Kansas : Safety by City
- Cottonwood Falls
- Council Grove
- Dodge City
- Fort Scott
- Garden City
- Great Bend
- Junction City
- La Crosse
- Overland Park
- Prairie Village
Gardner, Kansas, is the place to be if you love the city and the country because both are close by.
This Kansas City suburb is on the fringe of the metro area and is close to all the amenities you’ll need to explore the region.
This city was founded as the fork in the road of the Oregon Trail and the Santa Fe Trail during the pioneer days.
Slices of that history still remain, as well as modern attractions and wilderness trails to keep everyone in your travel party entertained.
Located in Johnson County, which is known as one of the more affluent and family-friendly parts of the Kansas City Metro area, there are things for all ages to experience here.
The four seasons of Kansas provide many community activities, from pumpkin patches to holiday parades to Easter egg hunts.
Gardner has received many accolades recently, from the Top 10 Safest Cities in Kansas to the Top 5 Fastest Growing Cities in Kansas to the 5th Best City to Raise a Family.
Warnings & Dangers in Gardner
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk in Gardner. It's a safe town with family-friendly activities and close to a major metro area.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
RideKC is the public bus system throughout Johnson County with express routes to Kansas City. Taxis and rideshares are easy to get. Having a car would be ideal here, but you can still easily get around without one.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There have been just a handful of pickpockets or purse snatching since 2017. There's a low risk here, but that doesn't mean it's okay to let your guard down.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You get a wild mix of weather in any Kansas city, so there's medium risk. The Johnson County Emergency Management website is loaded with safety information about weather risks. Floods, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms, and extreme temperatures are all possible at different times throughout the year.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of getting mugged, but of the six robberies that happened in 2020, half of them were in public places. You should always take personal safety steps, like staying vigilant and being aware of your surroundings.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk simply because it's part of a major metro area and Fort Leavenworth is nearby. There was a Naval Air Station in Gardner, but it has since closed and is now a regular airfield.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There is an ongoing scam of utility customers getting threatened with power shutoff unless they pay a certain amount of money, but that only impacts people who live in Gardner. There's a low risk a tourist will be scammed. If you are approached by a scammer, report it to the police immediately.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women can enjoy visiting Gardner with low risk. The sexual assault rate is at the national average, so use caution when traveling at night alone or if you meet someone new. Not only is Gardner safe, but there are safe communities nearby to explore.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Annual Water Quality Report shows no violations, and all water standards were met or exceeded. You can use the water here at low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Gardner
Gardner is a residential area, so many of the big attractions in Kansas City will require some travel.
However, you do have some great community options close to Gardner.
The Gardner Historical Museum is located along the former Sante Fe Trail.
There is a late 1800s home on site you can tour to see what life was like in the pioneer days.
There’s also a separate building for ancestor research.
The Turner Barn and Wagon Wheel Orchard are two “You Pick ‘Em” locations open seasonally.
You can pick your own fruit and shop at farmer’s markets while enjoying hayrides and entertainment.
The Gardner Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday night from May through September.
You can also go on a farm tour of Moonlight Praire Farm as part of the agritourism efforts in Kansas.
Visit Gardner Junction Park to stand at the crossroads many settlers came across on their journey west.
This is where the Oregon and California Trails made their northern trek as it split with the Santa Fe trail, taking a southwestern turn.
To call this a “park” is a little embellishing.
It’s a roadside attraction worth visiting, but it’s not big at all.
It’s even hard to find on the map, so you can find it at U.S. 56 and 183rd Street.
For a larger park, head about 30 minutes south to Hillsdale State Park, where you have 12,000 acres to explore.
This is a popular fishing hole with plenty of wildlife viewing on the surrounding trails.
Stop by the visitor’s center on the way in to get a map and see an exhibit explaining the lay of the land and the history of this popular reservoir.
If you head southwest to Edgerton, Kansas, you can enjoy one of the many wineries in or near Johnson County.
White Tail Run Winery is open from Friday through Sunday with a tasting room that allows well-behaved children.
Places to Avoid in Gardner
Gardner is one of those cities where you don’t need to worry about an area too dangerous to visit or be careful about driving through the wrong neighborhood.
The highest crime rates are on the northwest side of I-35, but there’s also a big shopping corridor with a Super Wal*Mart and other stores and restaurants.
While you’re only 30 minutes (in smooth traffic) from downtown Kansas City, this is more than a suburb.
Gardner is more like if a suburb had a suburb.
It’s just way on the fringe of the metro area, so if you want the “city” experience, Gardner isn’t the place to get that.
You also should avoid confusing Gardner with Garden City, a small western Kansas town.
There are a lot of cities in Kansas that can easily be confused like that.
Another example is Hays vs. Haysville.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Gardner
- The Gardner Police Department has a crime map on its website where you can see the most recent crimes laid out on the map. The interactive map enables you to search specific streets or businesses to see crimes reported in that area.
- When traveling with children, there’s a new FBI app called CHILD ID. This allows a parent to put in all relevant and distinguishing information about their child or children. This helps the local police and FBI have better information to track down missing children.
- If you have information about a crime that isn’t urgent enough to call 911, you can call the police department at (913)856-7312. There are forms online where you can report suspicious drug activity or a traffic complaint too.
- Visit the Traffic Alerts section of the city’s website to see the most recent construction projects. Roads in the Midwest get torn up in the harsh winters, and construction has to be done when the weather is warmer. That leads to a lot of road work from spring through fall. If you know about the big projects, you can better program your GPS around them.
- When visiting before a snow storm, don’t park on the street during or after the snow. This is so snow plows can get through safely and clear the streets. You don’t risk getting ticketed or towed for this, but it could hold up getting all the streets cleared. If you are upset about a hotel parking lot not being snowed, do not complain to the city. Private businesses are responsible for hiring their own contractors to clean the lot.
- If you want to go sledding in the snow, there are some designated areas throughout Johnson County. You should research the different hills. Most of the places require you to sled at your own risk and won’t have anyone watching out for safety. Some of the popular places to sled are actually not approved sledding hills, so choose your location wisely, so you don’t get a trespassing charge. Johnson County does not have an official list of sledding locations, but the best bet is to try a local park.
- For fishing in Johnson County, you’ll need a license from the Kansas Department of Wildlife. Research this thoroughly because some fish require different permits. You can get a license for a day, a week, or an annual pass. Just make sure you get a non-resident pass.
- Sign up for Notify JoCo alerts through the Johnson County website. You’ll get emergency weather alerts on your mobile device. You must stay weather aware in a place with crazy weather patterns. There are 184 tornado sirens throughout Johnson County, but you likely won’t hear them if you are inside.
- It’s smart to study the difference between different levels of severe weather advisories. A tornado warning is much more urgent than a tornado watch. A blizzard is not the same thing as a snowstorm, it’s much worse. All of these are detailed on the Johnson County Emergency Management website.
- Never leave a car unlocked in Johnson County. This is one of the tougher counties in the state, and thieves will look for an easy steal first. There are videos of thieves walking through parking lots just testing door handles. Don’t leave your car unattended to warm it up in the bitter winter cold. Thieves wait for someone to make that mistake.
So... How Safe Is Gardner Really?
Violent crime is half the state and national average, while property crime is half the national average and a third of the state average.
Every crime category that could impact a tourist is well below average, aside from sexual assault.
The risks of being a victim of crime in Gardner are:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 352
- Robbery: 1 in 3,881
- Theft: 1 in 132
When I dig a little deeper into the context of that raw data, I found that 14% of violent crimes happen against strangers, and 70% of violent crimes happen in homes.
This means the real risk of being a violent crime victim is much lower.
For theft, 42% of the reports involved car break-ins or car accessory thefts.
See #10 above for more about that.
It’s just such an easy step for thieves to see something valuable in a car and break a window or open an unlocked door to get it.
Leave nothing that isn’t part of the car inside the vehicle.
Gardner is a great place to visit, but it’s fairly suburban with not much more than local activities to do.
You should also explore nearby Olathe, Leawood, and Overland Park to experience more fun in Johnson County.
Just be sure to check our safety articles for advice in those cities.
How Does Gardner Compare?
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- Visas - A U.S. Travel Visa costs $160 and takes up to three months of processing, so start the process as early as possible. You will need it at the airport to get through Customs, but you can travel freely throughout the Kansas City area without showing it.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use in the Kansas City area. You can exchange currency at the airport or through a local bank service.
- Weather - You'll want to pack layers since Midwestern weather can fluctuate often. Winter will require a coat, gloves, and boots, but there isn't always snow on the ground. Summers will be hot and humid, and you'll need bug spray and sunscreen. Bring good walking shoes throughout the year because there's a lot of walking and exploring to do.
- Airports - Kansas City International Airport is 45 minutes away but plan for an hour if you travel during the rush hours. You have to go right through the heart of downtown to get to the airport.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a smart move here. Weather can cause delays or cancellations of flights. Even weather out West can have a ripple effect on Midwestern airports.
Gardner Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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