I have lived in St. Louis all my life and thought I would give you a few of my observations. Unfortunately A. Wood nailed it when he said, "MANY AREAS AND STREETS ARE BEAUTIFUL AND NEWLY RESTORED BUT THEN ONLY A BLOCK AWAY THE AREA CHANGES TO A BLIGHTED AREA THAT YOU WOULD BE WARY OF. Within the City of St. Louis it is nearly impossible to declare a neighborhood safe to live in. I highly recommend going to the website ( http://www.slmpd.org/safecity/index.htm ) You can type in an address or neighborhood and view a map of where crimes have occured. This includes what the crime was and on what date it took place. I am currently also looking for a new home in St. Louis City and use this website constantly. In my opinion Tower Grove has beautiful historic Estates. It also has burned down drug houses(or as a real estate agent would call them "Transitional Areas". I say check out the website and make sure the street your looking at doesn't have a lot of assaults or homicides.
I know several people who live in the Tower Grove South neighborhood and love it. They actually know their neighbors! As a broker, I've sold several homes in that area and bought one myself that I'm currently working on. When you come to shop, work with an agent who knows the area really well. Some streets are great, others don't seem to have the same appeal. Best wishes in your hunt.
In all metropolitan areas, there are great areas and not so great areas when we talk about safety. The best resource is the local police departments, since they will have up-to-date information on what is happening in different areas and what is being done in the areas that aren't so great to correct the issues.
Is there a reason why you are asking about the Tower Grove area? Perhaps it's close to where you will be working or going to school, or you know someone who lives in the area now, or did you read about it in one of our profile magazines? A good starting point when you talk to a Realtor in the area, is to determine what your wants and needs are in a home, then to sit down with the realtor and discuss where you will find good matches. If you have to have a large luxury bathroom, lots of closets, and an attached 2 car garage, that will limit your choices, since the housing stock in many of the older areas of the city was built before those were common features. I get a laugh when people tell me that they don't want a "cookie cutter" subdivision tract home, yet they buy in an area that is a much much older subdivision and they don't feel that it's a subdivision.
I am glad to hear that you are relocating to the St. Louis Area. St. Louis City has many distinct and fantastic neighborhoods and the Tower Grove area is certainly one of them. If you are concerned about crime statistics you can gather that information from the St. Louis Police Departments Website.
Just to give you a little background on the Tower Grove Area: this is one of the most popular up and coming areas in the city. Over the past few years there has been a ton of rehabbing and renovation in the area, and it is now a hot spot for young people and families who are looking for a great home in the city. There are many new businesses, shops, and restaurants who cater to this neighborhood. However, you should keep in mind there are still some areas in transition. My best advice is to work with an agent who is knowledgeable about the CITY (You will find there is a difference between the City and County in St. Louis), tell the agent about your needs and what you are looking for in your new home. Things like price, type of home (single family, multi family, loft), neighborhood amenities, proximity to work locations, and schools are all things that a good Realtor should ask about. Once we have this information we can steer you in the right direction and ultimately help you find the home that is perfect for you.
As a Realtor who works extensively in the city, I would be more than happy to answer any further questions you may have. Please don't hesitate to contact me.