Is City of Burlington Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On July 9, 2024
City of Burlington, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, is a blend of history, natural beauty, and creative energy.

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, it offers stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains.

The city was chartered in 1763 and quickly grew as a port and commercial center, significantly influenced by the construction of the University of Vermont in 1791 and the opening of the Champlain Canal in 1823.

These developments cemented Burlington’s role as an economic and cultural hub in the region.

As one of the oldest universities in the United States, the University of Vermont has fostered an environment of intellectual growth and liberal thinking.

Burlington’s political landscape experienced a significant shift with the election of Bernie Sanders as mayor in 1981.

Sanders, a democratic socialist, implemented policies that focused on social justice, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability.

His administration promoted citizen involvement and emphasized progressive values, setting the tone for future city governance.

At the same time, Burlington isn’t just about a port and a progressive crowd.

This is where Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was invented.

A group of college guys who loved playing music went on to form the band Phish.

The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet stands as an eclectic icon.

Burlington is a “best of all four seasons” destination, with lake life, mountain towns, fall foliage, ski slopes, and Canada, all within an hour of its borders.

However, the city is facing some present-day challenges every visitor should know about.

Warnings & Dangers in City of Burlington

Overall Risk


The risk is low, but it might not be for much longer. There is important information to know about how the police respond to crimes in a post-pandemic world. We'll highlight these concerns as we go through this article.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Green Mountain Transit is the fixed-route bus system that covers Burlington and the surrounding region. Check the website or app to see if those schedules suit your needs. You can also easily find taxis or rideshares. Rental cars are also available.

Pickpockets Risk


Eight pickpockets or purse snatchings were reported between 2018 and 2022, but with the rate of theft increasing, this low risk could quickly move into a higher category.

Natural Disasters Risk


The risk is low if you understand that it is a snowy area in winter, with more than six inches falling a year on average. Winter storms can drop feet of snow at a time, knock out power, and leave roads treacherous. Spring and summer thunderstorms can be severe but not nearly at the intensity you would find in the Midwest. Flooding from the lake is also possible but not an imminent threat.

Mugging Risk


Robberies seem to be one area that hasn't had a huge increase in the past few years, and just 12 were reported in 2022. Over the past five years, nearly half of all robberies were highway robberies, and in mid-2024, two people were robbed at gunpoint downtown. The risk is low, but extra caution should still be used.

Terrorism Risk


The risk is low, but you should check the District of Vermont’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) to see if there are ongoing concerns or safety steps to take before you visit.

Scams Risk


The Vermont Attorney General’s Office keeps a list of the Top 10 Scammers, and it's a great resource for learning scammer tactics. Keep an eye on the police department's social media page, too. The majority of scams here target residents, so the risk is low for visitors.

Women Travelers Risk


Statistically, women are 10% less likely than men to be the victim of a violent crime. The risk is low, but you will need to use big-city safety steps here, especially as the crime rate rises.

Tap Water Risk


The U.S. has strict standards for tap water per the Safe Water Drinking Act. Communities are required to provide a Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) once a year by July 1. The 2022 Water Quality Report for Burlington shows full compliance and no violations. The risk is low.

Safest Places to Visit in City of Burlington is the name of the region’s tourism website.

Always be sure you’re looking at an event in the right Burlington, as Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and Washington also have cities with that name.

You can find Vermont’s Burlington on social media using @helloburlington.

There’s also a website that caters to people wanting to explore downtown and the small businesses of this charming community.

Burlington is filled with arts, crafts, and creative vendors at places like the Church Street Marketplace and lining the streets of downtown.

Burlington’s Waterfront along Lake Champlain is just a few steps from downtown.

It’s as much a place to enjoy a morning walk as a nighttime concert.

On the 8-mile Burlington Bike Path, enjoy panoramic views of water and mountains.

Sure, you can kayak or paddle in the water, but how about going deep diving for shipwrecks in the lake?

Or, you can choose to paddlesurf the waves.

Maybe opt instead for a schooner ride into the sunset!

The lake activities are super creative.

The Champlain Dinner Train offers a classic adventure through Vermont’s scenic landscapes.

The three-hour ride from Burlington to Vergennes lasts three hours.

Guests five and older are welcome, with a three-course meal for everyone in traditional rail-dining seating.

Step back to colonial life at the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum, the former home of Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen.

Visitors explore Allen’s restored 1787 farmhouse, learn about his role in Vermont’s history, and enjoy guided tours and interactive exhibits in a picturesque, historic setting.

Burlington is a diverse and inclusive community, and the Pride Center of Vermont has ongoing events and festivals throughout the year.

The Pride Festival and Parade are held every September.

This area is also a four-season destination, with stunning fall colors and several ski resorts within an hour of Burlington.

Check the local orchards and farmer’s markets for seasonal specialties.

Spring in Vermont is famous for its maple syrup houses, which are open to the public.

Places to Avoid in City of Burlington

It’s ironic that while I was researching the crime rates in various parts of the city, I saw some comments about avoiding City Hall Park.

Digging deeper into that, just 12 hours before I wrote this article, a fight between a group of juveniles involving a gun led to three arrests.

We’ll dive into this topic more later on, but Burlington is about as safe as any other American city.

That means the crime rates can appear appalling compared to other cities and towns in historically-safe Vermont.

If you’re from a big city with average crime, nothing here will surprise you.

If you’re expecting a Norman Rockwell photo experience, avoid City Hall Park.

Stay away from homeless camps, and don’t leave your car doors or bike unlocked.

Also, don’t go looking for the original Ben & Jerry’s.

To quote the Barenaked Ladies, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Only a memorial plaque is there now.

You can tour the factory in Waterbury, about 30 miles from Burlington.

Safety Tips for Traveling to City of Burlington

  1. Burlington has a local police department. You can follow them on Facebook @OneNorthAvenue. The phone number is (802) 658-2700.
  2. Check the police department’s website or the Priority Response Plan documents to see which crimes will be responded to by a police officer and which ones need to be reported online. The new plan means things like left, non-injury car accidents, and fraud are among the online report requirements.
  3. Sign up for emergency alerts through This will send emergency messages to your mobile device or email, covering issues like severe weather, winter weather, or other public safety hazards.
  4. You can research the most recent crimes using the transparency portal on the police department’s website. Whether you want to see a list of the most recent incidents or check the year-to-date totals, there are several ways to learn more about the current state of crime and safety in Burlington.
  5. Before you plan to visit Lake Champlain’s beaches, check the Swim Water Updates on the Parks & Recreation website. The lake can get unhealthy levels of toxic blue-green algae and E. coli. Results will list a beach as open, warned, or closed.
  6. Anglers need a license from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Fishing opportunities abound all year long but don’t expect ice fishing to include a freeze-over of Lake Champlain. Global warming has stopped the annual freezeover, with the most recent one in 2019. If you’re looking for the best fishing holes, check out the Fishing Chittenden County section of the department’s website.
  7. Download the Park Mobile app to find and pay for parking across the city. You can also find an interactive map under Public Works on the city’s website.
  8. The city enacts snow parking bans when the accumulation requires the dispatching of snow plows. Call 802-658-SNOW after 3 pm on any given day to see if there’s an overnight parking ban. The parking ban impacts street parking, and there are plenty of garage spaces to use otherwise.
  9. Burlington is bike-friendly, and plenty of locations offer rentals. Given the uptick in theft, you should lock your bike whenever you park it. Don’t risk having the bike stolen. About five bikes are stolen each week.
  10. One of the unique meals in Vermont pairs snow with maple syrup, doughnuts and a pickle. This curious combination is usually presented as a sugar-on-snow dinner in March. Don’t knock it until you try it.

So... How Safe Is City of Burlington Really?

Vermont consistently ranks as one of the safest states in the country, but there has been a shift in Burlington since 2020.

The violent crime rate in 2022 was 3% higher than the national average and 85% higher than the state average.

It is also 215% higher than it was in 2014.

The bigger problem in 2024 and beyond is that the local police department is working with fewer officers and responding to more calls for service.

In fact, the department had to intimate a Priority Response Plan in April 2024, meaning officers are restricted to what calls they’ll respond to, leaving the most urgent calls as the top priority and funneling lesser crimes and petty crimes to online forms.

Burlington’s progressive city leaders opted to defund the police in 2020.

Cuts as deep as 30% were made, bringing the 92 officers who once worked for the force down to 66 in April 2024.

Between 2020 and 2023, calls for service skyrocketed.

  • Gunfire: Up 392%
  • Stolen Vehicles: Up 298%
  • Overdose Calls: Up 170%
  • Vandalism: Up 121%
  • Larceny: Up 65%

You can read more about that topic on the police department’s website.

In 2022, theft was nearly 190% higher than the national average.

Car break-ins and accessory thefts racked up 42% of that total.

If you’ve lived in Burlington for two decades, that information might make you nervous.

However, anyone from an average-crime city will not notice anything out of the ordinary here.

Common sense and basic safety practices go a long way to safely enjoying your time in Burlington.

How Does City of Burlington Compare?

CitySafety Index
City of Burlington75
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70
Manama (Bahrain)54
Tianjin (China)67
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66

Useful Information



All international visitors need either a visa defining the purpose of the trip (tourist, work, school, etc.) or a visa waiver. Start the process using the Visa Wizard module on the U.S. State Department website. Also, keep in mind that your passport must be valid for at least six months after our trip, or you’ll need to apply for a new one. Those planning to cross the border should check with the Canada Border Services Agency for rules about crossing into Canada and back into the U.S.



Only the U.S. Dollar (USD) is accepted in the United States. It doesn't look like the Burlington airport has a currency exchange desk, but your home bank offers the lowest fees anyway. For those using credit cards, check to see if there’s a foreign transaction fee before you start racking up charges.



Burlington gets cold, with snowy winter, pleasant spring and fall seasons, and warm but usually not too hot summers. The average high in July is 81°F. However, as I write this, the city is experiencing a heat wave with temperatures in the mid-90s. Plan ahead by bringing various layers of clothing, comfortable walking shoes, and bug spray.



Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport is just four miles from downtown. The website is in English and French to help travelers learn about the amenities, which include a yoga studio, art gallery, and library.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive insurance offers the best protection and peace of mind, but be sure to detail what protection you want. If you don't have health insurance coverage in the U.S., get an emergency coverage plan. If you are driving a rental car in winter, go for the full rental car insurance with a roadside assistance package.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

City of Burlington Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -8° C
Feb -6° C
Mar -1° C
Apr 7° C
May 14° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 21° C
Sep 16° C
Oct 9° C
Nov 3° C
Dec -4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Vermont - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Champlain Islands83
City of Burlington75
Newport City78
St. Albans72

Where to Next?

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