Oklahoma : Safety by City
- Broken Arrow
- Broken Bow
- El Reno
- Elk City
- Midwest City
- Oklahoma City
Broken Bow in Southeastern Oklahoma is the gateway to Beaver’s Bend State Park and Broken Bow Lake.
About 200,000 people pass through here each year on the way to an outdoor adventure or to visit the neighboring states of Arkansas, Texas, or Louisiana.
This region is known as Little Dixie, as Southerners moved here after the Civil War.
Having lived in Oklahoma, I can tell you there’s a big debate about whether the state is in the South, Midwest, or Plains.
This section leans heavily toward Southern culture.
The surrounding area is also home to the Choctaw Nation, the Indigenous people who lived here before settlers arrived.
The largest population of the Choctaw Nation is in Oklahoma.
The mix of cultures makes the experience in Broken Bow that much more impressive.
Broken Bow might not be for everyone.
You’re more likely to see people dressed in camouflage than Calvin Klein.
It’s a place geared toward the outdoors.
However, there are also casinos on the tribal land that offer entertainment.
While you’re exploring Broken Bow, you should know that the tourism guides all wrap Broken Bow, Hochatown, and Beavers Bend into one destination.
The cities are all within 30 minutes of each other.
Warnings & Dangers in Broken Bow
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Statistically, there's a medium risk here due to crime rates much higher than national and state averages. However, we will explain in more detail below why that is a little misleading. Proper safety precautions can lower that risk a lot.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Little Dixie Transit is an on-demand service throughout the region. I recommend you read the website to see if it will serve your needs. You can probably find taxis and rideshares sparingly. The safest and most efficient way to get around is with your own rental car.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
In the past five years, just three pickpockets have been reported. The risk is low in this category, but it skyrockets when it comes to your personal vehicle being broken into, so keep that in mind.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The medium risk here comes with an emphasis since so much is focused on outdoor activities. Winter can bring ice storms, snowstorms, and blinding blizzard conditions. Spring kicks off "tornado season," but the severe thunderstorms shouldn't be taken lightly either. They can have winds as strong as a tornado. You need to stay weather aware while you're here and review any emergency management plans for the cities or county if you're unfamiliar with the various weather risks.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
2022 saw three robberies, and that's pretty average for this town. Between 2013 and 2017, no robberies were reported. The risk is low.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk. As a remote area, you won't find any hard targets or high-risk areas. You should still report any suspicious activities since Broken Bow is a central transportation point for Little Dixie.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scams here are rare, but you can always check the local law enforcement websites and social media pages to see if there's a new scam. Most scammers target locals with run-of-the-mill scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
You'll need to be "outdoorsy" to enjoy your time here, but there are a handful of places to explore in town. Knowing wildlife safety practices and wilderness survival skills goes a long way. The risk is low if you're prepared for the elements.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. If you're concerned about water quality in the lakes and rivers, you'll need to visit the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality's website.
Safest Places to Visit in Broken Bow
Visit BrokenBow.com is a tourism website for the region.
The Broken Bow Area Chamber of Commerce also has a site with what appears to me to be more updated information.
You need to be careful when researching the town because there’s Broken Bow, Nebraska, 700 miles away.
They both use the “Visit Broken Bow” tagline.
It’s important to know that because there’s not much to do in Broken Bow proper.
Most museums, attractions, and recreational opportunities are in the other two areas.
That’s another thing to note – most of the attractions that are in Beavers Bend have a Broken Bow address.
The Forest Heritage Center Museum tells the story of forestry in the area.
There are exhibits on the history of lumber, the different types of trees in the region, and the importance of forests to the environment.
Look for the annual Folk Festival in the fall.
The Beavers Bend Nature Center has exhibits on the park’s plants, animals, and geology.
You can also take a guided hike or attend a workshop.
Beavers Bend Depot & Trail Rides offers a unique way to explore the area, either on a train or horseback (or take the time to try both!)
Find them on Facebook @trainandstables because they don’t appear to have a website.
Nestled in the scenic Kiamichi Mountains, Beavers Bend State Park sprawls across 12,000 acres, offering an oasis of outdoor recreation in southeastern Oklahoma.
Its shimmering lakes, meandering rivers, and verdant forests provide a picturesque backdrop for a multitude of activities, from fishing and boating to hiking to rafting.
Mountain Fork Park is just south of the state park.
It offers campsites, a 3+ mile float down the river, and smaller crowds.
This is also a great spot to fish for trout.
Hochatown has a maze to explore that was constructed with a mile of wood fence and covers 29,000 square feet.
The maze changes throughout the year, so you get a new experience each time.
A miniature golf course is next door.
This area used to be known for its moonshine making, but now wineries and breweries are the (legal) beverages of choice.
You’ll find four wineries and just as many breweries or distilleries.
A full list is on the Visit Broken Bow website.
The Museum of the Red River is 20 miles in the opposite direction from the lake, but it’s a free attraction that is home to the “Oklahoma State Dinosaur.”
Places to Avoid in Broken Bow
Nearly two-thirds of crime in Broken Bow happens in private homes.
Plus, not all the neighborhood streets are paved – you’ll find a lot of gravel or torn-up roads here.
Because of that, I’d avoid driving through any neighborhood.
Just stick to the main roads.
This is a small town of 4,200 people, so it’s hard to have a dangerous area when the footprint is that confined.
With so many exciting outdoor things to do, don’t try an activity on your own if you aren’t familiar with it or need guidance.
Tour guides are available for everything from fishing charters to float trips.
Summer hikers should know that bugs can be intense in the woods, and ticks are everywhere, waiting on the edge of a leaf to attach.
It’s important to wear bug spray and bring mosquito netting just in case.
You should also do a full body scan for ticks immediately after a hike.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Broken Bow
- Broken Bow has its own police department. Follow them on Facebook @BrokenBowPD. You can also call (580)584-3310 for more information or to ask specific safety questions.
- Beavers Bend has a dam on Broken Bow Lake, and the water levels can change quickly. A horn will sound when the water is being released. You should avoid the area below the powerhouse of the dam. It’s at the southern end of the lake.
- Bring a NOAA weather radio with you to the wilderness. Mobile service is spotty at best, and you need to stay aware of weather risks. Confirm that your phone has WEA (Weather Emergency Alerts) turned on and location tracking is enabled.
- When in doubt about whether you’re looking at an attraction in the right Broken Bow, look for area code 580. The Broken Bow in Nebraska has an area code of 308. Broken Arrow is 918.
- Follow Beavers Bend State Park on Facebook @beaversbend.statepark. Everything from safety information to activities for all ages is posted on the site.
- Campfires aren’t always allowed in the park. It depends on the weather and drought conditions. The park rangers will make it very clear when a burn ban is in effect. Don’t try to set a fire when the fire danger is high. Too many fires are set by people unintentionally.
- You can expect to see a range of wildlife here, from deer to bears. You should review wildlife safety and distancing information. Carry bear-proof containers, and don’t dispose of anything related to food in a regular trash can. Bears have an incredible sense of smell.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Especially in this area, you’ll most likely be asked to show proof of the license. The website also details fishing seasons, hunting information, and boating rules.
- Know the different hunting seasons and when hunting is allowed. Sometimes public lands allow hunting, and hikers should wear Hunter Orange to stand out in the woods. This goes for dogs, too.
- Have your directions ready and GPS set as you head to the lake. The roads are winding and only have two lanes. You need to keep your eyes on the road for safety and watch out for wildlife at the edge of roads, especially near dawn and dusk.
So... How Safe Is Broken Bow Really?
Broken Bow crime statistics look concerning at first glance.
The violent crime rate is 80% higher than the national average and 70% higher than the state average.
Now, let’s add a little bit of context.
First, the city only has 4,200 people.
Crime rates are figured out as “per 100,000 people,” and the “people” are the census numbers for residents.
Add 10 more violent crimes, and the rate goes up 25%.
Now, if we look at Tulsa with 411,000 thousand people, if 10 more violent crimes happened there in 2022, the crime rate would go up two-tenths of a percent.
So, the smaller population centers have bigger sways in either direction.
Then, you have to consider the 200,000 people who come through this town every year for recreational or business purposes.
Even when we do the math with just half that – 100,000 – the violent crime rate would be 93% lower than the national average.
Thefts are 218% higher than the national average.
However, in the same spirit of the context above, it doesn’t account for the 200,000 people who drive through here or stay overnight.
In reality, there were 187 thefts.
42% of those alone were due to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
We know that catalytic converter thefts have been a problem across the country.
We also know that, especially in small towns, people are more likely to leave cars unlocked, leave their keys in the car, or leave the car running to warm up in the winter.
Simply locking your car lowers that risk.
McCurtain County’s Sheriff faced broad backlash for some alleged racist and threatening comments made on an audio recording.
He did not face charges for the incident.
While this information doesn’t impact your safety, it does help you “read the room” when you visit should anyone bring it up.
Broken Bow wouldn’t get the number of tourists it has without being safe enough to visit, although most people have a different destination than this small town.
As long as you use common sense, mind your own business, and report anything suspicious, you have a lot of great experiences to explore in Broken Bow and the region.
How Does Broken Bow Compare?
|Hong Kong (China)
To gain entry into the country, international visitors need a visa or a visa waiver. The U.S. State Department website provides information on eligibility for a visa waiver. Additionally, you can use the Visa Wizard module on their site to identify the necessary visa. You also should have a passport that isn't within six months of expiring.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Get currency before you arrive in this small town. Your home bank will have the lowest fees and best rates. The airports in Oklahoma do not offer foreign currency exchange.
Bring extra layers and changes of clothing, as you'll spend a lot of time outdoors here. Winters can be cold but generally lean toward the mild side. Summers are hot and humid - prepare to sweat a lot. Bring bug spray since the bugs are thick in this part of the state.
Texarkana Regional Airport is the closest option, and that's a 90-minute drive. Flights from there only go to Dallas/Fort Worth. You can also drive to Oklahoma City or Dallas in about 3–4 hours.
For trips to places where weather may impede travel, we always suggest travel insurance. Rental car insurance should cover accidents, roadside assistance, and uninsured motorists.
Broken Bow Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oklahoma - Safety by City