Is Bell Buckle Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On May 10, 2024
Bell Buckle, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

If the Hallmark network doesn’t know about Bell Buckle, Tennessee, someone needs to tell them.

This charming small town of 700 people is so immersed in Southern charm that you won’t want to leave.

Located in a wooded area not too far off the highway between Nashville and Chattanooga, Bell Buckle was settled as a railroad town.

While the population never grew above 1,000, it was always a favorite stopping point.

When the Great Depression hit, railroad service and the town’s economy suffered.

What could have become another forgotten railroad town turned into a moment captured in time.

Victorian homes and shops still line the streets, well-preserved and many open for business.

An annual gathering on the third weekend in October brings thousands to this small town, celebrating local arts and crafts.

I’ve been to this event several times, and it’s just a crafter’s dream come true.

Nobody is 100% sure how the town got its name, but I’ll save the suspected stories for the locals to tell you when you visit.

Bell Buckle isn’t lively, and it doesn’t want to be.

You come here to stay in bed and breakfast inns, soaking in the seasonal views and enjoying long walks to nowhere or having a cup of coffee with the locals.

Don’t miss the fried pies.

Ask for Mama.

Warnings & Dangers in Bell Buckle

Overall Risk


There's a low risk here, and you won't believe how low it is when I go into details a little later on in this article.

Transport & Taxis Risk


You'll need a rental car to get here. The only trains that go through are freight trains, and they don't even stop. Taxis and rideshares aren't necessary since the town is walkable and the cost of either would equal a car rental or more should you wish to get to the larger cities nearby.

Pickpockets Risk


The risk is low, but during events like the craft fair, be sure to hold on tight to your stuff. That's not a comment on Bell Buckle, but just a general district of large crowds. However, theft has never been a problem in Bell Buckle.

Natural Disasters Risk


This is the only medium risk, as severe weather capable of producing tornadoes is possible any time of the year. Spring is the peak of the storm season, and flash flooding is likely during heavy rain. Summer heat can be oppressive. Winters are pretty mild, but an occasional snow or ice storm shouldn't be ruled out.

Mugging Risk


This is another low-risk, with no robberies, much less muggings, reported in the past few years. Maybe longer - stay tuned.

Terrorism Risk


This is another low risk. It's a small town surrounded by open space and not close enough to any metro area to warrant a higher level of concern.

Scams Risk


The only scam I saw was someone posing as the Chamber of Commerce and trying to get vendors to send money to the fraudulent account. The risk is low, but you should know that you are able to (attempt to) bargain at the craft fair or stores.

Women Travelers Risk


This is a low risk in every sense and for every generation of women. I've been to the town solo and with female friends. It's a welcoming, charming town but also a place where people pay attention to anything out of sorts.

Tap Water Risk


The Bell Buckle Utility Department is proud to say the water supply has never had a test violation of the standards of safe drinking water. The risk is low.

Safest Places to Visit in Bell Buckle

The Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce runs the show here, with a website filled with all the information you need for a fun visit.

Don’t let the small size fool you – even Travel Lemming added Bell Buckle to the list of 150 Best Things to Do in the USA.

That said, this is more of a one-day getaway or a weekend retreat than a place to spend a full week.

The downtown area is one stretch of shops and restaurants in the historic district and a few more on the connecting streets.

The stores are a mix of antique shops, craft displays, boutiques, and niche stores.

Enjoy Southern specialties at the Bell Buckle Cafe, but save room for the ice cream parlor at Bluebird Antiques.

Be sure to look for take-home food items like canned jams and bread mixes.

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Club opens to the public on Saturdays, with an ongoing expansion of the N and HO gauge railroads running 2,200 square feet of space.

Bell Buckle Park is a nice place for a morning run or evening stroll, with a playground and picnic area.

It’s nothing fancy, but this isn’t a place where fancy fits anyway.

If you want to explore the countryside, several cool options are just 30 minutes away.

I will also add that while there’s not a designated scenic byway here, the drive is beautiful – especially in fall, with the leaves changing.

The Old Stone Fort is a Tennessee state park on the grounds where Indigenous people lived more than 2,000 years ago.

This park is rich in archeology connected to the Indigenous tribes, and you get to various locations along easy paths past waterfalls on the Duck River.

For one of the best lake views in the South, head to Tims Ford State Park, covering more than 3,500 acres. Bass fishing, paddling, hiking, camping, and golfing are all popular here.

Check for weekly events as this park offers many activities for kids and adults.

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg is the oldest of its kind in the country.

Several tours are offered, mixing a working distillery and historic locations, depending on your interests.

All ages are welcome.

However, restrictions will be in place on samples of the spirits.

The drinking age in the U.S. is 21.

Places to Avoid in Bell Buckle

Bell Buckle is so small it’s hard to avoid any specific location.

Luckily, that’s not a concern here.

The town is safe to explore freely.

The only caution I would give is to avoid driving in inclement weather, especially if there’s snow or ice.

Whether you need to wait out a storm or leave a little early, most of the roads coming to and from Bell Buckle are two lanes with minimal shoulders.

Since this is the South, follow basic etiquette like men taking a hat off when indoors and saying “Please” and “Thank You.”

And don’t let anyone catch you with elbows on the table during a meal – Kidding! (sort of)

Safety Tips for Traveling to Bell Buckle

  1. Bell Buckle does have one police officer, but you’re likely not going to need to know more. The town is virtually crime-free. Follow the town’s Facebook page @bellbuckletn for updates while you’re there.
  2. The town is in Bedford County, so it might make sense to follow them on Facebook @bedfordcountytngov. Emergency management and the sheriff all use this page to post.
  3. Sign up for emergency alerts through the Everbridge platform. Look for “Alert Bedford” to get calls, emails, or text messages about severe weather or public safety hazards.
  4. Mobile service should work in Bell Buckle, but there might be some dead spots along the way. Bring a paper map, just in case.
  5. It really helps small businesses like those in Bell Buckle if you pay cash for purchases. That eliminates the fees charged by credit card companies. While there’s no pressure to use just cash, it’s a nice gesture.
  6. Use 511 TN to check road conditions and traffic before you head to Bell Buckle. If you’re visiting during the fall craft fair or the summer RC Cola Moon Pie Festival, expect a lot of traffic. It does move quickly, and parking attendants are there to help you park. You might be directed to a dirt lot.
  7. Planning on fishing while you’re here? Get a license from the Go Outdoors TN website. You can choose from various lengths of licenses, and you are required to keep the license with you at all times while fishing.
  8. If you want to get a better vibe of this small town, visit the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce YouTube page @@bellbucklechamberorcommerc5195.
  9. I mentioned this is a railroad town, right? The tracks are right by the historic district. You’ll hear trains up to 10 times a day. Keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to noise or have little ones afraid of the sound.
  10. In that spirit, you’ll likely get stuck at a railroad crossing. Never try to drive around the crossing arms or “beat the train.” Just accept it as a way to slow down to the pace of Bell Buckle.

So... How Safe Is Bell Buckle Really?

I’ve seen nearly crime-free small towns before, but considering that hundreds of thousands of people visit here each year, I’m baffled that it hasn’t had a violent crime this millennium!

“The good old days are still alive.

I know that’s hard to believe, and everybody thinks, ‘Oh, she’s just saying that,’ but it really is.

It truly is,” former Bell Buckle Mayor Jenny Hunt told FOX17.

In fact, even breaking and entering is rare here, but that’s not where the uniqueness ends.

In 2014, a man in a bad mental state broke into the market to get a soda.

Before he left, he paid for the soda by leaving the exact change on the counter.

I can’t even go through the crime data because there’s no crime data to share.

Not so much as a belligerent drunk at a festival or a car break-in when thousands of cars are lined up in a field.

Quite frankly, the lone police officer must get bored.

“It’s pretty uneventful.

We get to come to work, enjoy the people, and get some ice cream.

It’s basically just working traffic,” Police Chief David Burns said.

Mama Phillips, who makes legendary fried pies at a local ice cream parlor, added, “Some of us are blessed to be born in a wonderful place.

Sometimes you don’t have to go to the city to know you want to stay in the country,” said Phillips.

For all the upsetting crime statistics I review daily to help keep you informed when you travel, I honestly can say I hope Bell Buckle stays crime-free for decades to come.

I wouldn’t be good at my job if I didn’t add, “But be sure to lock your car and remove personal items.”

Let’s not tempt fate, okay?

How Does Bell Buckle Compare?

CitySafety Index
Bell Buckle79
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
New Orleans57
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information



International visitors are required to have a visa if they don't qualify for a visa waiver. The timelines and process are detailed on the U.S. State Department website. If your passport isn't valid for the next six months, renew it before your trip.



Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted here and either exchange currency through your home bank or take care of that in Nashville (or Chattanooga) before you get to this very small town.



Regardless of the temperature, you need comfortable shoes to walk around Bell Buckle. Dress casually and be aware of the humidity in the summer. You'll sweat a lot and need fabrics that can absorb it.



Nashville International Airport is about an hour away from Bell Buckle. Plan a little extra time if it's during the rush hour. Chattanooga's airport is 90 minutes away.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a smart investment to cover any damage, delays, or emergencies. However, avoid doubling up on insurance. A bed and breakfast might offer insurance for emergency cancelations separate from what the travel insurance would cost. In that instance, you would only need one option.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Bell Buckle Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 3° C
Feb 5° C
Mar 11° C
Apr 16° C
May 19° C
Jun 23° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 25° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 10° C
Dec 6° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Tennessee - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Bell Buckle79
Johnson City68
Pigeon Forge78
Wears Valley78

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