Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Cedar Lake, Indiana, might remind you a bit of the place where the Houseman went on summer vacation in Dirty Dancing.
As you sit and watch the sunrise over the lake, far away from city noise, you’ll be amazed that downtown Chicago is just an hour away.
This is a natural lake and it’s the only one in this part of northwestern Indiana.
There’s not a lot to do outside of the lake area in Cedar Lake, and that’s kind of the point.
This is a vacation retreat where you can hurry up and do nothing all day long.
If one lake isn’t enough for you, there are several more nearby.
Cedar Lake was popular before refrigeration was invented as ice workers loaded up chunks of the frozen river for delivery to Chicago food vendors.
The Museum at Lassen’s Resort hosts one of the historical ice trucks.
There’s a small steamboat that gives tours throughout the summer on the lake and several dockside restaurants along the shore.
Underneath the water, there’s plenty of fishing, and that museum I just mentioned is home to a massive mastodon bone found in the lake.
(Don’t feel bad if you have to Google “mastadon,” I did too.)
Warnings & Dangers in Cedar Lake
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here and some of the more constant crimes are people running stop signs. Some risks come with any natural body of water too, and we'll talk about those in a bit.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You have to go to Hammond, 18 miles north, to get the South Shore Rail Line that goes from Chicago to South Bend. There's no rail service in Cedar Lake and I'm assuming it would take a while for a taxi or rideshare to get there. You'll really need a car here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Surprisingly, there was one pickpocket and one purse snatching reported in 2020. While two thefts aren't that big of a deal, I was honestly expecting zero. There's a low risk, but as this data shows, it can happen if you aren't paying close attention to your stuff.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Cedar Lake can get some ugly winter storms, ranging from blizzards to ice storms. With a lot of two-lane roads, driving on ice is downright dangerous. You can expect severe thunderstorms with the potential for tornadoes starting in the spring. There's a medium risk because all of these extreme weather events are dangerous in a place designed around the outdoors.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk you'll be the victim of a robbery. Of the three robberies that happened in 2020, not a single one was in a public place.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low - very low- risk of this being a target for terrorists. Without the lake, this city would most likely be empty. The greater Chicago area is more likely to be a hard target for terrorists, so keep that in mind if you travel to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There have been phone scams here, but nothing that should give caution to a tourist. The one thing I'd say is, if you are renting a home here for your trip, make sure the landlord has proof of a rental license. The closest hotels are in Crown Point and Hebron.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe traveling here with low risk, but there has been some drug activity on the northeast side of town. Don't go wandering around at night alone. Stick to the main roads and avoid the neighborhoods unless you are visiting someone you know.
TAP WATER RISK : MEDIUM
The city released water quality reports for the east side and west side. I'd strongly recommend you call the water utility before you visit here to ask about the tap water testing. That number is (219)374-7478. Here's why - the latest reports I have are from 2020. The east side report had nearly 22 violations of testing that was incomplete or not done, meaning the utility can't vouch for the water quality during that time period. The west side report had two violations for failure to report required items.
Safest Places to Visit in Cedar Lake
The Musem at Lassen’s Resort is the biggest (and only) tourist attraction in town.
I read through its Facebook page and they have some really cool exhibits.
You can tell the city takes pride in this museum and make sure there are fresh exhibits, interesting events, and interactive displays throughout the year.
However, it’s not an actual resort where you can stay.
It’s just a museum, but a pretty cool one.
The Lighthouse Restaurant is built with windows everywhere to give stunning views of the lake while you dine on seafood, steaks, pastas, while sipping a specialty drink.
Patio seating is also available.
This is about as upscale as you’re going to find in Cedar Lake.
For a more laid-back experience, there’s the Sandbar Grill with picnic tables and the lake just a few steps away.
Boaters are welcome to dock and eat.
Try their breakfast to start the day with omelets for under $7.
They are also open for lunch and dinner.
About 10 miles up the road, there’s The Shrine of Christ’s Passion.
This is a half-mile walkway that takes you through sculptures representing key moments from the bible.
This unique experience is open throughout the year and there’s no admission (donations are welcomed).
If you’re worried about the quality of water in Cedar Lake, you can drive less than 30 minutes to Deep River Waterpark in Crown Point.
The park includes daredevil water slides, racing slides, slides shaped like bowls, a wave pool, and a young kids’ area.
In the winter, this transforms into an ice rink.
Lemon Lake County Park is just east of Cedar Lake if you’d like to explore a new area.
Placess to Avoid in Cedar Lake
Crime maps show the southeast section of town has the highest crime rates, but that’s also where all the attractions are that bring people out of their homes or off the lake.
There isn’t a part of town that’s too dangerous to drive through, but keep an eye on the police department’s Facebook page.
They are great at letting you know about crime trends.
For example, as I write this in mid-2022, there’s a report of a northeastern neighborhood that has been known to have a lot of drug activity recently.
You’ll see Lake Dalecarlia nearby on the map, but avoid going there because it’s all private.
There is no public access to that lake and locals are sticklers about keeping it that way.
There was a recent fish kill when spring started here, which was caused by the fish dying of natural causes after the ice melts.
This caused a bad smell and made the water unhealthy for a time.
This is a normal part of nature, so there’s no cause for alarm.
If you notice a fish kill during your visit, you should report it.
As of mid-2022, I spoke to someone in the city and the website is being re-done.
While most sections work fine, the parks and recreation page isn’t working.
I’ve alerted them, but I don’t know when they’ll get it fixed.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Cedar Lake
- The city’s police department has a lot of transparency with calls for crimes. You can search by year and they are even updating for 2022. Keep in mind these are reports of crime, not actual crime arrests.
- Look at the road projects on the website before you visit. There is a lot of construction that gets done here after the winter thaw and it’s a race against time until next winter. This can cause detours or delays in your driving.
- There isn’t a form or separate number to call to report a crime. The police department asks that all crime reports go through the 911 call center, even if it’s not an emergency.
- When there is snow, sleet, or ice in the forecast, you can’t park along any city road. This is so the snowplows and de-icing trucks can safely get through. You risk being towed and fined if you break this law.
- Golf carts are allowed on city streets here, so keep an eye out for them as they’ll certainly be going slower than most vehicles. You can only drive a golf cart if you have a driver’s license and register the golf cart with the city.
- Any fishing here must be done by someone who holds an Indiana fishing license. You can get this online at the Department of Fish & Wildlife.
- Don’t swim in Cedar Lake if there’s an algae bloom happening. You will usually see the algae bloom as a thin film on top of the water or you might smell the dead fish the bloom causes. This algae can make a person sick.
- You can rent a boat, waverunner, or kayak while you’re visiting, but be sure to ask about the laws of wearing a flotation device. You should always wear one, even if you’re a good swimmer, but there might be local laws that require it at all times.
- Early July and September are very busy times for this lake. You should plan to arrive early and find parking. Bring bicycles if you can to ride around, so you don’t have to keep looking for parking.
- Download a reliable weather app so you can stay weather aware while you’re here. If you see lightning, plan for at least an hour indoors, or for an hour after the lightning strikes. If winter weather is coming, you might want to go to a place closer to the Lake Michigan shore where the roads are going to be cleared faster.
So... How Safe Is Cedar Lake Really?
This is a town with more misdemeanors than felonies.
There hasn’t been a murder since 2015. Crime rates are a fraction of the state and national averages.
The police department does a great job of preventing and stopping crime while being transparent about what happens.
Here is how the risks break down in Cedar Lake:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 542
- Robbery: 1 in 4,702
- Theft: 1 in 136
30% of those thefts were car break-ins and 11 cars were stolen in 2020, so you should roll the car windows up, lock the doors, and keep all personal items out of the car when you park it.
You are really going to want to get away from it all to visit Cedar Lake.
It’s a very small town of 14,000 people and it’s designed for weekend getaways in the summer.
The great part about visiting here is you have all the South Shore main attractions and Chicago just an hour away, having the best of all worlds in one drivable region.
How Does Cedar Lake Compare?
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- Visas - You should start the visa process at least four months early, just to be safe. There are several steps to complete, including an interview, before the visa is issued. You'll be required to show it at Customs when you arrive along with your passport.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. There are some restaurants here that are cash only, so call ahead if you want to be sure. You should get cash at a bank before you arrive in Cedar Lake, as there aren't many options and ATM safety should always be a concern for a traveler.
- Weather - The beautiful summer weather is what makes Cedar Lake so appealing. You should plan for boat shoes and bathing suits, with plenty of changes of summer clothes for all the sweating you'll do in the humidity. Bug spray is your best friend. Winter can get bitterly cold, but you'll want to enjoy some cross country skiing or sledding, so bring plenty of warm layers.
- Airports - The Chicago area airports of Midway and O'Hare are less than 90 minutes away, but check the traffic maps before you go as that can slow you down.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a wise investment in case any one of many severe weather situations causes delays, closures, or cancellations.
Cedar Lake Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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