Missouri has two major cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, and there is a lot more in between those two that make it an interesting state.
It is famous for the great arch in St. Louis.
Branson, Missouri is a big country music center, the ice cream cone was invented at a world fair in St. Louis, and the state has more than 6,400 caves.
There are lots of small towns that have character, and there are a lot of state and national parks for exploring the outdoors.
St. Louis is famous for its botanical garden and its many museums.
Missouri is on the edge of the great Midwest and was the starting point for the Pony Express.
Kansas City is famous for its barbeque.
There is also a lot of culture and music to explore in the state.
Some areas are dangerous and should be avoided, but there are plenty of areas where you will not likely have any trouble.
Warnings & Dangers in Missouri
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There is some danger in the larger cities, and not as much in rural areas. St. Louis has the third most violent crime in the nation and there are areas in that city that should be avoided at all costs. Kansas City and Springfield were also in the top 10 for violent crime at the national level. The crime rate is not nearly as high in rural areas.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
While crime is high in some areas, there are not many reports of a crime involving taxis. Cities have good public transportation that is safe. Rural areas may not have any public transportation.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There are some pickpockets working in tourist areas in St. Louis and Kansas City. It is not a common crime, however. Most thieves look for things that are left unprotected. There are fewer pickpockets in general around the nation, but it does happen at times.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Missouri has a lot of tornadoes in spring and summer. There are also a lot of ice storms and general storms that create flooding at times. Most of these events can be predicted and there are warnings issued.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
In certain areas of Kansas City and Missouri, the risk would be high. The big cities have areas that are unsafe any time of day. Tourist areas, and rural areas, are generally safe from mugging or robbery of individuals.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There have been very few acts of terrorism in Missouri. There is a concern, however, about radical militant groups that could do terroristic acts. There has also been a lot of rioting and looting in recent years during racial protests.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are some scams aimed at tourists, but they are not common. Most scams are aimed at residents and elderly people, involving identity theft. As a tourist, if something seems too good to be true, there is likely something fishy going on.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Some areas are dangerous, but in general, Missouri is no more dangerous for women than it is for men. It is safe for women to travel alone, but there are areas where you should not go.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Water can get contaminated when there is flooding. For the most part, though, water systems are safe throughout the state.
Safest Places to Visit in Missouri
Missouri has 6400 caves and four state parks highlighting the biggest ones.
Branson is a country music hub, and Silver Dollar City is a huge amusement park in Branson.
This small town is in the Ozark mountains and is generally safe.
While St. Louis has a high crime rate, some of the suburbs and neighboring towns have a very low crime rate and are safe.
The same is true for Kansas City.
State and national parks are also safe, as well a the general countryside.
The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers cover more than 2000 miles each in the state, and the river has a culture of its own.
Columbia is a great cultural town.
Its crime rate is just above the national average, much lower than Kansas City or Missouri.
Jefferson City is the state capitol, a relatively small town on the Missouri River that has lots of interesting history.
Places to Avoid in Missouri
St. Louis is a dangerous city in general.
There are a lot of interesting things to do, but you need to be careful.
Some areas are worse than others.
It is so dangerous it skews the stats for the state.
In St.Louis, one in 52 people will be a victim of a violent crime.
For the rest of the state, that number is one in 202.
East St. Louis is across the river in Illinois but is one of the most dangerous areas in the country.
The downtown is relatively safe.
The north side of the city is the worst.
The Washington Wheatley area of Kansas City, near downtown, is very dangerous with a whopping 13,597 crimes per 100,000 people, including property crimes.
You have a one in seven chance of being a victim in this area.
Springfield also has a reputation for being a high-crime area.
The tourist area of Branson is very safe and it is a small town, but there are areas where property crime is common.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Missouri
- Lock your car. Many criminals check which cars are locked and will pass on a locked car. In some areas, you should keep your car locked even while driving. Don’t give criminals an easy target.
- In St. Louis be careful about leaving things even in a locked car. Car breakings are fairly common in St. Louis, even though they are rare in the rest of the state.
- Don’t be flashy. Avoid wearing expensive-looking jewelry or watches. Looking like you might be wealthy puts a target on your back. Drawing attention to yourself can make you a crime victim. Keep electronics under wraps as well, and don’t let anyone see your cash.
- Don’t be too friendly. Some criminals will try to strike up a friendly-sounding conversation, like asking you what the time is. Being too friendly with strangers can make you careless and can give a criminal an advantage over you.
- Avoid bad areas. Don’t even go to East St. Louis or the north side of St. Louis. These two areas are just plain dangerous any time of day, and there is no reason to go there. Ask at your hotel where the bad areas are around you.
- Watch the weather. Pay attention to weather forecasts. Storms can come up fast, but generally, there is plenty of warning about bad weather. Be prepared for storms any time of year. Tornadoes can be deadly. Heed any tornado warning.
- Watchful at night. Don’t go out alone at night, and in many areas, you should not go out at night, even in a group. Avoid unfamiliar areas at night as well. Even some small towns are not safe at night.
- Follow your heart. If something does not feel right, your instincts are probably right. If something, or someone, does not look safe, get out of that situation as fast as you can. There are real dangers out there, and your instincts are probably right.
- Drive sensibly. Don’t drink and drive obviously, and avoid electronic distractions while driving. Areas you are not familiar with may present hazards you do not expect. Be extra careful while driving in areas you do not know well.
- Be confident. Always act like you know where you are and where you are going. It’s OK to ask for directions, but avoid looking lost or confused. Criminals look for opportunities, and a vulnerable person who is lost or confused makes an easy target.
So... How Safe Is Missouri Really?
Kansas City and St. Louis are great cities, but they have areas that are not safe at all.
Some places should not be visited even during the day.
There are also a lot of places in both cities that are very safe.
The high crime rate in St. Louis is much higher than in the rest of the state.
Even though Kansas City is relatively high, it is not nearly as dangerous as St. Louis.
You are four times more likely to be a crime victim in St. Louis than you are in the rest of the state.
St. Louis has the highest murder rate in the nation, at 87 per 100,000 people.
St. Louis is third in the nation in violent crime, at 1995 per 100,000.
Kansas City is eighth at 7919 and Springfield is 10th at 1505.
There were 543 violent crimes per 100,000 people for the state, which is the highest in the Midwest and sixth-highest in the nation.
Cape Girardeau is also above the national average in violent crime.
Even so, the number of homicides was down a little in 2020 in the state.
Kansas City’s murder rate fell by 25 percent last year, but it is still above the national average.
Tourist areas are safe for the most part, but you should still not be out at night in unfamiliar territory alone.
As far as tourist areas, most crime is a matter of opportunity.
Thieves will check car doors to see if they are locked and will pass up a locked car.
Most of the crime is in the big cities and certain areas of those big cities.
It pays to be vigilant, but for the most part, Missouri is safe for travel.
Natural areas, such as state parks, are very safe with little crime reported.
You can safely explore trails and natural areas.
Watch out for wild animals, which can be a danger, but in well-traveled areas, there will not be many wild animals.
St. Louis is questionable because of the high crime rate, but the rest of the state is pretty safe.
While Kansas City and St. Louis have high crime areas, the suburbs are some of the safest areas anywhere.
Keeping your property out of sight, and secured, will keep you safe as long as you stay out of dangerous areas.
How Does Missouri Compare?
- Visas - Visas are required to enter the United States. You will have to show your visa when entering the country, and you will not have to have it for any other purposes. If you enter the country in another state, you will be able to go to Missouri without restrictions.
- Currency - The standard currency is the U.S. Dollar. Another currency is not accepted by businesses, but they will accept credit cards from other countries. You may exchange currency when you enter the country, or at any bank.
- Weather - Weather can change fast in Missouri. Summers are generally hot and humid, and storms can pop up at any time. There can be snow in winter, heavy at times. Tornadoes are always a concern.
- Airports - St. Louis and Kansas City have international airports. Some other cities have national airports. There are flights between many cities in Missouri. Taxi service is available from the airport to your hotel.
- Travel Insurance - Things can go wrong on vacation, and it is a terrible feeling to be stranded far from home when trouble strikes. Having travel insurance will soften the blow to some degree. Having it will give you some peace of mind as well, and hopefully, you won't have to use it.
Missouri Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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