Oklahoma : Safety by City
- Broken Arrow
- Broken Bow
- El Reno
- Elk City
- Midwest City
- Oklahoma City
El Reno, Oklahoma, is steeped in the tales of the Old West; this quaint city offers a captivating blend of heritage and modernity.
El Reno’s roots trace back to the 1800s when it served as a vital stop along the historic Chisholm Trail.
However, it gained lasting fame as a stop on the iconic Route 66, earning its spot as a treasured slice of Americana.
The Darlington Route 66 Neon Sign Park stands as a testament to this legacy, with vintage neon signs that reminisce about stories of a bygone era, igniting a nostalgic journey through America’s highway history.
The city’s proximity to Oklahoma City, a mere 30-minute drive away, grants visitors the best of both worlds.
Travelers can easily access the thriving urban hub of Oklahoma City with its bustling cultural scene while retreating to the tranquility and slower pace of El Reno.
The city is also famous for the Fried Onion Burger, and every year it creates the largest one in the world.
The burger became legendary here during the Great Depression when onions were cheaper than meat, so a creative restaurant owner made smaller burgers topped with heaps of onions.
Even when the burger was “smashed,” it looked a lot bigger than it was, thanks to the onions.
El Reno is also remote enough that it’s fostering a new age of innovation with plants that harness the high winds to produce power and conserve energy.
Warnings & Dangers in El Reno
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in El Reno, with low crime rates and several really cool things to see in this historic area.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
You won't find a public transportation option here. Taxis and rideshares should be easy to find. Plenty of rental cars are available at the airport and throughout the OKC area.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The city averages about one pickpocket or purse snatching a year going back five years. The risk is low, but don't let your guard down. It's especially important you don't leave your car unlocked.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
This is a medium risk because everything from tornadoes to blizzards can happen here. Spring is the busiest time for severe storms, so check the weather often and know the difference between tornado watching and warnings.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
This is a low risk with just 11% of robberies being highway robberies, the category which muggings would fall under. On top of that, the city has fewer than five robberies a year going back to 2020, and 2022 had just one.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Here's another low risk, as there are no hard targets or major attractions that could be potential targets. Of course, the entire metro area was impacted by the Oklahoma City bombing in the 1900s, so people are very engaged in reported suspicious activity too.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scams here are focused on the residents, but it's important to know common scam techniques to keep the risk even lower. You should review local law enforcement sites and check out the Oklahoma Attorney General's website for the latest information.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women have the same low risk as anyone else, and El Reno is safe for moms traveling with kids or even solo travelers. Just don't forget to use basic personal safety steps, since no city is safe enough to let your guard down.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance with all the strict water standards of the Safe Water Drinking Act. The risk is low.
Safest Places to Visit in El Reno
The city of El Reno website has a separate section for tourism, and you can find a list of places to eat, stay, and play while there.
For history enthusiasts, the Fort Reno Historic Site is a must-visit.
It’s a former U.S. military fort with rich stories from the Indian Wars era.
If you’re into cars or history, The Canadian County Historical Museum offers intriguing exhibits showcasing the area’s past.
The city’s website also boasts a historic trolley, but I can’t find a website that is still valid that leads to information.
If it’s still open, it’s worth seeing, but you’ll need to call ahead of time.
For a unique experience, the Darlington Route 66 Neon Sign Park preserves the charm of historic Route 66, offering a glimpse into the country’s automotive past.
Downtown also has a bunch of great murals on the buildings.
Those make for great Instagram photos.
For more art, check out Redlands Community College Art Gallery.
Dive into El Reno’s famous onion burgers at one of the local diners.
Sid’s Diner and Robert’s Grill are legendary spots to taste this local delight.
You can even visit during spring’s Fried Onion Burger Festival.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the serene beauty of Lake El Reno.
It’s perfect for picnics, fishing, or a peaceful stroll along the shore.
There’s also a swimming beach for the humid summers.
And if you’re in town during the right season, don’t miss the Canadian County Free Fair!
It’s a lively celebration of local culture with agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, and delicious fair food.
Places to Avoid in El Reno
While there’s no place in El Reno that would qualify as a “dangerous neighborhood,” the north side of town has the highest crime rates (which isn’t saying much).
When you’re researching El Reno, don’t get confused about Reno, Nevada.
That’s a town 1500 miles away.
Avoid visiting El Reno without reviewing the disaster planning guide through the emergency management department.
It’s especially important if you don’t deal with severe thunderstorms or tornadoes where you live.
Stay away from the Federal Prison in El Reno.
It is not open for tours and is under strict security.
If you are visiting someone who is in prison, you’ll need to go through the corrections website to find the rules.
You’ll likely go through a full background check.
Safety Tips for Traveling to El Reno
- El Reno has its own police department. You can search for them on Facebook under “El Reno Police Department.” The phone number is (405) 262-6941 if you have specific questions. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign up for alerts under the “Notify Me” section of the city’s website. Everything from road closures to weather issues to tourism notes can be selected for emailed alerts. You can skip the items on the “Agenda Center.”
- You should also sign up for Smart911 Emergency Notifications. This covers weather alerts from the National Weather Service. It’s critical to stay aware of incoming weather while visiting Oklahoma.
- When you check in at your hotel, please ask where the storm shelter is located. Since tornadoes can happen any time of day, you’ll need to know where to go if a storm comes overnight.
- Local storm shelters are available when a Tornado Watch is issued. While a watch simply means that conditions exist that could produce a tornado, it’s still wise to know where your closest place to escape to safety is. Most public schools are tornado shelters.
- Before you plan a camping trip, check the Burn Ban Status through the fire department’s website. This could mean that campfires are not allowed. High winds and drought conditions can cause a small fire to get out of control fast.
- Anglers need a license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. You should also check hunting rules while you’re there if you plan to take part in that activity. Boating also comes with certain restrictions.
- OK Traffic is the website used for road conditions, real-time traffic, construction, and live camera checkpoints throughout the region and state.
- Certain parts of town are prone to flash flooding during storms or periods of heavy rain. Never try to dive through a flooded roadway, even if it doesn’t look that deep. It only takes six inches of water for a car to be carried away.
- If an ice storm is in the forecast, be prepared to stay put for a day or two. Get enough supplies and food items that don’t require power. You should also have a portable charger for your mobile device.
So... How Safe Is El Reno Really?
El Reno made a list of the top 100 safest suburbs outside major metro areas in the county.
It came in at #99 out of 370.
The violent crime rate is 55% lower than the state average and 53% lower than the national average.
Just 9% of violent crimes happen against strangers, further lowering the risk for tourists.
On top of that, 55% of violent crimes happen in private homes.
Theft is 27% lower than the national average, which was a nice change of pace.
Many smaller towns in Oklahoma will have low violent crime rates but high property crime rates.
About one-third of all thefts are related to car break-ins, which can be quickly reduced if you simply lock your car when you park it and don’t leave personal items inside.
There’s a somber reminder in El Reno of how dangerous the storms can be here.
In 2013, three experienced and beloved storm chasers were killed when a tornado shifted suddenly.
The Twistex Memorial honors their legacy.
I bring that up because it emphasizes that even the most experienced meteorologists and weather watchers can be caught off guard by the weather.
This is not a place where you should take any safety risks with the weather.
How Does El Reno Compare?
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To enter the country, international travelers must obtain either a visa or a visa waiver. You can check your eligibility for a visa waiver by visiting the U.S. State Department website.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted. The OKC airport doesn't have a foreign currency exchange. Your local bank will have the lowest rates. Most ATMs can dispense cash in USD.
You'll want to dress appropriately for the season, as Oklahoma gets a robust version of each one. Bring a winter coat and accessories from November through March, but there's a good chance you won't need them every day. Summers are hot and humid. You'll want bug spray for any time spent outdoors.
Will Rogers World Airport is just 30 minutes from El Reno. That time should hold since it's located west of the airport, and there isn't major congestion on roads to get there most of the time.
If traveling anywhere that weather could interfere with your agenda, travel insurance is highly recommended. Supplemental medical insurance should be considered if you don't have coverage in the States. Check rental car coverage for roadside assistance, accident coverage, and weather damage.
El Reno Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oklahoma - Safety by City