Colorado : Safety by City
- Cañon City
- Colorado Springs
- Fort Collins
- Grand Junction
Colorado Springs, Colorado, is so beautiful that even just standing on a sidewalk gives you tourist-attraction vibes.
The mountain town in the Pikes Peak region is filled with attractions both in the mountains and throughout the city, with just a quick hour drive to downtown Denver.
The colorful rock formations, from the spires at the Garden of the Gods to Pike’s Peak in the distance mixed with the mountain air make this a top destination for adventure seekers.
Cultural attractions and the elite Air Force Academy draw in more visitors as well.
Shopping and spas are easy to find.
There’s just something for everyone, including popular casinos.
Colorado Springs sits at 6,000 feet above sea level, so you might need a day or two to acclimate to the elevation.
What a great chance to visit the Olympic Museum or Pioneers Museum.
Even the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo can give you that wilderness experience without worrying about a bear chasing you around the mountains.
It’s not all about the peaks in the Pikes Peak region.
You can ride the Arkansas River or walk a mile through caves hearing ghost stories and folklore.
I have been lucky to visit Colorado Springs twice in my lifetime.
Both events were for work, but I got to experience the nightlife and cityside on the first trip.
On the second trip, I saw the best – and worst – of mother nature as I was helping a local television station with wildfire coverage during the Black Forest Fire.
There’s one thing about Colorado people that stands out – they truly are Colorado Strong.
During the massive wildfire, I saw community support and collaboration on a scale that’s hard to even explain.
Warnings & Dangers in Colorado Springs
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Colorado Springs for a variety of reasons. Crime rates are higher than state and national averages, plus there are outdoor risks. I can say from my visits, I never once felt unsafe, but I also didn't venture too far off the beaten path or into the neighborhoods. There's just a pause of caution for anyone who isn't used to being at a high elevation or having such amazing yet rugged wilderness around. A growing crime trend in 2022 is causing even additional safety concerns.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Mountain Metro is the bus system in Colorado springs. Taxis and rideshares are available, but there's a real push to get people to use rental bikes to reduce emissions. The more eco-friendly you can be in Colorado, the better.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk with almost 30 pickpockets in 2021. Don't leave bags unattended or hanging from the back of chairs, and if you're going to be in a crowded place, keep your wallet in your front pant/shorts pocket. Purses should be small and crossbody to avoid easy theft.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
There's a high risk here as it seems each year the wildfires get worse. The shifting winds can quickly spread fire to a neighborhood once thought safe from the front. Winter can bring big winter storms and spring kicks off the tornado season. While you will get 300 days of sunshine here, when the weather turns it can be deadly.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk of a robbery with 37% of it happening in public. The bright side is that 91% of robberies result in minor injuries or no injuries.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
With the presence of the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson Army Base, there's medium risk. Military installations are always considered potential hard targets, but it also means a much higher security presence from the military and Homeland Security.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of a tourist-centric scam with most of the common targets being local residents. If you have a scammer approach you, call the Colorado Fraud Hotline at 800-222-4444.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
The sexual assault rate is about 65% higher than the national average. Nearly 52% of the sexual assault victims were women. There's a medium risk just to keep you cautious. The growing crime trends on top of higher crime rates over the past five years add up to a lot of situational awareness needed. There is a lot of fun to be had in Colorado Springs, so you shouldn't avoid going out. Just travel in pairs or groups and avoid walking around late at night. A little common sense goes a long way.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
In 2021, no violations were found during the testing for the Water Quality Report. All water is safe to use, and notices will be sent to local hotels throughout the city if there are any issues that compromise water quality.
Safest Places to Visit in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods is an attraction that usually needs no introduction.
The red ragged rocks poke into the sky like the fingers of the Gods themselves.
You can tour the park by car, trolley, segway, bicycle, or stop along the way and hike.
There is rock climbing too.
Horseback rides are also available.
The visitor’s center is more than a place to pick up a map.
You can see how the Garden of the Gods was formed and learn about geology while purchasing some souvenirs.
Cave of the Winds is just to the northwest of Colorado Springs.
This labyrinth of caves offers tours from family-friendly in fully-lit chambers to haunted tours illuminated with dim lights.
The cave is open throughout the year.
Be prepared for temperatures during any season around 54°(F).
Pike’s Peak is a great adventure and a must-see for any tourist in this region.
At an elevation of 14,000 feet above sea level, you can ride a shuttle or hike the trails to see the majesty of the mountain.
Don’t worry about a fear of heights as there’s a Summit complex that gives great views from a safe space.
Cityslickers will love the Flying W Ranch chuckwagon dinner and musical theatre.
You can join in an authentic Native American dance or spend some time tending to the ranch animals.
Cattle roping lessons are also available.
If you believe in the healing power of mineral springs, you’ll want to put Manitou Mineral Springs on your itinerary.
Tours are available in the summer.
There are seven springs to explore, each with water containing different states and elemental properties.
There’s a spa on site too for some pampering.
Don’t miss the cliff dwellings in town.
It feels like you’re strolling through an ancient city.
The Ghost Town Museum is anything but scary.
You’ll get to walk through the replica of a Western town with artifacts from abandoned cities.
Back when the gold rush was happening, cities would explode onto the map.
Once the mines were cleaned out, people left quickly, leaving abandoned buildings and equipment behind.
Those items were restored and brought this unique tourist attraction.
You can even pan for your own gold here.
Did you know that “numismatics” is the study of currency?
There’s a whole museum dedicated to it called The Money Museum.
This isn’t just looking at an old coin collection.
There are plenty of exhibits with rarities and stories of how money is made and recycled.
Plus, a kid’s zone helps the little ones learn about currency in a hands-on environment.
Places to Avoid in Colorado Springs
The southeast side of town has the highest crime rates, especially in the growing trend during 2022.
Even the Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told television station KRDO, “A disproportionate amount of violent crime calls are committed in the Southeast,” he said.
“But the police are organized and man-powered to deal with that.”
You want to avoid going into the mountains in the winter without an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle.
I know when I arrived in the summer at the Denver airport, the car rental guy encouraged me to upgrade to an all-wheel drive vehicle for the “unique mountain landscape.”
I didn’t need that in the summer, but I sure would have in the winter.
Avoid visiting if there is a wildfire burning nearby.
Colorado Springs has been devasted by several wildfires.
Just look up the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012.
As someone who spent time in the city during a fire, most of the attention of every citizen and resources are dedicated to helping fire victims.
I promise you, “seeing” a wildfire isn’t like seeing a tornado form.
It’s just gutting to know homes are being destroyed and people had just minutes to evacuate at times.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Colorado Springs
- Visitcos.com is a great resource for visiting Colorado Springs. It’s impossible in this article to list all the things there are to do. One article even lists how to do 55 things in 5 days. You can get safety advice there as well to help with packing and weather acclimation.
- You can report any crime information to the Colorado Springs Police Department by calling 719-444-7000. This is for anything that isn’t an emergency and it’s staffed with a live person 24 hours a day.
- Colorado Springs has 18 intersections with Red Light Safety Cameras. A light will flash when the camera picks up suspicious activity. You can be sent a traffic violation even if you are using a rental car. More than 17,000 citations were issued in 2021.
- If you have a minor car accident, you can file a “Cold Report.” This is when you don’t call a police officer to the scene and you just report it online, mostly for insurance purposes. There are certain conditions like no injuries, all parties must agree to a cold report, and less than $1000 in damages happened.
- Download the PikeRide app and you’ll get an account to rent a bicycle with 15 minutes free for first-time users. You can pay for rental time through the app.
- The Colorado Springs Police Department has a Transparency Hub on its website where you can review crime maps by neighborhood or type of crime. There are traffic updates and police blotters. With such an unpredictable crime trend happening, it’s smart to check the safety levels closer to your time of visit.
- You can schedule a tour at one of the five police stations in Colorado Springs. The department needs four weeks advance notice, but this might be a great way to learn about the safety steps and protocols in this city.
- Sign up for Peak Alerts through the El Paso County website. This will get you important information like severe weather, winter storms, wildfire weather, and civil emergencies. Even a brilliant sunny day here can end up with a storm building in the mountains, sparking a wildfire or a tornado. You have to stay weather aware here.
- The humidity in Colorado Springs is low, averaging 37% on most days. This means you are going to lose a lot of fluids without realizing it. Air that dry will evaporate your sweat before you even realize it’s there. Be sure to replenish with water and electrolytes often. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Also, realize that alcohol consumption will impact you more because of the altitude.
- Check with your doctor about the medications you are taking and how a higher altitude might impact them. Some drugs might become more potent, or even dangerous, especially if you are hiking above 7,000 feet.
So... How Safe Is Colorado Springs Really?
You know, we write these reviews and get great comments from people either saying “That’s totally wrong!
I’ve lived here 30 years and this city is safe!” to “I lived in Chicago and I never felt as unsafe as I did living in XXX.”
A lot of a city’s safety is about perspective, experience, and lifestyle.
While living here would come with a different summary than visiting, it’s still important to know about the growing crime trends here.
Even nearby Pueblo, just 45 minutes to the south, has very high crime rates.
The main thing with Colorado Springs is that you aren’t going to the dangerous parts of town for the attractions.
Few people come here and stay in the neighborhood and don’t go to popular places.
Your visit is likely to be very safe if you are touring museums, the foothills, the mountains, trails, caves, etc.
As with any city, you want to avoid walking around at night alone and don’t go looking for trouble.
This is also a place where you can get into a verbal altercation about littering because people here are extremely eco-conscious.
I think the real gist of Colorado Springs when it comes to safety is this – people don’t expect such a beautiful place to have such a crime risk.
Let’s look at how those risks break down according to 2021 data:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 114 risk
- Robbery: 1 in 412 risk
- Theft: 1 in 42 risk
When it comes to theft, 40% of those are related to car break-ins.
That’s one piece of the puzzle explaining why the rate is so high.
If you lock your car with the windows rolled up and leave no belongings in plain sight, you seriously lower your risk of a break-in (or a bear tearing up the car.)
You also have to consider the wilderness risks.
Do you know what to do if confronted by a bear?
What should you do if you are having trouble breathing because of the altitude of three miles on a trail?
How can you avoid extreme sunburn in the mountain climate and what should you do if you are sunburned?
These types of wilderness education are going to go a long way here.
How Does Colorado Springs Compare?
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
- Visas - You will need a U.S. Travel or Work Visa, and that's going to set up back upwards of $160. You'll show your visa when you arrive at the airport and go through Customs. Pack it away after that because you won't need it until you return, but bring your passport as a legal ID for alcohol and attractions.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar and just about every attraction allows or encourages pre-paid tickets. You can avoid needing cash by using one credit card for all purchases and monitoring your account each night to check for fraud.
- Weather - Check with an outfitter like REI for how to dress in mountain climates. It's not as easy as " wearing warm clothing in the winter and light clothing in the summer." The temperatures can vary throughout the day and night or at different elevations. A nice mix of base layers, medium warm layers, and insulated outer layers will be ideal in the winter. In summer you can dress in short sleeves and shorts, but you need to protect your ankles with good hiking boots and don't wait until you get here to break in those boots. I was only able to visit the Garden of the Gods quickly here on a trip, and even then I made the mistake of wearing flip flops. For the little walking I actually did, I almost couldn't take a step by the time I got to Denver's airport because my feet were blistered and sore (and sunburned. I made so many missteps in this planning, but I also had a 45-minute heads up that I would be traveling there!)
- Airports - Colorado Springs has its own airport, but some people opt to choose Denver's larger airport, less than 90 minutes north. When driving to Denver, you'll pass through Castle Rock, which has a great outlet mall, so shoppers might want to plan extra time for that pitstop (and extra space in the luggage.)
- Travel Insurance - You need travel insurance for your flight and a rental car but explore adventure travel insurance. Being rescued from the mountains isn't cheap, and even minor injuries to twisted ankles can cost a lot of money out of pocket.
Colorado Springs Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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3 Reviews on Colorado Springs
Such a beautiful city
Such a beautiful city. I absolutely love that beautiful mountain scenery – at night this is breathtaking! While you’re here make sure to try the rock climbing activities and the mountain bike tours! This is the place to take a bike tour for sure if you know how to ride one 🙂
Urban planning the core of the problem
The views in Colorado are gorgeous and my experience of the people has been fairly positive, but the problems of homelessness and drug abuse are pretty clear the moment you decide to just go for a walk.
As a visitor, the most challenging thing is just how unfriendly the city is to pedestrians. It’s pure urban sprawl and everything requires a car trip to get to. If you stay downtown, there’s a good retail scene with clothing stores, restaurants and cafes, but strangely not a single supermarket or even 7-11 that’s in a reasonable location to reach on foot where you can get basics.
I suspect much of the city’s problems with crime and other anti-social behaviour just stem from poor urban planning that offers no real centralisation of anything that you could build even a rudimentary public transport network around. The desolate nature of such sprawl just doesn’t feel welcoming and kind of dissuades you from wanting to explore the city unless you’re in a group and have a good set of wheels.
Not awesome anymore.
Which is exactly how it feels to someone who’s lived in the Springs for 30 years…it’s just no longer awesome.