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
Kirksville, Missouri, is a charming college town in the north-central part of the state, offering a unique blend of history, nature, and community.
It is home to Truman State University, a highly regarded public liberal arts and sciences institution that attracts a diverse and vibrant student population.
Visitors can explore the Truman State University campus, which features beautiful architecture, sculptures, and art installations.
However, Kirksville does offer more than just college-town amenities. A.T.
Still, University is the birthplace of osteopathic medicine and the legacy of A.T.
Still lives on in modern medical practices in a museum celebrating his life’s work.
Thousand Hills State Park is a 3,000-acre park that offers a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming.
The park is also home to a picturesque 700-acre lake that is surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests.
History buffs will appreciate the Kirksville Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The district features over 40 historic buildings that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries, including the Adair County Courthouse, the Kirksville Railroad Depot, and the Bank of Kirksville building.
Kirksville is in a rather remote part of Missouri, with Des Moines, Kansas City, and St. Louis all being about two and a half hours away.
Warnings & Dangers in Kirksville
OVERALL RISK: LOW
You'll find a low risk in Kirksville, but the violent crime rates are higher than the national average. With a small town, the potential for skewed results exists since several more or fewer crimes can significantly impact the per 100,000 rates. It's not the safest small town, but it's also not a hotbed of criminal activity.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
KirkTran is the public transportation system in Kirksville, with service from Monday through Saturday. Taxis and rideshares are available, which are often used on college campuses. Rental cars are available too. All options are low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
The theft rate is more than twice the national average, fueled by the mysterious category of "other" than pickpockets or purse snatchings. None of the latter was reported in 2022. Car break-ins do account for 32% of all thefts. Treat this with a medium risk if for no other reason than to use exemplary safety steps.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk because of the ongoing potential for severe or winter weather in the various seasons. This part of the country is prone to tornadoes or severe thunderstorms, with the peak season being spring. Extreme summer and winter temperatures are possible, and winter weather is common, but you shouldn't expect snow on the ground all winter.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Just eight robberies were reported in 2022, but that's a 167% increase from 2021 (see how skewed that looks?). This is a low risk, but not low enough to ever let your guard down.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk as such a rural area would unlikely ever be on a terror group's target list. Domestic terrorism, hate crimes, or lone-wolf acts can happen anywhere. The latest Terrorism Advisory Bulletin will cover any timely concerns about dangers in local communities.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most scams here are residential in nature, but fraud was up 40%, and 68% of that was related to ATM or credit card fraud. It's best to avoid public ATMs, especially if you're out at night. Let your bank know you'll be traveling and set up spending limits, so you'll be alerted if someone tries to make large purchases with your account. Don't leave open tabs at bars, and never throw away receipts in public trash bins.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
As a college town, women should use standard caution, especially when enjoying the nightlife. There's nothing in the crime data that suggests a higher risk for women than men.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. If there is a water quality issue during your visit, it would likely be from a pressure loss, water main break, or frozen pipes. The city will send alerts out about that, and your hotel should notify its guests if that happens.
Safest Places to Visit in Kirksville
Visit Kirksville is the name of the tourism website for the city, where it refers to itself as “Missouri’s North Star.”
The tourism website sends you to an outdated Facebook page, so I’ll just help you find the right one.
Go to @VisitKVMO and not @VisitKirksville on Facebook.
The social media page is much more updated than the website “news,” so use both tools when planning your itinerary.
Kirksville has a downtown that is actually a town square, complete with the courthouse at the center and businesses lining all four sides.
All the shops and restaurants are locally owned and operated, making this small town feel all that much more personal.
For those interested in the arts, the Kirksville Arts Association hosts rotating exhibitions of local and regional artists at their downtown gallery, the Sue Ross Arts Center.
Truman State University also has an art gallery open to the public.
Adair County Historical Society Museum spans the timeline of the territory, from Native American artifacts to exploring the pioneering lifestyle to the Battle of Kirksville during the Civil War.
You can pair this with a visit to the Adair County Veterans Memorial, with some war artifacts and a tribute of local soldiers who died during wars.
The Forest-Llewellyn Cemetery is a Civil War final resting place and a mass grave for hundreds of soldiers.
You can download a cemetery map showing the different locations and notable people who perished here.
The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine celebrates the “Father of Osteopathy,” A.T.
Still, and the museum is located in his namesake college.
The museum starts with a walk back in time, where historic buildings have been preserved.
The rest of the museum spans permanent and traveling exhibits, from the macabre to fascinating to forensic.
Thousand Hills State Park, just a few miles south of town, offers hiking trails, fishing, camping, and boating on Forest Lake.
The Petroglyph Shelter has rock carvings dating back more than 1500 years.
In addition, the nearby Sugar Creek Conservation Area provides excellent opportunities for hunting and wildlife viewing.
Truman State University also has an observatory, so check the schedule for the celestial events open to the public.
April 8, 2024, Solar Eclipse doesn’t have Kirksville in the Path of Totality, but the line does run just east of St. Louis, which is 200 miles away, so there will still be a good show.
Places to Avoid in Kirksville
Most of the crime in this small town is near the central district, which makes sense since it’s likely the most crowded place at all times.
The crime data is exacerbated by high theft rates, but when you water it down it really is a matter of basic safety practices like locking your car door and keeping your valuables inside.
Truman State University is a dry campus, which means you can’t bring alcohol onto campus or drink alcohol while on campus.
Even public drunkenness is prohibited.
The city of Kirksville isn’t dry, but the legal age to consume alcohol is 21.
There might be bars that allow people over 18 or 19 in without drinking privileges, and you should check with your preferred bar to see what the age limit is.
Don’t try to use a fake ID or sneak drinks in the club.
A bar can lose its license for violations like that, and employees will be watching everyone like a hawk.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Kirksville
- Kirksville has its own police department, and they post regular updates on Twitter @KirksvillePD. The main phone number is (660)785-6945 if you have any specific questions.
- Report any suspicious activity or non-urgent criminal activity (graffiti, for example) to the Anonymous Tip Line at (660)627-BUST, or you can email email@example.com.
- Download the MyAlerts app to sign up for emergency notifications in Kirksville. You can also sign up on the police department’s website if you don’t want to download the app.
- The best way to get localized safety information like road construction or water quality issues is to follow the city of Kirksville on Facebook @cityofkirksville. Coincidentally, just a week before I wrote this article, there was a 48-hour boil advisory.
- Before you visit Thousand Hills State Park, read the Tick Awareness document on the park’s website. Ticks are found throughout the park and can easily dig under your skin without you noticing. They carry Lyme Disease, so fast removal of the critter is paramount.
- Campers at Thousand Hills need to make a reservation whether they are using traditional campgrounds or the backcountry sites. You can’t just show up and take a spot.
- Use the MoDOT website and app to help navigate the rural roads of northern Missouri. Since there aren’t interstates in this region, you’ll be looking at a lot of two-lane roads. You need to know about road construction, lane closures, traffic accidents, and weather issues along the way.
- The Missouri Department of Conservation issues fishing licenses, and it’s required for all anglers to have a license before they can fish in any lakes or rivers. You will also be bound by seasonal fishing restrictions. Download the fishing guide from the conservation website to get all the details.
- This is a very conservation and religious part of the country, with “Places of Worship” listed on the tourism bureau’s website. It’s recommended to avoid cursing or taking the Lord’s name in vain. It’s not illegal or anything, but it’s good to read the room of a new city to fit in.
- The Kirksville Connection is a monthly newsletter produced with information about events, safety upgrades, and other important local information. You can read through past publications and sign up for new issues through the Kirksville Connection section of the city’s website.
So... How Safe Is Kirksville Really?
There are some aspects of Kirksville Law Enforcement that I’d call cute if it weren’t so important to have a safe community.
I tip my hat to the police department and leaders of law enforcement because Kirksville has managed to buck two nationwide trends—a surge in violent crime and a gross shortage of police officers.
One of the biggest safety issues in 2022 was rumors that the police department was cutting back and not enforcing the law (like that would EVER happen).
The police chief jumped on that rumor right away.
“I want to assure the public that this is a ridiculous rumor and an insult to the fine men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve our community,” Police Chief Scott Williamson said.
“Our Officers are committed to their profession, and the city council has been very supportive in providing funding for extensive training and equipment needs.”
One issue small towns are facing across America that has hit Kirksville is a surge of drugs, namely those laced with deadly amounts of fentanyl and disguised as prescription drugs.
The local leaders jumped on that as well.
“University towns are hit because you have a lot of people coming to your university from metropolitan areas,” said Adair County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wilson.
“That’s one of the first areas you start to see grow, and then you’re along your major thoroughfares, your highways.
For instance, you know we have Highway 63 that runs from Columbia to Des Moines.”
Visiting Kirksville really gives you that small, conservative town feeling with a college-town vibe that isn’t focused on partying.
It’s a great community for families, but it isn’t the most exciting place to visit, and there isn’t an exciting city nearby.
How Does Kirksville Compare?
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A U.S. Visa by travel intention is required, which could be for school, work, or tourism. The tourism visas are backlogged, so that will take the longest. Don't delay your application. A valid passport that isn't within six months of expiring is required as well.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Credit cards are widely accepted, but bring some cash with you just in case. Exchange currency at the airport or at your home bank to get the best rates.
This area gets four seasons, but temperatures can fluctuate within seasons. While packing layers is preferred, it's really important to check the seven-day forecast before you go. It's not uncommon to have a week of mild weather in the winter or some cool days in the summer. You will need bug spray from spring through fall as this is a humid, mosquito-breeding region.
The nearest airport to Kirksville is the Kirksville Regional Airport, which is located about 6 miles south of the city center. Another nearby airport is the Columbia Regional Airport, which is about 85 miles west of Kirksville. If you want a major airport, like Des Moines or Kansas City, plan for nearly three hours on the road.
Travel insurance is a wise investment to protect your airfare and rental car. You should also consider supplemental health insurance if your medical plan doesn't stretch to this region. Out-of-pocket healthcare costs are quite expensive, even for minor things like a sprained ankle.
Kirksville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Missouri - Safety by City