Missouri : Safety by City
- Blue Springs
- Cape Girardeau
- Creve Coeur
- Jefferson City
- Kansas City
- Lee’s Summit
- Maryland Heights
- New Madrid
- Poplar Bluff
- St. Charles
- St. Joseph
- St. Louis
- Ste. Genevieve
Clayton, Missouri, is almost like a downtown outside St. Louis City downtown.
It’s a major crossroads of commerce, business, government, entertainment, and shopping in the “The Lou.”
It’s also an ideal location, right on the edge of the city boundary with direct access to the massive Forest Park.
The suburbs out west are an easy interstate trip away.
In fact, if you look at the St. Louis region, Clayton is smack dab in the middle.
Clayton is also a cultural crossroads, with people from every walk of life coming through daily.
While just 18,000 live there, at least three times that many are in the city on a given day.
It also has a great balance to it, being historic but not outdated, charming but classy, and elegant but not uppity.
I grew up in St. Louis, and Clayton was one of my favorite places to explore on weekends, as I loved shopping and Shaw Park.
My grandparents also lived in nearby Ladue, which made a great excuse to go see them and then head to Clayton.
This is a blend of suburban and urban but definitely leans more toward urban.
It starts to give that suffocating feeling of buildings on top of buildings and busy streets, but then you reach the massive Shaw Park, and you have a world of green space to explore.
However, I admit, I’m a suburban girl, and some of you will absolutely love the “city without the crime rates of a big city” aspect.
Whether you’re here for business, school, or fun, you’ll enjoy so much of what Clayton has to offer.
Warnings & Dangers in Clayton
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, with incredibly low crime rates for a community that borders one of the most dangerous in America. Plus, there's a lot to do in safe places during the day and night.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Metro light rail comes through Clayton with a robust number of routes and options. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to call, and rental cars are widely available. All options are a low risk, but check your Metro route to see if you're going through a dangerous part of town. It's best to use the Metro during the day.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Theft rates have been nearly cut in half since 2015, with a steady decline along the way showing a trend, not an anomaly. Over the past five years, just three pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported. Car break-ins are much more common than pickpockets.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
You need to stay weather aware because severe weather can hit any time of the year. Tornadoes, straight-line winds, severe thunderstorms, and flash flooding can all happen when the weather is warm but peaks during the spring. Winter can bring ice storms or blizzards but isn't as intense as in the northern part of the Midwest.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Clayton hasn't had more than 10 robberies in a year since 2009, with most years at six or below. Two were reported in 2022, and no injuries were reported. The risk is low, but not low enough to let your guard down.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in any large metro area, and this is a hub of commerce and law enforcement. It also has an abundance of law enforcement, so any risk is exonerated by security. Still, report suspicious activity and be a good witness, just in case.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The most common fraud is residents being swindled by text messages, emails, or phone calls. Since there's a large shopping area here, you should use extra caution with your credit card information. For example, don't leave a tab open at a bar, and keep all receipts with you until you can shred them. The risk is low, but the potential is there.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women have a lot to love about Clayton as a busy community with shopping, entertainment, and outdoor spaces. As long as you're in Clayton, the risk is low, but that changes at the St. Louis city line.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
St. Louis has an exemplary water quality rating going back 117 years. That doesn't include incidents like water main breaks, which aren't violations but can impact your drinking water. Emergency alerts will cover those specific incidents.
Safest Places to Visit in Clayton
Clayton is a common name in some American cities, so make sure you’re looking at Missouri’s Clayton when you do research.
There isn’t a tourism site for Clayton, but the city’s website does have a list of parks and attractions.
Explore St. Louis is the official tourism site, and there’s Clayton information there as well.
Shaw Park is located in the heart of Clayton, offering a contract to the busy commerce and urban feel of the business district.
Here you can walk the trails, explore gardens, play in the treetop playground, or read a book under a stately tree.
It is also along the Centennial Greenway, which connects to Ladue, University City (U City), and Olivette.
Clayton borders the behemoth St. Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights, a dynamic shopping center with everything you could want in a shopping experience.
You have plenty of restaurants and three levels of shopping, with a movie theater on the bottom level.
Downtown Clayton is the government and commerce section of the city, but there are some high-end and trendy restaurants and bars in this district as well.
Hotels here range from luxurious, like the Ritz-Carlton, to the unique Seven Gables intimate Marriott location.
Forest Park is on the city’s eastern edge, and as a St. Louis native, I promise you that you won’t want to miss this great spot!
This urban park spans 1,300 acres and includes:
- St. Louis Art Museum (and a popular sledding hill outside in winter!)
- Missouri History Museum
- The Muny outdoor theater in summer
- Saint Louis Science Center
- Saint Louis Zoo (free!)
- Trails, gardens, forest, and the unique floral experience “The Jewel Box.”
Places to Avoid in Clayton
Clayton is going to be as safe as you make it, and there aren’t bad parts of town.
The risk will go up in the cities north and east of Clayton.
You just have to avoid letting your guard down here or wandering around at night after having too much to drink.
Common sense, situational awareness, and smart nightlife safety steps come into play.
You’ll usually be in a crowded area with plenty of people, but you should also be wary of anyone trying to get you to go to a private party or hotel room.
Nearby University City has a great nightlife district too, but you’ll want to use the same cautions there.
At Shaw Park, don’t leave a backpack or purse lying around, and keep at least one ear free from headphones to stay aware of your surroundings.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Clayton
- Clayton does have its own police force, and you can contact them by phone, email, or stop by the station when you arrive. The Facebook page is @ClaytonMOPD.
- You always hear, “look for suspicious activity and report it.” Do you know what that means? Clayton PD wants to help you understand. There’s a website section about it, and you’re encouraged to contact Cpl. Jenny Schwartz at (314)290-8424 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more questions.
- CPD posts weekly crime data called the Weekly Police Incident Report. This is a much better way to get a handle on crime trends than official data, which could be almost a year old at any given time.
- Use the Passport Parking app to find parking and rates in Clayton. Places like the Galleria and Shaw Park have mostly free parking, but then in downtown Clayton, there are paid and metered spots. The app will help you find spots and feed the meter if your visit runs long.
- If you have information about a crime or witness a non-urgent crime like graffiti, use the St. Louis Regional Crime Stoppers hotline to report it anonymously at 866-371-8477.
- St. Louis Galleria restricts access for juveniles in the name of safety. After 2:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, anyone 16 and younger must be with an adult 21 or older at all times. One adult can oversee four juveniles.
- Report problems like potholes, broken streetlights, or storm damage through the city’s website. You can create an account and track progress.
- Clayton traffic can be intense. I once had my sister come visit me in Florida, and she wanted to go to the beach in the middle of the day. I told her traffic would be bad, and she didn’t believe me. Once we got stuck in the traffic, she said, “You didn’t tell me it was going to be Clayton traffic kind of bad.” Be patient, don’t get riled up, and take your time finding a parking spot.
- Use the MoDOT traffic app and website to plot your routes through the city. The interactive map shows live cameras, traffic delays, road conditions, and construction. If you create an account, you can set alerts on your preferred routes.
- Any fishing in the St. Louis metro area will require a license from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Those licenses are easy to purchase online.
So... How Safe Is Clayton Really?
Clayton *could be really unsafe, but it’s not.
It abuts the city of St. Louis, known for having one of the highest crime rates in the nation.
It’s packed with people—residents, professionals, visitors, schoolchildren, etc.
Yet the violent crime rate is six times lower than the national average and stayed steady in 2022 at a time when other communities were seeing a surge in crime nationwide.
Clayton hasn’t escaped one problem plaguing St. Louis communities—car thefts.
That number was up 113%, with at least one car stolen each week on average.
The city is also dealing with a Peeping Tom in some residential neighborhoods.
“I was shocked and saddened, but at the same time, I’m not surprised in the same vein because of all the carjackings and break-ins that keep happening around here,” a local resident told News 4 in St. Louis.
Burglary was up almost 30% in 2022, but larcenies were down 9%.
Thefts from buildings and shoplifting make up almost half of those crimes, with 34% related to car accessory thefts or car break-ins.
As soon as you go east of Clayton, crime rates change.
There’s a lot of potential for crime here, but you’ve also got a lot of support from Clayton Police and the St. Louis County Police Department headquartered here.
Even in the 2021 Annual Police Report, the context of crime rates was mentioned, which helps you get a better perspective.
“Adding context to these statistics is helpful in understanding how crime impacts the community.
For instance, five of the six aggravated assaults occurred inside the County Jail.
Only nine of the burglaries occurred in residential living spaces.
The other burglaries occurred at commercial properties, garages, a dorm room, and a storage locker.
Thirty-one vehicles were stolen in each of the past two years.
Keys were left inside the vehicle in 77% of the vehicle thefts in 2021.”
Truly, the best way to keep a low risk is to lock your car and keep your personal items secured to your body or tucked away in a hotel room.
How Does Clayton Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
- Visas - To get through Customs at the airport, international travelers need a passport and a visa or visa waiver. You can start that process at the U.S. State Department website. If you get rejected for choosing the wrong visa type, you'll have to start all over again. Use the Visa Wizard module to help yourself along.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and if possible, exchange that currency before you arrive. You'll get lower fees and better rates at your home bank. Clayton is a financial hub and does have a lot of banks, but each one will vary on its exchange fees if you're not a member.
- Weather - Bring various layers of clothing because temperatures can fluctuate a lot day-to-day. Summers are muggy, so bring lightweight, loose fabrics. Winters will be cold and likely require a coat, but a winter storm could mean you need to bring more, and a warm spell could give spring-like temps. Check the seven-day forecast when you're packing.
- Airports - St. Louis Lambert International Airport is 15 minutes to the north, according to Google Maps, but that's quite laughable with traffic in this area. Plan for at least 30.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a wise investment that you won't realize until you're stuck in a storm or have an emergency and need a refund. If you buy insurance when you book your trip, you'll have immediate coverage.
Clayton Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|