Kansas : Safety by City
- Cottonwood Falls
- Council Grove
- Dodge City
- Fort Scott
- Garden City
- Great Bend
- Junction City
- La Crosse
- Overland Park
- Prairie Village
Kansas is a “flyover” state that has more to offer than you might imagine.
It’s true that there are millions of acres of wheat and a lot of wide-open empty spaces, but it is a very safe and relaxing place to travel.
Kansas is the heart of the “Old West,” and there is a lot of interesting history to explore.
The James Gang, Bonnie and Clyde, and other outlaws also called Kansas home at various times.
It has a little of everything, from Kansas City to very small towns, even ghost towns.
It is a big place and takes time to get around, but with some planning, you can find a lot of treasures out there in the prairie.
Warnings & Dangers in Kansas
OVERALL RISK: LOW
It's partly due to the wide-open spaces and space population, but there is very little danger in Kansas. The few big cities have typical big-city problems, but most of the state is rural and very peaceful. People are friendly and will help you out if you are in a jam. In a lot of small towns, there are people who will love showing you around and sharing history.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
We say medium not because it is dangerous, but because there is not a lot of public transportation available. Buses exist in big cities and are not always clean. In rural areas, there is simply no public transport. You would be better off renting a car.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
In big cities, there may be some pickpockets around, but they are rare. There are panhandlers in places, and that can be a nuisance, but there is not much risk otherwise.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
In the spring especially, there are tornadoes that can strike. Pay attention and heed warnings. Tornadoes are the biggest risk in the state, and they can happen with very little warning. Avoid being out in open areas on stormy days.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Outside of the major cities, mugging is virtually unheard of. Most smaller towns are safe any time of day. The bigger cities have safe areas for tourists, but there is a slight chance you could be mugged if you are out alone. Pay attention to your surroundings in larger cities and avoid being out at night alone. Avoid the inner cities of Kansas City and Wichita where there is a greater risk of being a crime victim.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
We would go so far as to say there is no risk. It is not an area that has had any terrorism. The rural nature of the state makes terrorism hard to do. Terrorists are normally not interested in doing things that will affect only a few people.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Perhaps it is because of the rural nature of the state. Scams are relatively rare where there are not a lot of people. Some auto repair shops will scam you, claiming you need more repairs than you really do. Ask people where to take your car if you need a service.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Kansas is very safe in almost all areas. Cities can be dangerous, so don't be out alone at night, but other than that, there is very little risk. It is not uncommon for a woman to travel alone in Kansas. Just be mindful of where you are and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Especially in rural areas, the water is "hard," meaning it does not taste good without a lot of treatment. There is nothing unhealthy about it, but even treated water does not taste good in many areas. It is safe for drinking and bathing.
Safest Places to Visit in Kansas
Small rural towns are very safe.
Dodge City is a historic old western town that caters to tourists and is very safe.
The small towns are far apart at times, but many of them are worth a visit and are completely safe.
The eastern edge of the state has a lot of Civil War history and these are safe and interesting places as well.
The central part of the state has Amish and Mennonite settlements that are extremely safe and interesting places.
Places to Avoid in Kansas
Kansas City is a very large city that straddles the state line of Kansas and Missouri.
Most of the city is in Missouri.
The Kansas side is a place of contrasts.
Kansas City, Kansas has a violent crime rate of 1,596 per 100,000 people, which is 400 times the national average.
It has one of the highest crime rates in the nation overall.
Even so, there are areas like Overland Park and Olathe, which are very upscale, wealthy small cities that are very safe.
Wichita is another large city, and the inner city area can be dangerous with lots of muggings and robberies.
Crime rates have fallen in Wichita in recent years, but there are some areas in the inner city that are quite dangerous and should be avoided.
The western half of the state is very rural.
The danger here is rattlesnakes, and it may be literally 100 miles to the next gas station.
The greater danger in rural areas is being stranded on the side of the road.
If someone passes by, they will probably stop to help, but that may or may not happen for a long time.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Kansas
- Pay attention to the weather forecasts. Storms can pop up and turn into tornadoes in the spring. In winter there can be ice or snowstorms that can limit travel. Fall has the most consistent weather.
- Heed storm warnings. If there is a tornado warning, get to a safe place immediately. If conditions are right, a tornado can appear out of nowhere and they are deadly.
- Watch your gas gauge. Traveling in rural areas is a lot of fun, but sometimes services are limited and not all small towns have gas stations. If you run out of gas, you may have to walk 50 miles to the next station. Don’t get stranded out there in the prairie.
- Be aware of your phone. In very rural areas there may not be a phone signal available. Just being aware of this can help you avoid being in situations where you need help and there isn’t any available.
- Lock your car. It is easy to get lulled into a sense of laziness when in rural areas. It is generally safe, but there are people who will take advantage of an unlocked, unattended vehicle. Most petty criminals are looking for an opportunity. Don’t give them one.
- In big cities like Kansas City or Wichita, don’t go out at night alone. It is generally safe, but criminals will go after a person alone. They will not go after a group of people. The same basic precautions should be taken there that you would take in any large city.
- Keep yourself hydrated. In the summer heat, in rural areas especially, there may not be any water available. Carry water with you if you are driving in rural areas. Drink plenty of water. The summer heat can cause heatstroke if you are not careful.
- Road hazards. While driving at night, keep a lookout for deer. These animals are plentiful and they will run out in front of your car. Watch for other wild animals that could also run across the road in front of you. They could cause you to have an accident in a remote rural area.
- Keep your car in good shape. Even a rental car can have issues, so check things out before you hit the road. This is especially true in rural areas. Before the trip begins, check your fluid levels, tires, belts, and lights, to avoid breakdowns.
- Plan ahead. Allow time for delays, and even for distractions that you want to stop and investigate. You may also obtain construction zone locations and road conditions from the state highway patrol with your smartphone.
So... How Safe Is Kansas Really?
Kansas is an extremely safe place for travel.
With basic safety precautions, you should not have any difficulties.
The one caveat is the major cities in the state, which have the usual big-city crime issues.
In major cities, like Kansas City, there is a lot of crime, so you need to be careful there.
In the Kansas side of Kansas City, your chances of being a victim of a crime are one in 21, which is much higher than the national average.
Violent crime is also well above the national average.
Residents of Kansas City, Kansas, have a one in 63 chance of being a victim of violent crime.
By comparison, the chances are one in 199 on the Missouri side of the city.
The city of Lenexa, which is a suburb of Kansas City, has a much lower crime rate, with a 1.6 per 1000 violent crime rate, and a 17 per 1,000 property crime rate.
Some areas of Wichita are not safe.
The central part of the city has areas with crime rates well above the national average.
The Murdoch area of central Wichita is much higher than the national average as far as crime, with a one in eight chance of being a crime victim there.
Even so, the crime rate has fallen in Wichita in recent years.
Apart from those two areas, the state is very safe.
Mid-sized to small towns have a very low crime rate.
Partly because there are not as many people, but rural areas have a very low crime rate.
Most crimes involve situations where people did not lock their cars.
There is very little violent crime in rural areas.
In small towns, people often do not even lock their houses and are completely safe walking around any time of day or night.
How Does Kansas Compare?
If you are traveling from outside the United States, you will need a visa or passport to get into the country. Once in the country, you will not need your passport, and travel is free between states. If you are a U.S. citizen, you will not need any identification other than a driver's license.
The standard of currency is the U.S. Dollar. Restaurants and other businesses normally will not accept any other currency. Exchange is easy at the airport when you enter the country. Credit cards are accepted from everywhere around the world, and exchange rates are figured as a part of the transaction.
The summers are very hot. Winters are relatively mild, but there can be a lot of snow and ice at times. Tornadoes in spring are the biggest danger. Fall is the best time of year in Kansas. Temperatures are very pleasant and there is very little rain from September through November. There is often a lot of wind, which is more an irritation than anything, but it is good to be aware and expect a lot of wind.
Kansas City and Wichita have international airports that have flights from other countries and from other major cities around the nation. Many small towns have very small airports that cater to private planes. The western half of the state has very few airports of any size.
While Kansas is very safe, anything can happen. Travel insurance can be a safety net, especially if you are traveling from outside the country. A roadside assistance plan is also a good idea if you are renting a car.
Kansas Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Kansas - Safety by City