These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Missouri

We looked at three years worth of FBI crime data to determine the most dangerous cities in Missouri.

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Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Missouri?

No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. However, in order to help residents of this fine state be aware of where danger zones exist – and to be helpful for future residents of the Show Me State – we crawled through FBI data for the last three years.

According to the statistics, here are the current 10 most dangerous cities in the state of Missouri:

  1. Branson
  2. Springfield
  3. Doniphan
  4. St. Louis
  5. Wellston
  6. Bridgeton
  7. Sikeston
  8. Nevada
  9. Aurora
  10. Jennings
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How we determined the most dangerous cities in Missouri

While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s last three years of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.

Violent crimes are defined as rapes, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults.

We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 1,000 people as of 2013, which is the last year the report was available. This left us with a total of 314 cities in Missouri to rank.

Finally, we made 2013 factor more heavily than 2012, since more recent crimes are a bigger determining factor in how dangerous a place is. You can see our overall ranking towards the end of this post.

Note: Ferguson ranked as the 45th most dangerous city.

We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where crimes occurred most frequently.

1. Branson

Dangerous Missouri cities

Source: Branson Police Department on Facebook

Population: 10,918
Property crime rank: 1
Violent crime rank: 9

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Branson, otherwise known as the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World” is certainly lively when it comes to nighttime activities. This tiny city on the Arkansas border ranks first in the state for property crimes.

Residents here in Branson have a 1 in 8 chance of being the victim of a crime in 2013, which was the last reporting year. That means if you live in Branson, someone you know was likely the victim of a theft, home break in or arson.

2. Springfield

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 163,062
Property crime rank: 4
Violent crime rank: 15

The third-largest city in Missouri is a dangerous one. Though crime looks like it ticked down recently, it’s still, statistically, the second-most dangerous place in the state of Missouri.

Residents here have a 1 in 86 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rape, aggravated assault and murders.

3. Doniphan

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 1,922
Property crime rank: 3
Violent crime rank: 19

The tiny town of Doniphan might not be familiar to most residents of Missouri. Situated right near the Arkansas state line, Doniphan has really seen crime rise very quickly in the last few years.

For instance, in 2011, there were 2 violent crimes in the entire city. Just two years later, there were 24. For a town less than 2,000, that’s a lot.

Residents in Doniphan have a 1 in 10 chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the FBI.

4. St. Louis

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 318,563
Property crime rank: 17
Violent crime rank: 5

Probably no surprise here, especially for residents of St. Louis. The second-biggest city in Missouri saw a 5,077 violent crimes within its city limits in 2013. That means that every day, on average, 13 people are raped, attacked or killed in St. Louis.

On the bright side, crimes are actually declining at a steady clip over the last few years here. So, at least there’s progress.

5. Wellston

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 2,351
Property crime rank: 23
Violent crime rank: 1

Tiny Wellston, statistically, is the most violent city per capita in the entire state of Missouri. Wellston, for those outside of the St. Louis area, is essentially a tiny St. Louis suburb.

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While crimes here skyrocketed in 2012, apparently, local jurisdictions have made progress, as crimes went down in 2013. However, for a town of just over 2,000 people, 76 violent crimes is eye opening. Statistically, 1 in 26 residents was the victim of a rape, attack or was killed just two years ago. And that’s even lower than it was the year before, when it was double that.

6. Bridgeton

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 11,657
Property crime rank: 5
Violent crime rank: 27

Another St. Louis suburb makes the top 10 with Bridgeton. After a huge growth spurt in the 60’s and 70’s, people are actually leaving Bridgeton in droves, which could be in part to its high criminal population.

As of the last FBI report, crime in Bridgeton has been ticking upwards, and statistically, 1 in 11 residents here was recently the victim of a robbery or car theft.

7. Sikeston

Dangerous Missouri cities

Source: Google Street View

Population: 16,328
Property crime rank: 32
Violent crime rank: 2

Folks who live in little Sikeston have the second-highest chance of being the victim of a rape or attack. The city, located in Southeastern Missouri, has seen a moderate population decline in recent years, perhaps due to the crime happening within its city limits.

In 2013, 1 out of 50 Sikeston residents were the victim of a crime.

Sikeston is also home of the famous Lambert’s Cafe (the ‘throwed rolls restaurant’).

8. Nevada

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 8,110
Property crime rank: 2
Violent crime rank: 41

Nevada Missouri, located right along the Kansas border, has seen crime within its city limits head downwards over the last few years, but it’s still a relatively dangerous place.

Chances are if you live in Nevada, someone you know was the victim of a break in or theft in recent years, as nearly 1 in 10 residents had a run in with a criminal since 2010.

9. (tie) Aurora

Dangerous Missouri cities


Population: 7,474
Property crime rank: 28
Violent crime rank: 23

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Located in Southwestern Missouri, Aurora Missouri is, statistically, a relatively dangerous hot spot. While violent crimes have edged down in recent years, property crimes have increased, and residents of Aurora have a 1 in 14 chance of being involved in a property crime.

10. (tie) Jennings

Dangerous Missouri cities

Source: Google Maps

Population: 14,752
Property crime rank: 35
Violent crime rank: 16

Rounding out the top 10 dangerous cities is Jennings, which tied Aurora for criminal activity.

Jennings, a St. Louis suburb, has seen property crimes plummet about 30% recently, so law enforcement must be cracking down on vehicle thefts and home invasion robberies. Statistically, 1 in 92 people in Jennings were raped, attacked or murdered in 2013. Wow.

How we compiled the data

To create an overall crime rank, we broke it down into two criteria for each year (2013, 2012, and 2011):

Violent crimes per capita
Property crimes per capita

Then we weighted each year’s data giving more weight to the most recent year. The idea being that the most recent data gives a current snapshot of the location, but that recent history can also inform our future expectations. If previous year’s data was not available, we only considered the current year.

The result was that 2013 data is 2x more important than 2012 and 6x more important than 2011 in our calculation.

Finally, we ranked each city based on their violent crime per capita and property crime per capita and took averages of the two ranks.


Where are the safest places in Missouri? According to the FBI, here’s the places where statistically, you are least likely to be the victim of a crime:

Merriam Woods (Population 1,754)
King CIty (Pop. 1,024)
Edina (Pop. 1,155)
Lake Winnebago (Pop. 1,129)
Marthasville (Pop. 1,129)
Archie (Pop. 1,187)

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3 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Missouri

  1. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but yes Branson is that bad. You just don’t hear about it because the city council won’t allow it in local papers or news.

    Spend a couple of days at court in Branson or better yet, sit in with Judge Williams over at Taney county where Branson sends most of it’s cases.

    Meth is out of control in the area. Branson, Hollister, Forsythe, all of the little towns around the area, riddled with drugs and thieves. Merriam woods is just as bad but it’s not big enough to warrant FBI attention so it appears safer than it is.

    I used to live in Branson. I saw what is hidden from tourists and trust me, the things I saw would kill that town if the media ever ran with the story. Unfortunately, the media is bought and paid for, so the youth suffer as poverty and addiction tear that community to pieces.

  2. People have been leaving Bridgeton in droves because the airport bought several entire subdivisions for the runway extension several years ago. I feel VERY safe here. Most crime is committed (such as theft) by persons not living in Bridgeton.

  3. Sorry, but this whole thing is flawed. “Dangerous” means, for most of us, a greater than average chance for physical harm. The stats for property crimes, by definition, exclude danger to people. Toss that part away, and then make a list.

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