Georgia : Safety by City
- East Columbus
- East Point
- Johns Creek
- Peachtree City
- Peachtree Corners
- Sandy Springs
- South Fulton
- Tybee Island
- Warner Robins
As the anchor of the Golden Isles of Georgia, Brunswick is the last stop on land before crossing over to the barrier islands.
It’s filled with a rich history and a hearty stew.
Brunswick has that Savannah vibe, with pristine historic buildings on tree-lined streets.
Spanish moss hangs from trees as fireflies dance in the twilight.
The other “Golden Isles” are St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simons Island.
This is a popular tourist region and a critical port for everything from shrimp to sedans.
The deepwater port makes it ideal for shipping and was one of the original ports of the 13 colonies in America’s founding days.
This is also the region where a good chunk of our nation’s federal law enforcement gets trained, as Glynco is located on the north side of town.
More recently, this area made international headlines with the murder of Ahmed Arbury, a black man who was jogging in nearby Satilla Shores.
Three white men claimed to believe he was a burglar and confronted him – then shot Arbery several times, killing him.
The men were initially not charged, but now are spending the rest of their lives in prison.
Further casting a shadow on Brunswick, the FBI says it’s one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the state due to a high violent crime rate.
It’s hard to imagine a place that trains federal officers to best protect the county resides in a city with a one in 79 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.
Georgia isn’t as transparent as other states with its crime data, so we can’t break down the domestic vs. random acts of violence, but we do know the city has a staggering 36% poverty rate.
Poverty can lead to more violent crimes and can also lead to drug use, which feeds crime cycles.
Brunswick is certainly its own tale of Beauty and the Beast.
Warnings & Dangers in Brunswick
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium overall risk here. That doesn't mean you should re-consider a trip here. It just means you should consider the risks and plan your trip accordingly. There are breathtaking places here. There's also some danger. No hotels are located in the town of Brunswick and where the hotels are located are very safe areas.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
There isn't a public transportation system in Brunswick or surrounding Glynn County, but the local leaders are working on it. You'll have to use taxis or rideshares to get around if you don't have a car. You probably won't spend most of your time in Brunswick, barring a personal obligation, so it does help to have a car to get to the barrier islands. There's a low risk but wait inside a safe place for your taxi or rideshare to arrive.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk of being pickpocketed. The theft rate is one in 26. Generally, theft rates are driven up by car break-ins and shoplifting, but we don't have exact data for Brunswick. Since this is a busy tourist area with higher amounts of crime, you should be prepared by carrying no valuables on you and just one credit card for purchases.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, too. The beauty of the beach is haunted by the beast of mother nature. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible from spring through fall. Hurricane season runs from June through November, and since Brunswick is right on the water it can get a direct hit.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
The robbery risk is one in 397, which is one of the lower crime rates in the city. There's a low risk, but it's important to note that crimes are reported based on severity. So, if a robbery attempt escalates to a fight or attack, then it gets upgraded and reported as aggravated assault. To be safe, we'll call this a medium risk. In the first two months of 2022, there were six robberies and 62 assaults.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Between the port and Glynco, Brunswick could be a target for terrorists. It's a medium risk because of this, but honestly, there are bigger targets for terrorists to choose from. However, there are just too many possibilities here to give it lower risk.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are a lot of scams in the area, from counterfeit cash to people paying for missing a jury duty summons that was bogus, but there's nothing that would target a tourist at this time. Keep your guard up, but there is a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
The sexual assault average is nearly twice the national average, but this is also a very small town and a few numbers, either way, can skew the results. For example, there were 12 rapes in 2021, but when you do the math to add that to crimes per 100,000 (as the FBI does), the number is now 79 rapes per 100,000 people. Given all the risks here, women have a medium risk. It's important to note that going to one of the barrier islands or outside the city limits significantly lowers your risk.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
There are three utilities that service water in the Golden Isles and all of them meet or exceed required standards. Hurricanes and severe storms can impact the water quality, and Brunswick is just 10 feet above sea level. It's smart to check the water quality or any water concerns before or when you arrive.
Safest Places to Visit in Brunswick
You can tour historic downtown Brunswick on foot or by bicycle.
Just pick up a map at the visitors center and you can guide yourself through the streets and learn about the history of the city.
There are several guided tours to choose from on the nearby barrier islands.
I’m a particular fan of ghost tours.
Be sure to check out the expanding cuisine in Brunswick, which is said to rival even some Atlanta area food districts.
Shrimp, oysters, and clams come right from the water to the restaurants for delicious meals.
You also need to try, just once, Brunswick Stew.
While several cities named Brunswick fight over who REALLY invented it, Georgia won’t listen to that smack talk.
They own it and offer it at several restaurants.
While the original stew once included small animals like squirrels, you can now get it with chicken or pork.
Lovebirds need to see Lover’s Oak at the intersection of Prince & Albany streets.
This tree reportedly has been standing since the 12th century and legend has it this is where Native American men fell in love with their wives-to-be.
It’s a good Instagram moment but it won’t take more than a few minutes.
The Pinball Palace looks like a Las Vegas casino inside, only it’s lined with pinball machines and other games.
This is a family-friendly place. For the real casino action, hop aboard the Emerald Princess II.
There are four decks filled with casino action.
If you are heading to the nearest barrier islands of St. Simons, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island, you might wonder what the difference is between them.
St. Simons and Sea Island are the typical beaches for tourists with all the bells and whistles.
They are generally packed with people.
Jekyll Island is where you go to get away from those people.
Most of it is owned by the State Park and underdeveloped, but it’s a great place to unplug.
Places to Avoid in Brunswick
Crime maps show the western half of the city from I-95 to Altima has the most crime.
East of Atama to the water’s edge is the second highest-crime area.
Keep in mind that the average income in Brunswick is $27,000 and again, 36% of people live in poverty.
The average home price is under $103,000.
This isn’t a city where you’ll want to drive around looking for stately homes.
You want to avoid getting to Brunswick and then figuring out where to go.
Plot your path for the day in Brunswick before you go and then stick to the plan.
It’s a good idea to plan your visiting time during daylight hours.
This isn’t a big party town after dark, so you really don’t have a reason to be out after nightfall.
It’s better to visit St. Simons for some beach nightlife.
Avoid talking about the Ahmed Arbury case here.
This small, quaint town was once a hidden gem in the state of Georgia.
The Arbury attack put the region on a global scale for the wrong reason.
Don’t try to find the street where he was shot or the home of the killers.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Brunswick
- This is definitely a place to make sure you leave nothing in your car when you park it, and always try to park in a secured place. Make sure there are surveillance cameras around. Roll up all the windows and remove all personal items. Even hiding things in the trunk won’t stop thieves here.
- It’s going to be humid here most of the year. Winters can be very pleasant, but there’s always going to be humidity. Accept that you’ll sweat through your clothes and ladies, keep your hair in a bun if you can. I’ve lived in humid areas and have 10 different ways to style my hair in a bun, so when I start sweating profusely I don’t look like a drowned rat. Be sure to drink at least a gallon of water a day.
- If you have information on a non-urgent crime, you can submit a tip online through the police department’s website or you can call (912)267-5559. Every little bit of crime tipping helps fight the high crime rate in this area.
- Should you choose to do a fishing charter or do fishing on your own, you’ll need a license from the Georgia Department of Wildlife. Your state or city license won’t do. You can get that online, by phone, or when you arrive in town.
- Bring bug spray, especially when going to the beach. This area is infested with sandflies, otherwise known as “no-see-ums” to Floridians. These are small, nearly invisible ankle-biting monsters that can quickly ruin a trip to the beach. They generally feast at twilight. Sock and closed-toed shoes are highly recommended at the beach during this time of day.
- Sign up for CODERED emergency alerts through the city’s website. This will give you hyper-local emergency weather and civil information during your stay.
- Check the weather forecast before going out for the day. If storms are in the forecast, plan events inside. Lightning is dangerous here and thunderstorms can quickly spin off a tornado or two. You don’t want to be caught in a boat as a storm approaches or be in the middle of a wetland with lightning overhead.
- This is the deep south and people are most likely going to speak with a strong accent. Don’t laugh at it or ask people to say a word like they are an amusement attraction. “Fixin’ to” means “I’m going to.” Darlin’ is what you’ll be called constantly, ie. “What do you want to drink, Darlin’?” Ordering a drink can be confusing too. If you want iced tea, it’s going to come loaded with sugar, as “sweet tea” is the state drink of the South. If you order a Coke, you’ll be asked “What kind?” The answer could be Sprite, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc. Just know a coke means “soda” or “pop”, depending on where you are from.
- What’s that smell? City leaders are trying to figure it out. There are hundreds of complaints from 2021 of a sewage-type smell coming from an area on the west side of town in an industrial park. Depending on the wind direction each day, it can be a suffocating smell or hardly noticeable.
- If any kind of tropical weather is heading toward Brunswick before your visit, seriously consider rescheduling. If you are there as a tropical system is heading toward you, cut the vacation short. This city is surrounded by water on three sides and it is almost at sea level. The storm surge alone can be deadly, then add in the ferocious winds and emergency lockdowns. Waiting too late to evacuate could leave you in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
So... How Safe Is Brunswick Really?
Brunswick is rated by the FBI as the #7 Most Dangerous City in Georgia.
This is due to high violent crime and property crime rates.
It’s a city of just 15,000 people, and in 2021 there were 192 violent crimes.
That’s a one in 79 chance of becoming a victim.
This is also an area that sees three million people come and go throughout the year, which could drive up the crime numbers, but isn’t reflected in the official count.
It’s a working-class city with a great spirit of tourism helping bring in important tax dollars so leaders can revitalize the area.
For years, if not decades, it’s going to be hard for this community to grow from the appearance of the Ahmed Arbury murder and the racial undertones of the crime.
Brunswick is a great place to visit with a lot of great tourist attractions, but you do need to watch your back because of the crime rates and poverty.
People who are desperate will do desperate things.
Be part of the solution by reporting anything suspicious you see and enjoying the community during daylight hours.
How Does Brunswick Compare?
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Your Visa will get checked at Customs when you arrive in the country. There is no additional processing after that. You will need an ID to rent a car, get a hotel, or take a charter boat.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and please use it in credit card form. There's no need to carry cash and it could just make you a mark for a thief. If you do need cash, store it cleverly in an inside pocket of a jacket or in your sock.
It's going to be soupy and humid throughout the year, but pretty extreme from late spring through fall. Storms can kick up any time of day, so bringing rain gear is a good idea. You'll need sunscreen for the beach too, and bring water shoes to avoid getting cut by stepping on a sharp rock or getting stung by a hard-to-see jellyfish.
There's a small local airport in Brunswick. The Brunswick Golden Isles Airport is serviced only by Delta. Jacksonville and Savannah are bigger airports but about an hour's drive. You are about four and a half hours from the Atlanta airport, but it is a major connector if you prefer direct flights.
Travel insurance is a must for a trip to a place that could get hit by hurricanes and tornadoes. You'll also be protected if you are a victim of theft (but confirm that your policy covers that before paying.)
Brunswick Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Georgia - Safety by City