Georgia : Safety by City
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Cartersville, Georgia is an outlying suburb of the growing Atlanta metro area.
It’s hard to find where the line is between a suburb and just a small town in northern Georgia, but Cartersville really offers the best of both worlds.
The city is rooted in Southern history but it celebrates the heritage of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
Two of the museums here are connected to the Smithsonian and one of them is a tracking space for meteors.
It might be a little odd to have a museum celebrating the West in the South, but it sure is working out well for this community.
The Booth Western Art Museum has been voted as the best art museum in the country by USA Today readers for three years running.
From the Etowah Indian Mounds to the Tellus Science Museum to the Rose Lawn historical museum, there’s just so much to see and do that will pique everyone’s interest.
Outdoor adventures abound at Red Top Mountain State Park.
If there’s an activity that is popular to do outdoors, you’ll find it here.
The lake offers plenty of space for fishing, swimming, water skiing, and kayaking.
The surrounding hills are great for hiking, hunting, biking, and wildlife viewing.
There’s even an archery range and pickleball equipment.
Warnings & Dangers in Cartersville
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here. Crime levels are no lower or higher than in an average city and the bulk of violent crimes happen behind closed doors.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The city doesn't have a public transportation system. Taxis and rideshares are available, but might not be as available as in bigger cities. The Atlanta Marta rail line doesn't come this far either. There's low risk with what little is available, but you'll need a car here. It's located right off of I-75, so it's a natural stopping point for drivers.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There were no pickpockets reported in the latest data from the police department, so there's a low risk. Don't let your guard down, however. The theft rate overall is still the same as the national average.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here because all seasons bring a certain risk. Severe storms and tornadoes are the biggest concern, primarily in spring and late fall. In March 2021, an EF-1 tornado came through this area, tearing down some power lines. Not only was it dangerous, but it was also spinning in the opposite direction of most tornadoes. Winter brings the risk of some snow and ice storms. This line in northern Georgia seems to be perfectly positioned for ice storms. No matter what you drive or how experienced you are, it's impossible to drive well on ice.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There were 10 robberies in 2020, and not one of them was in a public place. This is good news and low risk.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Even though it's considered a far away suburb of Atlanta, it's still far enough away that it would not get much of an impact if a terrorist group attacked Atlanta.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The scammers in Cartersville don't get really creative. They are using the same law enforcement and utility scams targeted at locals. There's a low risk of a tourist scam.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
The sexual assault rate is slightly lower than the national average. There's a low risk for women, but never take a low risk to mean you should let your guard down. The city shuts down for the most part after dark, so don't walk around aimlessly when the sun goes down.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
All national and state standards are met, according to the latest water quality report, and there are no contaminant violations. You have a low risk when using the water for bathing or drinking.
Safest Places to Visit in Cartersville
Georgia is very good at providing travel guides for even the smallest of cities in the state.
I can tell you from my research, that not every state is this dedicated.
There are plenty of outdoor adventures:
- Allatoona Lake
- Etowah River
- Red Top Mountain State Park
- Terminus Wake Park
History is alive and well here with several historical places to visit:
- Rose Lawn Museum – A slice of Victorian-era housing with festivals throughout the year.
- Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Park – Walk among the land where thousands of Native Americans once roamed.
- Bartow History Museum – Inside the 1869 courthouse, you’ll find artifacts and docents to talk about the agriculture, manufacturing, and culture that spread over this region throughout generations.
- Booth Western Art Museum – Cowboys’ culture in Civil War territory might be a head-scratcher, but once inside, you’ll understand how this museum is perfectly placed.
Photo ops are plentiful throughout your journey in Cartersville.
There’s a Coca-Cola wall painting advertisement that doesn’t seem to be all that special until you learn it was the first one ever.
The Euharleee Covered Bridge is a beautiful look at the bridges that once provided safe passage over water before modern bridge technology was invented.
The newest addition to Cartersville is Old Car City USA. More than 4,000 classic cars are on display.
This isn’t as much of a souped-up car showcase as it is a junkyard of automotive treasures.
This is a cash-only exhibit.
Places to Avoid in Cartersville
The area along I-75 south of Center Road has the highest crime according to crime maps.
That does include the north side of the Red Top Mountain area.
You won’t need to avoid those areas, and it’s perfectly normal for a highway to have more crime on either side of its exits.
You need to get familiar with hunting safety zone maps, whether you hunt or not.
This clearly lays out the areas where hunting is allowed and where it isn’t.
This allows hikers and mountain bikers to enjoy the same regions without being worried about being mistaken for a deer or bear.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Cartersville
- Sign up for city notifications and Cartersville leadership makes this really easy. Just text your zip code (use the zip code of your hotel) to 888777. It’s that easy. You’ll get severe weather information and road closure information, just as a few examples.
- It can be very tempting when severe weather is coming to step outside and look at it. Hey, as an official National Weather Service storm spotter and part-time trained storm chaser, I get it – storms are cool to see. There’s also a lot of danger involved and if you aren’t trained to know where to look, you could get hurt by flying debris or lightning. Even driving around could leave you on a flooded road and just six inches of water can carry a car away.
- If you do get caught on the road in a storm, seek shelter inside immediately. If there isn’t shelter available, do NOT park under an overpass. Logically, it makes sense to do this as it’s a sturdy covered area. Without going into the aerodynamics of the underpass, just trust me when I say you are in more danger by parking there. In a worst-case scenario, find a ditch and lay down, covering your head with your hands.
- Look for the My Cartersville App in the app stores so you can be in touch with the city during your visit. You can submit photos, ask questions, and sign up for text alerts.
- If you have information about a crime that happened in Cartersville, you can reach out to the police through an online tip form. Provide as much information as possible and you can even upload pictures or videos.
- Fishing and hunting are very popular in North Georgia. If you want to do either one, you need a license. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources lists all the rules and regulations. Hunting isn’t as simple as getting a license. Some of the game is restricted to a lottery list of applicants, others are restricted to certain seasons and certain areas. Get to know the rules here before you head out into the wilderness.
- There are bears in this region. While they are normally non-aggressive, you might stumble in between a momma bear and her cubs and that’s going to cause problems. Always speak to a bear you can see in a normal voice, so it knows you are human. Back away without turning your back on the bear. Don’t try to climb a tree because bears are expert climbers.
- You might read some information that claims Cartersville is full of racism and hate groups. There’s a storied history here of the city with the Ku Klux Klan. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists 24 hate groups that exist in Georgia. While there might be crimes from time to time that seem to hint at or directly shows racism, it’s not a city where a minority should feel unsafe. Hispanics and African Americans make up 32% of this city.
- This is a city where people are firm in their political beliefs. It’s best to not get into an argument with a local about it, even if your intentions are to have a respectful conversation. Billboards are posted regularly in this region which incites political divides. It’s just not worth the risk of arguing with someone while you’re on vacation.
- 17% of the people here live in poverty. You might get asked for a handout while walking downtown or see panhandlers on the streets. A firm “No” should suffice and report any aggressive panhandling to the police.
So... How Safe Is Cartersville Really?
While it has some authentic attractions, it’s an average city as far as crime goes.
Violent and property crimes are just below the state average.
No robberies happened in public in 2020.
For thefts, 27% of those involved car break-ins and items stolen from inside or outside the car.
Nearly half of the thefts were listed as “All Other”, which includes things like items stolen from a front/back yard or campsite.
The city averages one to two homicides a year, according to data from the past decade.
One of the biggest headlines that Cartersville made on a national scale was in 2017 when a house party with 64 people in attendance was busted by police for having an ounce of marijuana.
Everyone at the party was arrested.
Most of the “suspects” were minorities.
A lawsuit followed and in March of 2022, a settlement of $900,000 was reached.
The police department, local task force, and sheriff’s office had to pay that settlement.
After investigative research into the city, I can say this – “It’s not unsafe.”
There are some good ‘ole boys and un-woke people.
It’s a town divided in some ways, but a town united in wanting to keep the peace.
Just don’t poke the bear, literally or philosophically.
How Does Cartersville Compare?
|Hong Kong (China)
Once you get through customs as you enter the U.S., you're all set to freely venture throughout the country. You won't need to prove your residency throughout the different cities.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and it's worth bringing some cash as some cites, like the car museum, are cash only. If you need to exchange currency, do it at the airport when you arrive. Sometimes smaller towns are equipped to do that.
It's humid and filled with bugs in the warmer months here, so bring comfy clothing that can handle sweat stains and a good supply of bug spray. Winters are really "Wait a few minutes, it will change" with forecasts, so always check right before you depart to see what the weather is like. You might be able to wear a t-shirt and jeans, or a cold spell might mean a coat and gloves. I lived in the northern section of Alabama, which has similar weather and my solution became dressing in layers because the temperatures changed so much throughout the days in the winter. I actually have a photo of words I wrote in snow that read, "It was 70° yesterday."
You're less than an hour to Atlanta's airport (but plan for 90 minutes with traffic. Maybe two hours if it's during rush hour.) The Chattanooga airport is less than 90 minutes away.
It's a good idea to get travel insurance for travel to and from Cartersville, and all the adventures that await while you're there.
Cartersville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Georgia - Safety by City