Kansas : Safety by City
- Cottonwood Falls
- Council Grove
- Dodge City
- Fort Scott
- Garden City
- Great Bend
- Junction City
- La Crosse
- Overland Park
- Prairie Village
When Jon Bon Jovi sang “Woooah – We’re halfway there…”, he could have very well been talking about Kinsley, Kansas.
This rural city of fewer than 1,500 people is the exact halfway point between New York City and San Francisco.
Don’t worry if you forget that because there is a HUGE sign in Kinsley to remind you.
The joy of researching small towns is I always start with the thought, “Oh no! My editor will be so disappointed – there’s not much here!”
Within minutes, I’m smiling as I write, thinking of the little unique pieces of tourism that lack grandeur but make up the fabric of a state like Kansas.
Kinsley could also be the place you go to when someone tells you to “Get out of Dodge!”.
It’s just 30 minutes east of Dodge City, in west-central Kansas, where the green of the eastern side of the state gives way to rugged high plains.
This city celebrates the art of the carnival year-round, not just when the carnival comes to town.
It’s a place where hunting in the rural regions around comes with solitary space or a group tour to find the best pheasant hunting in the state.
Kinsley isn’t an easy town to research.
Most businesses don’t have websites or social media pages.
Even government pages are scarce.
I’ve done a lot of digging to help you get the best information about this small town that seems to be a secret to the outside world.
Warnings & Dangers in Kinsley
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Kinsley's law enforcement comes from the Edwards County Sheriff. There is no local police department. Since Kinsley has about half the population of the whole county, the crime numbers from the sheriff's office hold up in the city as well. There's low risk with goose eggs (zeros) in several key categories.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You're going to need a car here. There aren't public buses, taxis, or rideshares. Plus, you have to get here, which will require a car. Assuming you are a good driver, there's a low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
37 thefts happened in the county in 2020, which does add up to an average theft rate when you figure it out "per 100,000" as the FBI does. There's a low risk here.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as with any Kansas town. The state is in a corridor of the country that can get extreme weather every season. Winters can have blinding blizzards and ice storms. When it's warm outside, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can happen.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were no robberies in 2020. In fact, there has only been one robbery in Edwards County since 2010. That's a very low risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
You don't have to worry about terror attacks of any kind here. It's a small town that's barely findable on the map unless you are specifically looking for it.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The city of Kinsley has a website with a scam warning page, but it just lists the common scams and safety tactics to avoid getting scammed. There's a low risk it will happen to you. One of the biggest fraud cases in recent memory involved a woman scamming Medicare.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe visiting here with low risk, but there isn't a lot to do, so avoid wandering around at night looking for some fun. The ruralness of this community might be a little intimidating, but Kinsley is near major highways - well - as major as highways get in western Kansas.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water here is low risk as well. There were no violations in the 2021 Water Quality Report, and all standards were met or exceeded.
Safest Places to Visit in Kinsley
The hottest ticket in town is to the Edwards County Historical Society Museum, and it’s free to all visitors.
You can explore everything from archeological finds when wooly mammoths roamed this region through the city’s founding and past the railroad days that created the community existing today.
The museum does have a Facebook page that is regularly updated with exhibit information.
Just outside the museum, you’ll see the big sign for the “Midway Point Between New York and San Francisco”, so don’t forget to take a picture with the sign.
The Edwards County Fair happens in Kinsley every summer.
There is a rodeo, lots of fair food, exhibits, shopping markets, and barnyard exhibits.
Check out the Edwards County Fair Association on Facebook for more information about the fair activities and other events held at the fairgrounds throughout the year.
Kinsley was more than a railroad town in the early 1900s.
It was also the home base for half a dozen carnival companies.
Due to being the center of the country, it made a great starting point for carnival travel in any direction.
Locals tell me this is the only traveling carnival museum you can find in the whole country.
You can also learn about a carnival controversy where a certain famous dancer was banned from carnival performances in the state.
Hunters should check out 10 Gauge Outfitters.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned researching Kansas, it’s that “Outfitters” in the name of a business has nothing to do with shopping or clothing.
It’s like a tour for hunters with local experts taking hunters to the best locations to find the game.
Here you can hunt pheasant, prairie dogs, deer, and turkey.
Plan to spend about $650 a day on this luxury.
The Palace Theater shows discounted movies and has local performances and concerts, but it’s more about the history of seeing a movie there.
This was built in 1917 and has been renovated by local volunteers.
There aren’t any traditional hotels in Kinsley, but there are some locally owned and operated inns.
You can stay at the Two Elk Lodge or the Tucked Inn Bed & Breakfast.
Places to Avoid in Kinsley
Kinsley just isn’t big enough to have bad parts of town.
With low crime rates, you can travel freely throughout the city without worry.
There are many streets in Kinsley that are still made of brick pavers from the city’s early years and bring a nostalgic vibe for drivers.
It can also bring a rattle to the car that makes it seem like there is a flat tire or other mechanical issues.
Stick to the speed limit, and you won’t notice at all.
Given how remote this area is and the fact that two-lane highways surround it, don’t take any risks regarding the weather.
It’s tempting to “get to the next town” before a snowstorm hits.
Drivers think they can outdrive an approaching thunderstorm.
You don’t want to end up being stuck trying to find shelter on the side of a highway because you didn’t time the weather right.
Winter storms here can shut down roads for days.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Kinsley
- Edwards County takes part in CodeRED emergency notifications. Be sure to sign up for these alerts before you visit. You’ll get weather alerts sent to your mobile device.
- The Edwards County Sheriff’s Office is located in Kinsley at the courthouse. You can stop by to ask any safety questions you have or call (620) 659-3636. You should still use 911 for emergencies here.
- The Kinsley city website has an interactive map that looks just like a Google Map but has Kinsley-specific locations added with descriptions.
- The city’s website has a “news” section, but as of this publication, it’s incredibly outdated, with 2019 being the latest year news was provided. There is also a push to the city’s Facebook page, which no longer exists. If you have any questions, you should call city hall directly at (620) 659-3611.
- There are two gas stations in Kinsley and only a handful of options in any direction until you get to Dodge City or Wichita. Gas up when you can here.
- In order to take part in any coordinated or independent hunting activity, you’ll need a license from the state of Kansas. Your home hunting license won’t suffice. A hunting license will cost almost $100 if you are 16 or older and $42.50 if you are under 16. There is a non-resident hunting and fishing license combo for $137.50. You can purchase the licenses online at ksoutdoors.com.
- Before you visit nearby cities, like the popular Dodge City, check out our reviews of those locations. We’ve covered a good spread of cities across the state. Just because Kinsley is safe doesn’t mean other cities are also safe. For example, Dodge City has some crime trends you need to know about before visiting.
- Since you’ll be on rural roads here, it’s important to pack the car with the right safety equipment. Bring a gallon of water for each person, a bright red shirt or blanket to use a signal device if you break down or get stuck, a can of “Fix a Flat” to help get you to the next city, a tire gauge, and extra windshield washer fluid. Make sure the spare tire is inflated. I once made that mistake and was on the side of the road in Tennessee with a perfectly good but flat spare tire.
- Kantravel.org is the best website to keep an eye on construction, accidents, and road conditions across the state. In the winter, you can see a live camera from the front of snow plows.
- Check your mobile carrier’s coverage map before you visit rural Kansas. There might be times when you don’t have service for several miles. You should put your phone into airplane mode when you don’t have service, so the battery doesn’t get drained.
So... How Safe Is Kinsley Really?
Kinsley is a low-crime city in a low-crime county.
Most of the crimes that happen are among people who know each other.
Just one of the violent crimes in 2020 was against a stranger.
Half of the violent crimes happened in homes.
Since 2010, there has only been one homicide and one robbery in the entire county.
The Edwards County, Kansas, Sheriff’s Office regularly updates its Facebook page with crime and safety information, so follow that page to stay up-to-date on current crime trends.
You still need to take steps to protect your car.
Vehicle break-ins make up 40% of the theft rate.
It’s easy to let your guard down in small, rural areas, but in every rural city I’ve researched across this great country, car thefts remain at 25% or more of theft crimes.
Kinsley isn’t the most exciting place in Kansas or the country, but it does have a few unique things that make it worth a stop for a night or an afternoon.
It’s also a safe place to stay if you want to avoid the crowds in Dodge City.
How Does Kinsley Compare?
- Visas - A travel visa to the U.S. will cost around $160 and take about three months to process, at most. Start planning early to avoid any hiccups. You can travel throughout Kansas without showing your visa, but you will need it at the airport upon arrival or departure.
- Currency - You'll want to exchange currency at the airport and carry some cash with you as some businesses in Kinsley are cash-only. You don't want to carry a large amount of cash in one place, so just bring what you need with you and lock the rest away. I like to hide my spare cash under the spare tire while on a road trip.
- Weather - You can get a lot of extremes here throughout the seasons and sometimes day-to-day. Bring layers of clothing and prepare for a lot of wind, from constant breezes to "hold onto your hat" winds. It's also going to be dusty, so only bring clothing that you don't mind getting dirty. You'll need sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots too.
- Airports - Dodge City has a regional airport about 40 minutes west, and the Wichita airport is two hours east.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is the cherry on top of your safety plan in rural Kansas. Be sure you know what coverage you have on the rental car. Sometimes your own car insurance policy will cover rentals, but you want to get that sorted out before you're calling for help on the side of the road.
Kinsley Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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