’s a commercial real estate and an ice cream factory built in 1929. It’s a historical clay block and brick building, and in 1996, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The residents of Odessa earn below the Missouri average, with a median household income of $52,684 and a per capita income of $24,988. A large number of people live in poverty at 13.2%, but it is one of the best towns to live in Missouri for affordable housing. The median house price is $159,800, and the median gross rent is $721.
Odessa is among the safest towns in the state, with a crime rate of 1,002 per 100,000 residents, and there were 43 property and nine violent crimes in the city in 2019.
Nixa is the principal city of the Springfield, Missouri Metro Area. It’s the second-largest city in the area, with a population of 23,257, and is part of Christian County.
The Nixa, Missouri, crime rate is 1,070 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported a total of 209 property and 29 violent crimes.
The original population of Nixa consisted of farmers who utilized the wooded streams in the area, and this space was a major crossroad between Springfield and Arkansas. After opening the first post office, the residents named the city Nixa. The first part of the name, “nix,” was chosen because the space was “nothing but a crossroads,” and the residents added the letter “a” after a prominent resident Nicholas A. Inman.
Besides being a city with a low crime rate in Missouri, Nixa is also a place with a moderate quality of life. The median household income is $58,402, and per capita earnings sit at $26,825. Approximately 9% of residents live in poverty, and the median home price is $234,700, while the median gross rent amounts to $834.
Kearney belongs to Clay County of Missouri and is part of the Kansas City Metro Area. The latest official data shows that the city has 10,404 residents. The combination of a lower crime rate and higher income potential make Kearney possibly the best place to retire in Missouri.
Kearney is famous as the birthplace of Jesse James, a famous American outlaw, and every year, the residents hold a festival on the third weekend of September in his name.
David T. Duncan and W.R. Cave founded Kerney in 1856. Back then, it was a town called Centerville, which encompassed the southeastern part of today’s Kearney. About ten years later, John Lawrence laid out the plan for a new community near Centerville. The community received its name after the president of the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad, Charles E. Kearney. The two towns came together, making the town Kearny which was incorporated in 1869.
Missouri crime statistics tell us that the crime rate in Kearny sits at only 1,081 offenses per 100,000 people. In 2019, residents reported seven violent crimes and 109 property offenses.
The median household income in Kearny amounts to $85,561, which is above the average for Missouri, and the per capita earnings are $31,391. Only 2.6% of people live in poverty, although properties are some of the most expensive in the state, with a median gross rent of $1,063, and a median house cost of $311,400.
If you’ve spent some time Googling “what’s the safest city in Missouri to live in,” then you’ve probably already heard of Battlefield. This city belongs to Greene County of Missouri and is part of the Springfield Metro Area. According to the 2020 census, Battlefield has 5,990 residents.
Battlefield gained its name because of its proximity to the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. This battle happened in 1861, and it was one of the first larger battles in the American Civil War. When residents opened a post office called Battlefield, many people relocated to the area, and it was incorporated in 1971.
This city may not be the safest place to live in Missouri, but it’s pretty high on the list. Its crime rate is 1,134 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, the police filed reports for 72 property crimes and zero violent crimes.
The median household income in Battlefield is below the Missouri average, at $61,373, and the per capita earnings fall slightly below the state average at $27,718. Nearly 8% of residents live in poverty, and the median gross rent is lower than in most other cities in Missouri, at around $773, and the median house price is $212,400.
Smithville is another smaller city and one of the safest places to live in Missouri. It’s part of Platte and Clay counties and belongs to the Kansas City Metro Area. Currently, the city’s population is 10,406 residents.
Smithville was named after Humphrey “Yankee” Smith, one of the first settlers in the area. In the beginning, the city’s name was “Smith’s Mill,” but over time, the residents changed the name to “Smithville” so it was easier to pronounce. The city is famous for being the birthplace of famous actors Wallace and Noah Beery, Sr. Interesting places to see in Smithville are the Downtown Smithville Historic District and Aker Cemetery.
According to the Missouri crime map, Smithville is among the safest towns in the state. Its crime rate is 1,181 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, there were a total of 109 property offenses and 15 violent crimes.
Residents of this city earn more than most other Missourians. The median household income is $82,398, and the per capita income totals $33,509. Around 6% of residents live in poverty, and rents are below average, with a median gross rent of $799 and a median house price of $297,700.
Maryville is at the top of many lists of the 10 best places to live in Missouri. It is the county seat of Nodaway County and has 10,633 residents. This city is home to Northwest Technical School and Northwest Missouri State University.
Maryville was established in 1845 and was named in honor of Amos Graham’s wife. Graham was the town’s first postmaster, and throughout the years, the city was incorporated and annulled several times. The last incorporation came in 1869 after the arrival of the Kansas City, St. Joseph, and Council Bluffs Railroad to the area. Ten years later, Wabash Railroad came to the town, attracting many residents.
Marville may be one of the safest cities in Missouri in 2020, but if you’re looking for a high-earning position, it may not be the best choice. Residents of this city earn way below the state average, with per capita earnings being $19,215, and the median household income is $34,258. Over 30% of residents live in poverty, which is more than double the state average.
Still, Maryville is one of the safest places in Missouri. The crime rate in the city is 1,185 offenses per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 130 property crimes and eight violent crimes.
Housing is relatively affordable in Maryville, with a median home price of $162,900 and a median gross rent of $665.
Wentzville belongs to St. Charles County and is officially a suburb of St. Louis. According to the latest official estimate, the city has 44,372 residents. It’s one of the safest places to live in St. Louis and the fastest growing city in the state. If you want to visit this city, you should do it during two major events: the St. Charles County Fair and the St. Louis Renaissance Festival.
Wentzville was founded in 1855 and was named after Erasmus Livingston Wentz. He was the chief engineer of the Northern Missouri Railroad. Four years later, the first post office in Wentzville started working, which led to its first population increase. The Wentzville Tobacco Company Factory is a historic site in town and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1990.
As one of the safest cities in southern Missouri, Wentzville has a crime rate of 1,254 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents reported 88 violent and 450 property crimes.
The residents of Wentzville earn above the state average. The median household income is $90,403, and per capita earnings amount to $34,133. Only 5.6% of people live in poverty, but the cost of living is more expensive than in most other cities, with a median gross rent of $1,009, and a median house price of $304,400.
Safest Cities to Live in Missouri – Most Popular Places Ranked by Crime Rate
Clayton is the county seat of St. Louis County of Missouri. It borders St. Louis, contributing to a thriving commuter relationship between cities, and currently, the population of Clayton consists of 17,355 people.
The city received its name after Ralph Clayton, a farmer who settled in the area during the 1830s. He donated the land for the town’s courthouse at the center of town, and all of the economic activity was focused on that part of the area. A few years later, a trolley service, newspaper, and school were established.
Clayton, MO population, enjoys a high quality of living. The median household income is exceptionally high at $107,596, the per capita income is $67,726. Around 8% of residents live in poverty, and the cost of living is equally high, with a median gross rent of $1,249 and a median home price of $766,900.
Clayton is a pretty safe city. Its crime rate is 1,453 offenses per 100,000 residents and is one of the lowest in the state. In 2019, the police filed reports for 234 property crimes and 12 violent offenses.
Named the best city to live in Missouri by many, Florissant is a smaller city with a lot to offer. It’s part of St. Louis County, and it belongs to the Greater St. Louis Area, and the city currently has 52,533 residents.
Initially, the Florissant was a village called “Fleurissant,” which is a French word that means “blooming,” and was home to many French and Spanish settlers. The first significant population boom came after World War II, when many big developers such as Alfred H. Mayer Co. started investing in the city, and at one point, Florissant was the largest city in St. Louis County.
The Florissant, MO crime rate is below the state average, and it sits at 2,326 per 100,000 people. The latest available data shows that there were 1,079 property and 115 violent crimes reported during a year.
The median household income in Florissant is $54,978, which is close to the state average. The per capita earnings amount to $25,647, and over 11% of residents live in poverty. The median gross rent is above the average for Missouri at $1,034, and the median house cost is $144,700.
13. Jefferson City
Among the most populous cities in Missouri, Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri and also the principal municipality of the Jefferson City Metro Area. Its population is 43,228, and it is home to Lincoln University, which was founded in 1866.
Jefferson City was a pretty insignificant village called “Lohman’s Landing” in Missouri until it became the state’s capital. Most experts believe that the city was chosen as the capital because it’s halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City.
Despite its size, Jefferson City doesn’t have a high crime rate. The city’s official crime rate is 2,851 offenses per 100,000 people, which is below the average for Missouri. Missouri crime stats from 2019 show that there were 1,101 property and 119 violent crimes committed in Jefferson City.
The median household income in Jefferson City is $52,253, which is slightly above the state average, and the per capita earnings amount to $28,073. Nearly 13% of residents live in poverty, and the median house price there is $183,600, and the median gross rent is $634.
Columbia is the county seat of Boone County and the principal municipality of the Columbia Metro Area. It’s among the largest cities in the state, with 126,254 residents, and is home of the University of Missouri.
The Columbia, MO, crime rate is 2,915 per 100,000 residents which is below the state average, and in 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 401 violent and 3,243 property crimes.
Earnings of Columbia residents are close to the state average. The per capita income is $30,244, and the median household earnings are $51,276. Almost 22% of people live in poverty, which is almost 10% above the average for Missouri. The median gross rent is similar to the state average at $887, and the median house cost is $229,500.
Columbia is technically a Midwestern college town. The safest neighborhoods in Columbia, MO that are a popular choice for new residents are McBaine & Pierpont, Huntsdale, and Harg & Shaw. Besides the University of Missouri, the “Athens of Missouri” is also the home of Stephens College and Columbia College.
Hazelwood belongs to St. Louis County and is part of the Greater St. Louis Area. According to the latest official estimates, this city has 25,458 residents. Hazelwood is close to the St. Louis-Lambert International Airport and connected to the rest of the country via the interstate. While it doesn’t have the lowest crime rates, it hosts some of the safe neighborhoods in St. Louis.
The first explorers in the area were French, and they came to Hazelwood in the late 1600s. At first, the city’s name was Louisiana after King Louis XIV. The French later sold the land to Spain in the 1700s, and after that, settlers from Charlottesville and Virginia populated the area.
Hazelwood residents earn slightly above the state average, with a median household income of $54,573 and per capita earnings of $31,689. Around 11% of residents live in poverty. Rents are similar to the average for Missouri, with a median gross rent of $884and a median house price of $136,900.
The Hazelwood, MO, crime rate sits at 3,213 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 113 violent and 695 property crimes.
Raytown is part of Jackson County of Missouri, and it’s a suburb of Kansas City. The latest official data shows that the city has 30,012 residents.
Residents of Raytown earn close to the state average, and the median household income sits at $52,662, with per capita earnings of $27,576. Around 12% of residents live in poverty, which is below the Missouri average, and the median gross rent is $916, while the median house price sits at $168,200. As one of the good places to live in Missouri, Raytown has a moderate standard of living.
The area around Raytown wasn’t developed until the late 19th century when pioneers on the Three Trails found a bit of fertile land and water in the area. The travelers who found it claimed that nature reminded them of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is why Raytown’s original name was Blue Ridge. In the 1840s, William Ray opened a blacksmith shop that attracted new residents, and the area around the shop was known as “Ray Town,” which is how the town’s name came to be.
Today, the Raytown, MO, crime rate is higher than in most other cities in Missouri. It amounts to 5,164 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents reported a total of 200 violent and 1,294 property crimes.
17. Kansas City
Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and the principal municipality of the Kansas City Metro Area. It mostly lies within Jackson County, but parts of it belong to Clay, Cass, and Platte counties. The city is also the most populated one in the state, and it has 508,090 residents.
The Kansas City, Missouri crime rate is 5,287 per 100,000 people, which is way above the state average. In 2019, the residents of Kansas City committed 19,124 property offenses and 7,099 violent crimes.
In 1830, Kansas City was a vital port on the Missouri River, was incorporated in 1850, and officially became a city of Missouri in 1853. The town quickly attracted residents due to its location in between Missouri and Kansas, and the proximity of the Missouri and Kansas River made it a great place for settlements.
Today you can hear Kansas City as the answer to, “where should you not live in Missouri?” Besides the high crime rate, the quality of living is relatively low, with over 16% of residents living in poverty. The median household income is $54,194, and the per capita earnings are $32,348. While residents of the city don’t earn above the state average, the median gross rent is higher than in most other cities at $941, and the median house price is $195,300.
18. St. Louis
St. Louis is among the largest cities in Missouri, with 301,578 residents. It’s the principal city of the Greater St. Louis Metro Area, which extends over two states: Missouri and Illinois.
The St. Louis, MO crime rate is extremely high, which makes it one of the worst cities to live in. Still, its diverse economy offers many options, with Nine Fortune 500 companies housed there. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are also located in this city.
St. Louis used to be a vital port on the Mississippi River, and in 1877, it separated from St. Louis County and became an independent city. During the 20th century, it was a world-class city and the host of the Summer Olympics.
Besides safety, this city isn’t among the best places in Missouri to live because of its low-income potential. The median household income in St. Louis is $43,896, and the per capita earnings are $30,542. More than 21% of people live in poverty, which is way above average. The average rent in St. Louis is $828, and the median house price is $155,200.
The crime rate is 8,111 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 5,792 violent and 18,582 property crimes. As with any city with a high crime rate, researching the safest neighborhoods in St. Louis will help find a location that’s secure and what you’re looking for.
Springfield is the county seat of Greene County and the third-largest city in Missouri. The city has 169,176 residents, and it is the principal city of the Springfield Metro Area which encompasses five counties. It’s the home to three major universities: Drury University, Evangel University, and Missouri State University, but you won’t find it on the safest places to live in Springfield, MO list anytime soon.
While it’s not certain where its name comes from, many believe that Springfield got its name after the city in Massachusetts. There is a famous story about James Wilson, who offered free whiskey to other residents if they voted for the name Springfield. Wilson, who was one of the town’s first residents, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Springfield is in the top 10 ghetto cities in Missouri. Its crime rate is 9,312 per 100,000 residents, which is three times higher than the state average. In 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 13,188 property crimes and 2,571 violent offenses.
Residents of Springfield earn less than most other Missourians, with per capita earnings of $23,428, and the median household income is $36,856. Nearly 23% of people live in poverty.
The Springfield, MO, crime rate, and low earnings make the city unattractive to new residents, especially families. Still, in case you’re interested in moving there, you should know that the median house price is $171,600, and the median gross rent in Springfield is $744.
Branson is a smaller but well-known city in Missouri. Most of it belongs to Taney County, and a portion extends into Stone County. It’s a beautiful city in the Ozark Mountains with 12,638 residents. Branson comes with a darkside, though, as it’s also first thought when asked,
“what is the most dangerous city in Missouri?”
Even though it’s small, Branson is a popular tourist destination. The city’s main attraction is the collection of entertainment theaters in 76 Country Boulevard. The first famous theatre was opened in 1893, and it was called the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre, which attracted many country music stars to the city.
Branson was named after Reuben Branson. He was one of the first residents of the area, and he opened a general store and post office, which brought new residents to the town. Branson’s incorporation came in 1912.
The Branson, MO, crime rate is the highest in the state at 10,661 offenses per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 1,173 property and 73 violent crimes.
Residents of Branson have lower earnings, with the median household income being $46,319 and a per capita income of $24,285. Around 16% of people live in poverty, and the median gross rent is close to the Missouri average, at $857. The median house cost in Branson is $173,100.
Despite its reputation for high crime rates, Missouri has beautiful, safe towns that could be an excellent choice for relocation. The safest cities in Missouri may not be the most exciting, but there are many smaller jurisdictions that provide the perfect balance between country living and city life.
Missouri is full of rich American history, beautiful scenes, and live entertainment that makes living there fun and sustainable. Some areas are definitely better than others for crime, though, so consider it all when looking for your new place to settle down.