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
Many trails lead to and through Independence, Missouri, on the east side of the Kansas City metro area.
From Lewis & Clark to the Donner Party, triumph and tragedy stories intersect here.
The National Frontier Trails Museum depicts the journeys on the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails.
The exhibits include artifacts, dioramas, and interactive displays that help visitors understand what life was like for these early travelers.
If you ever played the computer game Oregon Trail, you started the journey in this city (and likely died of dysentery at some point along the way).
This is also the hometown of President Harry Truman, and you’ll see his presence throughout the historic markers.
Those historic sites also include some important Civil War footsteps.
Had there not been an uprising, this city could’ve been the stronghold of the Latter-Day Saints religion, but they were pushed out and eventually made their way to Utah.
While there’s an air of nostalgia here, it’s still a growing suburb with modern amenities and plenty of hotel choices, from traditional chains to quaint B&Bs.
Warnings & Dangers in Independence
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk with some notable crime hot topics we need to discuss, but if you're sticking to tourist areas and entertainment districts, you won't need to worry as long as you're following smart safety protocols.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
IndeBus is part of the Ride KC larger transportation system, but you should check the limited routes to see if this would be a good service for you. Taxi and rideshares will be very easy to find and fast to respond to, but a rental car offers the most flexibility. All options are low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
2022 saw six pickpockets, but over the past five years, the average has been 14 a year. That's a low risk but enough to make you think twice about where you stash your wallet or if you bring a large purse.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
You need to stay weather aware here because there are major risks that come with plenty of warnings. Tornadoes are the biggest threat, with the season kicking off in spring and the risk running through fall. Winter storms can be brutal but aren't as common as in the northern Midwest states.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
Robbery rates are at the national average, which is actually good news based on historical data that shows 2017 had twice as many. 41% of robberies happen in public places like roads and sidewalks, so treat it with a medium risk, but that's likely a little sensational. Better safe than sorry.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
As part of the KC metro area, we give it a medium risk to encourage visitors to review vigilance and the See Something, Say Something guidance. There isn't a reason for Independence to be a target. Mass shootings can happen anywhere, so it's always helpful to pay attention to your surroundings.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
About one case of fraud a day was reported in 2022, with ATM and credit card fraud being the top offense. While you don't run the risk of people scamming you on the street, you should protect your credit card information and PIN while avoiding public ATMs.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
The sexual assault rate is twice the national average but was down 25% in 2022. Over the past five years, women have been just as likely as men to be victims of violent crime.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations, but don't take that as the full picture. Water main breaks, freezing pipes, and low-pressure problems throughout the year will be reported through social media sites. The risk is low, but just stay informed.
Safest Places to Visit in Independence
VisitIndependence.com is the official tourism site for the city and offers great insight into everything from historical attractions to parks to the food scene.
Independence Square has long been the central gathering spot of this city, and it’s as true today as it was a century ago.
You’ll find unique shops, restaurants, and historical stops along the way.
Get ready for some great Instagram shots.
Visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, dedicated to the life and presidency of Harry S. Truman, who was the 33rd President of the United States.
The museum features interactive exhibits and displays that showcase Truman’s life, accomplishments, and impact on American history.
The Bingham-Waggoner Site is another historic home filled with antique treasures and artwork of the original owner.
It’s located on the Santa Fe Trail.
To learn more about the trails, you can visit the National Frontier Trails Museum or hit the trail yourself with a covered wagon tour led by a local expert.
Mormon history is captured here at the Mormon Visitors Center and along the Missouri Mormon Walking Trail.
The Stone Church was the first built under the Community of Christ religion, which is a splintered group of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
Don’t miss the stained-glass window inside.
Waterfall Park is a small, local park with a lake that sits alongside the Bass Pro Shop, where you can pick up sporting goods or walk through the expensive boats (is that just me who does that every time at Bass Pro?).
A downloadable map is available to take the African-American Historic Sites walking tour of Independence.
You’ll learn about a lesser-known Civil Rights stronghold in Independence.
The Vaile Mansion is a Victorian design built in 1881 and is a great example of the ornate and elaborate architecture of the era.
Your family can take a guided tour of the mansion and learn about the history and culture of the time period.
Places to Avoid in Independence
The historic sites and tourist attractions will be the safest places to visit due to security and crowd size.
There are some neighborhoods on the west side that aren’t necessarily dangerous but are a little more sketchy than others.
You’ll be able to visually tell when you’re in a run-down or blighted area.
If you stick to main roads and highways while doing as much as you can during daylight hours, your risk will be lowered.
If you stay east of Lee’s Summit Road, you’ll be in the newer part of town, which is also where many hotels are located.
You can check the Community Crime Map on the police department’s website to check crime rates and hot spots closer to your visit.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Independence
- Independence does have its own police department, and its website has a great list of crime prevention and safety tips specific to the concerns in this community. You can also follow the department on Facebook @IndepMoPolice, where regular updates are posted.
- Use the city’s action center to report problems like graffiti, potholes, or abandoned cars. You can also explore a list of what other people have reported in certain areas.
- Use Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline at (816)474-TIPS to anonymously report criminal activity or suspected drug dealing. You don’t use this as a replacement for 911.
- The police department posts a weekly “Significant Events” report on social media, covering crimes, traffic, and accidents. Read the comments from community members to get even more insight.
- Visit the Parks & Rec department website to see local events and outdoor activities, especially if you want to find the safest place for a morning run or an evening stroll. You’ll get contact information and a better grasp of outdoor activities during your visit.
- If those activities include fishing, you’ll need a license from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Be sure to get a non-resident license and carry it with you at all times you’ll be fishing.
- If you are attending an event at Cable Dahmer Arena, you should know that parking is cashless. You can pay for parking when you purchase your ticket, or else you’ll pay double the day of the event.
- The city issues updates every other week in a publication called Independence Today. This is a great way to learn about local issues and events while getting updated contact information if you have additional questions.
- Sign up for weather alerts at Indep.us to get plenty of notice about approaching storms. Most systems come with a watch or advisory, which is more informational and gives you time to prepare, but a warning is an urgent, action-required event.
- Use MoDOT to check traffic conditions in the Kansas City metro area. If you create an account, you can set your own route and opt into alerts. The website covers accidents, traffic backups, construction, and weather conditions. Live cameras can also help you see where you’re going or what road conditions look like.
So... How Safe Is Independence Really?
Independence Police have a lot of drama in their own house that draws too much attention to their actions and not enough to the streets where crimes are happening.
The former interim police chief is suing for age discrimination after the job went to a younger candidate.
A local television station showed nearly $170,000 in overtime for an officer who was doing work to improve the aging police department, causing a backlash in the community since that’s their tax dollars at work.
Of course, the department is also plagued by short staffing, as many police departments are facing in 2023 and beyond.
“Right now, we’re allocated 230 officers for our department for commissioned officers, and we are about 38 short,” Independence Police Officer Jack Taylor told Fox News Digital.
“I’ve been here 20-plus years.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen where we’ve had that many officer vacancies.”
The good news for tourists is that they’ll likely sidestep whatever drama and risks there are in Independence.
In 2022, 8% of the attacks were against strangers, and a five-year trend shows just 6% of strangers were victims of violent crime.
The risk goes up substantially if you get involved with drugs.
Once dubbed the “Meth Capital of America” by Rolling Stone Magazine, the drug trade is still strong in Missouri despite task force efforts.
In 2022, Independence averaged nine drug crimes a week.
The top concern is a rental vehicle if you get one, as 43% of all thefts (which is 45% higher than the national average) are related to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
An average of 22 car-related thefts happened in 2022.
Locking your door and removing all personal items is the best way to lower your risk.
How Does Independence Compare?
|Santiago de Chile (Chile)
|Hong Kong (China)
The same rules apply to Independence as any other place in America for international visitors. You'll need a passport and visa or visa waiver. The U.S. State Department makes finding the right visa easy with a Visa Wizard module.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used, and plenty of KC locations will offer currency exchange. If you want the lowest rates, exchange that currency before you leave your home country.
All four seasons happen here, so plan accordingly. Summers are humid in this part of the country, so bring breathable, loose fabrics and bug spray. Winters can be snowy, but there's not always snow on the ground, and some mild spells can bring spring-like temperatures.
Kansas City International Airport is 30 miles from Independence, and that's all highway traffic subject to rush hour congestion. Check the MoDOT website before you go to see if there are any accidents or construction projects along the way.
Travel insurance and rental car insurance will help protect you from severe weather issues or unexpected emergencies. You should have supplemental health insurance if your health policy doesn't cover travel to this part of the world.
Independence Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Missouri - Safety by City