How Safe Is Denver for Travel?

Denver, United States
Safety Index:
57

Welcome to the snow-capped mountains and mile-high energy of Denver, Colorado.

Denver provides urban excitement with outdoor adventures just a few miles away in the Rocky Mountains.

Whether you’re using the city as a base camp for a mountain trip or staying in the city to enjoy the buzz, there’s something for everyone.

While the city of Denver is just shy of 716,000 people, the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area holds more than 3.5 million people.

If you can’t find something to do here that blows your mind, you are way too hard to please.

Denver itself is an urban core surrounded by a wide variety of suburbs.

You can find innovation, culture, creative dining, and unique shopping in the Mile-High City.

Some people think Denver is a mountain town, but those beautiful mountains that flank the west side of the city are about an hour away.

When you look east, you’ll see High Plains.

You don’t just hit the Colorado border and BOOM! there are mountains.

Be prepared for altitude change and take it slow at first to let your body acclimate.

You don’t want to waste a day with altitude sickness or need medical care.

Warnings & Dangers in Denver

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

There's a medium risk in the CITY of Denver. That doesn't hold true in the entire metro area, but Denver faces increased crime rates, with violent and property crimes nearly double the national average. It's not an unsafe place to visit, but it definitely requires good personal safety standards.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) provides public transportation via rail lines and buses. Taxis and rideshares are abundant, and you will have no trouble finding a rental car, since many people opt for their own ride to explore the mountains. Any option has a low risk, but be warned the routes along Colfax heading in and out of Aurora have seen some notable crime increases in the past few years.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

There were more than 20,000 thefts in Denver in 2020, and I was shocked to see that just 61 of those were pickpockets or purse snatchings. That's technically a low risk, but I would suggest treating it as a medium risk. This is a busy urban core, and you should protect your belongings as you would in any major city.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Denver has a medium risk because of major storms that hit throughout the year. Of course, there's a lot of snow here from late fall to spring. That helps the ski resorts but can also cripple transportation during the brunt of the storm. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are also a risk from spring through late fall. I once went down the mountain into Denver when a tornado warning was issued during rush hour traffic. I had another friend at the rental car agency at the airport when a tornado struck. Wildfires are another major risk in this area throughout the year.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

The robbery rate is more than twice the national average, so we have to give this a medium risk. While you might not even notice this trend, it's important to realize the seriousness, because 49% of violent crimes happen against strangers.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

There's a medium risk here too. This is a major transportation and distribution hub, plus a highly dense population region. The Denver area has also seen its share of domestic terrorists in the form of mass shootings. This medium risk comes with increased security steps and protection from Homeland Security and local law enforcement.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

A tourist isn't going to be a direct target of a scam, but anyone who seems like a mark could be approached. Unfortunately, you have to avoid anyone who seems like they are being overly helpful or trying to pressure you into making a purchase.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

By the statistics, women actually have a lower risk than men of being a violent crime victim. The sexual assault rate is more than twice the national average. Use standard caution when you are drinking or walking around the city. Stick with a buddy and avoid going to a private place with someone you just met.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance with the tap water of Denver. No violations were reported either. If you are heading to the mountains, bring some bottled water with you in case of water quality issues in mountain towns.

Safest Places to Visit in Denver

Denver.org is the official tourism website, while Denvergov.org is the city’s official website.

Using the official tourism site is also ideal for cyber security.

You can avoid ending up on spoof or shady websites, especially if you want to purchase tickets ahead of time online.

There are simply too many safe and fun options in Downtown Denver, so we’ll give you more of an overview.

Denver has several different districts to explore, each bringing its own vibe.

  • 16th Street Mall: At the heart of downtown, you’ll find more than a mile of places to explore, including shopping, events, and restaurants. You can start your day with a cup of coffee from a local cafe or end your day here at one of the bars. A free shuttle helps you get around this part of the city.
  • Larimer Square: This is another entertainment district but notable for its rich architecture with a Victorian feel.
  • LoDo Historic District: This is an extension of Larimer Square with history and unique shopping opportunities instead of name-brand stores.
  • Capital Hill aka “Cap Hill”: This is the legislative core of the city, with plenty of parks nearby to soak in one of the 300 days of sunshine in Denver. TIP: Look for the Mile-High Marker on the steps of the state capital.
  • Golden Triangle Creative District: This is the creative district with art on display inside, outside, and everywhere you look.

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park might be the only theme park in the center of a major city.

While it’s not open year-round, you can get tickets from spring through late fall.

A family note – after 3:00 pm, no children under the age of 18 can be dropped off without an adult 21 years or older supervising.

The next time I go to Denver, I have Convergence Station on my “must-see” list.

This is an art museum with a side of psychedelic and funk.

It’s more of a science center than a museum, but the neon pathways and immersion of all senses will surely keep everyone entertained.

To me, it looks like a Neon Wonderland.

I’m happy to be Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

Shoppers should head to the Cherry Creek Shopping District, with the largest collection of stores in the Mountain West.

Spend some time acclimating to the altitude at a spa or browse Tiffany’s latest collections.

If you like tours, there are historical walking tours, beer walking tours, and brewery tours.

For the budget conscious, there are many free attractions in Denver:

  • State Capital offers free tours.
  • The U.S. Mint Money Museum offers free tours.
  • Hammond’s Candy Factory offers free tours.
  • The Original Selfie Museum does have admission prices, but all proceeds go to help Ukraine.

Places to Avoid in Denver

The key to staying in the safe(r) parts of Denver is staying in tourist areas and crowded venues.

There’s a great Denver Post Neighborhood Comparison website that shows updated rankings of neighborhoods and safety levels for violent and property crimes.

The area along Colfax heading into Aurora is a high-crime area and has seen increased crime levels in 2021 and 2022.

The Aurora Mall is one shopping place I’d recommend avoiding, especially since Denver proper has so many great shopping options.

If you are visiting from September 1 through May 31, you’ll have chain requirements on your rental vehicle.

While the rental agency should have all this information handy, you should also check to ensure they provide the equipment or if you’ll need to make an additional purchase.

Full information is available on the Colorado Department of Transportation website.

Avoid landing in Denver and heading straight to the mountains if you can because of the altitude sickness risk.

Talk to your doctor before you leave about the best ways to acclimate and keep your body hydrated while you’re there.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Denver

  1. Car break-ins are a big problem in Denver, with 51% of all thefts being related to car burglaries or accessory thefts. Talk to your rental agent about catalytic converter protection, and never leave your car unlocked with the windows rolled down.
  2. You can find out about crime trends closer to your visit by using the Denver Community Crime Map. While this map doesn’t show official crime counts, it does show all reported incidents. It’s interactive, so you can personalize the search request to get the most important information for you.
  3. Denver uses photo enforcement for red light runners, speeders, and those not giving the right of way to pedestrians or bicyclists. You should always assume you are on camera and use safe driving techniques.
  4. If you have information about a crime that isn’t urgent, you can call Crime Stoppers to provide information anonymously. That number is (720)913-7867.
  5. For questions about safety while visiting Denver, the police department has an information desk to call during business hours. That number is (720)913-6010.
  6. You have two ways to sign up for emergency notifications in Denver, and we recommend signing up for both. Reverse 911 allows you to get notifications about crimes happening near you during your visit. Wireless Emergency Alerts give you critical weather information as storms or wildfires develop.
  7. Denver has metered street parking with meters powered by the sun’s solar energy. You can use the PayByPhone app to avoid having to put coins into the meter and pay remotely if you’ve gone over your allotted time. Parking garages are available, and each one will have its own payment structure. Always park as close as you can to a stairway or elevator and in plain sight of a security camera.
  8. Denver is a walkable city, and several programs are underway to improve the pedestrian experience. You can also rent bicycles if you’d rather get around that way. Always lock your bike when you leave it, and never ride a bicycle if you have been drinking. As a pedestrian, you must always use crosswalks. Don’t cross the street in the middle of traffic, no matter how many other people are doing it.
  9. Practice good eco-friendly steps like recycling and collecting all your litter before you leave an area. Denver is a very environmentally conscious city.
  10. Marijuana is legal in Colorado, and while that might sound appealing, there are strict rules. You can’t just walk down the street using marijuana. It is only for use in private places where the landlord approves of the use and every person in the room is 21 years of age or older.

So... How Safe Is Denver Really?

Using the great tools provided by the Denver Police Department, we can see that crime across the board is up almost 10% as of October 1, 2022.

The pristine appeal of the city shouldn’t override the inherent risks you’ll find in any major city.

You shouldn’t feel unsafe visiting Denver, but you should keep situation awareness and avoid walking around at night alone.

38% of robberies happen in public spaces, while 40% of violent crime is against strangers.

There are nearly 30 car break-ins on average per day here.

Locking your car is a very simple step to keep you safe, as thieves will always go for the easiest target.

Denver also has a visible homeless problem, and business leaders are working with the city to counteract the safety concerns that can create.

“It’s that person talking to themselves …. They might not have any contact with me whatsoever, but when you walk past them or when they walk past you, it might make you feel uncomfortable.

And that’s how people feel unsafe,” Beth Moyski of the Downtown Denver Partnership, a business advocacy group, said during a panel discussion.

If severe weather is in the forecast, stick close to Denver and don’t go into the mountains.

The weather can be extreme here, and even a simple thunderstorm can ignite a wildfire.

If you look at YouTube videos of Colorado Wildfires, you’ll see just how massive they can be.

How Does Denver Compare?

CitySafety Index
Denver57
Orlando64
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Manama (Bahrain)54
Tianjin (China)67
Brussels (Belgium)60

Useful Information

  • Visas - Travelers from outside the United States will need a Visa and a Passport to get through Customs at the airport. You might be from a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program. Check the U.S. State Department website for all the details. Don't wait - this process can take several months, and you can't travel without it.
  • Currency - Currency exchange for the U.S. Dollar can be done at the airport or many banks in the Denver area. Avoid using public ATMs; you can get by without cash if you have a credit card.
  • Weather - Denver has beautiful weather in all seasons, but you want to keep an eye on winter weather as early as September and as late as May, especially if you are heading to the mountains from Denver. Summers will be hot and dry. Bring sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Airports - Denver International Airport is on the northeast side of the city. It's a large airport and a major hub for almost all airlines, so you won't have trouble finding a flight.
  • Travel Insurance - You should get travel insurance that protects your flights against weather delays or cancellations. You can also look into supplemental health insurance for adventurous activities if you'll be spending time in the mountains.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Denver Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 1° C
Feb 2° C
Mar 6° C
Apr 10° C
May 15° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 6° C
Dec 1° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
991418233033322820148
Low
°C
-7-6-227131615103-3-7
High
°F
484857647386919082685746
Low
°F
192128364555615950372719

Where to Next?

24 Reviews on Denver

  1. Visit to Denver Not a Good Idea

    Denver was a great city but at this time there are homeless encampments in the park across from the Capital. The 16th Street Mall which used to be a safe area to walk and find a restaurant is no longer safe and a lot of the business have closed.

    I would recommend by-passing the city of Denver all together and head toward the Mountains. The town of Golden is great as well as Morrison and Boulder are great cities to stop and walk around on your way to the Mountains.

  2. Denver not safe

    This article says terrorism is low. Did they sleep through all of the rioting and destruction that went on. I know people who work downtown and it is bad. A lot of restaurants closed and many homeless and begeers hitting you up. I would not recommend going downtown

    1. DENVER IN FEP

      My family was verbally assaulted and threatened by a homeless vagrant while at a patio restaurant downtown in a Sunday afternoon. Most disturbing? No one even glanced our way – no one, including staff wanted to get involved. Denver is NOT safe!

  3. Denver is super safe. Compared to major cities like Chicago, LA, and New York the worst neighborhoods in Denver are equal to average neighborhoods there for safety.

    1. Denver Safe - It Is A LIE

      My mother was visiting downtown Denver, on the 16th Street Mall, and was attacked, beaten in the head. I had to pick her up from the hospital. Maybe I should post the picture I have of her face, so that people would understand what is really going on down there, but I just can’t do that. She has endured enough. All I will say to people that think they want to visit Denver. DON’T!

  4. A
    Anonymous says:

    I usually feel really safe in Denver, but at the same time it’s not the cleanest city. I was walking around downtown and the smell of weed was so strong I had to cover my mouth with my sleeve to avoid coughing. There are also a lot of homeless people walking around.

  5. Hmmm

    You had me until you said safe as Seattle hahaha. Seattle is such a dangerous city, you couldn’t pay me to visit there. So now I’m questioning whether or not to visit Denver.

  6. Denver has turned to the ghetto. Liberals are ruining the city and voting in crappy politicians that are more worried about appeasing the feelings of the liberals, than actually taking care of crime.

  7. A
    Anonymous says:

    As long as you are smart and pay attention to your surroundings, Denver is a very safe city. Good food scene, beautiful historic downtown area, and friendly people almost everywhere. Great place

  8. T
    Tiffany says:

    Is this written by a native?

    As a female native and a visitor, a large chunk of what’s written in here do not speak to my experience. I witnessed and experienced random acts of violence, disrespectful people on the busses, a parent and child reported as they were walking up to the Denver library they watched a guy inject himself with a needle and while traveling there’s no where to use a public restroom because store and restaurant owners are used to stuff like that happening. Sure, that last critique sounds nit-picky, but it something that small speaks to the culture of the city. Denver is rude, the recent democrat officials have turned the city into a special box of mini-California, and identity politics has taken over along with a path to legalizing segregation.

  9. False Article! Crime in Denver is at an all time high – just NOT being reported by our news. My NextDoor app tells a very different story. I live in Lowry – 3 doors kicked in over a 10 day period while the owners slept. Houses robbed, catalytic convertors being stolen from driveways, garages robbed of bikes and tools. Homeless trash camps EVERYWHERE creating a Health and Safety issue that looks like the scenes from San Francisco. Choose a better place to vacation and avoid Denver all together!

  10. M
    Mark K. says:

    Denver Homeless Encampments Everywhere

    I was recently in Denver for a conference and am sad to report that the city has become rundown, and homeless encampments now line the sidewalks around the downtown area. The 16th Street Mall, which used to be bustling with life and activity, is now a ghost town and lined with shuttered shops.

    Our event planner informed us they would not be returning to Denver next year as a result of the city’s visible decline.

    It’s sad to see… Denver used to be a very beautiful place, and now it’s just another ugly big city in America.

  11. Safe but the homeless people are a huge distraction

    You have to check the art museum even if you’re not the kind of person who’s typically into art, their exhibits are amazing, you could easily spend three, four hours there.

    Rent a car to avoid spending hundreds on uber, you can have your pick if you book in advance. Their bus route doesn’t offer that much flexibility and it doesn’t reach that many areas.

    If you’re all about the outdoor life I would 100% suggest getting a buddy, don’t venture in the mountains alone being it summer or winter. On one hand you have wildlife like bobcats and bears and on the other hand you’re exploring new territory. If you absolutely have to go at it alone make sure to email your itinerary to a friend and do your best to stick to it. Always exercise caution! Denver is very popular with outdoor travel and it sure has the infrastructure for it.

    For anything food-related, you could go downtown where you will have a lot of options to choose from.

    Overall, I think the whole Denver area is safer than the Bay Area, especially if you’re traveling alone.

    The chances of you bumping into unsavory characters are rather slim but never zero so just avoid unwanted conversions or advice. No pickpockets, just the one off car theft but I have a zero-valuables-left-in-the-car policy that has kept me incident-free so far.

    A big problem for me were the homeless people which indeed, have their places they like to camp in, but still, not a pleasant sight.

    I would bump the safety rating to a 70, 75 even, the current index doesn’t reflect the current state of things and I’m saying this without comparing it with other cities. Regardless, if you come here for outdoor activities chances are you won’t be staying in the city that much.

  12. Horrible city

    I WAS an 18 year resdent of Denver. When I moved there the city was clean, safe, friendly. With the legalization of pot, influx of Californians,and political changes, the city deteriorated greatly from the city I used to love. Homeless camp out everywhere, crime ( notably theft) and violent crime surged, big drug problem, and the people are rude and ideologically intolerant. If that’s what the author calls ‘progressive’, they can have it.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      How exactly do you know that Californians are part of the problem, you spoke to every single person who was from California, and took a head count???? Just curious, I’m from California and I hear idiots all the time try to blame us for their problems, but it ALWAYS turns out to be just that… their problems.

  13. Not worth the Hassel

    The downtown is full of plywood covered windows..the once beautiful 16th street mall is covered with unwashed homeless and the air enveloped with the smell of urine and shit….businesses do not allow the use of restrooms. I had to piss in an alley. The few shops that are open have empty shelves from all the looters ….this city be nassy !

  14. C
    CoNative says:

    Quickly becoming a bad city to live in

    Lol crime is huge here, shootings after dark, no police presence, #1 in car thefts, homeless populations exploding, assault and robbery everywhere, downtown is a drunk fest after dark, this is what happens when you don’t vote for good governance, small businesses closed down never to reopen. Colorado front range is a sad state of affairs.

  15. Save your money

    We (4) women just spent a weekend in Denver. Spent a lot of time in the downtown, 16th Street Mall area. It was an absolute mess. Homeless and fifth everywhere. Felt very unsafe. 4th and last trip to Denver. Not worth the expense.

  16. Loved it!

    I had a wonderful time in Denver with my friend Mark. Can’t wait for a second visit.

  17. Mark my words

    Yet again I had an absolutely wonderful time in Denver. I was there with my jolly good friend, Mark, and we enjoyed each other’s company and the hospitality of Denver without issue. Yes, there are some homeless people as with all North American cities but we didn’t find this to be a problem. I hope to reach around to getting back.

  18. N
    Not Safe says:

    Not Safe

    Denver is slowly becoming one of the worst cities in the nation. There is a homicide almost every night in the LoDo district, 16th Street Mall looks like a 3rd world country, there are tents and trash everywhere due to the hundreds—if not thousands—of homeless people. The streets smell of urine and due to the National rhetoric of defunding the police, you guessed it, there are no cops and therefore crime is Everywhere! Do not visit Denver!

  19. I’ve lived in Denver for 15 years now. It used to be clean and safe. Now it is run by drug addicts and there is SO MUCH CRIME. Whoever rated Denver clearly doesn’t live here. High crime due to lax attitudes towards drug addicts. Open air drug encampments everywhere. All the people fleeing LA and San Francisco came here and made it just like the places they left.

  20. Sketchy & Skanky

    Denver is a ***hole. 16th street Mall is a homeless playground. Meth heads have taken over Union Station and there is nothing to do but dodge the schizoids. The shopping is generic, franchise corporate vomit; no unique boutiques or art galleries. I feel sorry for tourists who are stuck downtown, bc it is not a good representation of the Colorado vibe.

  21. J
    John Doe says:

    Dangerous Place!!!

    I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t a medical emergency that forced us here. I was being constantly being tracked and followed by drones in the parks we took our dogs to and had to run from someone who intended on forcing me into their car. As an outsider to the state, I wished I had a CCW in my state when that happened because open carry is a joke flashing it around for someone to target you.

Rated 2.63 / 5 based on 24 user reviews.

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