Kansas : Safety by City
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Winfield, Kansas, is home to the Coachella of Kansas.
There’s a good chance if you’re reading this, it’s to learn about the city where the Walnut Valley Festival is held every September.
Even if you are here for another reason, you might want to know about it.
The Walnut Valley Festival is an acoustic music venue that runs for four days during one of the arguably most beautiful times of the year.
Winfield is just 25 minutes from the Oklahoma state line in south/southeast Kansas.
This might be one of the only landlocked cities where you can spend time on a developed island.
With a lake and a river nearby, you’ll be by the water in one way or another.
The historical architecture of the homes and elegant neighborhoods are a big draw here.
If you want to experience the true Kansas countryside, there are several official agritourism options to explore.
No matter what you are here for, you’re bound to find something that is music to your ears.
Warnings & Dangers in Winfield
OVERALL RISK: LOW
I'm putting Winfield on the high end of low risk. When a city has just 12,000 people, it's easy for crime numbers to look worse when you figure them out "per 100,000 people," as the FBI does. There are some unusually high crime rates here despite that. We'll talk about why I'm not taking it to medium risk in a little bit.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
There isn't a public bus system here with scheduled routes. Taxis and rideshares are available, more so during the festival. I strongly recommend having your own car here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Winfield has a historically high theft rate, but not when it comes to pickpockets and purse snatchings. In fact, I only found one since 2018.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Look up "Winfield Tornado" on YouTube, and you'll see why this is a medium-risk city regarding the weather. Severe weather is possible throughout the year, and that's on top of the winter storm potential.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here with just two robberies in 2020, and the city hasn't had more than four robberies in a year going back to 2010.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here too. Terror targets are usually large population centers, major tourist attractions, or military centers. None of that is in Winfield.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are IRS and FBI scams where callers use a fake number to scare people into giving their personal information, but those are targeted at locals. You have low risk as a tourist.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women can visit at low risk, but I do want to point out one interesting crime statistic. 66% of all violent crimes were against women. While only two strangers were victims of a crime, it's nothing to be too worried about, but it was worth noting.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2020 and 2021 Water Quality Reports show no violations in the drinking water or reporting methods, and all tests were at or above the required standards.
Safest Places to Visit in Winfield
Windfield City Lake is about 20 minutes from Winfield and has boating, swimming, and fishing options on the water with hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing on the shore.
There is a designated beach area to get some sun and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Island Park is on the west side of Winfield and was once the location of Chataquas until 1913.
The playground here is designed like a castle, so you’ll have a royal good time exploring and burning some energy.
There’s a Peace Garden where you can have a more tranquil setting surrounded by lush flowers, plants, and trees.
There’s a motocross race track just outside Winfield.
Platter Hill MX Park is the place to be on Sundays when the races take to the dirt.
As of this publication, the website for Platter Hill MX Park is under construction, so call (316)250-7371 with any questions.
There are several walking or driving tours you can take:
- Stone Bridges of Cowley County: 18 locations throughout the county, all made between 1890 and 1935.
- Caton Legacy Architectural Driving Tour: Architect Bill Caton designed dozens of homes in his lifetime, many of which are still standing and lived in.
- Winfield Historic Homes Driving Tour: Winfield is rich with Victorian-era architecture built in the last 30 years of the 1800s.
You can tell your friends you went on an agro tour, and it’s up to you if you admit it was really a winery!
Wheat State Wine offers tours and free samples of its award-winning wine.
Don’t forget to say “hello” to Ghost, the resident canine sommelier.
Wener Creek Farm is a working farm with one of those bright red barns that stands out in the bright white snow.
Here you can visit the farmland or just shop for fresh-picked items.
You’ll also come across some black Spanish goats and American Guinea Hogs.
Visiting Winfield, you’ll see a series of 12 (and growing) murals.
Don’t look for them all outside – some are indoors.
In fact, Winfield is home to the largest mural in the state of Kansas.
If you don’t want to hunt them down, you can pick up a brochure at the Chamber of Commerce.
Maps for the other driving tours are available there as well.
Places to Avoid in Winfield
The southeastern side of the city has the highest crime rates, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a place to avoid.
Most of the hotels are outside of this area, so you can enjoy a safer place to sleep.
Kansas gets cold in the winter, but not cold enough usually for things like ice fishing and ice skating on rivers and ponds.
Stay off the ice, no matter how cold it is outside.
The temperatures here fluctuate greatly, so that cold spell could have followed five days of above-average temperatures.
Avoid going hunting, boating, or fishing without a license.
All three require Kansas-issued licenses.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Winfield
- If you come from a place that doesn’t get tornadoes, you should study the Cowley County Emergency Management Plan. Winfield does have 10 tornado sirens in the city and two at the lake, but you also need a reliable weather app to send notifications of impending weather. It’s a smart idea to check the forecast daily to see if storms are possible.
- You can report any crime online through a Crimestoppers form or call Crimestoppers at (620)221-7777. All callers are given a code, so their identities are secure. If you give a tip that leads to an arrest, you might get a reward.
- In winter, if you are involved in an accident without injuries, a connection to drugs/alcohol, and the cars are drivable, the police won’t come to make a report. This is to keep officers safe during a winter event. If you are the victim of a hit and run, you should call the police.
- The city website has an interactive map of the parking areas throughout the city. You can send a link with the map to your email address. It’s a Google Maps format, so it will be easy to use.
- Download the KanDrive app to stay up-to-date on road conditions in this area and across Kansas. It provides real-time information on accidents, road closures, construction work, and live cameras.
- Lake life is great life in the summer, but you need to watch out for extreme temperatures in Kansas. Temperatures can get into the “feel like” range above 100°(F). On top of that, the humidity will have you sweating a lot. It’s not enough to just drink water. You need to boost your water with some electrolytes to keep yourself from dehydrating.
- Windfield has some additional requirements for hunters and anglers. You’ll need to get local permits on top of your state license. You can learn more about this on the ksoutdoors.com website or at windfieldks.org.
- When you’re walking around Winfield, you can activate the pedestrian crosswalks by pressing a button at the intersection. It doesn’t have a sensor to know you are there, and if you wait for the light to change, you’ll be waiting a long time. The buttons are clearly marked and hard to miss.
- The city’s street management plan during snow events does not include plowing residential streets. The two main roads are plowed first, and then secondary roads will be treated. Avoid taking shortcuts through neighborhoods as the snowpack can become very slick, especially at night.
- Sign up for text or email alerts through the Winfield city website, under the “Residents” tab. This will provide you with city updates touching on topics from road closures to family-friendly events.
So... How Safe Is Winfield Really?
Winfield has an average violent crime rate and an above-average property crime rate.
The crimes that are committed here are generally among people in the community.
In fact, just two violent crimes, of 46, were against strangers.
Vehicle break-ins or burglaries account for 23% of the thefts.
Even in small-town Kansas, you still need to lock your car and remove your belongings as if you were in the heart of downtown Kansas City.
Even with the higher than average theft rate, the numbers are almost cut in half from where they were in 2018.
Here’s a look at the risks in Winfield as of 2020:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 258 risk
- Robbery: 1 in 5950
- Theft: 1 in 39
Nearby Arkansas City is another Cowley County destination, and you might want to visit some of the attractions there.
Without going into the weeds, here are a few things you need to know about Arkansas City:
- There’s a higher risk of getting pickpocketed or having your purse snatched there.
- 23% of violent crimes were against strangers.
- While the crime rates when calculating data are about the same, there’s a slightly higher risk for tourists.
One additional safety note; in May of 2022, the non-emergency numbers for police dispatch changed.
I want to give them to you now instead of you coming across the wrong number on another website.
Cowley County Emergency Communications has two non-emergency phone numbers, (620)221-5447 and (620)441-4547.
Why is this important?
Because when you call Winfield Police Department at (620)221-5555, they can no longer connect you to dispatch.
How Does Winfield Compare?
|New York City
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
You'll need a U.S. travel or work visa to visit Kansas. This process includes a bunch of paperwork, a social media investigation of your accounts for the past five years, and an in-person interview. Start that process several months ahead of time.
The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the only currency you can use here, and you should do any currency exchange at the airport or in a bigger city like Wichita or Tulsa.
Plan for variable temperatures with different layers of clothing, but winter generally requires outerwear, and summer will require bug spray and clothing you are comfortable sweating in. The humidity here is no joke.
You can get to Wichita's airport in under an hour. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, airport is about two hours away. If you're flying out of Kansas City, plan for a four-hour trip to give yourself plenty of time.
You'll be thankful for travel insurance even if it costs a little more. There are just too many weather variables here to take the risk without insurance on the trip.
Winfield Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Kansas - Safety by City