MISSOURI (KSNF/KODE) — In any state, finding a safe and secure neighborhood is crucial when you’re looking for a family home or business location, but that’s especially true in Missouri. A look at the most dangerous cities in Missouri

RoadSnacks (a website that helps people understand what it’s like to live in different parts of the country by combining data from the U.S. Census, FBI, and dozens of other sources) reviewed the most recent FBI crime data to find some of the most dangerous cities in Missouri. Most of the crime reported in 2020 and later, occurred in larger, metro areas.

Saint Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield accounted for most total crimes and violent crimes in the state. The following list ranks each city by crime rate (total crime/population) with detailed looks at crimes patterns, particularly those involving murder.


Murder Rate0.13 per 1,000
Median Household Income$36,856
Poverty Rate22.9%
Violent Crimes In 20202,545

Springfield, Missouri is a bustling metro area known for its steady job growth and rich cultural scene, making it a popular destination for younger generations seeking to put down roots. Unfortunately, Springfield’s high crime rates are among the highest in Missouri and one of the worst across the United States. For 2021, Safewise ranked Springfield as the 5th most dangerous city in the country.

Although it varies by neighborhood, the overall crime rate in Springfield in 2020 was 144.56 crimes per 1,000 people. Discounting crimes against society, which are often victimless, statistics show that residents have a 1-in-8 chance of becoming a victim of a crime.

Among major cities in Missouri, Springfield has both the third-highest population and the third-highest number of murders. St. Louis has the most murders of any city, but the combined crime against individuals puts Springfield higher than Saint Louis.

Saint Louis

Murder Rate0.87 per 1,000
Median Household Income$43,896
Poverty Rate21.8%
Violent Crimes In 20206,017

Home to the iconic Gateway Arch, St. Louis is one of the most famous cities in America. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most infamous places in the world, reaching number 7 on the World Atlas ranking of most dangerous cities across the globe. In 2020, you had a nearly 1-in-50 chance of being the victim of a violent crime if you were in St. Louis.

There were 6,017 violent crimes in 2020, 263 of which were murders. The overall murder rate is a state-high 0.87 per 1,000 residents. Although violent crime has stayed relatively level from 2010-2020, annual murders swelled to a 10-year high of 263 in 2020, a 36% increase over the prior year. However, on a more positive note, property crime continued its steady decline, hitting a 10-year low of 17,399 incidents.


Murder Rate0.18 per 1,000
Median Household Income$45,449
Poverty Rate18.2%
Violent Crimes In 2020338

Joplin has a high crime rate of 137.33 incidents per 1,000 residents. At 3,276 incidents, major property crimes including arson, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft in 2020 were down to their second-lowest numbers since 2010.

While there was a decrease in property crimes, violent crimes increased in 2020, reaching their highest point since 2010 at 338 occurrences.

While most violent crime categories stayed around the 10-year average, assault and murder cases were at some of their highest numbers in recent memory. There were 210 reported cases of aggravated assault in 2020, up from 179 in 2019.

The murder rate saw an even more extreme increase. Annual murders in Joplin fell between 1-3 murders from 2010-2019, but it leaped to nine murders in 2020.


Murder Rate0.10 per 1,000
Median Household Income$46,163
Poverty Rate 25.1%
Violent Crimes In 202090

The city of Kennett is located in the bootheel of Missouri and has a favorable school system and family-friendly feel, but crime is an ongoing concern in the community.

The total numbers are comparably low (there was only one murder in 2020), but given the small population, Kennett has a high crime rate. In 2020, there were 125.14 crimes per 1,000 residents in the small city.

Like Joplin, property crime and violent crime rates in Kennett are headed in different directions. Property crime was at its lowest point since 2012, but violent crime was at its third-highest point since 2003, with 90 reported cases. The primary reason for the increase was a surge in aggravated assault.

Kansas City

Murder Rate0.35 per 1,000
Median Household Income$55,259
Poverty Rate16.1%
Violent Crimes In 20207,919

Between its diverse art scene and famous barbecue sauce, Kansas City is known for its taste. A cultural epicenter of Missouri, Kansas City is a vibrant community. In 2020, it was also one of the most active areas for crime in the state.

The total crime rate between the two cities was 94.54 cases per 1,000 people in 2020. On its own, Kansas City had the second-highest murder rate in the state at 0.35 cases per 1,000 people. The 176 murders committed in 2020 were the most in the city’s reported history dating back to 1985.

In general, violent crimes have been level in Kansas City from 2016-2020, but property crime shows a downward trend. Though there was a slight uptick in reported property crimes from the previous year, numbers in 2020 were the second-lowest they had been in the city since 1985.

You can see how other Missouri cities are ranked, when it comes to being the most dangerous in the state, HERE.