Ohio : Safety by City
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- Port Clinton
- Yellow Springs
Canton, Ohio, is a city that resonates with rich history and a unique football connection that has left an indelible mark on its identity.
While it’s often recognized for being the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton offers much more to explore and discover.
Founded in 1805, Canton’s history is a tapestry of progress and tradition.
It was a key player in Ohio’s industrial development, particularly in the production of agricultural equipment and stoneware.
The city’s early years were shaped by its role in these industries, laying the foundation for its future growth.
Canton’s most famous association is with football, as it hosts the revered Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Established in 1963, this institution immortalizes the legends of American football, honoring players, coaches, and contributors who have shaped the sport.
The annual Hall of Fame Game kicks off the NFL season, drawing fans from across the country to this historic city.
Unique to Canton is the presence of the McKinley National Memorial, commemorating President William McKinley, who called Canton home.
Visitors can explore his legacy and pay their respects at this iconic landmark.
The challenge with Canton is its historically high crime rate and poverty levels, creating some challenges for travelers who are visiting for the first time.
We’re going to talk through the pros and cons of Canton in this article.
Warnings & Dangers in Canton
OVERALL RISK: HIGH
There's a high risk in Canton, and while that doesn't hold true for every single street, the crime rates are just too high to soften the risk level. There are some great things to do here, but you'll need big-city safety steps.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) covers the entire county and includes a couple of late-night loops. Given the high crime rates, I would think it's safer to use a taxi, rideshare, or rental car, but all should be treated as a medium risk just to prompt you to use extra safety steps.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
Surprisingly, just six pickpockets have been reported in the past five years. However, we're still knocking this up to high risk, given how much theft is happening in Canton. Look at it this way - there's an exponentially higher risk that someone will steal your entire car than swindle you out of your wallet.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
This is a medium risk simply because disruptive or dangerous weather can happen any time of the year. Spring and summer bring thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes. Winter has ice storms, blizzards, snow storms, and dangerously cold temperatures at times. It's important to stay aware of the weather here at all times.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
More than a third of all robberies are highway robberies, and that's on top of a robbery rate 2.5 times higher than the national average. It's a medium risk but mostly risky for those who walk around in unknown neighborhoods at night. Stick to well-lit, patrolled public spaces.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is a low risk, but there are far bigger concerns in Canton anyway. Drug crimes and human trafficking have been reported too often in this city and county. It's important to be aware of any suspicious activity and report it immediately.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most of the scammers here prey on what little money residents have, and it's well-reported when a scam is trending. Check city and police social media sites to get more information. There's also a likelihood you'll face panhandlers if you visit downtown. While it's not a scam, it's smart to avoid these people and donate to a homeless shelter if you really want to help.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: HIGH
Sexual assault rates in Canton are almost six times higher than the national average. That's in addition to so many other high crime rates; we have to tell women (especially solo travelers) to avoid Canton if you can. North Canton is a safer option.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The last few annual water quality reports show that all standards were met or exceeded, giving this a low risk. You can still check the city's social media pages for any more pressing water issues, like hydrant flushing or water main breaks.
Safest Places to Visit in Canton
VisitCanton.com is the official tourism site for the city.
You won’t find any information about dangerous parts of town or crime ratings there, but don’t let that give you a false sense of safety.
Choose options like museums or community-sponsored events instead of just winging it and looking for something to do.
You can also look for businesses that are a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a pilgrimage for football enthusiasts.
It houses an extensive collection of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and the hallowed Hall of Fame gallery, where you can explore the history of American football and the legendary players who have left their mark.
There are 200 acres to explore here, so you’ll get your money’s worth!
For art aficionados, the Canton Museum of Art is a gem.
It features a diverse array of contemporary and traditional artworks, making it a cultural haven in the heart of the city.
The museum frequently hosts rotating exhibitions, ensuring a fresh experience with each visit.
The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum offers an intriguing glimpse into the life and times of President William McKinley.
The museum boasts an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits, shedding light on the 25th President’s legacy and his era.
For a unique and historical experience, the National First Ladies Library is a captivating destination.
It pays homage to the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States and offers insight into their pivotal roles in shaping the nation’s history.
The MAPS Air Museum (Military Aviation Preservation Society) enjoys international acclaim as a hub for aviation history in Northeast Ohio.
With a diverse collection spanning from the unique 1908 Martin Glider to the formidable F-16 Fighting Falcon, the museum proudly showcases over 50 different aircraft types.
A great free place to visit is the Massillon Museum, a dynamic blend of innovative exhibitions that can range from art to history.
The main gallery consistently hosts award-winning exhibitions, often curated in-house, and rotates every few months.
To unwind and savor the scenic beauty of Canton, the Gervasi Vineyard beckons.
This picturesque winery not only offers delectable wines but also guided tours of the vineyards, tasting experiences, and a charming atmosphere to relax and enjoy a leisurely day.
Places to Avoid in Canton
Canton has a lot of dangerous neighborhoods.
There’s really no way to get around that.
Even the downtown area is flanked by rundown or risky neighborhoods.
The most dangerous places are south and northeast, but this is a city where you shouldn’t be in any neighborhood unless you have a reason to be there.
Unless you need to be in Canton for your travels, it would be wise to reconsider this trip or focus your sights on North Canton.
It’s not inherently dangerous, as just 15% of all crimes happen against strangers.
It’s just that there’s a lot of unpredictable crime in small pockets of town that are too detailed to learn for the casual tourist.
Avoid any situation where trouble is brewing, even if it’s a shoplifting incident at a store.
Just get out of the area and call the police.
Mind your own business and try to only travel during the daytime.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Canton
- Canton does have its own police department. It’s wise to call them before your visit to ask about crime hot spots. That number is (330) 489-3100. You can also follow them on Facebook @CantonPD.
- Sign up for Canton Alerts on the department’s website. It’s imperative you stay informed about weather risks, public safety issues, and road closures.
- If you have any information about criminal activity or suspicious activity, please report it anonymously to the crime tip line by calling (330)489-3117. This is not for emergencies but is useful for instances where you see graffiti or notice suspected drug activity.
- Read the Crime Prevention Manual supplied by the Canton Police Department. It’s posted on the website, along with the most recent annual report that gives a closer look at crime and traffic challenges.
- You can report issues you see throughout the city using the See. Click. Fix. tool on the city’s website. This is not for criminal activity. It’s useful for instances such as potholes or broken streetlights.
- Parking in downtown Canton is a mix of on-street spots and parking lots. The on-street parking has meters, and you’ll need coins to feed the meter. The parking garages will also cost money, but you’ll pay at a kiosk or manned booth. If you don’t pay for metered parking, you could get a ticket.
- Avoid parking on the street if winter weather is approaching. The snow plows will need to clear the streets, and you could be ticketed or towed for parking on the street.
- If you are renting a car, avoid Kia and Hyundai models, as those have been targeted by thieves across Ohio, but especially in Canton, where car theft rates are high. Always, ALWAYS lock your car door when you park and leave nothing inside the vehicle. Take your rental car paperwork into the hotel with you and keep it locked away.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Ohio Department of Fish & Game. There are certain licenses and stamps for different fish species, so read that thoroughly before you make a purchase.
- Ohgo is the website and app to use for traffic conditions. You’ll be able to see real-time backups, live cameras, construction zones, and weather conditions on your chosen path.
So... How Safe Is Canton Really?
Canton consistently ranks as the most or one of the most dangerous cities in the state.
The crime statistics are shocking at first glance.
Violent crime rates are 3.5 times higher than the national average and nearly five times higher than the state average.
Theft rates are also three times higher than the national average.
Nearly two cars a day are stolen in Canton.
If you’re waiting for the silver lining or “but,” I don’t have a good one for you.
Even one of the plans to clean up a neighborhood where one in five homes or lots is vacant could be another 25 years before the full realization comes to pass.
I can tell you that just 15% of violent crimes happen against strangers and 63% of violent crimes happen in private homes.
The cash-strapped city has almost one-third of residents living in poverty, a systemic problem fed by a lack of jobs that pay a living wage.
Even the average income is near the poverty level, according to the 2020 census.
While there are several great places for tourists to visit, I would recommend you stay in North Canton and don’t even consider staying in Canton.
Social forums battle back and forth about which neighborhoods are most dangerous and others that “aren’t that bad,” but it’s such a mixed bag.
The best way to have a safe experience in Canton is to choose an itinerary, go during the daytime, stay on main roads and highways, and always lock your car when you park.
Try to travel in pairs or groups.
Get gas outside of Canton.
If you’re looking for any town in Ohio to visit, Columbus would be a much safer option.
How Does Canton Compare?
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|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
International visitors should check the U.S. State Department website to see what visa requirements are in place and if they are eligible for a visa waiver. A valid passport that isn't within six months of expiring will also be needed.
Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted here, and we strongly recommend not bringing cash into Canton. Use a credit card and keep it secure until you need to use it. Protect your PIN, and don't use public ATMs.
Dress for the season and err on the side of a little colder. There isn't always snow on the ground in the winter, but you don't want to get caught without winter gear. Check the forecast before you pack to see if there's potential for a snowstorm to move across the state. Bring bug spray for spring through fall, and wear it whenever you are outside.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is an hour north, and that's the largest option. Canton does have its own airport about 10 minutes from downtown, but you'll have fewer flight options.
We recommend comprehensive travel insurance that covers everything from flight cancelations to rental car emergency services to supplement health coverage.
Canton Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Ohio - Safety by City