Kansas : Safety by City
- Cottonwood Falls
- Council Grove
- Dodge City
- Fort Scott
- Garden City
- Great Bend
- Junction City
- La Crosse
- Overland Park
- Prairie Village
A city with a rich history of adventure awaits in Atchison, Kansas.
From explorers to the most famous female aviator of all time to haunted spirits that allegedly still roam the streets, there’s so much to see and do in this town of 11,000 people.
Atchison sits about 30 minutes from Kansas City on the banks of the Missouri River.
Just across the river is Missouri, though all the excitement is on the Atchison side of the state line.
Here you can walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark or aviation legend Amelia Earhart.
There’s an International Forest of Friendship to honor those lost in the pursuit of the skies and space.
Two nearby lakes provide all the fishing an angler could want.
The riverwalk takes you alongside the river with unobstructed views of the water.
You can also stroll through the picturesque Benedictine College, a Catholic liberal arts school.
At night, more than just the town comes alive.
There are several spots here that attract paranormal investigators from around the world.
You can have a front-row seat to the haunted history of Atchison.
There are just four hotels in Atchison and a handful of vacation rentals, otherwise, you’ll need to stay closer to Kansas City.
There are several campgrounds and RV parks available too.
Warnings & Dangers in Atchison
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Atchison Police Department is very transparent with crime data and has provided us with the 2021 crime statistics. There's a low risk in this city, especially for tourists, as much of the crime is among people who know each other. On top of that, there's a lot to do here, which is always a safer option than wandering around looking for action.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You won't find public transportation to get around the city, so you'll need a car. A taxi or rideshare might be available, but very sparingly. There's a trolley, but it's part of a tour. It's a low risk, but a limited list of options.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Only a handful of pickpockets or purse snatching have been reported over the past few years, so you can feel safe with a low risk here. Just don't let your guard down. A crime of opportunity is always going to override low crime data.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Any city on a river is going to face flooding risks and while Atchison has avoided worst-case scenarios, they've had very close calls. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are a risk, especially in spring. Winter can bring anything from an inch of snow to a blizzard or even an ice storm. There's a medium risk because this potential goes on throughout the year.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Atchison generally has fewer than four robberies a year, aside from a spike to six or seven in 2012 and 2016. In 2021, there was one robbery, so that's a low risk for tourists. Again, don't let your guard down just because numbers have been low.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here. The nearest hard target would be Fort Leavenworth, which is 30 minutes south.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The typical residential scams happen here, either involving utility bills or fake police officers demanding money for warrants. Even the scam warnings from the police and sheriff involve general warnings of nationwide scams. There's a low risk a tourist will get scammed.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women visiting here, but you should still follow basic safety precautions, like not walking around at night by yourself or taking drinks from strangers while socializing. If you're visiting the outdoor areas, always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water is safe to drink and comes with a low risk after reviewing the 2021 Annual Water Quality Report. There were no violations and all standards were met or exceeded. If there is ANY river flooding while you are there, check the city website to see if there are boil orders. The rising river can add pollutants to the water that make it unsafe to drink, but that will be clearly communicated, as it was in 2019 when there was a flood.
Safest Places to Visit in Atchison
There are a couple of places to visit if you want to learn more about Amelia Earhart.
The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum showcases the flights in her life.
There’s also a replica of the plane she was flying when she went missing.
The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum will take you through her life, being born in Atchison and living there until she was 12.
She always considered Atchison home.
If you visit in late June, you’ll be there for the Amelia Earhart Festival.
There are several tours you can take under the “Agritourism” umbrella.
- Providence Hill Farm: Dairy Farm
- High Plains Distillery: Home of “The Best Vodka in the World”
- St. Andre Orchard: Pick your own fresh fruit
- Brick Oven Tour: A farm with a knack for making incredible brick oven pizzas
- Soap Making Tour: Learn how to make soap and see the process in action
- Milking Tour: An adventure in milking goats
Warnock Lake is one of two popular fishing, hiking, and camping spots near Atchison.
There’s a one-acre replica of Amelia Earhart in the field and a viewing platform that gives a great view of the artwork.
There are RV sites here for just $5.
You can fish and swim in the lake.
Atchison State Fishing Lake is 66 acres surrounded by 182 acres of land.
There’s a special section for hunting.
Camping in its most primitive form is allowed here.
Who said you can’t ski in Kansas?
Snow Creek is open from December through March and offers skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Let’s not forget snow tubing in its own section of the park, either.
There are hills for all difficulty levels and a lodge on site for warming up and grabbing a bite to eat.
For Lewis and Clark history fans, you can visit the Lewis & Clark Pavilion and Historical Marker or Independence Creek, where the party stayed overnight in July of 1904.
The Atchison County Historical Society Museum is great for those who want to get a well-rounded look at all the history of this area.
Now, let’s talk about ghosts.
There are haunted trolley tours available for those who don’t want to get TOO scared.
The 1889 McInteer Villa is open for self-guided tours or you can even stay overnight.
Sometimes the ghosts will even turn the lights on for you in the tower, even though it doesn’t have electricity.
However, the Sallie House is one of the most world-recognized haunted houses (if you believe in that).
I can’t even tell you the story of how it became haunted because just reading it made the hair on my arms stand up.
Suffice it to say it involved a child, surgery, and… OK, I AM TOO SCARED TO CONTINUE.
You can stay here overnight as well or just go on a self-guided tour.
The whole town gets in on the “Haunted” vibe in the fall with various seasonal events.
As for Christmas, the tourism website says there are “Sights and Sounds” at Christmas time, but there’s no more specific information and the photo used in that section includes a bank sign with a temperature of 82°(F).
Suffice it to say, this charming town most likely goes all out for Christmas.
Places to Avoid in Atchison
The city center has the most crime, but in all fairness, there isn’t much outside of the city center.
It’s pretty common for the downtown area of any city to have more crime because more people, residents, and travelers, spend time there.
You should avoid swimming or tubing on the Missouri River.
The current is too strong and the water is too murky to see debris that could hurt you.
There are plenty of lakes nearby if you want to swim, and the Lions Pool in Atchison is a safe place to swim with treated water to keep bacteria out.
You can’t get that kind of clean water even at the lakes.
If you are scared of ghosts or anything presumed to be haunted, ease yourself into the haunted attractions here.
Spending the night in a “haunted house” can be anxiety-inducing even if you don’t hear or see a paranormal thing.
Don’t let people pressure you into it, and don’t be the person that pressures someone else.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Atchison
- If you lock your keys in your car, the police in Atchison will help you. They unlocked 484 vehicles in 2021. That’s once for every 22 people in the city. Am I the only one who hasn’t locked my keys in the car in at least a decade?
- You can report crimes to the police department by calling locally (913)367-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-KSCRIME (572-7463). All crime tips can be anonymous. You can speak to someone at the police department by calling (913)367-4329.
- To keep up with community events, follow @VisitAtchison on Facebook. This is part of the tourism bureau, so you know all the events are safe and community-oriented.
- Anglers need to get a fishing license from the state of Kansas Department of Wildlife. If you have a Missouri fishing license, you should double check that Kansas will let you use that instead, as the states are supposed to have a reciprocity agreement.
- Getting a hunting license takes a little more work. You have to pass a safety and certification test before you can get licensed here. You cannot use your license from your home state. The details are on the wildlife department’s website.
- Campsite reservations can be made online at ksoutdoors.com. Be sure you know the amenities at the campsite you are booking because the options vary from park to park, or even sometimes within the park.
- Kansas Outdoors has a mobile app that is a great way for outdoor people to check the amenities in the different areas. You’ll get the best fishing holes for your favorite fish, road/trail work being done in a park, and a list of events that might make a part more crowded. For example, Warnock Lake near Atchison has a LakeFest every summer that packs the park.
- The Missouri River runs right alongside River Road. By that I mean, you can bend down and touch it. If there is heavy rainfall during your stay, or if there is a flood watch, don’t go near the water. The river will be much dirtier after heavy rain and could have debris in it. Never go around barricades, even if flooding hasn’t started yet.
- You need a reliable weather app to get emergency notifications here throughout the year. The Kansas City television market covers Atchison, and most of the stations have an independent weather app to help plan travels and they are free.
- If you take a rideshare to get to Snow Creek in the winter, make sure you book the return trip ahead of time. The Snow Creek website says many riders are willing to drop people off, but very few will come back to take people home. Be sure to tip your driver well and ask if they’ll pick you up at a certain time. Snow Creek is only about 15 minutes from Atchison but is also across the river in Missouri.
So... How Safe Is Atchison Really?
Atchison saw crime rates drop 7.5% in 2021 on top of the 6% crime that was down in 2020.
2021 was the 4th year in a row crime has been down in Atchison.
On top of that, 91% of the crimes that happened in 2021 were solved.
There were 217 thefts, which is a 15% drop from the previous year.
All of the 17 vehicles that were stolen in 2021 were returned, but it’s still smart to always lock your car doors, roll up windows, and avoid leaving personal belongings in cars.
Don’t risk it.
There is a one in 435 risks of being a victim of a violent crime here, but the majority of those crimes were among people who knew each other.
There’s a really small chance a stranger will be a victim of a violent crime.
The transparency of the police department here is great as well, showing the exact number of every crime that happened in 2021 and detailing the challenges and success.
You can read the annual report on the police department’s website.
Overall, Atchison is a town with some crime, but not a lot.
It’s a great place to visit with a lot of things to do and it’s close enough to a major city (Kansas City) that you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
How Does Atchison Compare?
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- Visas - A travel visa to the U.S. is going to cost $160 and you should start planning at least three months ahead of time. There are several steps to the process, including an in-person interview. Your visa will be needed at the airport, but not on the ground or as you go between cities.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and do your currency exchange at the airport or in Kansas City before you get to Atchison. This small town might not have the financial services you need.
- Weather - The only thing certain about Midwestern weather is uncertainty. You should pack plenty of layers, like t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and sweatshirts, for when the temperatures fluctuate. Winters can get very cold and snowy, so winter outwear is suggested. Summers will be hot but you'll really notice the humidity, so bring anything you need to keep cool and control frizzy hair (if that's an issue for you). Don't forget bug spray and sunscreen.
- Airports - Atchison is just 35 minutes from the Kansas City International Airport, and that's without having to go through city traffic. That is the largest and closest option.
- Travel Insurance - You should definitely consider travel insurance when a destination has such a risk of delays and cancellations due to unpredictable weather issues.
Atchison Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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