Arkansas : Safety by City
- Eureka Springs
- Fort Smith
- Hot Springs
- Little Rock
- Mountain Home
- North Little Rock
- West Memphis
I hope they have room for you in Bentonville, Arkansas when you visit because this city is growing at an astounding rate.
In the past decade, the city’s size has almost doubled.
It’s the home of Walmart, the largest global retailer.
This popular surge has brought so many great things for tourists to see and do, and it’s more of a sophisticated town that you might realize at face value.
There’s still the amazing adventure promised by the nickname of “The Natural State”, but this city caters to the “indoors” people as well.
The elegant downtown area isn’t just for entertainment, there’s a section of it dedicated to fighting poverty across the world.
You could tour several museums and not have to pay a single penny out of pocket.
The crime rate is low and community pride is high.
More than 130 trails help visitors and locals get around, as the roads weren’t really equipped to handle the 54,000 people who now live here.
While it’s a massive distribution city, you don’t feel like you’re in an industrial park region when you tour Bentonville.
You feel strangely at home even if you’re from the other side of the world.
Warnings & Dangers in Bentonville
OVERALL RISK : LOW
This is a really safe community and you've got a low risk from just about any angle you look at here. We've got one area of concern and it's one that humans can't control.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Ozark Regional Transit is the public transportation system here. Taxis and rideshares are plentiful. There's low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's low risk with just two purse snatching reported in the past five years. No pickpockets were reported in that same time frame. It's a safe town, but don't let your guard down.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as Bentonville and surrounding communities can get really dangerous weather throughout the year. Spring is the typical "Tornado Season", starting in March through May, but tornadoes can happen anytime during the summer and fall too. Late November is a secondary storm season. Winter can bring ice storms, crippling any traffic and travel in the region. The Benton County Emergency Management page has good information for anyone worried about storm safety.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Robbery just doesn't seem to be a "thing" in Bentonville. Crime statistics show there haven't been more than 10 robberies in a year dating back to 2010. There's a low risk.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
While I don't think Walmart is on the top 5 list of American locations terrorists might like to attack, I'm sure it is on a list somewhere, so there's medium risk. It's not just Walmart here, but a lot of the vendors that provide products to Walmart are located here too (hence the population boom).
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There were 765 reports of fraud in 2020, but they mainly focused on calling local people's landlines or cell phones demanding money to get rid of a false warrant. One thing to watch out for — is someone ever asking you to buy a gift card to pay off a reported debt. This is a sure sign of a scam and you should report it to the police.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe traveling here with crime rates lower than the national and state average. There were 53 cases of some type of sexual assault, so that's one area to pay attention to, as that's more than twice the national average. There's a low risk, but don't get into a situation where you're alone at night or too intoxicated to make your own decisions. Also, never take a drink you didn't see opened or poured.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2020 Annual Water Quality Report states, "In 2020, we again met every federal and state drinking water standard at a time when clean drinking water was more important than ever. I am happy to let you know that BWU did not have a single failed sample in the previous calendar year." There's a low risk of using the tap water here.
Safest Places to Visit in Bentonville
In honor of Sam Walton, let’s start our safe place tour at the Walmart Museum downtown.
This is a free attraction that takes you that was actually the first store of the Walmart legacy.
There’s a really funny wall inside of returned items with things such as a thermometer that failed to tell time.
Mr. Walton believed the customer was always right, so he took the return.
You finish the tour in an old-school soda shop where you can buy an ice cream cone or snacks.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art is another free attraction filled with amazing displays by a variety of artists.
There is usually a traveling show that can charge for admission, but the bulk of the museum is open to anyone free of charge.
The exterior of the museum is a piece of art itself.
Compton Gardens and Arboretum is a wilderness escape in the downtown area that is just as beautiful in fall when the leaves change to spring when the blooming scents fill the air.
Remedy Road downtown is a unique place where all proceeds go to help poverty.
There are clothing, gifts, jewelry, and shoes all designed for a greater purpose.
The rest of downtown is filled with shopping and dining options.
Take a stroll through the 8th Street Market and see local food artisans show off their work.
Show up hungry, because you’ll have a lot of options.
This district was designed for community interaction, so you can feel safe asking locals for their suggestions of the best foods to try or places to go.
Places to Avoid in Bentonville
Looking at the mapping of the 2020 crimes, the area northwest of Central and A Street had the highest crime volume, which is just outside the downtown districts discussed above.
Also, east of A Street and south of 8th Street has another rash of criminal activity.
Avoid trying to buy alcohol on Sundays here, as it’s illegal.
The stores will mark off that section of the store and liquor stores will be closed.
You can still buy drinks at some restaurants, but you won’t be able to pick up a bottle of wine.
If you want to purchase alcohol, you’ll have to do it any other day of the week.
Avoid making jokes about Wal-Mart.
That is the bread and butter of this town and globally brings in enough money to shut down any jokes about it.
You might have opinions on health care or worker pay, but just keep it to yourself here.
14,000 people here work for Wal-Mart headquarters and thousands more work for the companies that supply goods to Wal-Mart.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Bentonville
- Sign up for the weather and civil emergency alerts at BCALERT.com. This is the Benton County notification system and it can be a lifesaver during severe weather. There are tornado sirens here, but they are only meant to be heard outside. You might not hear it inside and you’ll need phone alerts.
- There are 130 miles of trails around Bentonville and mountain biking is a big deal here. It’s known as the “Mountain Bike Capital of the World.” The trails are good for experienced bikes but are also safe if you want to try mountain biking for the first time.
- Helmets are not required except for children 14 and younger. However, it’s a good idea to always wear a helmet just in case of a fall. Even the most experienced cyclists wear one here.
- For those heading onto the trails or going in the great outdoors to nearby Bella Vista Lake or Hobbs State park, bring bug spray and some calamine lotion. From spring through fall, you can meet some aggressive mosquitos or sneaky ticks. Chiggars are a problem here too. Bug spray helps keep them away, but a full-body skin check is ideal after going into the great outdoors.
- One of the biggest complaints here from residents is the traffic. Some of you from larger cities might say “Are you kidding?”, but you have to remember – in 2010 this city had 35,000 people and the roads were built to accommodate a city about that size. Ten years later, it’s a city of 54,000 and growing. The city has a plan to expand the infrastructure, but that means construction which equals more traffic. Maybe re-consider learning mountain biking after all – the trails here take you to top dining and retail destinations.
- If you’re like me and like to drive around and look at houses in different areas while traveling, this is a pretty safe city to do so. You’ll notice some neighborhoods have very tall houses. This is, once again, due to the population. There’s very little room left for this to grow in residential properties, so developers are building “up” instead of “out”, leaving homes very close together yet very tall to get more living space.
- If you see sleet or freezing rain in the forecast, prepare to hunker down in your hotel or if it’s before your trip – you might want to rethink it. Ice storms in this region just shut down everything. I was once trapped at work on a hill in Alabama during an ice storm. I went to walk across the street and an hour later I returned, having only made it through half of the parking lot in hiking boots. My legs were on fire and the ice was just impossible to walk on.
- Check the weather app before you head to one of the many outdoor activities in northwest Arkansas. If there’s a severe storm watch or tornado watch, stay close to town. These storms can build quickly and cause damaging lightning, flash flooding, and spawn tornadoes. Always go to a shelter when you hear the tornado sirens sound.
- If you want to go fishing in this area, you’ll need to get a license from the Arkansas Department of Fish & Game. You can sign up online ahead of time and print out your license or you can just store it on your mobile device. This part of Arkansas is known for its incredible fishing, so don’t miss a chance if you’re an avid angler.
- People in Arkansas have a thick Southern accent, and they are notoriously slow talkers. If you have trouble understanding accents, you’ll appreciate the slow-talking because it helps decipher what’s being said.
So... How Safe Is Bentonville Really?
One thing I enjoyed about researching safety in Arkansas is that the state Department of Public Safety really details crimes more so than in some other states.
You also get some of the crime details you don’t normally get in the general FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Here’s a list of the number of certain crimes that happened in Bentonville in 2020:
- Violent Crimes: 183
- Robberies: 6
- Theft: 707
- Shoplifting: 99
- Theft from Motor Vehicles: 281
- Drug Crimes: 666 (eerie, eh?)
- Aggravated Assault: 155
- Simple Assault: 236
- Murder: 0
The city of Bentonville has only had five homicides since 2010.
The average income in this city is $84,000, which is much higher than other Northwest Arkansas cities.
I’ve written some articles in this region where the income was half that.
This is really a safe city if you’re practicing the standard safety rules.
How Does Bentonville Compare?
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- Visas - You will get your Visa approved at the airport and then you can put it away. There's no need to show proof of citizenship when you get to Bentonville. You will need the ID to get into hotels and get rental cars.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar is used here. You can do currency exchange at the Bentonville airport and there are a handful of locations in town.
- Weather - From spring through early fall, plan for humid conditions. In the summer, temperatures can get into the 90s with a heat index near 100°(F). Winter is generally pretty mild, but you'll still need a coat. Lows get near freezing and ice storms are somewhat common here, with an average of one to two storms hitting each late fall and winter. Spring is the biggest risk for tornadoes, but they can happen throughout the year.
- Airports - Northwest Arkansas National Airport is right in Bentonville. Little Rock's airport is four hours away.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a good plan for a trip to Bentonville since so many weather variables can impact air and road traffic.
Bentonville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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