Georgia : Safety by City
- East Columbus
- East Point
- Johns Creek
- Peachtree City
- Peachtree Corners
- Sandy Springs
- South Fulton
- Tybee Island
- Warner Robins
East Columbus, Georgia, is a bedroom community filled with a suburban lifestyle and a popular place for workers at nearby Fort Benning to live.
Tree-lined streets usher walking buddies, families, and pets along sidewalks where everyone waves hello to a passing car or neighbor.
It is one of five neighborhoods in the Columbus area that is 207,000 residents strong.
Other neighborhoods are Downtown, MidTown, North Columbus, and South Columbus.
East Columbus is one of the only neighborhoods that doesn’t have many tourist attractions.
It’s dedicated simply to home life and escape from higher crime rates in downtown Columbus.
The only hotels you will find near East Columbus are along I-185 on the west side of the city and the northwest section closer to the airport.
There are plenty of AirBNBs throughout the community if you want to get away from the noise of highway traffic.
Fort Benning is one of the most active Army bases globally and it’s the training center for nearly 17,000 soldiers each week.
This makes East Columbus and the surrounding city a very active military town with a lot of American pride.
There’s a little something for everyone in Columbus.
Outdoor activities abound with some out-of-this-world indoor activities at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center.
Between aerospace innovation and the military base, you might wonder if this mid-sized city has lost its Southern charm.
It most definitely has not.
Warnings & Dangers in East Columbus
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in East Columbus. Columbus itself is a different story. It's a medium-sized city with big city problems, including at least 30 gangs confirmed to be active in the area. There are very safe places to stay and visit here (like East Columbus), but there are also places to avoid.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Metra is the local bus line in Columbus. There are three lines that run on the outskirts of East Columbus, but you won't find any bus stops in the middle of the city. All routes will eventually get you downtown. You can call for a taxi or rideshare too. There's low risk with these options, but I'd use extra caution on the bus system if you choose to use it. There are some people in this city looking for a crime of opportunity and the busses go through some more dangerous parts of town.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The data reported to the FBI by Columbus Police doesn't break down the theft numbers as specifically as in some other cities in the state. I don't have exact pickpocket or purse snatching numbers. I can tell you theft has been on a downward trend since 2017, but there were still 4318 thefts in 2020. I also don't have the exact information on how many of those thefts happened by neighborhood. If you are in East Columbus, the risk is low as the crime rates are among the lowest in the area.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
East Columbus has a medium risk of bad weather. Severe storms can come through this area any time of the year, with spring being the hotbed for tornado activity. Hurricanes moving inland can still be at tropical storm level when they pass over Columbus, as Hurricane Michael did in 2018. Those fierce winds were felt as far north as Atlanta.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The robbery rate is nearly twice the national average, but in East Columbus, you won't have as much of a concern as if you were downtown. There's a low risk in East Columbus.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk because of the proximity to Fort Benning. That's really the only hard target in the area. There are a record number of soldiers spending time there, so it's definitely getting extra protection from Homeland Security.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
East Columbus is so residential that any scams would only impact residents with the typical phone call scams. Tourists shouldn't worry. One word of caution - if you are renting a home, don't send money via wire ahead of time. That's the first sign of a scam artist. Make sure you confirm the person has the legal right to rent out the home in question.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women should feel safe in East Columbus as it's a low-risk area. That changes when you leave the city boundaries, so use extra caution in MidTown and Downtown.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Even in a pandemic year, Columbus Water Works was able to pass or exceed all requirements of the city, state, and EPA.
Safest Places to Visit in East Columbus
First, let’s talk about East Columbus and its location.
It is located on the southeast side of the city.
You won’t find anything with an East Columbus address because it’s just a neighborhood, not a city or a census-designated area.
Every address is going to be “Columbus, Georgia.” You are going to have to find locations using the boundaries of the unofficial city.
The north side boundary is Manchester Parkway.
On the east, you have Schatulga Road.
The southern boundary is Buena Vista Road.
The west boundary is I-185.
You can walk through the grounds of Columbus State University, nestled in the northwest corner of town.
This is one of two locations for the university in Columbus.
The other is down on the riverfront.
Cooper Creek Park is a local park right on the water of the Cooper Creek Reservoir.
You can fish here or get in your morning run.
Some hiking trails are not difficult at all.
To escape the summer heat and humidity, head downtown to the Chattahoochee River for some white water rafting or tube floating adventures.
The downtown river scene is very active and there are businesses along the riverfront that can help you learn how to SUP (standup paddleboard), kayak, or take you on a guided rafting tour.
The National Civil War Museum is on the south side of downtown and is a great place to get inside for some air conditioning and learn about the Civil War.
Southerners love talking about the Civil War and you can learn a lot during your visit here.
The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is full of adventures and interactive exhibits.
You can just walk and view the largest collection of aerospace artifacts in Georgia or you can take a turn on the augmented-reality rocket launch adventure.
There are many scheduled shows throughout the day in the planetarium.
It’s $8 for adults, military members and senior citizens get a $1 discount, and children 4-10 get in for $6.
You can tour Fort Benning but you need to request a tour at least six months in advance.
The tours are self-guided and can be canceled at a moment’s notice if there is confidential training going on or some kind of national military activity.
Places to Avoid in East Columbus
There is no place to avoid in East Columbus.
It’s a residential neighborhood and even the grocery stores aren’t open past 10 pm in this part of the city.
If you are renting a home here, you don’t want to keep the doors unlocked.
It might be a safe area, but burglaries are more prone to happen in nicer parts of the city.
Lock up the car, too, and take all your belongings inside.
Don’t even leave a GPS in the car.
When visiting the rest of Columbus, avoid the area south of Wynnton Road and west of I-185 if you aren’t going to a specific destination and it’s best not to go into the area at night.
Avoid downtown after dark unless you are having dinner.
Certainly don’t walk the riverfront at night.
There’s just a lot of criminal activity in this city, and most of the violent crimes are gang-on-gang crimes.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is, gangs aren’t really concerned about who gets caught in their literal crossfire, so you just don’t want to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Safety Tips for Traveling to East Columbus
- It’s good to know the warning signs of gang activity. Gangs in Columbus typically will be larger groups of people wearing the same colors – mostly blues, reds, blacks, and brown. Should you see a group like this even walking down the street or gathered in a parking lot, go the other way.
- Since East Columbus is a safer neighborhood, take time to get to know the neighbors and ask for their specific safety advice. They know the town well enough to give you updates on crime activity. The most recent information I can get is from 2020 at this time. It might not hurt to stop by the police station and ask some safety questions of your own before venturing outside of East Columbus.
- If you are staying at a hotel, ask to be put on any floor but the first floor. The Columbus Police say the second through sixth floors are the safest for tourists.
- This is a pretty casual town so don’t bring a lot of valuables or those cute Louboutin shoes. Don’t bring anything you can’t afford to lose or has special meaning. With gang and drug activity here, people can get desperate for a quick theft and they aren’t always looking for cash. They just want anything they can sell.
- Download a reliable weather app of your choice and make sure you enable push notification. This will make sure that a tornado watch, warning, or other storm-related information is sent right to your phone. If you don’t know – a tornado watch means conditions are likely to spur storms that could form tornadoes. These are generally issued 3-9 hours before a storm forms. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted by a person or by radar and you should get to your safe place immediately.
- If you aren’t familiar with white water rafting or if it has been a while, you should take a safety course at one of the businesses downtown. They can help you navigate all the challenges you might find in the unique Chattahoochee River. Wear a life vest at all times on the water.
- It’s against the law to text and drive in Georgia and police will pull you over for it. You can use a hands-free phone or look at a GPS screen, but you can’t catch up on YouTube videos at a stoplight. You’ll face a $50 fine if caught.
- For those who want to go fishing here, you can’t use your license from your home state or country. You’ll need to get one from the Georgia Department of Wildlife.
- Since this is such a military town, avoid discussions that paint a negative picture of the military or any recent military action. You might be near people who have loved ones training to serve or overseas. People here aren’t going to take kindly to negative military talk. If you don’t like current military activity, write your congressman instead of talking about it in East Columbus.
- 414 cars were stolen in 2020 throughout the Columbus area. If you are getting a rental car, ask if you can have one with a tracker in it – just in case. Make sure you know how much your car or travel insurance covers when it comes to car thefts or break-ins.
So... How Safe Is East Columbus Really?
East Columbus is a working-class military community.
20% of people here live in poverty and the average income is less than $50,000.
There’s a lot of crime here, but it is mostly secluded in certain areas and involves domestic situations.
Violent crime here is twice the Georgia average and the homicide rate is five times higher than the national average.
A lot of how you’ll view East Columbus and the surrounding area is based on where you are coming from.
People who live in Chicago will laugh at the safety advice I’ve given, and those who live in Kansas might be appalled at the numbers.
The chances of being a victim of certain crimes break down like this:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 335
- Homicide: 1 in 1914
- Robbery: 1 in 689
- Theft: 1 in 47
That’s for Columbus as a whole.
While I don’t have specific East Columbus numbers because it’s not a real city, I can tell you that when the experts lay out the crime maps, it does stand out as one of the safer places in the metro area.
How Does East Columbus Compare?
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You can put your Visa away after you've gone through customs at the airport or port of entry. No additional processing is needed in East Columbus.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. If you are flying into Atlanta, you should exchange currency at the airport there. Many of the big attractions here offer the option to purchase tickets in advance. Don't walk around with cash here.
It's going to be humid throughout the year here, so bring clothes that can get pretty sweaty. Good walking shoes are helpful and if you want to do river activities, then water shoes are a great idea as well. Pack plenty of bug spray and sunscreen. Winters are usually mild, but cold spells do hit each year, so keep a close eye on the forecast to see if you'll need a jacket or winter coat.
The Columbus Airport borders East Columbus. It's less than five miles from the center of town. The much larger Atlanta airport is about 90 minutes northeast.
Travel insurance is a wonderful idea to protect you from travel delays and unpredictability along the way and while spending time in East Columbus, Georgia.
East Columbus Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Georgia - Safety by City