Is Topeka Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On January 16, 2022
Topeka, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Topeka is the state capital of Kansas and an hour from Kansas City.

The northeast part of Kansas is fairly densely settled, and nothing like the endless amber waves of grain the rest of the state has.

Topeka is also close to the state’s two main universities.

Topeka is the fourth-largest city in the state at 124,000.

The area has a lot of history concerning the pre-Civil War era.

The area was also the first railroad point for the great cattle drives of the 1800s, and it played a key role in the settlement of the West.

It was also part of the civil rights movement with history there to explore as well.

There are a lot of fun things to do in Topeka, and it is a good base for exploring the northeast section of Kansas.

There is the state capitol building, as well as many historical buildings and museums around the city.

Warnings & Dangers in Topeka

Overall Risk


While Topeka is a safe city in many respects, it does have one of the highest property crime rates in the state, second only to Wichita. In the mid-2000s, it had one of the highest crime rates in the Midwest, but it has gone down steadily in the last 10 years. The crime rate in Topeka, for all crimes, is 47.9 per 1000, and the national average is just below 40.

Transport & Taxis Risk


There are several airports in the area, and you might be arriving in Kansas City. There are taxis and buses available to Topeka from any area airport. They are also available in town. It's fairly easy to get around Topeka, and it is safe. Taxis are licensed, and there are very few reports of problems.

Pickpockets Risk


There might be a few in crowded areas like bus stops, but in general, they are rare here. This type of crime is not as popular as it used to be because cards are harder to use and are more secure. This is not a common issue in Topeka.

Natural Disasters Risk


There are tornadoes at times in the spring that can be dangerous. There can also be heavy snowfall in the winter, but this is normally handled by the city. The area is not conducive to earthquakes or flooding. Nature can throw some curves, but it is usually more of an inconvenience than a disaster.

Mugging Risk


There are some areas of Topeka that are not safe, and your risk of being mugged would go up sharply. Some areas around the capital complex are not totally safe. Even so, there are a lot of tourist areas, or main traffic areas, where there is very little risk of being mugged. Much of the city is safe, but it is still not a good idea to be out at night alone.

Terrorism Risk


A city with a state capitol and a fairly large population might be a good target for terrorists, but so far, at least Topeka has not seen any terrorism. There is some concern about domestic terrorism from extremist groups, but there have not been any incidents.

Scams Risk


Most scams are online and focus on the elderly, stealing their identity and bank accounts. There might be the occasional fake taxi or fake tour operator, but they are not common in Topeka. Sometimes, hotels overbook and try to send you to a cheaper place at a higher price.

Women Travelers Risk


Northeast Kansas is very progressive. Women traveling even long is common and does not get much attention. It is still not a good idea to be out on the streets after dark by yourself, but with a little common sense, women are safe in Topeka.

Tap Water Risk


The city provides water from area lakes and deep underground wells. There have been no issues reported with the water quality in Topeka. The tap water is safe.

Safest Places to Visit in Topeka

The state capital complex is an interesting site with a classic type capital building.

It has famous murals that cover entire walls, statues, and you can go to the upper dome.

The Brown v Board of Education historical site is nearby and marks the Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation.

Old prairie town is a historic interactive park that has a large mansion that is also a historical site.

The city has several museums and a large botanical garden.

The old town area, a few blocks from the capital, is also safe.

Residents say the southwest area of town is the safest.

In the southwest, you have a one in 48 chance of being a crime victim.

There are several trails and bike paths in the city, as well as some along the Kansas River past the north side of town.

These tourist areas are very safe even at night.

The southeast part of town is widely regarded as the worst area.

Places to Avoid in Topeka

Topeka has one of the highest crime rates in the state, well above the state and national average.

The central part of the city, around downtown, has a lot of crime at night but is safe in the daytime.

This area has more drugs and prostitution than other areas of the city.

The east side, as well as some of the middle-north areas, have a lot of violent crime and those are areas that have a lot of poverty as well.

There is some gang activity, and a lot of drug activity, in the central areas of the city.

These are small areas that should be avoided even in the daytime.

The east side of the city has a reputation for gang activity and violent crimes even during the day.

The south side has a lot of poverty and tends to have a lot of property crime.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Topeka

  1. Keep your car locked. Theft is a major problem in Topeka. Some people walk through parking lots checking doors on cars and will steal what they can if one is not locked. Even in nice areas, don’t be careless about your car.
  2. Mind where you park. Avoid parking in isolated areas, or away from the main parking lot. Try to make sure there is lighting if you are going to be parked there after dark. Car theft is also a major problem in Topeka.
  3. Hide your stuff. Even a locked car is not always safe. Cover up any expensive items, or any electronics a thief might want to steal. While it is not common, some people will break open a window to steal. Hide your GPS too.
  4. Do your research. The bad areas of Topeka are fairly isolated. With some planning, you can avoid those areas and still enjoy the city. Use city crime maps to find out where the bad areas are and plan your trip accordingly. Also, ask your hotel about areas to avoid.
  5. Avoid the night. As much as possible, avoid being out at night, especially in bad areas. If you must be out, don’t go alone. Criminals look for people by themselves at night as they are easier targets.
  6. Stay alert. Keep an eye on what is happening around you. Watch for suspicious-looking people, or try to notice if anyone is following you. Watching out for trouble can help you avoid bad situations.
  7. Check the weather. The weather in Topeka can vary a lot and can change pretty fast. Watch the weather report and plan your days based on what is expected. Be aware of snowstorms in the winter.
  8. Don’t make it obvious. Avoid looking like a tourist. Try to blend into the people you are around, and try to look like a local person as much as possible. Don’t flash your electronics or your cash where others can see.
  9. Stay hydrated. Especially in the summer, you can get dried out fast and can be in danger of heatstroke. Always carry extra water with you and drink a lot of it. Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol.
  10. Stay on the path. The tourist areas are safe, and if you stay there you should not have any problems. Avoid going too far off the beaten path. Sometimes, bad neighborhoods are just a few blocks away. You can go from a good area to a bad area very quickly.

So... How Safe Is Topeka Really?

Topeka has a reputation as a city of high crime, but there are a lot of people that enjoy Topeka and feel safe.

The city has the second-highest property crime rate and the fourth-highest violent crime rate in the state.

There are a lot of statistics out there, but there is a general agreement that crime is a big problem.

Some rate Topeka in the top five percent for being dangerous for a city its size in the nation, while others put that at about 25 percent.

The overall crime rate is 48 per 1,000 residents, and the national average is 38.

The south side is the most dangerous with a one in eight chance of being a crime victim.

That falls to one in 47 on the west side.

In Topeka, there are 5,703 violent crimes per 100,000, and the national average is 2,300.

Property crime is even worse.

In Topeka, there are 4990 property crimes per 100,000 and the national average is 1900.

Of the violent crimes, robbery is the worst statistically, with 193 per 100,000, while the national average is 73.

Topeka is above the national average in murder, rape, and assault as well.

Property crimes are even worse.

There are 3500 thefts per 100,000 in Topeka, and the national average is 1400.

Car thefts are also higher, with 765 per 100,000, while the national average is 246.

Topeka is not that large of a city, at 127,000, but it has the problems of much larger cities.

There is a crime problem but the tourist areas are safe during the daytime.

How Does Topeka Compare?

CitySafety Index
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
New Orleans57
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60

Useful Information



You will need a visa to enter the United States, but you do not need one to enter Topeka. Your port of entry will be somewhere other than Topeka. A visa can be used for identification purposes.



The dollar is the mode of currency in the United States. Other currencies are not accepted by businesses. You may use your credit card from any country, and the exchange will be part of the transaction. You may do currency exchange at any bank.



Summers are hot but not unbearably so. In spring there are a lot of thunderstorms and there could be tornadoes. There can be snow in winter, and there are ice storms at times that make travel treacherous. Winters are cold and there is a lot of wind.



Topeka regional airport offers flights to other cities in the general area. There is a big international airport in Kansas City that a lot of people in Topeka use. There are taxis and buses available from airports to your hotel.

Travel Insurance

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Topeka Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -2° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 8° C
Apr 13° C
May 19° C
Jun 24° C
Jul 26° C
Aug 26° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 1° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Kansas - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Cottonwood Falls78
Council Grove87
Dodge City57
Fort Scott57
Garden City51
Great Bend53
Junction City47
La Crosse87
Overland Park74
Prairie Village74

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