Missouri : Safety by City
- Blue Springs
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- Creve Coeur
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- Kansas City
- Lee’s Summit
- Maryland Heights
- New Madrid
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- St. Louis
- Ste. Genevieve
Ste. Genevieve is a historic town located in southeastern Missouri.
The town was founded in 1735 by French colonists and is considered the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi River.
It was named after Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, France.
During the American Revolutionary War, Ste. Genevieve remained loyal to the French Crown, while the French influences still stand today, from the name to the spaces you can explore.
Ste. Genevieve (Saint Gen-uh-veeve) was an important center of trade and commerce during the colonial era, especially with its location along the mighty Mississippi River.
The nearby historical park, protected by the National Park Service, offers something different from a traditional outdoor park, with a location in the center of town.
This region is known for its wineries and winding roads as well, offering more options to travelers than they’d expect in a small town of fewer than 5,000 people.
Today, Ste. Genevieve is a popular tourist destination for its architecture, history, and year-round events that draw crowds from major cities like Memphis and St. Louis.
It’s also less than an hour from the largest subterranean lake in the world, where you can boat, dive, or walk along crystal clear water with no animals or plant life.
Warnings & Dangers in Ste. Genevieve
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here as crime rates are nothing to be too concerned about while the region offers plenty of safe, fun places to explore.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need your own vehicle to get around town, but you can also call a cab or rideshare if you don't want to walk. You can pay for a trolley ride between the wineries, which avoids anyone drinking and driving.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
I was surprised to see that nearly 22% of thefts in Ste. Genevieve was pickpockets in 2022. While the raw number on that is 11 pickpockets, most cities with such low crime rates don't have any pickpocket reports in an average year. It's still a low risk, but a good reminder to keep up with safety practices, especially during large local events.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
This area gets year-round weather risks, from severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to winter storms mixed with ice. Flooding along the Mississippi River is always a possibility. The weather risks here do come with plenty of warning. St. Genevieve is in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and does have an earthquake risk.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The town hasn't had a robbery since 2016, so that is a low-risk category as well.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a very low risk here since it's a small town in the middle of rural Missouri. The Mississippi River is an important shipping path in America, but there are bigger port cities that would be potential targets.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Six reports of fraud came in during 2022, half of which were credit card or ATM fraud. The risk is low, and most common scams in small towns will target residents.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
I grew up near Ste. Genevieve, and I loved hopping in my car to come to visit the wineries and charming downtown. It's very welcoming for bridal parties, girlfriend getaways, or solo adventures.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance. Visit the Missouri Department of Natural Resources website to learn about lead dangers in drinking water. The risk goes outside the scope of utility companies, as the lead concerns are focused on outdated pipes. Since Ste. Genevieve has a lot of old buildings, it's wise to let a stagnant faucet run for a minute before using the water. You can not boil lead levels out of water.
Safest Places to Visit in Ste. Genevieve
VisitSteGen.com is the official tourism website for this region, and at first glance, you might think you’re looking at New Orleans because of the French impressions.
You can also see what’s happening downtown on the Facebook page @dwntwnstegen.
Please note that any search should be “Ste” and not “Saint.”
Ste is the feminine version of Saint.
Get accustomed to the French influence in town by visiting the Centre for French Colonial Life.
Exhibits rotate throughout the year.
Another great way to explore the town’s rich history is to visit the Bolduc House Museum, which offers tours and exhibits that showcase the area’s French colonial roots.
The Ste. Genevieve Art Center & Museum celebrates local artists, and if you want to go prehistoric here, stop by the Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center, where replicas are housed in the Hall of Giants.
In 2022, Ste. Genevieve was named the Official Dinosaur Visitor Site of Missouri.
Another option is to simply take a leisurely stroll through the town’s historic downtown district, where you’ll find numerous well-preserved buildings and charming shops to peruse.
The National Historic Park here consists of several historical buildings.
Wine enthusiasts should definitely take advantage of the area’s numerous wineries and vineyards, where you can tour the facilities and sample some of the region’s award-winning wines.
The Route de Vin Trail covers five locations, including one with a glass house, another in a cave, and yet another inside an 1860s log cabin.
The restaurant scene is amazing here, too, as there’s a mix of French food nods, Southern cooking, Cajun flavors, and a popular buffet at the Old Brick House with a little bit of everything.
Those who love antiques and vintage finds should explore the treasure trove of unique shops and boutiques that specialize in all sorts of vintage and one-of-a-kind items.
You’ll appreciate the River Rapids Water Park in humid Missouri summers.
You can ride the lazy river or take a water slide ride from 35 feet in the air.
There’s a special section just for kids.
Places to Avoid in Ste. Genevieve
You don’t have to worry about the bad parts of town here because the city isn’t big enough or dangerous enough.
Of course, the downtown area is going to have higher crime rates because it’s just about the only area where people work and visit.
Don’t let this being a Mississippi River town be misleading.
The river is near the city, but it isn’t a riverfront town.
In fact, the only access to the river is a small road that takes you to a ferry where you can cross into (very, very rural) Illinois.
Bicyclists mostly use it.
Most of the river is blocked by trees and bluffs, but it is RIGHT THERE, I promise!
Safety Tips for Traveling to Ste. Genevieve
- Ste. Genevieve does have its own police department, but its website looks like it was designed in the late 90s. Use its Facebook page for updates and information @sgcpd. The Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office is also on Facebook @sgcso.
- You can call in a crime tip anonymously around the clock at (573) 883-5820. You are welcome to leave your name, but you don’t have to. You should just be as descriptive as possible when you leave a message.
- Sign up for emergency notifications through TextCaster. Look for Francois & Ste. Genevieve County 911 Alerts. You will get text messages when severe weather risks pop up and are guided through the storm watches and warnings.
- Fall visitors should know that residents can get leaf-burning permits here to get rid of fallen leaves that can block storm drains. This might explain the smell of something on fire during your visit. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call the fire department, but this is part of life in Missouri.
- There’s a Facebook group called “What is REALLY going on in Ste. Genevieve Missouri,” and more than 12,000 people are in the group (even though just 5,000 people live there). By just reviewing some of the posts, I can see how this could be beneficial for a first-time visitor to get some first-hand guidance.
- The town is so true to its settlers’ form that the streets are very narrow in some places. This can make driving in snow and ice dicey. Don’t drive while distracted, and keep your eyes on the road. Downtown is also a mix of two-way and one-way streets, so pay attention.
- If you visit the Sheriff’s Office website, check the news release section to see a list of weekly crimes. This will help you become more familiar with criminal activity closer to your visit.
- As much as this town has deep French roots, don’t expect French accents or for many people to speak French. It’s still a Midwestern town with some people having a slightly Southern accent.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Missouri Department of Conservation. You should confirm you’re getting the non-resident license, and you can purchase those for one day up to an annual pass. Be sure to check the seasonal restrictions on certain types of fish.
- The Mississippi River has been dealing with some historic low levels since 2022, and that could impact some of the tours or activities you want to do along the river. Remember that no matter how low the river is, it’s never safe to swim or wade in its waters. The current is still swift, the water is muddy and debris-filled, and there are too many dangerous chemicals or bacteria to risk it.
So... How Safe Is Ste. Genevieve Really?
Even though the city only had 12 violent crimes in 2022, that’s still the highest average since 2015.
The county had 42 violent crimes, and just one involved a stranger.
Even when you do the math to “per 100,000,” the crime rates here are still a good 30% lower than the national average.
Theft came in at 51 incidents in 2022, which was a 35% increase from 2021.
You still need to lock your car and hotel doors and leave the windows rolled up and locked.
The rising violent crimes and the multitude of law enforcement agencies having staffing shortages could impact the safety around Ste. Genevieve.
When St. Louis asks for Highway Patrol Troopers to help in the city, that leaves long portions of rural interstates unattended.
While there’s no good solution other than finding qualified law enforcement officers, it’s something to be aware of if you need help on the interstate or notice a lot of people speeding.
I’ve spent several long weekends in Ste. Genevieve and it is truly a special getaway.
It’s not pristine and gaudy but rather worn-in and comfortable, savoring the history while staying true to the Midwestern spirit of hospitality.
How Does Ste. Genevieve Compare?
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- Visas - A U.S. Visa and passport are required for all international travelers unless they bear a Visa Waiver issued by the State Department. You can travel throughout the different states without having to show ID at the borders, but you will need your passport to be more than six months from expiring.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency here. To save time, exchange currency at the airport or in your home country. Limit how much cash you carry and try to purchase as much as possible with credit cards for the best fraud protection.
- Weather - When packing for a trip to Ste. Genevieve, it's important to dress for the weather, which can range from hot and humid in the summer to chilly and snowy in the winter. You'll also want to pack comfortable shoes for exploring the town's historic sites and natural attractions.
- Airports - While Ste. Genevieve doesn't have its own commercial airport, there are several options within driving distance, including St. Louis Lambert International Airport and the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport. St. Louis is the bigger airport with more flight options.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance gives you peace of mind, especially when visiting an area prone to severe weather. Insurance goes into effect as soon as you purchase it, protecting you against any last-minute cancelations or emergencies.
Ste. Genevieve Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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