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
Fenton, Missouri, is a St. Louis County suburb right on the line with Jefferson County.
This is the point where the suburban bliss of STL turned into more rural areas.
It’s also one of the main access points to the Meramec River, one of the safe and exciting rivers to explore.
It’s nowhere near as fast, dangerous, or debris-filled as the Mississippi or Missouri rivers.
Fenton is a laid-back town where you’re more likely to see people in camouflage and overalls than business clothing.
It’s a big shopping destination as it sits along three major roads through St. Louis and into Jefferson County.
Thousands more people drive through Fenton or visit than actually live here.
If you do a simple Google search for “Fenton MO Flooding,” you’ll see how flood-prone this area is, and that might prevent you from wanting to stay here during your trip, especially if you have outdoor activities planned.
Fenton along I-44 is a busy trucker route, so this is a great place to plan a rest stop, stretch your legs, and stock up on snacks.
If you keep going west on I-44, you’ll come across Six Flags of Mid-America.
Warnings & Dangers in Fenton
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low here overall but a medium risk of thefts we need to discuss. If you're staying in Fenton, you likely have a specific reason why, but I'll also share some things to do if you simply found a good hotel rate in this part of the county.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Two bus routes as part of the St. Louis Metro bus system go through Fenton, but one is an express route to Eureka. Taxis and rideshares are available, with rental cars widely available. There's a low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Theft is a problem here, and while St. Louis County doesn't offer pickpocket statistics, there's enough of an overall theft risk at 12 times the national average to get your attention. Even though it's a small community of less than 4,000, at least 10 times that many people come through on any given day.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Flooding is a big concern here, with the Meramec River being a habitually dangerous flood zone. A few years back, my dad was at the hospital in Fenton, and access was blocked off by a post-Christmas rain event that caused major flooding. Even in August 2022, dozens of people had to be rescued as floodwaters rose. Tornados, severe thunderstorms, and winter storms are other risks.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, with six robberies reported in 2022, and most of them were business robberies.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
As part of the greater St. Louis metro area, we give it a medium risk. Mostly that's just to pay attention and report anything suspicious. Places like the arch downtown are more likely to be hard targets.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
You should always examine gas pumps here for card skimmers. You can also go inside to pay to avoid the risk. Many truckers stop in Fenton, and you'll find gas stations with more than 70 pumps. Try to get the one closest to the front if you can. There's a low risk, but it's always good to use extra caution in transient areas like this.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
As a teenager and young woman, I drove through Fenton almost daily. I've shopped at many of the stores here, and it's a safe place for women, but you do need to protect yourself against theft. There's just more potential for petty crimes here.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The portion of Fenton that gets water from St. Louis County has a fully compliant water quality report. Your bigger concern would be any water compromising of the system due to flooding or a water main break. Those alerts would come from the city, county, or police.
Safest Places to Visit in Fenton
The Fenton Chamber of Commerce website has a lot of great information about the city, and the city’s website will give you parks and recreation information too.
For a broader look at the region, use the Explore St. Louis website.
Fenton’s “downtown,” if you can call it that, is right where 141 and Highway 30 meet.
Swing-A-Round Fun Town offers summer swimming, mini gold, go-karts, and an arcade.
Next door is an indoor trampoline park open year-round.
You’ll find local stores and restaurants here.
Downtown also has the Fenton History Museum, where you can learn about the Native Americans that once roamed this land and the history of bridges over the Meramec River into Fenton, which carry more than 120,000 cars a day.
A historical marker along the river shows the site of the first bridge.
Nearby, there are seven city parks, with Fenton City Park being the largest and also along the river.
You should always check the social media pages for the city or the park to see if any flooding is happening.
At least 25% of the time I drove down Highway 30, there was some degree of flooding in those park areas.
You should also check out the nearby options in Valley Park.
Lone Elk Park was one of my favorites, and you can drive a loop to see bison.
Also, it isn’t underwater when it floods.
Just to the west of downtown is Gravois Bluffs shopping district, with some major name brands like a Pottery Barn Outlet and plenty of well-known restaurants.
Soccer fans should check the schedule at the Saint Louise Scott Gallagher Soccer Club, a premier soccer destination in America (or football, as some of you Brits call it).
Places to Avoid in Fenton
Fenton isn’t really big enough to have bad neighborhoods, but you should avoid the industrial areas.
You’ll be able to tell when a neighborhood feels safe vs. when it’s getting a little sketchy.
There are some areas just across the river in Valley Park near the railroad tracks that should be avoided, especially at night.
If you aren’t here for a soccer tournament or work at one of the industries, you’re likely just passing through, and it is a safe place to stop if you need gas or food.
Just be aware of your surroundings since so many people drive through this area.
Fenton is one place I was always extra cautious when I got gas and made sure to lock my car doors and keep my purse with me.
For what it’s worth, my elderly mother went to Fenton to get her nails done.
If it’s safe enough for her to feel comfortable going there, it’s safe enough for anyone.
It just requires some standard caution.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fenton
- The Fenton precinct of St. Louis County Police is at 625 Smizer Mill Road. You can call them at (636)349-8120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The police department’s website does have a crime map, and you can search by precinct to get a better look at recent crime trends. You control the search by setting the date range and type of crime, then a display will show where the crime happened. When you click on a particular crime, details will pop up. This works for all precincts in St. Louis County Police jurisdiction.
- Follow the Fenton Precinct on Facebook @StlCountyPDFenton. You can also follow the entire department on Twitter @stlcountypd.
- If you see or suspect any drug activity, you can call the hotline at 314-863-DOPE (3673). You don’t need to leave your name or contact information. Another option is to email email@example.com.
- Fishing is popular in this area, and you have plenty of places to choose from, but you’re required to have a license from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Hunting licenses are also available, but there are a lot more requirements to get approved for one of those. Always check the non-resident rules if you aren’t a Missouri resident.
- Floating the Meramec River is a tradition in St. Louis summers. As someone who once got caught under an overturned canoe, I can tell you that life jackets are important to have on, even if you’re experienced in the water.
- If you plan on camping in this area, you should know there are many mosquitoes and ticks. Bring bug spray with DEET, and always check your body (even the delicate areas) after spending time in the woods. Ticks won’t fall off until they are large and filled with your blood. They can also transmit Lyme Disease. The St. Louis County Health Department website has plenty of information about that.
- Learn more about severe weather risks by visiting the St. Louis Metro Skywarn system. You can do storm spotter training and get great safety tips along the way. I’ve been a storm spotter for years, and it’s so educational beyond the basic documents you can find online.
- Having a NOAA battery-powered weather radio is the best way to keep track of incoming weather, regardless of mobile phone service. You’ll need to follow programming steps to get the right frequency, but once you do, you’ll never miss a weather warning.
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Since this area is prone to flooding, too many people just drive right through deep waters. This can flood an engine or carry your car away. I once was on a Fenton backroad and assumed floodwaters were gone since the road was open. I turned a corner and slammed on my brakes as I saw nothing but flooding on three sides of my car.
So... How Safe Is Fenton Really?
Fenton really isn’t that big enough for all the trouble it causes, and I say that half-jokingly.
The challenge with Fenton, as a St. Louis native and a former resident of nearby High Ride, is that it’s so transient.
As Jefferson County exploded with development, Fenton was once on the edge of the metro area and is now a gateway to the next county.
It also sits on the heavily traveled I-44, bringing in transient traffic.
Highways 141 and 30 also bring a lot of traffic, which can be scoundrels from other neighborhoods looking to prey on cars and businesses in the industrial area.
Thefts are, by and large, the biggest risk here, with strings of car break-ins that keep making headlines.
In one incident, a homeowner tracked down the thieves and ended up getting shot but not seriously hurt.
“You don’t think that you live in a place where someone’s going to get shot over a petty theft, you know, human life; you would think it’s more important than stealing a few things out of a car,” resident Shawna Walker told KSDK Channel 5 in 2022.
The violent crime rate is 2.5 times the national average, but there’s some context needed there as the raw data was 40 violent crimes.
First, since law enforcement is from St. Louis County, we can only get data by precinct, not zip code.
A large chunk of what is considered Fenton by locals is actually in Jefferson County or unincorporated St. Louis County.
That means we don’t get a full picture of crime, but we have enough to know that you should always lock your car and double-check before you go that no items are in plain sight.
I mean, even take the GPS stand with you and don’t leave rental car paperwork in the glove box.
Even a local gun store here has been robbed four times since 2018.
Those are now guns in the hands of criminals. It shows a greater problem of crime in the St. Louis area.
Fenton is a safe enough place to stay, and it’s close to major attractions like the soccer park and South County, but you do need an extra amount of personal safety habits and situational awareness.
How Does Fenton Compare?
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- Visas - International travelers need a passport and either a visa or visa waiver, depending on their qualifications for the visa waiver program. Start with the U.S. State Department's website and look for the Visa Wizard to get started on the right track.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here, and credit cards offer the best fraud protection, so use as little cash as necessary. Exchanging currency at your home bank will offer the lowest fees.
- Weather - You'll want lightweight, breathable closing in the oppressive summer humidity here. Bug spray is essential too. A citrus-based perfume will also help ward off bugs without smelling like DEET all the time. Fall and spring can leave you wanting a jacket or sweating in your shirt, so bring layers. Winter will be cold, so you'll need a coat and accessories, but there could be some mild spells where you can leave the coat behind.
- Airports - Fenton is 25 miles from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, and it's all highway driving. That drive will take 30 minutes without traffic, but there's always traffic, so plan an hour just to be safe.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance gives peace of mind against weather delays, emergencies, and accidents. It's smart to travel with it, just in case.
Fenton Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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