Is Del Rio Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On May 25, 2024
Del Rio, United States
Safety Index:
68
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Del Rio, Texas, is a vibrant border city rich in history and natural beauty, located along the Rio Grande River and adjacent to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

The area around Del Rio was inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Coahuiltecans, for thousands of years before settlers arrived in the 1600s.

They left behind significant prehistoric rock art, particularly in nearby areas like Seminole Canyon, and is still visible today.

By the mid-1700s, Mission San Felipe Del Rio was established, and that’s how the town inevitably got its name.

In 1868, the town of San Felipe Del Rio was founded by developers who recognized the potential for agriculture due to the presence of San Felipe Springs.

The arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1883 further spurred growth, connecting the remote community of Del Rio to bigger cities.

Known for its strategic location, Del Rio is home to Laughlin Air Force Base, one of the busiest pilot training bases in the United States, contributing significantly to the local economy and culture.

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Del Rio for the Amistad National Recreation Area, where the Amistad Reservoir offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports.

The surrounding rugged terrain is perfect for hiking and exploring prehistoric rock art, providing a unique blend of recreation and history.

Del Rio’s cultural landscape is enriched by its proximity to Mexico, evident in the local cuisine, festivals, and bilingual community.

An international bridge connects the two countries, and you can drive or walk across the border.

However, before you even think about walking into Mexico or visiting Del Rio, it’s natural to have safety concerns.

Read on to see how safe this border town is for your trip.

Warnings & Dangers in Del Rio

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Statistically, there's a low risk, but I would treat it as a medium risk due to ongoing tensions surrounding the border crisis. It's just a place where you need to stay prepared for anything while still enjoying the amazing offerings of this unique community.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Del Rio has a fixed bus route system, and you can view maps on the city's website to see if that fits your needs. Taxis and rideshares are available, and rental cars can be picked up at the nearest airport or in town. There's not really a risk, but I would suggest having your own car just in case you need to leave town quickly as tensions escalate.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

About two pickpockets or purse snatchings happen each year, looking back on five years of crime data. That's a low risk, but you should be particularly focused on locking your car and not leaving personal items unattended in a yard, at a campsite, or at a park.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

Flash flooding, particularly during heavy summer thunderstorms, is a significant concern. Those storms can also produce tornadoes. The area's semi-arid climate can lead to sudden, intense rainfall, causing rapid water rise in low-lying regions. On the flip side, extreme drought threatens the water supply, while excessive heat can cause serious health injuries or death. Wildfires also pose a threat during dry periods. You have to stay aware of the weather while you're there and take proper precautions.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

The robbery rate and risk are low, but the city can see fluctuations. For example, two robberies were reported in 2023, but 13 happened in 2022. At the same time, of the 37 that happened in the past five years, just two were highway robberies. Common sense and standard precautions go a long way here.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

As we'll discuss throughout this article, there's a border crisis that's way too complicated to summarize here. Plus, the influx of migrants means more risks of drug and human traffickers getting across the border, which could lead to a terrorism risk increase. The best thing a visitor can do is stay vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately. I would err on the side of overexaggerating to call it a medium risk, just because of all the potential that exists. Keep in mind that Border Patrol, Texas DPS officers, local police, and Homeland Security are all present in this community at any given moment.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Check local law enforcement social media sites for the latest scams. The local Better Business Bureau office and the state Attorney General’s office will have common scam tactics and protection advice.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

As a blonde, I haven't visited a border town without someone wanting to touch my hair or pay me money for a chunk of it (I declined, FYI). It will help to know conversational Spanish or at least a few key phrases. The risk isn't greater for women, but you never know the cultural beliefs of the people crossing the border when it comes to women.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

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 latest report from the city I could find was back to 2019, but I did find one on the Laughlin Air Force Base that would hold for the city of Del Rio, too. It was dated 2022. No violations were reported. However, check the latest news reports since there's a water crisis happening along the Rio Grande cities due to the extreme drought.

Safest Places to Visit in Del Rio

ExploreDelRio.com is the Chamber of Commerce tourism site for Del Rio and the surrounding area.

The city’s website also offers a section for “Visiting,” which includes some of the highlights.

Strolling through Del Rio’s historic downtown, visitors can admire the architecture and enjoy local shops and eateries.

On the city’s website, look for the Main Street Program to get a list of businesses and restaurants downtown.

Val Verde Winery, the oldest continuously running winery in Texas, offers tastings and tours, providing a delightful experience for wine lovers.

It’s also conveniently close to downtown while still having vineyards on site.

Nearby, the San Felipe Springs flow through Moore Park, creating a picturesque spot for picnics and swimming in the clear, cool waters.

The Whitehead Memorial Museum provides an insightful glimpse into the area’s past, with exhibits ranging from Native American artifacts to early pioneer life.

Just a short drive away, the Amistad National Recreation Area presents an idyllic setting for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking around the expansive Amistad Reservoir.

This is an international reservoir, so be sure to stay on the U.S. side of the border when visiting unless you have the right documents for a trip to Mexico.

History buffs will appreciate a visit to the Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum, which highlights the history of Laughlin Air Force Base and its impact on the community.

Places to Avoid in Del Rio

The traditional “bad part of town” isn’t in Del Rio, but you should still stick to the main roads and highways.

Always have an itinerary for your day with directions mapped out.

The main thing to avoid is visiting when the border crisis is escalating.

At times, the bridge to Mexico might be shut down.

Other times, there could be thousands of homeless migrants wandering the streets or camped in a certain location.

Even when that situation isn’t unsafe, it can still make a visit less than desirable.

That also comes with the warning to avoid interacting with groups of people who might be migrants.

This would be people walking in remote areas, trying to hide.

It could also be groups digging through trash cans looking for food.

Their desperation can lead to aggressive tactics of panhandling or guilty people into helping them.

Before booking a trip, I suggest you check the latest headlines about Del Rio involving the border issues.

Finally, Uvalde is 70 miles away and was the scene of a horrific mass shooting at an elementary school.

True crime locations tend to draw a lot of attention, but please don’t treat a mass shooting as a tourist attraction.

Stay out of Uvalde unless you are visiting friends or family there.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Del Rio

  1. Del Rio has a local police department. You can follow them on Facebook @DelRioPoliceDepartment. The phone number is (830) 774-2711 – feel free to call if you have specific safety questions.
  2. You can sign up for emergency alerts through the city website or by calling 415-413-0072. The alerts will cover everything from severe weather to road closures to water quality concerns.
  3. For questions about crossing the border, check the Customs and Border Patrol website and look for the Del Rio Sector. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, call 830-703-2012.
  4. Fishing in Texas requires a license from the state Department of Game and Parks. A separate permit is needed to fish in Mexico, and they will need to be purchased in different locations. You can get both online on the respective websites.
  5. This region is very dry and very hot. You won’t realize how much you’ve sweated because it evaporates quickly. Use petroleum jelly to moisten the inside of your nose; that will stop nose bleeds. Bring a strong moisturizer for your skin. Keep drinking water even if you’re not thirsty, and replenish nutrients lost with electrolyte drinks or salty snacks.
  6. The nearby lakes and Rio Grande aren’t guaranteed to have safe levels of water, especially for boaters. Historically low levels were present in 2024, and that makes boating and swimming more dangerous due to underwater hazards just below the surface.
  7. U.S. Route 90 is ranked as one of the “Most Feared Routes” in America, but let me explain that. The issue isn’t with criminal safety as much as remoteness. The span between Del Rio and Marathon is 175 miles of nothing but you, the road, and a few passing cars or semi-trucks. Just two gas stations line the route, and the landscape is barren as far as the eye can see. Mobile service is limited. If you get stuck at night, there are no lights. Bring an emergency kit, plenty of water, snacks, and top off the gas tank the few chances you get.
  8. You can use the Drive Texas website or app to help plan your Texas road trips. The program shows real-time traffic, construction zones, and weather conditions along your preferred route.
  9. If you see someone crossing the border, be it in the recreation area or town, do not intervene. Call the police, who can then get the border patrol. Dialing 911 will be the best way to get a hold of someone who can help.
  10. DRTV is the Del Rio Television channel that can be watched online. It includes some things you don’t need to see, like city council meetings, but you can also find special events or safety updates there.

So... How Safe Is Del Rio Really?

The safety in Del Rio is two-fold.

First, there’s the crime and safety handled by the local police department.

Then there’s the border crossing, which Border Patrol and Homeland Security handle.

Starting with the local crime statistics, Del Rio is impressively 45% lower than the national average and 48% lower than the state average when it comes to violent crime.

Less than one violent crime a week happens, on average, looking at 2023 crime data.

In addition, only 4% of violent crimes involve people unknown to their attackers.

The majority of violent crimes are between family, friends or acquaintances.

The theft rate is also low – 19% lower than the national average.

In addition, theft has dropped by more than half since 2015.

Car break-ins or accessory thefts make up about 28% of all thefts, with 2023 seeing 27 cars stolen.

The other side of safety comes with the border crossing and the influx of migrants happening at a time when human trafficking and illegal drugs are also a problem at the border.

Chief Patrol Agent Jason Owens of the Border Patrol Del Rio Sector was directly asked about how concerned that makes him for the community of Del Rio and beyond.

“So here’s my concern.

If a person is willing to put themselves in harm’s way, crossing through very remote, very dangerous conditions to evade capture, you have to ask yourself why.

What makes them willing to take that risk?

That’s of concern to me.”

Owns added, “What’s also of concern to me is I don’t know who that individual is.

I don’t know where they came from.

I don’t know what their intention is.

I don’t know what they brought with them.

That unknown represents a risk, a threat.

It’s of great concern to anybody that wears this uniform.”

Del Rio has faced a surge of migrants in what would otherwise be a sleepy border town.

Illegal border crossing encounters went from 20,000 a year before 2019 to 57,000 in 2019 and then 480,000 in 2022.

Keep in mind – that’s almost half a million people trying to get into a town of 35,000.

The influx of migrants illegally entering the United States prompted Del Rio police to issue a community-wide warning in November 2023.

However, that warning covered many of the standard safety practices, like locking parked vehicles and staying in well-lit areas.

I would say more than anything – the potential is there for Del Rio to be unsafe.

However, it has bucked the trend and continues to be one of the safest border towns in America.

How Does Del Rio Compare?

CitySafety Index
Del Rio68
Dallas64
Memphis54
Orlando64
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70
Manama (Bahrain)54
Tianjin (China)67
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

All international visitors need either a visa or a visa waiver. The requirements are the same whether you're crossing the border from Mexico or flying into an American airport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after our trip, or you’ll need to apply for a new one. If you plan to visit Mexico, review the requirements for crossing into the country and getting back into the U.S., as they aren't always the same as the U.S. requirements.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar (USD) is accepted in the United States, but I wouldn't be surprised if places in Del Rio took pesos. International airports usually have a currency exchange desk on site, while regional airports won’t. Your home bank offers the lowest fees, but local banks like IBC Bank will also exchange currency for Pesos (MXN) or USD. For those using credit cards, check to see if there’s a foreign transaction fee before you start racking up charges.

Weather

Weather

Del Rio rarely gets below 40°F, even in the depths of winter. December through February brings days in the 60s, with daytime highs rising until reaching 90° in May and not going below those daytime highs until October. Lows in the summer will be in the 70s. You need sunscreen here and any clothing or accessories that can block harmful sun rays.

Airports

Airports

San Antonio International Airport is the cl; closest option, and you'll spend about two and a half hours on the road to get there. The local airport in Del Rio doesn't have commercial service. The Piedras Negras International Airport in Mexico is about 90 minutes away, but I would check the travel warnings before you consider that option.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance goes into effect as soon as you purchase it. Comprehensive insurance offers the best protection and peace of mind.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Del Rio Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 11° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 18° C
Apr 22° C
May 26° C
Jun 29° C
Jul 30° C
Aug 30° C
Sep 27° C
Oct 22° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 12° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
182125293235363633282218
Low
°C
471115202324242116105
High
°F
647077849095979791827264
Low
°F
394552596873757570615041

Texas - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Abilene67
Amarillo65
Austin65
Carrollton72
Corpus Christi71
Dallas64
Del Rio68
Dell City81
El Paso77
Fort Davis80
Fort Worth77
Fredericksburg85
Garland83
Granbury74
Gruene82
Harlingen75
Houston59
Irving79
Laredo68
Llano83
Lubbock38
Luckenbach77
Marathon78
Marfa80
McAllen74
Nacogdoches78
New Braunfels83
Plano86
Port Aransas83
San Antonio53
Schulenburg83
Sherman73
Smithville84
South Padre Island70
Tyler70
Waco61
Waxahachie83
Weslaco68
Wichita Falls68
Wimberley81

Where to Next?

Share Your Experience

Share
Facebook Pinterest