Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
You might feel as if you’re going in circles when you visit Carmel, Indiana, but this upper-class Indianapolis suburb just loves turning intersections into roundabouts.
That’s just the start of the interesting things about this city of 100,000 people.
I actually had to double-check the roundabout statistics because I could’ve sworn where I lived in Florida had to have the most, but nope – these road features replace stop signs and create mass confusion and traffic accident reduction.
Carmel sits on the northern edge of I-465, the interstate that surrounds the Indy metro area.
If you like shiny new things, you’re gonna love Carmel.
The average income here is $115,000, so Carmel gets a reputation (earned or otherwise) for having some uppity people.
There are also some incredible people, so don’t let that change your mind about staying here.
There are just a lot of conversations going on about why Carmel gets things that Indy doesn’t.
Nevertheless, Carmel takes second place on the “Best Places To Live in America” list by Money.com.
The Monon Trail can take you away from it all or to the center of everything, as this bicycle-loving community makes it easy to get around without ever starting an engine.
There’s a vibrant Arts & Design District, City Center, and Midtown Plaza, making for many options for a wandering traveler.
Warnings & Dangers in Carmel
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here with crime rates that are a fraction of the state and national averages. No matter what you want to do, you can do it safely in Carmel.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The one thing you can't do is take public transportation because Carmel doesn't have a system for this. The city and county have an on-demand shuttle service, but that's more for senior citizens getting to doctor's appointments than tourists using it at their beck and call. You'll want a car here, or you can also rent a bicycle and get around that way. Taxis and rideshares are available too. Any option is low risk with proper safety steps.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This might be the first city with an incredibly low theft rate that had so many pickpockets I've ever researched. Of the 508 thefts, 18 of them were pickpockets and the minimum taken by the thief was $600. We're going to call this a medium risk because you really need to keep focused on your handbag or wallet when enjoying the luxurious dining and shopping of this city.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You've got a wide range of risks throughout the year, so this is a medium risk too. There are severe thunderstorms and the potential for tornadoes starting in spring, flooding concerns during heavy rains, water pollution from the flash flooding, and winter brings the chance of snow and ice.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were nine robberies in 2020, and not a single one of them was in a public place. There's a low risk of this happening to you and it's much more likely your purse will get snatched while looking at your phone than getting robbed in a dark alley.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Because this is part of the Indianapolis area, there's going to be a medium risk. Terrorists love to focus on large population areas like Indy. During Indy 500 week, that risk becomes a strong focus of Homeland Security. Carmel won't be a direct target.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The Better Business Bureau for Carmel reports the typical scams that run nationwide. There isn't a risk for a tourist here that wouldn't exist anywhere else. There's low risk if you're smart about protecting your identity and aware of these common scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There is a low risk for women travelers, with crime against women being below the national average here.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The water quality report from 2020 shows there were no violations in all the samples tested. There's low risk when using tap water here. Some might disagree with that, because of the pollutants that can make it into the White River after heavy rains. That's a real concern too, but that's more of a risk about interacting with river water than drinking the treated tap water.
Safest Places to Visit in Carmel
If you’re going to live the high life in Carmel, check out the schedule for the Palladium as soon as you know your travel dates.
This internationally recognized performance theater brings in some amazing acts throughout the year and tickets can sell out quickly.
Carmel City Center surrounds the theater and this is the place to go for a unique flair of Carmel without being overwhelmed by national brands.
I’m quite a shopaholic and I haven’t heard of any of the brands at City Center.
A few dining options are regional, but I’ve never had a bad meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory.
If you love cheese, check out the Baked Camembert at Vivante French Eatery.
Country Living Magazine says the Carmel Arts & Design District is one of the best Main Street experiences in the country.
The air is filled with live music while the art comes to life in the galleries.
Whether you want a custom-made outfit or an “I Love Hoosiers” t-shirt, you can find it all here.
The Carmel Clay Historical Society is located here, which is the only real “aged” part of this pristine city.
Midtown Plaza is where you go to kick back with a beer and play ping pong while the football game echo from the sports bar.
Concerts are held here throughout the year.
All of these sites are connected by the Monon Trail which is 20 miles long and you can walk or bicycle all the way to the center of downtown Indianapolis or far north of Carmel.
Carmel is a place where even an artesian well from the 1800s looks brand new.
At Flowing Well Park you can fill bottles with water from the well, cool off in the creek, or just enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
There’s also the Kawachinagano Japanese Garden to visit in Carmel, in addition to many other parks with their own unique qualities from open untouched land to fancy playgrounds and workout amenities on the trail.
Places to Avoid in Carmel
The highest crime rates are boxed in an area north of I-65, with Meridian Parkway on the west and Keystone Parkway on the east up to the city boundary at 146th Street.
That said, it’s also where 75% of the things I just told you to do are located.
This is a city where even the highest crime areas aren’t dangerous.
You just shouldn’t let your guard down.
Avoid driving in Carmel if you don’t know how to use a roundabout.
You can study up on the city’s website or look up YouTube videos on it.
I live in a community with a lot of roundabouts and I can’t tell you the number of people who clearly have no idea how to use them.
You really can’t avoid them in Carmel, so to keep traffic flowing you should learn how they work.
Indiana is “The Hoosier State,” but ask 10 people what a Hoosier is and you’ll get 10 different answers.
People from Indiana will proudly declare themselves a Hoosier.
I grew up in St. Louis, less than four hours away from here, and calling someone a Hoosier meant they were dirty, poor, and rude.
I remember the first time someone declared “I’m a Hoosier!” and I was baffled about why someone would say such a mean thing about themselves.
It was then this young writer learned not only is it a compliment in some circles but there’s also not one clear definition of what it means.
I’d love to see some comments from those of you from Indiana reading this and define it for us too!
Safety Tips for Traveling to Carmel
- You can download the Carmel Bike Share app and rent a bicycle as often as you’d like while visiting Carmel. The bicycles are $1.50 per hour with a $24 max spend in a 24-hour period. The shared bicycles have baskets to carry your purchases in.
- You can search for crime trends and reports closer to your time on travel on the police department’s website. It’s an interactive map with the options to choose by type of crime, date range, and address. Be sure you have a strong internet connection because this map takes a while to load.
- In 2021, more than 1,700 speeding tickets were issued in Carmel, so lay off the gas pedal. More than 8,600 were also stopped for speeding but got off with a warning. That’s one speeding traffic stop for every 10 people who live in Carmel.
- More than 1/3 of all thefts reported in Carmel were vehicle break-ins and 57 cars were stolen. It’s important to lock the car doors and roll up all windows. Leave nothing inside the vehicle when you park. If you are shopping, don’t put your bags in the trunk and go back to shopping. If a thief sees this, they’ll know right where to go. Ask at the management office if there is a concierge or locker to store your stuff until you’re ready to leave.
- If you visiting Flowing Well Park and grabbing some artesian water, don’t drink it right away. It could have bacteria in it. You’ll see posts about the water quality, but you should always assume it needs to be boiled before consumption.
- For trips to the White River, the county lists water quality testing on its website. You’ll be able to see if there’s a low, medium, or high risk. Avoid the river or any streams after heavy rain and always shower with anti-bacterial soap as soon as possible after getting in the water.
- For the parks in Carmel that offer fishing, you can fish legally with a license from the Fish & Wildlife Department and keep up to 10 fish, depending on the species.
- Here are two numbers that will be helpful during your trip in case you need to report an issue that isn’t urgent. The non-emergency line for the police department is (317)571-2580. The Parks & Recreation number is (317)573-4044.
- The Carmel Police Department has its own YouTube channel with a variety of safety information and community events. It’s updated often, so it might make some good viewing on your plane ride to Carmel to see the latest safety advice.
- 57 cases of ATM fraud were reported in 2020 in Carmel. This is another great reminder that carrying cash can be dangerous, in several ways. You don’t want to risk anyone seeing your PIN as you use an ATM or have people know you have a large amount of cash in your wallet. Always protect your PIN when using an ATM and go inside a bank to get cash if you really need it.
So... How Safe Is Carmel Really?
Carmel takes the #4 spot for the Safest Cities in Indiana from SafeWise.com.
Not only are the crime numbers already low, but the community is hellbent on keeping it that way.
There are neighborhood watch organizations and you can’t so much as drive slowly down a street without someone noticing.
Carmel rarely has a year with more than one homicide, aside from 2019 when there were three.
In six of the past 10 years there were no homicides.
The majority of homicides are domestic situations, like a mentally ill man who said he was Donald Trump while he beat his mother and then stabbed his father to death.
Even in a city with so much wealth, only 39 robberies happened in 2020 and that’s part of a downward trend since 2013.
The biggest crimes are petty theft, car breaking, shoplifting, and drug violations.
You should feel safe visiting Carmel, but keep a close eye on personal belongings as thieves are more likely to assume that you have a lot of money when you’re here.
How Does Carmel Compare?
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- Visas - Your Visa won't be needed as you travel through the Indianapolis area. You will need it at the airport, so don't put it in your checked baggage.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Be sure to let your bank know you'll be traveling so you won't get flagged for unusual purchases, but also set daily spending limits if you want to get notifications if someone tries to use your card for fraud.
- Weather - You will need warm layers in the winter. Summers are going to be hot and humid, but not as bad as states in the south. Spring and fall are going to be mild but could get really cold or unusually warm, so bring a jacket and a few sweatshirts.
- Airports - The Indianapolis Airport is about 35 miles away and that could take you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get there, depending on traffic.
- Travel Insurance - It's a great idea to get travel insurance for a place with such a variety of extreme weather.
Carmel Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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