Kansas : Safety by City
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Lightning might never strike twice, but tornadoes sure do.
The Wichita suburb of Andover, Kansas is reeling from yet another major tornado strike in the spring of 2022.
This doesn’t mean you should think twice about visiting here, but it’s important to know that some parts of the city will take years to rebuild.
In fact, the Andover we know today is the result of another tornado in 1991 – this time an F5, which was the largest ever in Kansas at the time.
The city was nearly leveled and the community pulled together to renovate and rebuild the basic utility systems and more modern homes and businesses for the future.
This is a city that is much more about neighborly community culture than catastrophes.
The weather risks here are just about the most dangerous part of this small suburb.
Less than 15,000 people call Andover home and the city has that “not too big” and “not too small” neighborhood feeling of being “just right.”
This is a sleepy community, with all the amenities of a suburb but without too many major tourist attractions.
Warnings & Dangers in Andover
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here. All the crime rates are low and the sense of community is strong. These are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Wichita public transportation service doesn't extend to Andover, so you'll need a car or bicycle to get around. Taxis and rideshares will also be available. There's low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There was just one purse snatching reported in 2020. There's a low risk of being a pickpocket victim, but your car is a different story. 28% of the thefts in Andover were related to car break-ins.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here throughout the year and high risk in spring of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Both the 1991 and 2022 major tornadoes hit in late April. This is a city prepared as well as possible for severe weather, with community tornado shelters for those who don't have a safe place to go. The key to safety in severe weather is paying attention to forecasts and heeding all watches and warnings. Winter can bring snow, ice, and sleet.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There were just two robberies in 2020 and one of them was in a home. There's a low risk a tourist will get mugged here, but don't ever let your guard down, especially when you cross the border into Wichita.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
McConnel Air Force Base is just 20 minutes from Andover. When the 1991 tornado struck, the storm missed a lineup of B1 bombers but just a few yards. Because of the population size in this area and the military presence, there's a medium risk by default. The city of Andover has great terrorist education information on its website. You can never be too prepared.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are the "grandparent" and "warrant" scams going around Andover, but those are fairly common and targeted at residents. There are no reports of tourist scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is a safe community with a low risk for women. While there's a good chance you'll need to review our article on Wichita if you are going to be visiting the whole region, while you're in Andover you can feel safe - but honestly - you might be a bit bored.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Several water companies serve the different parts of Andover. There is overlap between the Wichita water system and the rural water systems for Butler County. There are no concerns generally about the water, but after the tornado, there were a lot of boil orders or bottled water needed because the water quality was compromised.
Safest Places to Visit in Andover
Central Park is the biggest and most popular park in Andover.
There’s a lake for fishing, a dog park, a hiking path, a playground, and even a tornado shelter for safety.
You can play a round of disc golf here or see what show is coming to the Capital Federal Amphitheater.
Santa Fe Lake is just 10 minutes east of Andover.
Summer brings swimmers, campers, anglers, and kayakers.
There are trails for hikers and mountain bikers.
One trail goes through a more wooded area and the other trail is more hardcore with medium difficulty.
There are mountain bikes and paddleboards available for rent at the lake.
Terradyne Country Club does allow daily memberships, so seize the moment and play on the 18-hole course of champions.
The nearby Flint Hills National Golf Club does not allow guests unless they accompany a member.
Depending on when you visit, the Andover YMCA could surely use your support and attendance.
The Y was hit head-on by the tornado in April of 2022, and the young workers at the center were able to save lives by following the safety plan.
Much of the building was ripped apart by the powerful winds and cars were thrown onto the walls.
Amazingly, nobody was hurt.
It’s a long road to recovery for the YMCA, and there are other locations to visit in the Wichita area if you just want to show support.
The Redbud Trail is a six-mile-long path that follows the old railroad line.
There’s a history lesson at the trailhead and then nature and wildlife along the trail until you reach Highway 54.
Every year on the 4th weekend after Labor Day, Andover Days are held in the city to celebrate community and heritage.
The 2022 festival brings a lot to celebrate as the community recovers and heals from that major tornado.
The event has a parade, a hot dog eating contest, a carnival, a car show, and a pet show.
Places to Avoid in Andover
You should have no concerns about safety when traveling through Andover.
It’s a safe community without any dangerous or shady neighborhoods.
If the new Y isn’t rebuilt during your visit, avoid going to be a “Looky-Lou.”
It’s always tempting after a natural disaster to see ground zero, but this is a city still healing from the monster tornado.
If you’re going to the site, offer to help in some way instead of just looking at the debris or construction.
In an interview with the YMCA staff, they said the key to the successful saving of lives was the emergency plan they knew backward and forward.
You need to have just as much of a safety plan for your personal travels.
There are public tornado shelters at the Andover Public Library, City Hall, and Central Park.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Andover
- Sign up for emergency alerts through Alert Andover. You can sign up for specific alerts like weather, Amber Alerts, civil emergencies, evacuations, and water main breaks. Whatever system you choose to use, you need to have emergency weather alerts enabled throughout the year.
- If you are riding a bicycle in Andover, you can’t be on the sidewalk unless it’s 10 feet wide. Then bikes are allowed. When riding on the streets, you need to follow all the same laws as if you were driving a car.
- When riding a mountain bike at Santa Fe Lake, helmets are required. There’s not a state helmet law for regular bicycles, but for mountain biking at this lake, it’s not an option to ride without a helmet.
- The Andover Police Department has an interactive crime map through LexisNexis. There’s a link on the department’s website.
- The layout of Andover has some parts that are within the city, other parts that are technically in Wichita – but look like they are in Andover, and other parts that are in Butler County. It’s good to know that when you call 911, you’ll still be able to get the proper law enforcement agency to you. Be sure if you are calling from a mobile phone you are as specific as possible about your exact location.
- Anglers need a fishing license, even to catch and release, at any lake in Kansas, including Santa Fe Lake. You can get that online through the Kansas Department of Wildlife.
- Andover Police are so serious about sticking to speed limits, they’ve given some residents a radar gun. The residents will report cars that were clocked going over the speed limit, and police will send a warning letter. There are several other speed reduction tactics in place here. Just remember this is a suburban community with kids and pets running through yards and playing in the streets sometimes. Use caution and stick to the posted speed limits.
- If you notice any road dangers, like big potholes, call the city to let them know. The street department’s phone number is (316) 733-1303. The winters here can really make the roads bumpy, so every pothole report helps make the streets safer.
- You can get to and from Wichita without going on I-35, which is a Toll Road. If you do need to take the road, you can pay with cash or a credit card. The amount depends on the size of the vehicle you are driving and how many miles you drive on the toll roads. If you miss a toll booth or don’t have money, you have 10 days to pay your toll on paytka.com.
- If you are visiting Terradyne Country Club for a round of golf or a social engagement, please review the dress code on the website. You cannot change clothing in the parking lot or inside the club before entering. Please come dressed in the appropriate attire or you might be asked to leave.
So... How Safe Is Andover Really?
The crime rates here are low across the board.
The violent crime rate is almost 1/4 of the national and state averages.
The theft rate is 30% lower than the state average.
Here’s the risk of being a victim of a crime in Andover:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 744
- Robbery: 1 in 7,466
- Theft: 1 in 73
There are cities named Andover in Massachusetts and Michigan, so make sure when you research other crime and safety data that you are in the correct state.
Google kept trying to take me to Massachusetts.
As I said earlier, the real risk in Andover, Kansas, comes from the skies.
Tornado season is no joke and you should take every storm watch or warning seriously.
If you are unsure about tornado safety, please review the Butler County Emergency Management Plan.
How Does Andover Compare?
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
You should prepare for paperwork and processing of a U.S. Visa to take up to four months. You'll need to do an in-person interview and provide a list of all the social media accounts you've used in the past five years, even if you have multiple accounts on a platform or have closed an account. Once you get through Customs at the airport with your visa, you won't need it to travel throughout Kansas.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar in the Wichita area. Never throw away a receipt unless you have torn it to bits to avoid fraudulent activity. There are places in the region to exchange currency, but you should be able to get around this area without needing cash.
Dress for cold weather in winter and err on the side of the worst weather winter can bring. The Midwest has volatile weather and one day there might be a mild winter's day and the next day there's a blizzard. Spring and fall can vary in temperature, so bring layers of clothing. Spring is also the height of tornado season. Summers will be warm and humid. Be sure to bring sunscreen and bug spray. I live just a few hours from Wichita and I walked my dogs this morning for 30 minutes and I even got a little sunburn from that.
The Wichita airport is on the other side of the metro region, so plan for 30 minutes to get there - a little more if you're traveling during the rush hours.
Travel insurance is really helpful here with all the risks of severe weather. Those same storm systems can shut down air traffic for hours or days, and you want to protect your flight investment if your trip is delayed or canceled.
Andover Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Kansas - Safety by City