Connecticut : Safety by City
- East Hartford
- New Haven
- New London
- Old Saybrook
- West Hartford
- Windsor Locks
Tip your hat to the Connecticut inland community of Danbury.
From a near-perfect city to a poisonous past, there’s a lot to unpack in this seemingly quaint city.
This city was once the fashion plate of American hat-making and was known as “Hat City.”
At one point, there was a one in four chance your hat came from Danbury.
What wasn’t known, or at least wasn’t talked about, was the amount of poisonous mercury being dumped into the rivers, and traces of the toxic element can still be found in the land today.
As the hat industry bowed out in the 1980s, Danbury had still become a fine city in its own right.
It has been on the prestigious list of USA Today’s Best Cities.
It sits along the New York border and is a perfect blend of history, suburban area, and outdoor adventure.
There’s even a castle or two here and there throughout Danbury.
The only hotels you’ll find in Danbury are along the interstate routes in and out of town, and to give a hint of what’s ahead, the safest place to book your hotel is anywhere but the southeast section of the city just off the interstate.
For some reason, I cannot hear the word Danbury without saying it with an English accent, so I’m reading this all in my head as a bloke (blokette?) from London.
Join along if you are so inclined.
Warnings & Dangers in Danbury
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. The crime numbers are low and the community pride is high. You also don't get the limitations like in the extraordinarily wealthy side of the state that keeps visitors from getting the full city experience.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You have the HARTransit to get around Danbury but it also takes you to Bethel. You have a stop on the Metro-North train to New York City as well, which is just 50 miles away. There are taxi and rideshare options. All of these come with low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
You've got a low risk of being a pickpocket victim with none reported in 2020. There were 643 thefts reported of various kinds, but here's a fun fact - the average money obtained from a single theft was $3. Not a typo. $3.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Normally I'd call this area a low risk, but let me explain my thinking in labeling it a medium risk. There are a bunch of natural events that can happen here, running the gamut from extreme cold to earthquakes to hurricanes to tornadoes. However, none is an overwhelming risk yearly. There are just a lot of events to possibly be prepared for, not that one thing that hits every season like clockwork, as in some more tornado-prone places. I urge you to explore the "Disasters and Emergencies" section of the city's website to get a handle on all the events that can, but most likely won't, happen.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were just 40 robberies in this city of nearly 87,000 people, and 16 of them were robberies against people in public. So there's a low risk, but be aware if there's a robbery that does happen - it's more likely to be in a public place.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Given its proximity to New York City and other large Eastern Seaboard cities, there's a medium risk here. That's also covered in the "Disasters & Emergencies" section of the city website.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of a tourist being scammed as the most reported scams and warnings are connected to residents getting emails or phone calls that lead to scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
While nine rapes are still nine too many, there's a low risk for women here. This is a more suburban-type town with little risk of a big nightlife scene (which doesn't exist) or bad parts of town (which you can easily avoid).
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water meets or exceeds all standards in the latest water quality report. You might be a little scared of tap water after reading all the stories about mercury contamination in the land and water, but the city has taken impressive steps to keep that danger out of the water people consume.
Safest Places to Visit in Danbury
This is a city that knows how to make parks more attractive to tourists.
The city has 20 parks ranging in size from one acre to more than 700 acres.
Some, like Terrywile Park, have historic buildings on the park property and the remains of a stone castle.
Bear Mountain Reservation is more like exploring the wilderness than a park with a historic stone overlook.
Candlewood Town Park is the closest thing to a beach you can get in an inland community.
You could spend a week just exploring the parks.
The Danbury Rail Museum is a throwback to the height of train travel popularity in the early 1900s.
Admission here is just $7 and that’s the same for everyone, residents, and non-residents.
At the Danbury Museum, you can select one of the guided tours of the historic areas in the city, or you can do a self-guided tour.
Some of the events here require booking and others don’t.
Check ahead before you go to see if you’ll need to reserve a spot in this historic adventure.
Nearby Bethel (just 3 miles away) offers another glimpse into history at the Greenwood Avenue Historic District.
Danbury Fair is the traditional American Mall, and it sits on the land that once hosted the Danbury Fair.
You’ll find familiar restaurants and affordable shopping here, unlike the wealthy shops in Greenwich.
Places to Avoid in Danbury
Looking at the crime maps, the areas east of Highway 53 (Main Street) and south of I-84 have the highest crime rates.
The rest of the city has extremely low crime.
Even the areas with more crime are still relatively safe, as this community hasn’t had more than 10 murders in the past decade.
Unless you are coming to or from dinner, there’s not much of a reason to be out at night.
There isn’t a big nightlife scene here.
You might be quite bored after 9 pm, to be honest.
Avoid going into the wilderness or into local waters without letting someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back.
Even on a warm spring day, the water of a pond or river might still be brutally cold from the winter, which can cause hypothermia.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Danbury
- Download the Tip411 app on your mobile device. This will allow you to report any crime you see or the aftermath of a crime, like graffiti or a broken car window, and all reports are anonymous.
- Call ahead before visiting your park of choice. Many of the parks here will have an entrance fee for people who don’t live in Connecticut, which is higher than the resident rate.
- You might be tempted to try to “fake” being a resident while you’re here. However, rental car license plates aren’t going to cut it. Residents prove their residency by an in-depth vetting process through the city. You won’t be able to get around the non-resident rate, so don’t try.
- You might want to budget more money for a trip to Connecticut. The taxes and cost of living are high here. That could trickle down into coffee prices or gas prices being higher than you’re used to at home.
- At Tarrywile Park, Hearthstone Castle is a big draw. However, I have to give you a dose of reality. This is a castle that has been allowed to fall into a dangerous and decayed work of art. There’s a fence around the property and don’t jump it or try to go inside. It’s not only dangerous in there, but it’s illegal – as five people arrested in 2008 can tell you.
- If you want to fish in Connecticut, you’ll have to get a license through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. You can buy them online ahead of your trip.
- The Railway Museum offers a great opportunity for anyone over the age of 17 to drive a train. It’s going to take at least half a day from your trip as there’s mandatory training you have to go through to get approved to drive the train.
- Danbury gets more than 41 inches of snow a year. If you visit during the winter, you should be prepared for snowy and slick driving conditions. Make sure you get an AWD or 4X4 vehicle to drive on the winding and hilly roads here.
- Because of the winter, some of the parks and attractions are only open seasonally, so any outdoor adventures should be researched before you go. For example, Candlewood Town Park closes in early September until spring.
- It’s important to know some of the slang of Connecticut. They call a pizza, “Apizza” (pronounced “Uhh-PEE-zuh”), and don’t be surprised if it comes with clams on top. A grinder is a sub sandwich that is the unofficial sandwich of the state. If you’re looking for a Starbucks, the locals are going to steer you to their favorite – Dunkin’.
So... How Safe Is Danbury Really?
I could razzle and dazzle you with all the safety numbers (ok, I probably will), but you need to know this is a safe city.
There are not-so-safe parts of the state and some extremely safe parts.
On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most dangerous, this city is a two.
There’s a one in 882 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.
34 of the 100 violent crimes were crimes against strangers.
The theft rate is one in 134, which is so much lower than many cities I’ve researched, with numbers closer to an average of one in 50.
Danbury is also below the Connecticut state average in violent and property crime.
It is well below any national level as well.
This is a safe city, but to be entertained while you’re here, you’ll need to love the outdoors or history.
Otherwise, you might get a little bored and be eyeing that Metro-North line to New York City’s Grand Central Station.
How Does Danbury Compare?
- Visas - The Visa will be handled at the airport. Nothing additional needs to be done in Danbury.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar will be used here. All purchases can be made on a credit card and you won't need to carry around cash. It's safer to carry as little as you need in case of a crime.
- Weather - This city gets the beauty of all four seasons. Winters do get below freezing quite often, so bring some layers of clothing and snow boots. Summer gets into the mid-80s and it's humid here, but not as humid as in other places, like in the South.
- Airports - There are many options to choose from, and plenty of charter and private flight airports if you have your own. Here's the travel time to nearby airports: o Westchester County Airport: 45 minutes o JFK: 1:15 o LaGuardia: 1:10 o Newark: 1:30
- Travel Insurance - It's a good idea to get travel insurance for a trip to Danbury, especially in winter when snow and ice can cause major delays nationwide.
Danbury Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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