Are you visiting the Gateway City or planning on moving to St. Louis, MO? You may have heard about the city’s high crime rate, but that’s definitely not the whole story! This vibrant metro area, known for its baseball, blues music, and the iconic Gateway Arch, is a great place to live with plenty of safe neighborhoods and suburbs.
Here’s what you need to know about the St. Louis crime rate including where most violent crime happens and the safest places to live in St. Louis.
Understanding the St. Louis, MO Crime Rate
To truly assess crime in St. Louis, you’ll want to know the crime rate, how it compares to where you live, and what crime rates really tell you.
Crime rates are based on FBI Uniform Crime Statistics (2019). Just eight index crimes are used to calculate total, property, and violent crime rates. The crime rate you see is the number of crimes per 100,000 people, or per capita. Most crimes aren’t included in crime rate calculations.
It’s very important to understand the limitations of crime rates. These crime rates are based only on Uniform Crime Reports and just eight index crimes which may be defined and tracked differently in different cities. They are not the best indication of your risk of crime as lifestyle, age, and particularly neighborhood play a huge role.
While crime in St. Louis is high, most serious crime is concentrated in a single area. You’ll find there are many safe places to live in St. Louis without worrying about violent crime.
What Is the Crime Rate in St. Louis, MO?
The St. Louis crime rate is 8,111 crimes per 100,000 people. The city has 1,927 violent crimes per capita and 6,183 property crimes per capita. You have a 1 in 12 chance of being the victim of crime in St. Louis, Missouri. In a city of 300,500, there were 24,374 index crimes reported during 2019.
How does that compare to the national average?
The national average crime rate is 2,580 crimes per 100,000 with 382 violent crimes and 2,362 property crimes per capita. That means St. Louis crime is 214% higher than the national average.
St. Louis Crime Map
One of the best ways to assess crime in the city is by using St. Louis crime maps. This allows you to see where crime is concentrated, which areas have low levels of crime, and where you are most at risk of violent crime.
These resources can help you better understand St. Louis crime by neighborhood and offense to find safe places to live and visit.
- St. Louis crime map from City Protect using data from the SLMPD which can be filtered and searched.
- Greater St. Louis homicide map during 2021 from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- St. Louis crime statistics by neighborhood from the SLMPD.
Violent Crime in St. Louis, MO
The St. Louis violent crime rate is 1,927 violent crimes per 100,000 people. There were 5,792 violent crimes in 2019:
- 3,858 aggravated assaults
- 1,475 robberies
- 265 rapes
- 194 murders
You have a 1 in 52 chance of being the victim of violent crime in St. Louis.
The St. Louis murder rate has been the highest in the United States since 2014. In 2020, the homicide rate even reached a 50-year high with 87 homicides per capita and 262 people killed in the city. That’s up from a homicide rate of 65 murders per capita in 2019 and it’s just short of the all-time record high.
The only other major U.S. cities with a homicide rate of more than 50 were Baltimore, MD, and Birmingham, AL.
Property Crime in St. Louis, MO
The St. Louis property crime rate is 6,183 property crimes per 100,000 people. There were 18,582 property crimes in 2019:
- 12,540 larcenies
- 3,044 burglaries
- 2,998 car thefts
- 169 arsons
You have a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of property crime in the city.
During the first half of 2021, car thefts were highest in downtown St. Louis, Dutchtown, and Baden.
Dangerous Areas of St. Louis
St. Louis has one of the highest crime rates in the United States, especially when it comes to homicides. However, 67% of murders and half of all assaults in St. Louis happen in a triangular area called the North Side. This area is bordered by West Florissant Avenue, Martin Luther King Drive, Vandeventer Avenue, and Goodfellow Boulevard.
The following are the high crime areas of St. Louis where you should exercise extra caution. All neighborhoods have a violent crime rate at least 80% higher than the St. Louis average.
- Peabody-Darst-Webbe (pop. 1,650) has 154% more crime than St. Louis with a violent crime rate of 4,891 violent crimes per capita
- Old North Saint Louis (pop. 1,450) has 108% more violent crime
- Wells-Goodfellow (pop. 5,000) has 106% more violent crime
- Academy/Sherman Park (pop. 2,800) has 101% more violent crime
- Hamilton Heights (pop. 2,700)
- The Ville (pop. 1,550)
- Walnut Park West (pop. 2,800)
- Baden (pop. 4,450)
- Hyde Park (pop. 1,800)
- Jeff-Vander-Lou (pop. 5,100)
This map shows where the high-crime neighborhoods of St. Louis are located. With one exception, all of the neighborhoods on this list are in the North Side, a triangular section about six miles across on each side.
Safest Neighborhoods in St. Louis
Don’t be intimidated by the high crime rate in St. Louis. Most neighborhoods are actually very safe with up to 76% less crime than the city average. Here are some of the safest places to live in St. Louis.
- Hi-Pointe (pop. 2,200) has 76% less crime than the city average and only 1,944 total crimes per capita – lower than the national average. Hi-
- Pointe is located in Dogtown, a traditionally Irish area of St. Louis, and adjacent to the city’s crown jewel, Forest Park.
- Princeton Heights (pop. 7,600)
- Clifton Heights (pop. 2,600)
- Ellendale (pop. 2,000), partially located in the Dogtown area
- Boulevard Heights (pop. 9,800)
- Saint Louis Hills (pop. 8,100)
- South Hampton (pop. 6,700)
- Missouri Botanical Garden (pop. 1,200)
- Lindenwood Park (pop. 8,800)
- Northampton (pop. 8,300)
Not sure which neighborhood to call home? Check out our guide to the best neighborhoods in St. Louis to find top picks for safety, amenities, and family-friendly neighborhoods.
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St. Louis Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in St. Louis
- Theft from vehicles and car theft are the most common crimes in St. Louis. Make sure you park in well-lit, secure areas and keep all valuables out of sight. Invest in anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks, license plate shields, and even a metal shield to deter catalytic converter theft, a growing problem.
- Be very aware of your surroundings at night, especially downtown. Aggravated assault and robbery are the two greatest threats. Stick to well-lit areas, make eye contact with people you pass, and try not to walk alone. Do not walk with a purse and keep valuables, including your cell phone, out of sight.
- Use the SLMPDMobile app to report crime, request city services, receive alerts from the police department, and even text securely with officers.
- The Rave Guardian Safety App is a safety tool for use on the UMSL campus with a safety timer, GPS tracking for virtual escorts, and speed dial for campus police.
St. Louis Police Department
- Commissioner of Police: John Hayden Jr.
- Officers: 1,343 sworn officers (462 civilian staff)
- Non-emergency number: (314) 231-1212
- Address: Metropolitan Police Department – City of St. Louis, 1915 Olive St, St. Louis, MO 63103
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) was established in 1808 and it’s a division of the Public Safety Department of the City of St. Louis. The SLMPD is America’s 34th largest municipal police force and serves an area of 69 square miles.
The SLMPD is notorious for resisting attempts to reduce police misconduct and increase transparency through independent oversight. It has the highest per capita rate of deadly force by police, according to Mapping Police Violence. When the city’s top prosecutor and vocal critic of the department, Kimberly Gardner, tried to establish a unit in her office to investigate police misconduct, the SLMPD union leader said she should be removed “by force or by choice.”
The department has several bureaus: Community Policing, Specialized Enforcement, Investigative Services, Professional Standards, and Auxiliary Services. The Bureau of Community Policing patrols the city with six police districts, six substations, and three patrol stations.
St. Louis Crime Rate FAQ
Is St. Louis, MO a safe city?
St. Louis has the highest violent crime rate of all major U.S. cities. However, crime is largely concentrated to North Side, including downtown. Most neighborhoods in St. Louis are safe.
What is the crime rate in St. Louis, MO?
The crime rate in St. Louis, MO is 8,111 crimes per capita with 1,927 violent crimes and 6,183 property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Is St. Louis safer than Chicago?
Chicago has a lower crime rate than St. Louis with 3,926 total crimes per capita compared to 8,111 per capita in St. Louis. The violent crime rate is 943 violent crimes per capita in Chicago versus the St. Louis violent crime rate of 1,927 per capita.
St. Louis has a reputation for its high crime, but you shouldn’t be deterred by this alone. Most of the 79 neighborhoods in St. Louis, Missouri experience crime lower than or close to the national average, and there are many safe suburbs to explore too!
If you’ve settled on relocating to the Gateway City, Federal Companies can give you the smooth and stress-free moving day you need. Give us a call to schedule a free moving quote!