Kansas : Safety by City
- Cottonwood Falls
- Council Grove
- Dodge City
- Fort Scott
- Garden City
- Great Bend
- Junction City
- La Crosse
- Overland Park
- Prairie Village
If Coffeyville, Kansas were any further south, it would be in Oklahoma.
While it’s not the wild West of Kansas, it has a historic gun battle that would rival the one in Tombstone, Arizona.
The town still “celebrates” the anniversary of that morbid event.
Coffeyville was once prominent in oil and industry.
Now, it’s a town losing population and the ones who are left are struggling to get by.
Visiting here would give a much-needed boost to this working-class town with 1/3 of its people living in poverty.
Walking through Dalton Defenders Plaza and Death Alley might make you feel a little uneasy, but that’s part of the history here.
There are also historic mansions and outdoor adventures in this rural community.
Coffeyville once held the record for the heaviest hailstone ever recorded in the country but was beaten out by Aurora, Nebraska.
A replica of the hailstone is on display.
It’s an eye-opening reminder of the weather dangers that exist in this tornado-alley part of the country.
The city is home to nearly 9,000 people, which is down 15% from 2010.
The nearby South Coffeyville is actually in Oklahoma, and about 800 people live there.
You will find a casino on that side of the state line.
Warnings & Dangers in Coffeyville
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium overall risk here as Coffeyville is ranked by several publications as the most dangerous city in Kansas. Most of the crime rates soar above the national average, and having a poor community isn't helping the crime rates.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
There isn't public transportation in town and taxis or rideshares are going to be hard to come by. You can take a bus from Kansas City to Coffeyville, but you'll want a car to be able to fully explore. There's not really a risk to having your own car here, but you'll need to protect your vehicle, parts, and valuables when you park.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here with four pickpockets reported in 2021. The average value of a pickpocket or purse snatching here ranks as one of the highest values of all the other crimes, barring car thefts. In 2020, the average value of a pickpocket was more than $600. This is not a place to carry around a lot of - if any - cash. Leave the designer bags at home too.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Flooding along the Verdigris River is a concern and in 2007 a third of the town was underwater due to a flood. You can also see severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and giant hail. Winter will bring some snow and ice storms - but this part of the country is more likely to get an ice storm than a major snow storm.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robbery risk is the only crime category that is lower than the national average. It's actually just half of the national average. However, with a violent crime rate 15% higher than the national average, you should use caution when walking around at night and always go with a buddy or a group. There's a medium risk here just because of the violent crime rate.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here because it's a small population area with no valuable targets for a terrorist group. The real concerns come from the criminals in the community.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The reported scams here are all targeted at residents with things like utility scams or fake police officer scams. Don't let your guard down if a deal seems too good to be true, or if someone threatens you if you don't give them money or buy a gift card.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women should be careful here and treat it as a medium risk. Women were victims of 47% of the crimes in 2020. Don't walk around at night and always keep your car doors locked when driving around. There's a sense of safety that comes with the appearance of a small town, but this isn't the charming place many would assume it to be.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water is safe and healthy here with no violations reported in 2020. If there is any kind of flooding during your visit, be sure to follow the city's social media sites as flooding can cause tap water contamination. You'll know quickly if there is a boil order or water quality warning.
Safest Places to Visit in Coffeyville
The Dalton Defenders and Coffeyville History Museum take you through artifacts and novelties of the city since being settled, but it’s largely focused on the Dalton Gang.
Parents, you’ll have to decide how much of the Dalton Gang story you want the little ones to see and hear.
The very watered-down version of it is that the Dalton Gang came to rob a bank, they made several key mistakes, and the townspeople fought back in what would become an epic 12-minute gun battle.
In the end, four of the Dalton Gang members were dead and their bodies were left uncovered in the jail, where “treasure hunters” tore souvenirs from their clothing.
**There are pictures of the bodies**
Death Alley and the Old City Jail is where the shootout came to an end, and you can hear the story of the Dalton gang and see a remade photo of those bodies lying there.
There’s a mural on the wall here, and it is said that the man in the green shirt will watch you as you walk by.
The Isham Hardware Store played a key role in the Dalton Gang shootout and has been open for regular hardware services since 1870.
Normally, I wouldn’t give that much detail about the historical portion of a tour, but I felt that was necessary.
I won’t give the same details about the beautiful Brown Mansion in Coffeyville.
A tour of the mansion is available by appointment only.
Call (620)688-2042 to get more information.
The Aviation Heritage Museum takes you through the rich history of flights in the city and has several early 1900s planes on display.
There are also military jets here to tour as well.
The city also has parks, fishing ponds, disc golf courses, a regular golf course, and walking trails.
There are skateparks and playgrounds for the kids too.
There’s a pool to cool off in the summer.
Just a few miles south in Oklahoma is the Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville.
This isn’t the traditional Vegas-style casino in size or scope, but it has a basic hotel, casino, and restaurants.
Places to Avoid in Coffeyville
The center of town is where the highest crime rates are, according to crime distribution data.
The city isn’t really big enough to have neighborhoods or streets that are safe or areas to avoid, but the farther out of the city core you get, the more the crime risk drops.
In a city with so much violence, especially violence between people who know each other, it’s important to avoid getting involved in a heated discussion or trying to break up a fight.
Any suspicious activity should go right to the police department.
Let them handle it.
In 2020, there was an armed robbery of someone staying at the Regal Inn.
The victim called the police, who then chased the suspects.
One suspect was killed in a modern-day shootout.
There was another case involving a major drug bust, and a Coffeyville resident considered to be the “Governor” of the Kansas drug trade was arrested.
These are just a few examples of how letting police handle crimes is better than trying to de-escalate a situation yourself or fighting back.
It’s important to remember when you research Coffeyville that any crime that comes up with the name Dalton in it is about the shootout in 1892.
I bring this up because even as I “News Googled” recent crimes in this area, a LOT of Dalton-related articles still come up.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Coffeyville
- Coffeyville Police Department uses the program Nixle to give emergency updates on crimes, road closures, and traffic alerts in the area. You can sign up for free at Nixle.com and select the location. I use Nixle daily. In fact, every time I hear an emergency siren, I just look at Nixle or PulsePoint and I can see exactly what’s happening.
- You can view crime statistics on the police department’s website going back to 1994. This allows you to see trends, areas of improvement, and worsening crime categories.
- There is also an interactive real-time crime map to review closer to your visit. This allows you to search by location, type of crime, and diameter of crimes in that area. For example, you might want to see how many car thefts have happened in the past six months near your hotel, and weed out all the other crimes.
- If you have information about a crime, call (620)252-6194 or (620)252-6145 and ask to be connected to a detective. If you want to leave an anonymous message, call the Crime Tip Hot Line at (620)252-6133. You will leave a message and won’t have to talk to a live person.
- There is free WiFi downtown, which is a nice bonus. However, make sure you don’t do any financial transactions or search for personal information when you use it since it’s not a secured network. Public WiFi systems are too easy for scammers to hack into.
- When you arrive at your hotel, you should ask where the safe place is to go in case of a tornado. There are also community storm shelters open to everyone if severe weather is imminent. Those shelters are located at Community Elementary School, Field Kindley High School, First Church of God, Jerry Hamm Early Learning Center, and St. Pual’s Lutheran Church.
- The tornado siren will sound only if there is a tornado warning issued. The sirens are meant to be heard by people outside, so don’t assume if you don’t hear one inside, there isn’t one. You should use a reliable weather app of your choice to enable emergency weather notifications. You can select which ones you’d like to receive. I recommend a tornado watch, tornado warning, severe thunderstorm watch, severe thunderstorm warning, snow watch/warning, blizzard warning, squall warning, flash flood watch/warning, and urban stream flooding.
- Anglers need a fishing license here and you should review all the rules, regulations, and additional permits before you buy one online. You’ll need a non-resident license. You can buy them by the day, week, or year.
- The four latest news releases from the city involve road closures or water main work that would impact traffic. Check the city’s website or social media pages each morning as you plan your driving route for the day so you don’t run into a road closure. The mapping systems don’t always keep up with the construction work in small towns.
- There’s a very helpful section of the Coffeyville City website under the “Living and Visiting” section called “Coffeyville Talk.” This is a list of all the commonly used names or slang in the city. For example, the “Big Hill” is Pfister Hill, where the stadium is.
So... How Safe Is Coffeyville Really?
Any travel safety website is just going to give you the “this is one of the most dangerous cities in Kansas and the country” message.
We like to dive a little deeper into the crimes that could impact you as a tourist.
First, the way crime data is reported, no matter how large or small a city is, the data is calculated to be ” per 100,000 people.”
For example, Coffeyville had 41 violent crimes in 2021, which is 464 crimes per 100,000 people.
The national average is 399 crimes per 100,000 people.
That means, technically, the violent crime rate is 15% higher than the national average.
Violent crime is also 31% higher than the state average.
If there were five fewer violent crimes, the rate would only be 10% higher than the national average.
It’s when you dig into the context of violent crimes you get better answers.
- 7% of violent crimes were against strangers.
- 65% of violent crimes happen in homes.
- 42% of crime suspects were 20-29 years old.
- 35% of victims were 20-29 years old.
- 31% of thefts were car break-ins.
- The average pickpocket value was $688.
What can we learn from this?
The high violent crime rate is more likely to affect people who live in the city than tourists.
The older you are, the less likely you are to be a victim of a crime.
You should protect your car when you park and never leave a single thing inside it that has any value.
Finally, don’t carry around a large amount of money.
There was one purse snatching that was worth just $50.
No, Coffeyville isn’t a very safe city.
Neither is Chicago, yet people go there in droves.
A dangerous city doesn’t mean a city to avoid.
It just means the assumption that a small town is safe doesn’t hold here and you should still use common sense and basic security measures.
How Does Coffeyville Compare?
- Visas - A tourist visa for the U.S. is going to cost $160 and put you through several steps of paperwork and interviews. Plan to start the process about four months ahead of time to account for delays or errors. Your visa will be needed at the airports, but not to get around Kansas, Coffeyville, or Oklahoma.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and don't carry around a lot of cash. If it's cold enough to wear a coat or jacket, put your wallet in an inside pocket. Carry a purse that is a crossbody, so it's not each to snatch, and bonus points if you put the purse over your body before you put on your coat.
- Weather - You'll get all four seasons here, but bringing several layers of clothing is always ideal. If there's one thing consistent about Midwestern weather, it's that it's inconsistent. You are more likely to get an ice storm than a snow storm in this part of the country, but both are possible, so bring full winter gear and snow boots with good grip. In summer you'll need bug spray and sunscreen.
- Airports - There isn't an airport in Coffeyville, but there are several options in the region. The closest is Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a drive that will be less than 90 minutes. Wichita's Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport is just a little more than two hours away. The largest option is Kansas City International Airport, which is three hours away.
- Travel Insurance - We always recommend travel insurance to help provide peace of mind and protection against weather delays or health scares as we saw during the pandemic.
Coffeyville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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