Is Baker City Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On December 28, 2023
Baker City, United States
Safety Index:
77
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Baker City, Oregon, sits in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

It’s a living, breathing tapestry woven from gold rush grit, Victorian elegance, and untamed wilderness.

Founded in 1861 during the Oregon Gold Rush, Baker City quickly transformed from a sleepy mining camp into a bustling frontier metropolis.

In days gone by, it was an entertainment stop along the way from Portland to Salt Lake City.

Its streets once echoed with the boots of prospectors and the clinking of gold coins, and its Victorian-era buildings still stand like silent sentinels to that bygone era.

Today, it’s a vibrant hub for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and art lovers alike.

Hikers can conquer challenging trails in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, kayakers can paddle the tranquil Powder River, and mountain bikers can test their mettle on rugged single-track.

Baker City is a crossing point of three major scenic byways, meaning road trips beckon in all directions.

The city hosts major events, like the rodeo, each year and offers easy access to the other cities of Baker County.

It’s as timeless as it is trendy, especially for outdoor lovers.

Warnings & Dangers in Baker City

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk here with plenty of things to do, especially if you like the outdoors. If you're looking for urban fun - this isn't the place for you.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Check out the options on the Northeast Oregon Public Transportation website. I'm not sure the routes are robust enough for a visitor who wants to explore the region, but it might be helpful for your needs. Taxis and rideshares will be limited but still available in town. However, you have to get TO Baker City, meaning a rental car is likely your best mode of transportation.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Baker City has had three pickpockets in the past five years, giving this a low risk. However, theft rates go up when it comes to things lying around, like at campsites or unattended backpacks.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

The risk is medium as Baker City gets winter or summer storms, plus it sits at a dangerous position for wildfires, volcanoes, and earthquakes. The downside of the latter risks is that you don't get a warning that these will happen. While the chances of "the big one" happening while you are there are slim, it's still worth noting.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

This is a low risk, with just a handful of robberies each year, mostly in businesses.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

The emergency management guide does cover incidents like terrorist attacks and mass shootings, but the risk is low in this remote and rural area.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Scams here are highly focused on residents. You can review the sheriff's website for common scams and how to spot a scammer.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Nothing in the crime data or news stories suggests women are at a higher risk than men or other gender identities. The town is geared toward the outdoors and rodeo activities, so it's not the most "girly" town you'll find if that's your thing. La Grande might be better suited for you if you want spas and unique shopping.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. All cities are required to comply with the Safe Water Drinking Act at the state and federal levels. The only water issue you might deal with here is a request to conserve water.

Safest Places to Visit in Baker City

You have two options for websites to review.

One is Visit Baker, focused on the city and offered by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Keep this in mind – any Chamber of Commerce website is going to highlight businesses that are a member of the chamber before businesses that aren’t.

Also, you can use the Travel Baker County website for a look at options across the region.

Baker City is the largest in the county and the county seat.

You can review the things to do and places to visit downtown on the Baker City Downtown website.

Fair warning – it’s not very robust, but it does have links to other options, including the Shop Baker County website.

Information about the historical districts, sites, and museums is found on the Baker Heritage Museum website.

Offerings include artifacts, gem/mineral displays, and a seasonal historic home once owned by Leo Adler.

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is housed in the museum during the winter, but warm weather brings a life-size throwback to life on the Oregon Trail.

The center is under the management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and that website will have the best information.

Nearby cities have museums as well.

I’d recommend a visit to the Cracker Creek Museum of Mining and stopping at the Eastern Oregon Museum off the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway.

Speaking of byways, we mentioned above that Baker City is at the connector of three of them.

The other two are Hells Canyon Scenic Byway (my personal favorite) and the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.

Between Baker City and La Grande, there are several Elk Feeding Stations along the way.

To clarify, this isn’t like a petting zoo where you feed animals directly.

The wildlife department in Oregon feeds the elk to keep them from eating essential agricultural products grown nearby.

You can take a tour where you’re safely in a wagon and *help feed, but please don’t bring food to feed the elk yourself.

P.S. Elk go into the “rut” in fall, meaning you’ll hear their bugling (mating) calls from miles away.

Places to Avoid in Baker City

Baker City isn’t big enough to have good or bad parts of town.

It’s always wise to stick to highways and main roads.

Don’t go into neighborhoods if you don’t have a reason to be there.

Since this is a remote area, I’d recommend you avoid going anywhere on the road or into the wilderness without telling someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Don’t expect to have mobile service outside the city.

Baker City has been embroiled in local leadership issues, which left them without a city council for a few months.

It’s a tense topic in town and doesn’t impact your trip in any way.

Avoid talking about it or asking about it.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Baker City

  1. Baker City has its own police department. They are on Facebook but don’t have a designated handle. Be sure to search for Baker City Police Department and look for the page with the 541 area code. I don’t want you to end up looking at Baker, California. You can also call (541) 524-2014 if you have specific safety questions.
  2. I’d also recommend following the Baker County Sheriff’s Office @Baker-County-Sheriffs-Office-100064434892363. That phone number is (541) 523-6415. You’ll likely be traveling in the county and not just the city, so have both numbers programmed into your phone. 911 will always direct to the right agency.
  3. Sign up for Baker County Alerts for emergency information about natural disasters, incoming weather, or public safety threats. While you’re on that website page, review the emergency prep guide and the disaster plan.
  4. In the event of an emergency that requires evacuation, the city is split up into zones. You should review the zone map on the emergency management website so you’ll be prepared – just in case. Many of the risks that happen here don’t come with a warning.
  5. Use the Trip Check website to look at real-time traffic, road conditions, weather impacts, and live cameras when you’re traveling around the region. Even if it’s clear where you are, there could be a wildfire or winter storm impacting roads.
  6. The city sends out a weekly newsletter. You can sign up for this on the city website home page. This could help you get a better grasp of road construction, major events, or other impacts during your trip.
  7. Anglers need a fishing license from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. It’s required for all adults, and you shouldn’t try to fish without one. Purchase it online but be sure to get a non-resident license.
  8. This region has beautiful scenic drives nearby. You should never stop on the side of the road to take a photo. Pull-outs have been created with the best views along the way. Always watch out for bicyclists on the road and give them at least four feet of space between them and your vehicle.
  9. Check with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for air quality each day. Wildfires from hundreds of miles away can send smoke into the mountains or valleys and make the air dangerous. The Oregon Wildlife Risk Explorer is a website that shows active fires and high-fire danger areas.
  10. If you’re visiting Idaho during your trip, you should know that Idaho is one hour ahead of Oregon. When you return from Idaho to Oregon, you’ll gain an hour. This is because Oregon is in the Pacific Time Zone, and Idaho is in the Mountain Time Zone.

So... How Safe Is Baker City Really?

Overall, Baker City is pretty average but doesn’t have any huge red flags.

The violent crime rate is 20-30% lower than the national and state averages.

Then, cut that risk in half since 56% of violent crimes happen in private homes.

Just 7% of violent crimes over the past five years happened against strangers.

Theft rates are 41% higher than the national average across Oregon, and Baker City is 10% lower than the state average.

About 27% of all thefts are related to shoplifting, another 17% due to car break-ins, but the largest chunk comes from the category “other,” which could be things stolen from a yard or campsite.

From a crime standpoint, common sense and situational awareness go a long way.

From an outdoor perspective, be smart and educate yourself on wilderness survival and wildlife safety, and you’ll be fine.

If you stay out of any political discussions, you’ll be happier.

Most of the challenges in Baker City involve politics, political parties, and personal opinions on everything political.

How Does Baker City Compare?

CitySafety Index
Baker City77
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Baltimore56
Boston67
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

All international visitors will be required to present a visa or visa waiver to Customs or Border Patrol. A passport that isn't within six months of expiring will be required as well.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted in Oregon and across the country. Your home bank has the lowest fees, but if you're flying into Portland or Seattle, currency exchange options are available. Don't wait until you get to this small town to get currency.

Weather

Weather

You'll get a variety of seasons here, so don't think this is like the coast, where temperatures are fairly consistent. Winters are cold, and summers are hot. Dress accordingly and bring clothing suited for the outdoors. Comfortable and supportive hiking shoes are important. Bug spray and sunscreen are also needed. You can rent recreational gear so don't worry about lugging skis or kayaks with you at the airport.

Airports

Airports

The Boise airport is the closest option, but you'll still spend two hours on the road to get there. You'll also cross the time zone boundary into Mountain Time, which is one hour ahead of Pacific Time. Portland's airport (PDX) is nearly five hours away by car.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance just makes sense when visiting a place that's this remote and subject to weather conditions or delays. You'll want rental car insurance that covers accidents and breakdowns with fast roadside assistance.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Baker City Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -4° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 8° C
May 12° C
Jun 17° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 20° C
Sep 15° C
Oct 9° C
Nov 3° C
Dec -2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
16101520253029241783
Low
°C
-8-4-2148101051-3-6
High
°F
344350596877868475634637
Low
°F
182528343946505041342721

Oregon - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Astoria85
Baker City77
Bayshore78
Beaverton84
Bend87
Coos Bay52
Corvallis73
Eugene52
Gresham70
Hermiston79
Hillsboro73
Hood River82
Klamath Falls67
La Grande84
Lincoln City78
Medford67
Portland69
Roseburg75
Salem81
Seaside74

Where to Next?

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