Louisiana : Safety by City
- Baton Rouge
- Bossier City
- Lake Charles
- New Iberia
- New Orleans
Bossier City calls itself the “Other Side of Louisiana,” with a little bit of Cajun country mixed with some Texas cowboy culture and then some Las Vegas lifestyle mixed in.
“Beau-zhur” City is across the Red River from Shreveport, with a combined area of nearly 400,000 people.
Bossier City is the smaller of the two, with just under 63,000 people.
It’s also just 20 miles from the Texas state line and 37 miles from the Arkansas state line.
Bossier City is home to several casinos, the Louisiana Boardwalk, and a Mudbug festival that brings in thousands of tourists each year.
You also get a taste of Mardi Gras here, keeping with Louisiana tradition, but you can also enjoy wilderness areas, several casinos, and a horse race track.
This is also a military town and home to Barksdale Air Force Base.
With the military base comes a museum where you can see some of the coolest Air Force planes throughout history.
This is a working-class community with an average income of around $44,000 annually and a 22% poverty rate.
The disparity between the lower-income neighborhoods and the pristine tourist areas is notable.
This does offer a more casual and cost-efficient opportunity for travelers.
Warnings & Dangers in Bossier City
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Bossier City and Shreveport have some of the highest crime rates in the nation, with new information from the 2021 data that is reassuring and concerning at the same time. There's a wide difference between how safe it is to visit versus how safe it is to live here, but proceed knowing there's a medium risk.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
SporTran is the public bus system that runs through Bossier City and Shreveport. All fares are free through the end of 2023, which is a great way to save money, despite typical public bus safety risks. Taxis and rideshares are available; you can get a rental car if you'd like. With the different crime levels for each option, treat this with a medium risk too.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
With just four pickpockets reported in 2021, it seems there's a low risk, but treat it with a medium risk because of high robbery rates. There are also many car break-ins here, but 95% of those were due to careless car owners leaving the doors unlocked.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You can get a little bit of everything throughout the seasons here, so this is another medium risk. Severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes can happen any time of the year, with a special increase in spring. Hurricanes and tropical storms can work their way up from the coast, leading to heavy rain and more severe storms. Winter weather isn't too common, but it can be crippling when it happens.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is 30% higher than the national average, but there's a positive side to that. Just 11% of robberies are highway robberies. The biggest robbery risk is home burglary, which has skyrocketed over the past few years. Take note of this if you rent a home or condo during your visit.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Bossier Parish has a Homeland Security department and exercises extra caution due to the military base here. That military base is really the only reason there's an elevated risk, but it also means there's a lot more security than if the base wasn't here.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Phone scams are the most common here, which don't impact tourists. There was a scam against an elderly woman at a local store that bilked her out of $25,000. You should have a low risk as long as you avoid any people offering a deal too good to be true or asking you to purchase gift cards in exchange for items. Just don't let your guard down.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Women should be aware of the high sexual assault rates here. While most of those involve family members, there are some cases of predators looking for victims on social media. Don't let young female travelers meet people online here, and avoid walking around at night alone. Never go to a private place with someone you just met. Carrying mace or a whistle could give a better sense of safety and protection if you're going to be out at night.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. In the event of flooding, you shouldn't drink water until you can confirm it's safe. Flooding can cause water pressure drops or contamination of the water systems. If you have any additional questions about water quality, call (318) 741-8466.
Safest Places to Visit in Bossier City
Shreveport-Bossier.org is the official tourism website for the area.
You can also email the tourism and convention bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more questions.
One great feature of this website is you can “Favorite” attractions as you search and it will create a customized list for your interests.
The cities are split by the Red River, with Shreveport being on the west side and Bossier City being on the east side.
Right along the river as you enter Bossier City, you’ll see the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlet Mall and casinos on the skyline.
You have the option of casino hotels or separate hotel chains if you don’t want to be around the casino crowds.
If you are attending a convention here, this is also where you’ll find the convention center.
Mardi Gras isn’t just for Southern Louisiana.
The Krewe of Gemini Mardi Gras Museum celebrates the spirit of Mardi Gras across 10,000 square feet of space.
There are several parades in Shreveport/Bossier City during the season too.
The museum is a wonderful place to learn about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras, as it’s so much more than just drinking and throwing beads while people wear elaborate costumes.
The Red River National Wildlife Refuge is just south of the city boundary.
Stop by the visitor’s center first to go through the education center so you can learn about the wildlife you’ll see here and get great safety advice.
For those who want to visit the Barksdale Air Force Base Global Power Museum, you’ll need to plan it out ahead of time.
Since the museum is on base, you need an approved pass to gain access.
First, fill out the BARKSDALE AFB MUSEUM ACCESS PASS form on the museum’s website and then email that to 2SFS.Museum.Pass@us.af.mil.
The form must be sent at least 30 days before your visit.
Places to Avoid in Bossier City
If you have a choice between Shreveport and Bossier City, you should choose the latter.
While both cities have high crime rates, Bossier City is safer.
The unfortunate part is that the areas where tourists are likely to be are among the most dangerous.
The downtown and riverfront areas are dense with shopping, dining, casinos, and parks, bringing a lot of people to the community where thieves will look for crimes of opportunity.
Unless you want to stay on the outskirts of the city and avoid the main attractions, you’re going to face a certain risk of crime.
Memorial Day Weekend is the Mudbug Festival, which is technically in Shreveport but it spans both sides of the river.
This is an event centered around crawfish, otherwise known as crayfish or crawdads.
While this is certainly not an event to avoid, you should just know the cities will be crowded and most hotels booked, so book your reservations early.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Bossier City
- Sign up for the ‘Notify Me’ alerts from the Bossier City Government. This will cover information about road closures, parade routes, construction projects, and other important daily safety or convenience information for residents and tourists.
- You’ll then likely want to sign up for CodeRED alerts, which are more focused on emergency situations like severe weather, civil risks, or criminal activity. The Bossier Parish website has a link to that service.
- The Long-Allen Bridge has a pedestrian path where you can walk from Bossier City to Shreveport. It’s about a mile between the two. While the bridge has guardrails between the pedestrian lane and the traffic, plus a waist-high railing along the river, it’s not the safest idea to walk that regularly. Taking a taxi or rideshare would be faster and safer.
- If you see or hear about any illegal drug activity, report it to the Narcotics Tip Line by calling (318)741-8585. America has a big problem with illegal drugs being laced with fatal doses of fentanyl. You could save a life by making that call.
- For any non-urgent criminal activity, call Bossier Crime Stoppers at (318)424-4100. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward. In poverty-stricken cities like Bossier City, there’s usually a lack of people who will report crimes, either due to a distrust of police or a “I’ll handle it myself” mentality.
- If you’re here for Mardi Gras, check out the city website or the KreweofGemini.com website. You can see a list of parade routes and activities. There are family-friendly events and locations where parade participants aren’t allowed to throw things from the float. You want to get the best spot, so review the map to pick the perfect place.
- For those who want to tour the Barksdale AFB museum, please know that any elevated terrorism threat or real-world training is going to take priority. That means you could go get tickets and still be denied. Please remember that the safety of the troops will always take priority over your vacation plans.
- Hunters and anglers need to review the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Hatcheries for license requirements. Each type of game has a specific restriction or requirement. Some licenses are issued on a lottery system. Please respect the rules and don’t poach. If you see someone else poaching, report it to 1-800-442-2511.
- If you haven’t eaten a crawfish before, there’s a specific way you do it that could be jarring if you haven’t seen it before. You will literally hold the head, squeeze it, and twist it off, then suck the juice out of it. Any server or chef will be happy to show you, but doing some research ahead of time will prepare you for it. You won’t eat the tail, shell, or antennae of the critters.
- Avoid swimming in the Red River. On top of water quality concerns, there’s a strong current and debris that could quickly turn a swim into a rescue. Water quality concerns are elevated after heavy rain when stormwater runoff can increase bacterial levels in the water.
So... How Safe Is Bossier City Really?
There’s really no way to get around the high crime levels in Shreveport and Bossier City.
The safety concerns are much higher for those who live here, but tourists need to be aware as well.
It can be especially confusing when new crime data comes out and police make statements like this:
“Many communities across the nation have seen crime rise.
I’m pleased to announce crime in Bossier City is down,” Police Chief Chris Estess said.
“Since July 2021, we’ve increased staffing to patrol division by 22%.
This means we have more officers on the streets to better serve our citizens.
I’d also like to add we are hiring and seeking individuals willing to work for the best law enforcement system in the state.”
On the positive side, the police in Bossier City and Bossier Parish are seeing lower crime rates.
That doesn’t mean that crime rates are low.
While the national average for violent crime is around 400 crimes per 100,000 people, in Bossier City that rate is 1051 per 100,000 people in 2021.
Those numbers increased in 2022, with this region being the #8 Fastest Growing Violent Crime in America.
All crime categories are above the national levels, but there’s a good percentage of crime that is between people who know each other.
Take a look at these 2021 statistics:
- 16% of violent crimes were against strangers.
- 52% of violent crimes happen in homes.
- 25% of all thefts were car burglaries.
- 11% of robberies were “highway robberies,” which are more likely to impact people walking on the street.
Bossier City has a lot to see and do, but you should avoid any uncomfortable or heated situations.
Call the police at any sign of disturbance and practice the utmost in personal safety.
Lock your car religiously, and don’t leave personal items inside.
Use deadbolts on hotel doors.
Even if you aren’t a direct target of crime, it helps to be aware of the crime that could happen around you.
How Does Bossier City Compare?
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- Visas - You'll need a U.S. State Department-issued Visa or Visa Waiver. The process can be lengthy, so start planning up to four months in advance. Once you get your Visa, you'll also need a passport to get through Customs.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Exchange currency before you arrive or at the airport. If you plan on visiting a casino, you'll need cash, but don't use the ATMs there to avoid high fees. It also helps if you set a gambling limit and stick to it.
- Weather - You'll want comfortable and casual clothing here and comfortable walking shoes. You won't face a lot of winter weather, but you'll likely need a jacket. This region is very humid, so plan to sweat as you walk around. There's really no way to avoid that, but you can wear loose clothing that allows your skin to "breathe" with fabrics like cotton or linen. You will need bug spray, especially when spending time close to the river.
- Airports - The Shreveport Regional Airport is just eight miles from downtown Bossier City. If you want to use the Dallas area airports, which are much larger, you'll spend about three hours driving there.
- Travel Insurance - With increasing weather intensity in America and ongoing crime concerns, travel insurance just makes sense and offers peace of mind. You don't want to lose money on a flight delay or cancelation or risk having to pay out of pocket for car repairs after a break-in.
Bossier City Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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