Oklahoma : Safety by City
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Bartlesville, Oklahoma, beckons with a rich history, vibrant culture, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere – a place where people are “Oklahoma Nice.”
The city is 45 minutes north of Tulsa, yet holds its own as a community and a great place for visitors.
It’s frequently considered one of the most livable cities in America.
Once a thriving oil boomtown, Bartlesville has transformed into a charming city with a well-preserved downtown, a thriving arts scene, and a plethora of outdoor attractions.
The oil boom in Oklahoma started in Bartlesville in 1897.
The city then became the home of Phillips Petroleum Company until 2002.
While the census data shows a middle-class community, there’s a lot of “Old Money” that fueled the vitalization of this town.
That means more places for you to visit and a city that feels bigger than it is, with a population of 38,000.
The “skyscraper” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright gets your attention, but there’s so much more to explore.
Let’s dive in.
Warnings & Dangers in Bartlesville
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Bartlesville has lower than average crime rates across the board, aside from a peak in thefts not related to tourism. While it's not the most exciting town, you'll be surprised by the number of things to do in safe spaces.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
CityRide is the public transportation system, but it's an on-demand service that only runs until 5:30 pm and you're at the mercy of other people who might have already booked a ride. You can also use one of a handful of taxi companies. Lyft operates in this area. Rental cars are available at the Tulsa airport.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Bartlesville police report about one pickpocket or purse snatching a year going back five years. That's a low risk, but don't get a false sense of safety - the theft risk is still 25% higher than the national average.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
This is a medium risk due to each season having a severe or disruptive weather threat. Spring brings tornado season, which is accompanied by severe thunderstorms with powerful winds, dangerous lightning, and flash flooding. Even "gorilla hail" is possible. Winter can mean ice storms, blizzards, snow storms, or dangerously cold temperatures.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Robberies are a low risk, with just a handful happening each year, and only a third of those happened in public places against strangers. Keep the risk low by staying in well-lit areas after dark.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
You can expect a low risk here as it's a small, rather remote town. While that doesn't lower the risk of domestic terrorism or mass shootings, you also can't plan a trip around that risk - they can happen anywhere in America.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most scams here target trusting residents, so there's a low risk for a tourist. You'll be able to check the police and the city's social media sites to see if there are new scams trending closer to your visit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women can enjoy the same low risk as anyone else, but just don't let a safe town give you a false sense of safety. Crime can still happen anywhere. Part of the reason crime stays low in these areas is community involvement.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Just one violation was noted in the 2022 Water Quality Report, and that was an error in reporting a test, not a problem with contamination. The risk is low.
Safest Places to Visit in Bartlesville
VisitBartlesville.com is the official tourism site for the city.
I love that you can get a free visitor’s guide without having to give personal information.
Please note when visiting this website there’s a star in the corner of each attraction.
If you click the star on any option you like, it will be added to the “My Trip” list.
The aforementioned Price Tower is a 19-story skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
It is the only skyscraper that Wright ever built.
The tower is now home to an art gallery, restaurant, and office space.
The Bartlesville Area History Museum tells the story of Bartlesville from its early days as an Osage settlement to its present-day status as a thriving oil and gas town.
The museum exhibits include artifacts, photographs, and oral histories.
You’ll be amazed at how much influence this small town had on the oil industry.
You can grab a copy of the Cherokee Avenue Walking Tour while you’re at the museum to see some of the finest historical architecture in town.
Along that route is the Frank Phillips Home (of Phillips Petroleum), which is open for tours.
When you’re done there, head to the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum.
Even though the company merged in 2002 and moved to Texas, there’s still so much to see here.
A replica of Oklahoma’s first oil well sits in Johnstown Park.
You can book a tour but do so ahead of time.
Another walking tour is available of the Bartlesville Heritage Trail-Downtown District, which covers a whopping 72 sites.
Along the way, you’ll pass unique shops and restaurants.
Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve is a world-class museum and wildlife preserve that is home to an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, Western art, and vintage automobiles.
The preserve also features a herd of bison, elk, and other native animals.
One of my favorite parts of this area is just outside Bartlesville at the Prairie Song Pioneer Village.
This is an 1800s town replica surrounded by a working ranch.
If you head 30 minutes in the other direction to Pawhuska, you can visit the Osage Nation Museum and/or stop by the central hub for the Pioneer Woman brand that has captured the hearts of homemakers and cooks worldwide.
Places to Avoid in Bartlesville
Bartlesville doesn’t have bad parts of town or areas to avoid.
In fact, Bartlesville is one of those towns where it’s almost laughable to think there’s a dangerous neighborhood.
However, you should avoid getting a false sense of safety in a community with lower-than-average crime rates.
Violent crimes can still happen anywhere.
Standard personal safety steps will go a long way.
People here are very friendly and will likely start a conversation with you.
While there’s no reason to be worried about this, you should always limit what you say when it comes to personal information.
Unfortunately, you have to plan for the potential scammers with every interaction.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Bartlesville
- Bartlesville has its own police department. You can call (918) 338-4001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with specific safety questions. The department also has a Facebook page you can follow to get social updates.
- Follow Washington County Emergency Management on Facebook (be sure it’s the one in Oklahoma) to get updated about severe weather or other natural disaster-related concerns.
- I can’t find any emergency alert systems in Bartlesville or Washington County, which I find strange considering how much severe weather impacts this area. Check your mobile device for WEA compatibility, as it should be a feature on any modern phone. Be sure you have location tracking on, so alerts will get to your location. I’ve been traveling before and received a severe thunderstorm warning. Baffled as I saw a clear sky, I realized it was notifying me about my home city, not my current location.
- You can report any crimes online as long as they aren’t violent in nature or involve a weapon. That means if your car is broken into, you can report it online. Doing it this way saves time waiting for a police officer. You can also report minor traffic accidents that way, too.
- You can also report suspicious or criminal activity, such as if you saw someone breaking into someone else’s car. Call Crime Stoppers at (918)336-2583 and leave a message. You can remain anonymous and might even be eligible for a reward.
- From the city’s website, sign up for the City Beat, which provides weekly newsletters about activities, new attractions, and safety guidance.
- I know we mention “Basic personal safety” a lot on this website. If you are unclear about what that means, the Bartlesville Police Department offers great guidance on its website. Look for the “Theft prevention and personal safety” section.
- Several casinos are near Bartlesville, and they are all on sovereign lands of Indigenous peoples. While you won’t notice that difference when you enter, it’s important to know the gambling age in Oklahoma is 18, but some casinos limit it to 21 and older. Check with the specific casino before you go.
- When you are on tribal lands, you should know that it’s a sovereign country with its own law enforcement. Again, it’s nothing you would notice outright but worth mentioning.
- Fishing requires a license from the state of Oklahoma. You can easily get an out-of-state license by visiting the Department of Wildlife Conservation website.
So... How Safe Is Bartlesville Really?
Bartlesville’s violent crime rate is almost 30% lower than the state average and 23% lower than the national average.
In addition, 75% of those crimes are among people who know each other.
That lowers the risk for a tourist even more.
The robbery rate is 60% lower than the national average.
The only category that exceeds the national average is theft.
One-third of those are attributed to shoplifting, which more than makes up for the 25% overage.
Car break-ins and accessory thefts (like catalytic converters) account for 30% of all thefts.
You can lower that risk by simply locking your car.
Also, never leave a car running to warm up in the winter.
Thieves are looking for this crime of opportunity.
On top of the fairly low crime rates, the community members in Bartlesville are actively engaged in keeping their community safe and a desirable place to visit.
The city has been dealing with an excessive number of homeless people, and a new shelter is drawing controversy based on its location near other businesses.
About 15% of the people who live here are at or below the poverty level.
While more homeless people mean a greater risk of being panhandled, there are a lot of initiatives underway to help the homeless and get them back on their feet.
You should have no hesitation about visiting Bartlesville.
While it’s not the safest city in Oklahoma, it’s one of the most desirable places to live and a great place to visit.
How Does Bartlesville Compare?
|Santiago de Chile (Chile)
|Hong Kong (China)
International travelers must secure a visa or visa waiver to gain entry into the country. The U.S. State Department website provides detailed information on your eligibility for a visa waiver. You can also use the Visa Wizard module on their site to determine the required visa. A tourist visa will take the longest. Passports should be valid and not within six months of expiring.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency that is accepted here. Plan to exchange currency in your home country, as your local bank has the lowest fees, and there aren't many places in Oklahoma to exchange foreign currency. Even the Tulsa airport doesn't have the service. Credit cards are widely accepted in Bartlesville, and we recommend using them as much as possible for extra fraud protection.
You'll get four robust seasons here, but temperatures can fluctuate a lot, especially in spring and fall. Check the forecast before you pack. I lived near Bartlesville for a while, and one day I might have to wear a winter coat, and the next day I'm in short sleeves. Summer is going to be hot and humid. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and always wear sunscreen and bug spray.
Tulsa International Airport is 45 minutes from Bartlesville. That time should be pretty spot-on unless there's an accident, as you'll be driving on remote roads to get there - not through the heart of the city. The airport isn't located in the safest part of town, so review our Tulsa article before you plan to stop anywhere near the airport on your way in or out.
If traveling anywhere that weather could interfere with your agenda, travel insurance is highly recommended. Additionally, secure medical insurance if your current plan is limited to your home country. Check rental car coverage also, so you're prepared in the event of any accidents. Be sure to get roadside assistance coverage.
Bartlesville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oklahoma - Safety by City