Texas : Safety by City
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- Fort Worth
- San Antonio
Corpus Christi, Texas, sits on the Gulf of Mexico with a healthy dose of beach life and urban amenities.
Sunny days, spicy salsa, and sand in your toes are a way of life in this place that is a little bit Texas and a little bit tropical.
The city has a lot of cultural versatility, with 64% of the community being Latino/Hispanic.
You’ll have some of the best TexMex food ever and be able to speak conversationally with people in English or Spanish.
Corpus Christi isn’t all about the beach. Sure, you can visit the one and only Texas surf museum, but you can also walk aboard an aircraft carrier (heck, you can camp there overnight if you want!), spend time at the Texas State Aquarium, or spend time downtown walking along the harbor enjoying one of many local events.
You’re also less than three hours from the Mexican border at Matamoros or two hours from San Antonio and its Riverwalk.
From June through October, keep an eye on the tropics as Corpus Christi can have the direct impact of a hurricane.
You’ll love winters here with warm days and breezy nights, and you’ll never have to shovel your way out of a parking spot.
Warnings & Dangers in Corpus Christi
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here when you look at the crime rates. It's important to note that crime rates are determined by the number of crimes vs the population. By that account, all crime categories are higher than the national average. When you figure in the more than 10.5 million people who visit here each year, the rates are a lot lower.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
CCRTA is the local bus system, and there are routes throughout the city and across the bridges to some beach locations. Ferries are also available for those who want to travel by water. Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are readily available. While the downtown area is walkable, seeing the entire city will require additional transportation.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There is one in 41 risks of being a theft victim here, but most thefts come from car break-ins. 24 pickpockets or purse snatching were reported in 2020. You'll need to use extra caution when visiting here because it's easy to leave stuff lying on the beach or be distracted during a tour and not keep a close eye on your stuff.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Hurricanes and tropical storms are the biggest risks here. A little-known fact is that storm surge is the most dangerous part of tropical weather, so flooding is another big factor. There are tornadoes here, but not nearly as massive as the ones that hit middle Texas. There's a medium risk for half of the year when hurricane season is underway, but you'll know way in advance if a hurricane is approaching. They don't just pop up overnight.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
25% of the robberies here happen in public places, and half of them are in private homes. If you are renting a home, be sure to always lock the doors and windows before you leave or when you are sleeping. Avoid being alone at night and stay in public, well-lit areas to reduce any risk of running into a robber.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
While the city itself isn't big enough to be a potential target, the presence of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and the Army Depot might make it a higher value for a terror group. That also means you have many more military members and Homeland Security watching out for you. There's medium risk but a high presence of people dedicated to thwarting any attacks.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are the usual scams involving text messages or phone calls from people pretending to be with the city or law enforcement. As a tourist, you should make sure any landlord has a renter's license and never asks for money upfront. You can also ask any boat captains for proof of a license, and be sure to review all the paperwork you are asked to sign.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women are actually slightly less likely to be a victim of violent crime overall, but the sexual assault rate is nearly twice the national average. This is a place where people come to let go and party. It's a popular spring break destination, and many tourists here will also visit nearby Padre Island. Pace yourself, always go out with a buddy and don't go to a private place with someone you don't know very well.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows all water meets state and federal standards. Over $135 million has been infused into the water system to replace aging pipes. The city is also working toward technology to use ocean water as a water source through a desalination process. The water is safe overall, but heavy rain, storms, and tropical weather can impact water quality. Be sure to follow the city alerts while you're visiting.
Safest Places to Visit in Corpus Christi
The downtown area is broken up into several distinct districts.
The SEA (Sports, Entertainment, Arts) District is always bustling with activities on the stage, field, or arena floor.
Enjoy the views of the ships coming in and out of port as well.
The Marina Arts District is where you can sail away or soak in the artistic flair of Corpus.
If there’s a festival happening, it’s probably in the Water’s Edge neighborhood.
This is also a great place for a sunrise or sunset run.
Uptown is technically downtown, but it’s more of a business and a financial hub of activity.
The tourism bureau offers three- and five-day passes where you can access the most popular attractions for one low price.
Some of the top draws here are:
- The Art Museum of South Texas
- Texas State Aquarium
- USS Lexington Aircraft Museum
- South Texas Botanical and Nature Center
- Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
- Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures
Music lovers and especially Tejano music fans should visit the Selena Museum.
Selena Quintanilla-Perez was a rising global star when her life was taken by the president of her fan club and a trusted friend.
Her family still works in the studio here, and you can get a guided tour through artifacts and memoirs – even get up close to her Grammy.
If you know, you know – “Anything for Selenas!”
Padre Island National Seashore is just over the bridge from Corpus Christi.
This isn’t the Padre Island for spring breakers – that is South Padre Island, which isn’t directly accessible from here.
One of the novelties of this stretch of beach is that you can drive on the sand.
Mustang Island State Park is another great place to enjoy the beach and the gulf waters.
Horseback riding on the beach is also available throughout the 100-mile stretch of the coast near Corpus Christi.
If you really want to get as far away from the crowds as possible, head south to Malaquite Beach, where the road ends, and it’s nothing but sandy shores and sea turtles for miles.
Beachcombers shouldn’t miss Big Shell Beach or Little Shell Beach.
As a fellow beachcomber, I can tell you the shells are especially ripe for picking after a tropical system in the gulf.
Places to Avoid in Corpus Christi
Tourists should stay in the areas designed for visitors and not wander through neighborhoods.
Petty crime will be the main concern for visitors, but if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time (or looking for trouble), you could end up in the middle of a dangerous situation.
The crowds in Corpus Christi can be intense, so bring as little as you need to have with you when shopping, dining, and visiting the beach.
Check the Texas Beach Watch website because the bay and shoreline areas have had high levels of fecal coliform at times.
You won’t know about this place unless you really look closely on Google Maps or find it randomly on a non-sanctioned website.
UFO Beach sounds like a place where aliens landed, and it might be a fun place to visit, right?
It’s actually a place that’s hard to get to and is known as a popular nude beach.
While nude beaches aren’t allowed on the Texas coast, this stretch of land breaks the rules unless law enforcement boats drive by.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Corpus Christi
- The drug problem here has warranted a whole separate website called StopDrugsCorpusChristi.org. Here you can report drug crime tips anonymously, signs to look out for drug activity happening, and see the most wanted drug offenders.
- You can submit any crime tip through the Crime Stoppers website, but it’s also a good place to see the crime of the week. This will help you see recent trends in crime, and the YouTube site shows a good variety of the types of crimes that happen here.
- Sign up for emergency alerts from Corpus Christi and Nueces County emergency management. You don’t have to download anything. Just text BEREADYCCNC to 888777 to receive text alerts. You can also search for #BeReadyCC on social media for updates.
- You should also sign up for road conditions and evacuation information through the Texas Department of Transportation. It’s obvious you shouldn’t visit here during a hurricane or tropical storm, but some don’t realize the evacuation and boarding up process can happen up to a week ahead of time. Roads can be congested for hours, and gas stations can easily run out of gas.
- There are plenty of jellyfish on the shores of Corpus Christi. One of the biggest jellyfish I’ve ever seen was actually on Padre Island. I was *this close to stepping on it before I realized it was there.
- Conserve water while you’re here and check the city website for water conservation alerts. Shorten showers to only the amount of time you need and avoid baths with more than three inches of water in the tub. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. It’s smart to keep a jug of water in the fridge, so you don’t have to let the tap water run until it’s the desired temperature.
- Driving on the beach sounds really cool. However, there are safety steps to consider. If your car gets stuck or breaks down, you’ll have to call a private towing company. Government or park workers won’t help. This could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on how remote the area is where you get stuck. Do not go off the beaten sand path, as soft sand is easier to get stuck in, and driving in vegetation or sand dunes is illegal.
- You can camp on the beaches here for up to three nights, but no more than six days in a month. Campfires are allowed in many places, just not in front of hotels or condos or within the Corpus Christi city limits. North Beach and McGee Beach also don’t allow campfires. The fire pit can’t be larger than 3′ in width, height, and length. You must fill in all sand holes left from a campfire outing.
- Don’t drive to the beach without picking up a beach permit. You could get ticketed or towed if you park without one. The city lists all the places to buy a permit on its website. The permit costs $12 and is good for a year. As a former Floridian, I’m rather jealous of that cheap price for beach parking.
- The city of Corpus Christi has a YouTube page that summarizes all the beach and city safety information for a tourist. This includes a new app and 311 services where you can ask questions or report issues.
So... How Safe Is Corpus Christi Really?
The violent crime rate in Corpus Christi is twice the national and state averages.
This isn’t unique to this city, as many American cities deal with an influx of gun crimes.
Gangs are a problem here too, which is also not unique to Corpus Christi.
Then you must mix in the tourists that come here to let loose and sometimes cause additional crime concerns.
The police chief is focused on hiring more police officers, with a goal of having two officers per 1,000 residents.
“We’re going to have violent crime issues and all of the criminal issues that any city has, but folks should feel safe here,” Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike told KIII-TV.
“Most of our violent crime is associated with lifestyle.
If you’re not affiliating with gangs or selling drugs and those types of things, then your chances of being involved in a violent crime or being a victim of violent crime diminish greatly.”
With 44% of thefts being related to car burglaries, it’s critical you lock the car and roll up the windows when you park.
Don’t leave anything inside the vehicle.
Be sure to deadbolt your hotel room door when you’re inside and don’t drink alcohol beyond your ability to make smart decisions.
There’s a really good chance the worst thing to happen on a visit to Corpus Christi is a sunburn, but you’ll need to use all the smart safety steps and avoid looking for trouble or getting into verbal arguments with others.
How Does Corpus Christi Compare?
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
- Visas - Whether you cross the border or fly into Corpus Christi, you'll need a U.S. Visa and your passport. Be sure to secure your visa in a safe place until you return, as you can travel freely throughout Texas without needing to show proof.
- Currency - You'll only be able to use the U.S. Dollar officially, but there might be places that take pesos. You have a variety of options to exchange currency throughout the city, but it's advised you exchange currency before you arrive in the U.S.
- Weather - Flip-flops and beach gear dominate here, but the winters can get a little chilly by South Texas standards. Bring some hoodies or parkas. Bring shoes that make walking on the sand a little more supportive. You can switch back and forth between sandals, but there's a lot of walking to do here. Bring items that will help with jellyfish stings and, of course, sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen!
- Airports - The Corpus Christi airport is less than 10 miles from downtown. If you want to fly out of San Antonio, plan for a two-hour road trip. Getting to Houston will take three to three and a half hours.
- Travel Insurance - The travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country. Make sure you got it before starting your journey, the customs officer may ask for it.
Corpus Christi Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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