Illinois : Safety by City
- Arlington Heights
- Crystal Lake
- Des Plaines
- East St Louis
- Fairview Heights
- Granite City
- Mount Prospect
- Oak Lawn
- Rock Island
- Tinley Park
Fairview Heights, Illinois, is part of the St. Louis Metro East area and is just 14 miles from downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
The city was developed as a farming community and has grown to almost 17,000 people since, but there’s still a farming vibe here with about half of the city being farmland.
I grew up in St. Louis, so I can speak intelligently about this area.
I can also tell you this is going to be a hard story to fill out as there’s not much to do in Fairview Heights.
The nearby O’Fallon is about twice the size and provides more attractions.
You can easily find a hotel here along the I-64 corridor.
When you research this area, it’s important to make sure you’re looking at O’Fallon, Illinois, and not O’Fallon, Missouri.
They are both in the St. Louis metropolitan area yet are 50 miles apart.
Growing up on the Missouri side, I was taught that O’Fallon, Illinois was the first “safe” city after crossing the river, as East St. Louis and Cahokia can have dangerously high crime rates.
If you are traveling back and forth, you should get gas here or on the Missouri side, and don’t stop in between.
One of the main attractions of this area is St. Clair square, the shopping destination for this part of the metro area.
While the traditional American shopping mall is seeing a great decline, and St. Clair Square has felt that impact, it is still open for business.
From just about every point in this region, you are either minutes from the downtown urban area of St. Louis or vast expanses of farmland.
Warnings & Dangers in Fairview Heights
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here with just one crime category going off the charts. The violent crime rate is lower than the national average. Even though there's little risk, there's also little to do if you don't do some investigation.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You can get on the Metrolink train service around the metro St. Louis area, and you can call a taxi or rideshare. There's a low risk in Fairview Heights, but the Metrolink will come with its own risks as you go to different parts of the area. You should always be aware of your surroundings on the train and, when waiting, be sure to stay in front of a surveillance camera, which is monitored around the clock.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, which is a determination that is greatly erring on the side of caution. The theft risk here is one in 37. Thefts can include pickpocketing, but would also account for shoplifting or car break-ins. Unfortunately, the police department doesn't do a deep dive into the types of theft.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Fairview Heights is prone to severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding. There is also a chance of an earthquake, as the New Madrid Fault Line is in this region. Winter is going to bring snow and ice, which can, at times, make travel near impossible. Because of all this, there's medium risk.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here and a shockingly low number of robberies totaling just three in 2021. This risk grows exponentially as you go west in Illinois into the St. Louis downtown area. I cannot stress this enough - do not stop in East St. Louis.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk because it's part of a larger metro area, and large population centers will always be hard targets. However, there's no risk Fairview Heights itself will be a target.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The typical scams that impact residents happen here, like fake police officers demanding money, IRS scams, and a rash of COVID-19 scams during the height of the pandemic. Tourists shouldn't worry about getting scammed here.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There were 10 sexual assaults in 2021, which adds up to a rate that is 60% higher than the national average. However, there's a low risk of it happening if you're practicing basic personal safety. There's no detail in those assault cases about how many were random and how many were domestic situations.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
American Water provides tap water here and it has been recognized by the EPA for excellence in water quality over the years. There's a low risk and no violations were reported in the testing done in 2021.
Safest Places to Visit in Fairview Heights
St. Clair Square is the central focus of Fairview Heights.
It’s really nothing more than a traditional shopping mall and it’s certainly not the biggest one in the region.
However, it is the retail destination in southern Illinois.
75,000 vehicles come through this area each day even though the city is home to just 17,000 people.
There are several golf courses in this area, including Stonewolf and Fair Oaks.
Pleasant Ridge Park is one of the most popular in town, covering nearly 100 acres and home to a log cabin built in the 1850s.
Cahokia Mounds is a must-see attraction in the Metro East area.
It’s about 11 miles away from Fairview Heights, but worth the drive.
When you first arrive, it doesn’t look like much more than a hill on top of a hill.
I promise you, the history here is fascinating.
Stop by the interpretive center to learn about this prehistoric remnant of a civilization long gone, but still preserved as much as possible.
Centerfield Park is a mini-golf and batting cage attraction that offers a snack bar with all your favorite treats.
There are also bumper boats during certain times of the year.
This business really struggled during the pandemic to stay open, so visiting it would really help a local business.
If you want to see a piece of Americana, head six miles north to Collinsville to see the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle.
It’s really a water tower (and yes, that’s how they spelled Ketchup), but it’s a symbol of the Bird’s Eye Brand “Brooks Catsup”, which is now made in Canada.
It’s 170 feet tall and here’s a height “fun fact” – a roadside attraction is required to have a light on top of it so airplanes can see it if it is taller than 200 feet.
That’s why many roadside attractions like this fall just under 200 feet.
Places to Avoid in Fairview Heights
The biggest danger you’re going to face in Fairview Heights is running into a dead-end road and having a grumpy farmer ask you to leave the property.
There’s no bad neighborhood or dangerous part of town.
However, shopping at the mall is going to get you a wide mix of people from all over, so you should park in busy areas and lock your car doors.
This city is at the crossroads of major highways, and people come from all over Southern Illinois to get their goods here.
When driving back and forth to St. Louis, consider Main Street/Highway 157 the point of safety.
Anywhere west of this road is too dangerous to stop in until you cross into St. Louis (which comes with its own dangers) and anything east of here is safe or at least relatively safe comparatively.
If you’ve read more of my reports on Illinois, you’ve seen this a lot – but it bears repeating if this is the only article you’ll read.
Illinois is pronounced “Ill-in-noy” not “Ill-in-noise.”
Missouri is pronounced “Mizz-ourh-eee” not “Mizz-ouhr-uh.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fairview Heights
- A good tool to use for Fairview Heights, or any city you visit, is to search for the “Annual Police Report.” Not every police department publishes this and some do, but make it very hard to find. Fairview Heights has its 2021 report posted and you can review the crime trends, challenges, and successes in this community last year.
- There’s a really great tool on the police department’s website where you can enter your name and phone number and a police officer will call you at their earliest convenience. This isn’t for emergency situations – you should still call 911 for that.
- For a city of just 17,000 people, there are a lot of DUIs here. That’s most likely due to all the traffic coming through the region. 85 people in this small town were arrested for DUI. I know that rideshares might not be as plentiful here as in major urban areas, but it’s worth the wait to avoid getting arrested or hurting someone.
- You should sign up for CodeRED alerts from the city. This will allow you to get all emergency information, from storm warnings to road closures, through one app. You have to stay weather aware here because storms can be deadly. To sign up, you can text FAIRVIEWHTS to 99411.
- If you have information about a crime in Fairview Heights that is not urgent or you learn about it after the fact, you can submit a crime tip online. There is even a way to upload videos or photos if you have them. You can remain anonymous or leave your contact info.
- Given how many cars come through this city, you’ll need to be aware of driving laws here. One is the ban on texting and driving. You can only use hands-free devices while behind the wheel. They do enforce it here. In April, 45 people were issued violations of the hands-free law by Fairview Heights Police. Also, even though recreational marijuana is legal here, there are regulations on how you transport it in the car. You should research this thoroughly if that is something you plan to do.
- For any fishing and hunting in this region or across Illinois, you’ll need a license from the Department of Natural Resources. There are different limits and regulations on different lakes, so in addition to the DNR website, you should review the park service website for your preferred location.
- Don’t give in to road rage when you’re driving. This is a small town with an incredible amount of traffic. In April 2022, a road rage incident escalated to a man being hit by a car after a verbal fight.
- The police department here offers R.A.D (Rape Aggressive Defense) training and it’s a great way for women to learn how to protect themselves from or during a sexual assault.
- Don’t be surprised if you see drones flying overhead. The police department uses a drone to help with case investigations, traffic crash surveillance, and evidence collection. If you have questions about drone video use, contact the police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
So... How Safe Is Fairview Heights Really?
The biggest concern in Fairview Heights is the theft rate.
The rate is twice the national average.
While the department doesn’t break down by category of theft, I’m going to take an educated guess that a large portion of that is related to shoplifting since this is such a huge shopping area.
Another concern about the theft is car break-ins.
Just because it feels like you are in safe, small-town Illinois, it doesn’t mean you should do anything less to protect your car from theft.
There were 37 violent crimes, which is a risk rate of one in 451.
Given how many people visit this area for shopping, you can bet the real risk is a lot lower since the aforementioned risk is simple math done by dividing the population by the number of crimes.
If you’re going to stay on the Illinois side of the Metro East part of St. Louis, this is one of the safest communities for you.
How Does Fairview Heights Compare?
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- Visas - You should start the visa process about four months ahead of time so you can be sure to meet all deadlines. You can't travel to the United States without it. You won't need to show it around the city. It's just used at Customs when you arrive in the country.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. There are a lot of ways to spend money here, so using one credit card is ideal. You can monitor spending and track fraudulent activity. Always take receipts with you and destroy them before throwing them away.
- Weather - All four seasons happen in Fairview Heights, and summers are especially humid. You'll want to bring a variety of options for fall and spring since temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day or week. For winter, you'll need warm winter clothing and warm layers, especially if you are spending time outdoors.
- Airports - St. Louis Lambert Field International Airport is the largest airport in this region and it's about 30 minutes to an hour away, traffic dependent. There is an airport on the Illinois side, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, which is 20 minutes east, but there are far fewer flights from there.
- Travel Insurance - You should get travel insurance for a trip here to protect against weather delays in the air or on the road.
Fairview Heights Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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