New Hampshire : Safety by City
- Hampton Beach
- North Conway
- West Lebanon
Cozied in the countryside of Rockingham County, Derry, New Hampshire, is a quieter side of the Manchester area.
This community of 23,000 is a mix of nature, history, and modern comforts.
It was named after the Derry in Ireland, meaning “oak grove.”
However, it was the planting of the first potato grove here that made Derry a historical icon.
It’s a place so beautiful that Robert Frost was inspired during his time here before he went on to become one of the world’s most renowned poets.
Astronaut Alan Shepard grew up in Derry before he went on to walk on the moon later in life.
Beyond its historical charm, Derry boasts several scenic trails and tranquil lakes, like Beaver Lake, perfect for boating and fishing.
Ballard State Forest and a historical mill sit just a few miles away, with America’s Stonehenge an easy drive from Derry.
This community is a nice contract to the largest city in the state, Manchester, which is just 13 miles away.
Manchester has the nightlife and bigger city feel, while Derry and the surrounding small town have that elegant countryside feel, complete with farms, but still affluent enough to hold its own opera house and a high school set in an 1815 campus layout, similar to many prestigious boarding schools.
Warnings & Dangers in Derry
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Derry, as this spread-out residential community is a place to get away from the higher crime rates in Manchester.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The MTA is the public transportation for Manchester and the surrounding areas. Look at the schedules to see if there's a route that works for you. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. Having your own rental car offers more flexibility.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
This is a low risk in Derry, with no pickpockets or purse snatchings reported in the past five years. Manchester averages about seven a year, so that's a slightly higher risk but still not warranting an escalated risk level.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You'll need to be prepared in any season since hurricanes, nor'easters, winter storms, and severe thunderstorms all have their place in seasonal risks. You'll get plenty of warnings about approaching storms, but it's still a medium risk.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Derry has a low risk for robberies, with most incidents happening in homes. Nearly a quarter of all robberies in Manchester are highway robberies, so use more caution there. The robbery rate is at the national average in Manchester.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Derry is at low risk for any terrorism incident, but domestic terrorism and mass shootings can happen anywhere. Your best protection is being vigilant and reporting anything suspicious.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Mostly residential scams happen here. A recent one in 2023 involved someone going door-to-door, claiming to be raising money for the police department. You can always check the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission websites for trending scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Derry has a low risk, as does Manchester, but realize that Manchester just requires the standard safety steps you'd use in any city. The risk is definitely higher in Manchester, but neither has imminent risks women should prepare for other than things like not walking around at night alone.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Derry's water supply is low risk, and you can read the annual water quality reports on their website. Each section of the city has a different system. The 2022 Water Quality Report from Manchester shows full compliance and no violations.
Safest Places to Visit in Derry
Derry and Londonderry flank I-93 as you approach Manchester from the south.
The Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has a website with tourist information.
For tourist information about Manchester, visit yourmanchesternh.com.
The Frost Farm is a historic landmark and former residence of poet Robert Frost.
Many of his renewed works were inspired here before he went overseas.
The farm’s picturesque landscape, with rolling meadows and stonewalls, provides a tranquil retreat for visitors, complete with a nature and poetry trail.
The Derry Londonderry Beverage Trail is an outline to enjoy some of the finest craft beers, wines, and ciders available in the state.
Just 10 minutes away in Chester, you can take a hot-air balloon ride over the region. Sunrise flights are the most popular.
You’d be surprised to learn how much aviation history New Hampshire holds, and Londonderry is home to the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire.
The museum holds regular events, like car shows and barbecues.
The Windham Rail Trail and Depot give you a mix of history and nature as you explore the former rail line that connects to the Granite State Rail Trail.
You can also get outdoors at Ballard State Park and Ballard Pond.
It’s also home to the Taylor Mill Historic Site.
America’s Stonehenge, located eight miles away in Salem, is a mysterious archeological site shrouded in intrigue.
Dating back over 4,000 years, it features stone structures, chambers, and an astronomical alignment.
Much like the original Stonehenge, the origins are debated, yet still captivate visitors.
The Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester is a premier shopping destination in the state.
With over 125 stores, you can enjoy sales-tax-free shopping on all items.
Manchester is also home to the Currier Museum of Art, the Historic Millyard District, and the SEE Science Center.
Places to Avoid in Derry
Derry doesn’t have a bad part of town or dangerous neighborhoods.
A shooting in 2023 left a beloved restaurant owner dead at his business, with his nephew arrested for the murder.
Instead of avoiding the location, the town flocked to pay tribute with a memorial outside for weeks to come.
That’s the kind of community Derry is.
There have been some eye-opening weather stories out of Derry in the past few years.
One involved a dust devil at a lake with beautiful skies in the background, but a swirling mess of dust picked up a boat and toss it like a toy.
In another instance, a mother was clearing snow during a major nor’easter.
Her 6-year-old was playing nearby when a tree fell on top of them both.
The mother escaped and called for help.
Rescue crews did save the child, who was relatively unscathed.
Strong winter storms can knock down power lines and leave the area snowed in for several days, even with the robust team of road crews and emergency services.
Just stay weather aware while you’re here, and never underestimate the power of these storms.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Derry
- Derry has its own police department. You can find them on Facebook @DerryNHPoliceDepartment. The Manchester Police Department is @ManchesterNHPolice.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through the CodeRED system. This will provide immediate warnings about severe weather watches, warnings, and other impacts.
- Sign up for Nixle alerts to get updated information about major accidents, crime scenes, and other safety issues requiring law enforcement. I use Nixle daily, especially if I hear numerous firetrucks or police cars go by my home; I can open the website/app and see if it’s a house fire or heart attack and see if it’s anything that would impact me.
- You can report any suspicious activity anonymously on the police department’s website. This should be used for things like graffiti, overhearing information about a crime, or suspecting drug activity.
- The city’s website has a video tour of the town, which can be helpful if you’re more visually motivated when researching.
- This area is prone to large infestations of ticks in the woods, some of which can carry Lyme disease. Since bug spray won’t work against these critters, you’ll need to do full body checks (even those delicate areas) after visiting outdoor areas.
- Derry Emergency Management only has a Twitter page for social media presence. The handle is @DerryNHBEM.
- From November 15 through April 1 of each year, an overnight parking ban will be in effect. This is to allow snow plows to get through when it snows, but there doesn’t need to be snow on the ground for the parking ban to be in effect.
- Pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way in New Hampshire. Drivers are supposed to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, but it’s incumbent on the pedestrian to make sure the cars are stopping.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the New Hampshire Department of Fish & Game. You’ll want a freshwater license in this region, but look at the saltwater license information if you plan to visit the seacoast while you’re here.
So... How Safe Is Derry Really?
Violent crime is down 300% since 2011, leaving the violent crime risk almost 300% lower than the 2021 national average.
This is a safe town.
That’s especially true when you compare it to Manchester.
As a city of 115,000 people, you’d expect Manchester to have more crime than a town of 23,000.
Manchester is either one of the Top 51 cities to live in, according to U.S. News & World Report, or it’s one of the most dangerous cities in the state.
I guess they both could be true since Delaware is one of the safest states in the country.
Manchester’s violent crime rate is 11% higher than the national average and 243% higher than Derry’s average.
It is a substantial improvement from five years ago when the violent crime rate was 63% higher than the national average.
Just 12% of violent crimes happened against strangers in Manchester, so there’s not an overwhelming risk of being a random victim.
No crimes in 2021 were against strangers in Derry.
An average of seven pickpockets or purse snatchings happen in Manchester each year, according to the data from 2017 to 2021.
A whopping 42% of all Manchester thefts were related to car break-ins or accessory thefts, compared to 22% in Derry.
Statistics aside, Derry is a comfortable, safe town outside the largest city in New Hampshire.
If you’re from any kind of larger metro area, you’d laugh at anyone who says, “Manchester is dangerous.”
Sure, you need common sense and safety tactics you’d use anywhere.
You just shouldn’t expect Manchester to be a charming village with small-town niceties.
That’s what Derry is for!
How Does Derry Compare?
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|Niagara Falls (Canada)
Those entering the United States who aren't U.S. Citizens will need a passport and visa or visa waiver. Review the State Department website for the best ways to expedite the process. You can cross state lines here without showing proof of ID, but if you want to visit Canada, check with Canada Border Services Agency for those requirements.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here or anywhere in the country. You can wait until you arrive if your home bank has a branch here; otherwise, take care of it at home. The airport should also have a currency exchange location.
Dress for the coldest of winters and hottest of summers, and bring layers of clothing for everything in between. Hiking boots are recommended when visiting the nearby trails. Waterproof boots or snow boots are great in the winter when snow can stay on the ground for a long time. Bring bug spray and sunscreen too.
Manchester Boston Regional Airport is just 15 minutes northwest. You can get to the much larger option of Boston Logan International Airport in Boston within an hour.
Travel insurance is a wise investment due to the year-round risk of storms that can seize flight patterns up and down the seacoast.
Derry Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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New Hampshire - Safety by City