Is St. Louis Safe To Visit? Everything You Need To Know Before Traveling

St. Louis is the largest metropolitan city in Missouri along the Mississippi River. The city’s cultural significance and aesthetic appeal have set it apart from other cities in the USA.

In addition to that, there are numerous activities that tourists can indulge in. Famous landmarks include the Gateway Arch and the historic courthouse of the Dred Scott decision, amongst many others.

However, when it comes to the safety factor of St. Louis, it is relatively unsafe, but most criminal activities are limited to certain dangerous parts of the city.

Is St. Louis Dangerous?

is st louis safe

Looking at the statistics and the crime rate, St. Louis is not a safe city to visit. In a November 2020 CBS report, St. Louis was ranked #2 in terms of the most dangerous cities to live in in America. In addition to that, it took the spot of the 19th most unsafe city to live in the world.

According to Neighborhood Scout, St. Louis’s crime index is 1 on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being the safest. This means that in the state of Missouri, around 99% of the communities have a lower crime rate as compared to St. Louis.

In St. Louis, you have 1 in 52 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime, compared to 1 in 202 chance of being a victim of violent crime in the rest of Missouri.

A person’s chance of becoming a victim of either property crime or violent crime is 1 in 12.

In East St. Louis you have a 1 in 16 chance of being a victim of violent crime. It has a Crime Index of 0, which means that East St. Louis is safer than 0% of the cities in the US.

St. Louis ranked ahead of Memphis, Nashville, San Bernardino and Stockton and the only city that was more dangerous was Detroit.

St. Louis Crime Rate

St. Louis has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to cities and communities of all sizes.

The violent crime rate was estimated to be 1,927 per 100,000 people.

The Police Department of St. Louis reported a total of 5,792 crimes in 2019, which increased from 5,525 in 2018.

These crimes include rape, non-negligent manslaughter, murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and violence with a deadly weapon.

Car thefts have become increasingly prevalent in the city. In 2020, residents reported 1638 cases of vehicle theft. Compared to 1304 cases in 2019, this was a 25.6% increase.

In all of the United States, St. Louis has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft. This means that you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting your vehicle stolen.

The crime rate in the city is 81 per 1000 residents, making it one of the highest crime rates in the country.

This is in comparison to all types and sizes of communities, ranging from the smallest towns to the biggest cities.

What is the Murder Rate in St. Louis?

St. Louis has recently hit the record for the highest rate of homicide over the past 5 decades. In 2020, a total of 262 people were murdered in St. Louis, which is a slight improvement compared to 2019 (267 murder cases). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the city’s murder rate was 87 murders per 100,000 people in 2020.

But when we analyze this figure in light of the population decline in the city, the crime rate had actually grown much higher in 2020.

This is the highest it has been since 1970. The previous highest figure was 69 per 100,000 people in 1993.

The coronavirus pandemic has largely been attributed with the increase in the city’s crime rate.

Worst Neighborhoods In St. Louis 2021

st louis crime map

In all cities, there are certain neighborhoods that are more dangerous than others. Here is a list of some of the places you need to avoid in St. Louis. The rankings are calculated on the basis of the violent crime rate per 100,000 people as compared to the overall crime average of the city.

Rank Name Violent Crime (Per 100,000)

The difference from Nat. Avg.

Chance of being a victim
1 Peabody-Darst-Webbe 4,891 154% 1 in 8
2 Old North St Louis 4,013 108% 1 in 8
3 Wells Goodfellow 3,965 106% 1 in 9
4 Academy 3,869 101% 1 in 10
5 Hamilton Heights 3,837 99% 1 in 10
6 The Ville 3,733 94% 1 in 10
7 Walnut Park West 3,661 90% 1 in 10
8 Baden 3,638 89% 1 in 10
9 Hyde Park 3,506 82% 1 in 10
10 Jeffvanderlou 3,452 79% 1 in 10

What do residents say about the safety of St Louis?

One resident says to avoid North St. Louis; "Pretty much all of north St. Louis is a hellhole. Avoid at all costs."

Another resident when talking about East St. Louis mentioned that crossing the river into East St. Louis "means immediate death. Riding the Metro through East STL is like stepping into Fallout 3. The 5th and Missouri stop may as well be called Homicide and Knifepoint."

A resident who worked in East St. Louis says from his work window he saw "a woman defecate in the streets waiting for a train to pass, hundreds of drug deals, high speed car chases, and endless prostitutes."

Is Downtown St Louis safe?

In general, Downtown St Louis is relatively safe compared to other parts of the city. As long as you stay in well lights areas, be aware of your surroundings, don’t be a jerk, and keep your wits about you, you should be fine.

We did find a contrasting opinion about the safety of Downtown from a resident of the city who claimed that 2020 was a really bad year for crime in Downtown.

Aggravated assaults were way up, there were several murders in the neighborhood, nights filled with illegal fireworks, street racing and cruisers. Firefights with sustained gunfire for 15+ seconds and several instances of property damage.

While this is only one person’s viewpoint, it should also be weighed in your decision to visit the area.

What part of St Louis is safe?

The crime rates in St. Louis tend to be the highest in the city, while the suburbs are quite safe.

Some of the safest neighborhoods in St. Louis include Hi-Pointe, Princeton Heights, Clifton Heights, Ellendale, Lindenwood Park, and South Hampton.

Is St Louis safe to walk at night?

Walking alone at night in certain parts of St. Louis is not a good idea. Unless you are familiar with the area, it is best to take a cab or call an uber to get to your destination.

Is St Louis safe to visit alone?

With the right travel precautions, St. Louis can be a safe place to visit. You just need to be knowledgeable of the bad neighborhoods and keep your wits about you.

St Louis Safety Tips

  • Avoid North St. Louis or be very careful when visiting. Always travel with company and do not wander during the nighttime.
  • Avoid East St. Louis. Be on the lookout for any fishy activity and avoid visiting the spot without a valid reason.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be listening to music or reading texts or look like you are day dreaming. Walk with a purpose, like you know exactly where you are going
  • Keep walking if someone says, "Hey do you have a light?" or "Do you know what the time is ?" Once you stop, you WILL be robbed.
  • Never leave anything in your car. Leaving your car empty is not guaranteed to prevent a window from being smashed in, but certainly doesn’t hurt.
  • Avoid making prolonged eye contact with strangers.
  • Don’t wear anything flashy that puts a target on your back. Keep that Rolex or fancy neckalace at home!
  • Keep a handle on your emotions and don’t expose yourself to needless risk.
  • Don’t walk around really late at night in an area you don’t know

Final Thoughts

There’s no skirting around it, St. Louis is not a safe city. Yes, there are neighborhoods that are safe, but if you are not knowledgeable of the layout of the city, a single wrong turn or getting off at the wrong stop can lead to a world of trouble.

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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