Rhode Island : Safety by CityUnited States - safety as a country Rhode Island - state review
When you start digging into the finer points of a city as a travel writer and the public library keeps coming up as a “top destination,” you get a little worried.
However, the investigative edge of mine has found some wonderful spots to visit and dug up all the safety data you need for a trip to Cranston, Rhode Island.
This is the second-largest city in Rhode Island and is centrally located to anywhere in the state you want to go.
It’s part of the larger Providence, Rhode Island, metropolitan area.
At one time, it was rated by Money magazine as one of the best places to live.
This isn’t the typical tourist town brimming with trinkets and signs for excursions.
This is a middle- to upper-class working neighborhood conveniently nestled on the water and near major interstates.
The shining spot of this area is Pawtxet Village, and while the village address is in Warwick, this village spans across both cities.
It’s a place foodies will want to visit.
Garden City Center offers shopping, dining, and outdoor spaces for families.
This city goes quickly from a bustling city on the east side to suburban life spread out on the west side.
The city also immediately borders the Roger Williams Park Zoo.
Warnings & Dangers in Cranston
OVERALL RISK: LOW
For a suburb of a major metropolitan area in New England, there's a surprisingly low overall risk. Crime rates are low and most are trending down from the previous year. The city of 83,000 does have its police force.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
All taxi drivers must be 21 years old and have a license to drive a cab, a laborious process that makes sure they are providing a safe environment. There's low risk because of that. Cranston is a bike-friendly community and many people opt to get around that way and leave the car parked. There are busses through the Rhode Island Transit Authority that can take you around the state as well.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a one in 118 chance of being a victim of theft, so that's a low risk. It's lower than some of the other Providence-area cities.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Pick your poison in Cranston; the city gets a little bit of everything, giving it a medium risk. You get all four seasons here, so you also get the weather that comes with it. Winters are snowy. More than three feet of snow falls each year and a blizzard can shut down the region. Spring brings rain and possible severe thunderstorms. Summer brings hurricane seasons and the potential for flooding, storm surge, and wind damage. The occasional earthquake can be felt here, but it's not a big concern.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There were just 13 robberies in Cranston in 2020. That's low-risk if I've ever seen one.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk for terrorism in the larger metropolitan area. The eastern seaboard is always going to be a target for terrorists since there's such a large population and major industries.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
There were 100 financial fraud cases reported in 2021 in Cranston. Most of the scams are against people who live there, but just to keep you on your toes, we'll call it a medium risk. Common scams involve threatening calls to buy gift cards to get someone out of legal trouble, or a scammer pretending to be with law enforcement and asking for money to pay for an offense (that never happened).
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk for women traveling here. It's a suburban area with strip malls and typical restaurants. This is nowhere near the apex of crime. As with any larger city, don't go walking or biking at night without being extra vigilant.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The Rhode Island Health Department says the tap water is safe and offers this comfort, "Rhode Island tap water undergoes rigorous and frequent testing to maintain the high standards required by the Safe Drinking Water Act." That's a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Cranston
There aren’t a whole lot of places to visit in Cranston as a vacation destination, but the city has some neighborhood specialties.
Garden City Center is your typical outdoor mall with Rhode Island flair.
This was the first open-air mall in the country, setting the footprint for hundreds of others.
Pawtuxet Village is the quintessential New England experience.
Set right on the Pawtuxet River, this idyllic village offers a soothing shopping and dining experience where the pace of life slows down so you can take in the views.
Golfers will love Cranston Country Club, an escape on the west side of town through winding roads of beautiful homes.
Places to Avoid in Cranston
There are no real danger zones in Cranston, Rhode Island.
I tried my hardest to find something to write here.
When you look at crime maps of the area, the northern and eastern parts of the city have the highest crime rates, but in full disclosure, they also have the highest population.
If you choose to join the other Rhode Islanders who love to ride their bikes, you’ll want to use caution when crossing intersections and when riding alone.
Also, if you are walking around, be careful of cars.
186 pedestrian safety violations were reported in 2020.
Only cross at crosswalks and wait for the signal to turn in your favor before crossing.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Cranston
- This area gets a lot of rain and snow each year. The days can be rather gloomy at times. Bring rain gear with you so you don’t get stuck in a storm. When it comes to snow, the city is used to handling large amounts of it, but it could still delay or close businesses and tourist attractions.
- It’s illegal to sell spray paint or cement glue to minors in this city. While that’s not going to impact your safety while you are there, just know there are certain things your teenager won’t be able to buy if you are visiting with family.
- If you plan to fish while you are in Cranston, you’ll need to get a fishing license. You can apply for one online through the Department of Environmental Management.
- You’re going to need to know some of the local languages when it comes to ordering food. Coffee milk is not coffee with milk. It’s milk with coffee syrup. If you want a hot dog, you’ll need to order a hot wiener. For clam lovers, ask for steamers. If you want lemonade, you want Del, a local legend of a frozen drink. You aren’t supposed to use a straw with this if you want to drink it like a local. A grinder is a sandwich served with several Italian types of meat on it. A cabinet is a milkshake.
- Rhode Island loves its roundabouts. Those are the circular roads that take the place of traffic lights. If you have never driven through a roundabout, good luck. They are supposed to lead to fewer traffic accidents but they can lead to great driver confusion about who goes first and who goes next. Oh, and, in Rhode Island, you call them rotaries.
- If you want to go to happy hour, you won’t find one in Rhode Island. The state has a ban on the tradition of food and drinks discounts at the end of the working day. This has been around since the 1980s, and while there’s an effort to repeal this ban, until then you are going to have to settle for regular prices all day and night long.
- Locals tell me in the off-season some restaurants close early, so check before you head out to eat in the region, especially touristy areas like Newport.
- Clothing and groceries are exempt from sales tax in Rhode Island, so it’s a good excuse to do a little more shopping than usual. At least, that’s how this shopaholic would justify it. A few exceptions to the rule; candy and soda are not considered groceries. Restaurant meals are taxed 8%.
- The Cranston Police Department uses Flock Safety for recording vehicles in the city limits. This is a retroactive way to track criminals. For example, if there’s a stolen car on the hotlist, they can go back and search any or all of the 29 cameras to see if that car was spotted. This means when you are driving around Cranston, you are on camera.
- There’s a drug problem on the streets of Cranston and police are cracking down. A special division called the FBI Safe Streets Task Force is responsible for busting drug dealers. In 2020, they took 1.9 kilos of cocaine, 2720 fentanyl pills, 1141g of crystal meth, and 11 firearms off the streets. If you see a drug deal happening while you visit, call the police.
So... How Safe Is Cranston Really?
For being in such a large east coast city, this community has cracked down and gotten a handle on crime.
What was once one of the best places to live in America is still holding onto that award with developments and parks that are family-friendly and inviting for new residents.
The end of year report from the Cranston Police Department shows violent and property crimes were both down year to year and over the past five years.
Overall, crimes dropped to a two-year low.
It’s worth noting that people in Rhode Island have accents and can sometimes come across as a bit forceful, brisk, or loud.
This is just part of the culture.
As mentioned before, they also have specific words for foods that are different than what you call them back home, so you’re going to stand out as a tourist if you don’t know these things.
Being seen as a tourist could make you a mark, but that’s just the ultra-cautious side of me speaking.
I’m a Midwestern girl and the East Coast people can just be a little tough to get, coming from a place where everyone waves and says hello.
How Does Cranston Compare?
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Visa requirements are processed and handled at the port of entry or airport. You don't need anything additional to be in Cranston, Rhode Island.
You'll use U.S. Dollar currency here and across the state. Credit cards are ideal to protect you from identity theft, as they generally offer more security than a debit card.
If you don't like the weather forecast today, wait a day, it will change. You'll need to pack for all kinds of weather for your trip to Cranston. Start with rain gear because it rains a lot here. In the winter, plenty of layers are needed because it gets cold and snowy.
The closest airport is Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport, about 16 miles away. Some people opt to fly into and out of Boston Logan International Airport, which is a little more than an hour northeast.
There are just too many weather variables here to take a trip without travel insurance.
Cranston Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Rhode Island - Safety by City