10 Most Dangerous Cities in Kansas

Updated On October 10, 2023

Kansas is a mixture of danger and safety in rural and urban areas.

Nearly rectangular, with a population of around 2.4 million (2022).

It sits in virtually the center of the United States, bordered by Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Colorado to the north, east, south, and west.

It is considered a landlocked state on the eastern edge of the Great Plains.

The Sunflower state’s capital is Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita.

According to FBI Crime Data, this moderately sized Midwestern state ranks 16th most dangerous.

The violent crime rate is the nation’s 19th highest, with 12,300 per 100,000.

Kansas’s reported property crimes also rank at number 17 in the United States, at 61,029 per 100,000.

And while it is expected for larger cities to have higher rates of reported crime, Kansas statistics may surprise visitors and residents alike.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Kansas

Independence, Kansas
Independence, Kansas

1. Independence

Independence is a dangerous town with a frontier history.

Located in the southeast part of Kansas, it is best known as the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and for the Halloween celebration – the Neewollah Festival.

During October, this rural community of 8,500 expands to 80,000 visitors who have come for the harvest. 

Outside of the celebrations, 1094 per 100,000 violent crimes and 4128 per 100,000 property crimes were reported last year, up from the previous year.

If you are in Independence, there is a 1 in 24 chance of being victimized by a burglary or auto theft.

And a 1 in 91 chance of being a victim of rape, assault, or worse.

Parsons, Kansas
Parsons, Kansas

2. Parsons

Parsons started as a railroad stop on the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas lines and later became an ardent supporter of the Union in the Civil War.

Located in the southeast corner of the state, Parsons is home to roughly 9,400 residents. 

According to FBI crime data, reported crime rates have soared in Parsons over the past few years.

Violent crimes have reached 917 per 100,000, and property reports 4,064 per 100,000—an eye-popping percentage for a small rural town.

In fact, residents in Parsons have a 1 in 139 chance of experiencing some form of crime – higher than the state statistic of 1 in 239.

Iola, Kansas
Iola, Kansas

3. Iola

Iola is a curious mix of good and not-so-good.

It is located along Interstate 35, south of Kansas City and near the Neosho River.

With one of the largest town squares west of the Mississippi, Iola is a historic, community-based town. 

But this seemingly peaceful community has a secret, a significant relative crime rate that has been trending higher over the past few years.

Residents have a 1 in 30 chance of getting their property stolen and a 1 in 162 chance of encountering violent crime – both higher than the national average.

And rape and assault are four times that of the state average.

The northern part of Iola has slightly more reported crimes than its southern half; however, crime is evenly distributed from the river eastward to state highway 169.

Unfortunately, Iola and its 5,400 residents are also ranked as one of the poorest cities in the Sunflower state, which is thought to contribute to the high crime rate.

Primarily rural, with a distinct downtown, when in Iola, be aware of your surroundings and property.

Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott, Kansas

4. Fort Scott

Initially, an army post built during the Civil War, Fort Scott sits in the east-central part of Kansas, due east of Wichita, near the Missouri border. 

Primarily rural, Fort Scott is home to roughly 7,700 people.

While having a storied history, present-day issues for the town involve skyrocketing overall crime rates for such a small city.

While reported violent crimes remain lower than the state average.

Residents still have a 1 in 327 chance of being victimized.

But, the vast majority of reported crimes, and the likely reason for the surprising jump in overall crime rates for the town, are property related.

Registering twice the state average or a 1 in 44 chance of losing your belongings, Fort Scott had 3,538 reported property crimes per 100,000 persons, year over year.

The most common property crime was theft, followed by car theft and burglary. 

Merriam, Kansas
Merriam, Kansas

5. Merriam

This historic Midwestern town is located on the Missouri River, near the Kansas border.

A small and vibrant village, Merriam contributed to the area’s rapid growth, including the first library in 1856.

Merriam is part of the Kansas City metroplex, and it’s a popular place for singles and starting families.

Consisting of four neighborhoods just north of Overland Park, its 11,000 residents should be proud.

Violent crime rates in their picturesque town have dropped over the past few years.

However, anyone in Merriam should remain vigilant as the chance of a property crime, having a car, backpack, or purse stolen, is still near 1 in 16. 

Coffeyville, Kansas
Coffeyville, Kansas

6. Coffeyville

Coffeyville is known as a town of action and independence.

Named Cow Town because of the volume of cattle being moved through the area, this intimate town sits in southeastern Kansas, immediately above the Kansas-Oklahoma border.

As a community, town residents stopped the infamous Dalton Gang from robbing their bank in 1892.

Today’s roughly 9,200 residents also face a challenge as their city has been ranked as one of the state’s poorest places.

According to FBI crime data, someone is twice as likely, 1 in 143, to be victimized by violent crime in Coffeyville versus other parts of Kansas.

This ratio equates to 588 per 100,000.

However, at 3,445 per 100,000, property crimes are still the most common, with a risk of 1 in 31 – higher than the state but lower than the national average of 1 in 19.

If Xoffeyville is a stopover from Tulsa or a weekend visit, keep track of your belongings and lock your doors.

Garden City, Kansas
Garden City, Kansas

7. Garden City

Garden City, a moderately sized Midwestern town along the Arkansas River, has the largest zoo in western Kansas.

It is also home to two golf courses and a water park.

However, this 28,000-person community with a conservative college vibe is also the seventh most dangerous Kansas town.

Located in the southwest portion of the state, reported violent crimes data of 527 per 100,000 translates into a risk of 1 in 193 of being victimized.

But it is the property crimes that have made this beautiful city a growing concern.

Garden City has nine times more property crimes than the state average, with a disturbing percentage being arson.

According to Kansas and FBI crime data, Garden City has the 3rd most non-national fires in the state.

Mission, Kansas
Mission, Kansas

8. Misson

The small but vibrant town of Mission is in the southwest corner of the sprawling Kansas City metroplex.

The 10,000 residents have a convenient daily commute without being in the center of downtown and some of the most expensive homes in the state.

Unfortunately, their neighborhoods are among the state’s most dangerous.

Violent crime is mild, with 430 incidences per 100,000 or a 1 in 219 chance of meeting with foul play – slightly above the state average.

However, property crime data report a disturbingly large number of thefts, listed at 4,880 per 100,000 or the second most numerous in the state.

This number translates into a 1 in 26 chance of losing your belongings.

The best ways to protect yourself and your belongings are always to secure and be aware of your things – even in a seemingly safe neighborhood.

Leavenworth, Kansas
Leavenworth, Kansas

9. Leavenworth

Leavenworth is probably one of the most famous towns in Kansas.

This moderately sized city of 36,000 residents is located on the Missouri River’s western shore and northwest of Kansas City.

Leavenworth is home to an 1827 Civil War Army Fort, the state’s first incorporated city.

The town was considered the last civilized stop before the western frontier.

The Fort was converted into a military jail in the late 1800s, and in the early twentieth century, it was made into a Federal prison.

Unfortunately, Leavenworth continues its criminal reputation and is ranked among the most dangerous cities in the state.

Areas adjacent to the prison have the most reported crime.

Violent crime data shows roughly 816 events per 100,000 – translating into a 1 in 118 chance of encountering a violent event – half of the state average of 1 in 239.

Property crimes are also high, with 2,384 events per 100,000 people.

This data translates into 1 in 42, also higher than the state average of 1 in 48.

Thefts outpace other property crimes 4 to 1.

Junction City, Kansas
Junction City, Kansas

10. Junction City

Junction City sits west of Topeka at the meeting of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers.

It is also at the intersection of State Highway 77 and Interstate 70.

Easily accessible, the city has always been a major trading post and agricultural shipping hub.

Junction City’s roughly 21,300 residents worked hard to reduce its property crime statistics.

While seemingly high, 2,273 per 100,000. The numbers have dropped significantly over the last few years.

However, this modest town is still one of the Sunflower state’s most violent cities – third on the state list.

With 903 incidents per 100,000, residents and visitors have a 1 in 110 chance of being victims of a significant and violent crime, the most common being aggravated assault.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Kansas 

  1. Secure yourself and your belongings. On vacation, getting complacent is easy. Most crimes are ones of opportunity.
  2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Minimize using earbuds when in unfamiliar surroundings.
  3. Plan ahead. Before going on your trip, check out the areas you want to visit and opt for commercial taxis.
  4. Always be vigilant on public trains and buses. 
  5. Stay in well-lit and populated places. Avoid alleyways and shortcuts. Crime can happen day or night.

Kansas Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Kansas Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kansas fun to visit?

Initially settled by over eight indigenous tribes, including the Cheyenne and Comanche, Kansas is part of the Great Plains and a beautiful place to visit.

A mix of large and small towns, this midwestern farming state has played an integral role in building the United States.

Why is Kansas famous?

Kansas is best known for wheat production, being a part of the nation’s farm belt or breadbasket and producing roughly 18% of the country’s wheat.

It is also the first place in the United States that gave women the right to vote.

Is Kansas safe for solo female travelers?

Kansas is relatively safe for women and solo travelers.

Of course, both large cities and small towns can both be dangerous.

But being cautious and alert is the best protection.

Also, let someone, friends, family, or co-workers, know where you are and where you are traveling.

3 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Kansas

  1. D
    Dominick Barnett says:

    Public safety is a shared responsibility, and it’s heartening to see communities coming together to address challenges and create safer environments for their residents.

  2. P
    Phoebe Rose says:

    Safety concerns shouldn’t deter us from visiting or living in these cities but rather encourage us to work together to address the underlying issues and make them safer places for all.

  3. Despite its charming frontier history and festive Neewollah Festival, Independence’s high crime rates make it a place where you need to be constantly vigilant.

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