Kentucky : Safety by City
- Bowling Green
- Cave City
- Cumberland Falls
- La Grange
- St. Matthews
While Fort Knox holds precious gold within its impenetrable walls, nearby Elizabethtown, Kentucky, is a gold mine of its own with so many things to do and a great stop on a road trip across the Bluegrass State.
Known locally as E’Town, this city is a shopping hub in the state, ballooning the 31,000 population by nearly double each week as small town visitors come to stock up.
The official city Slogan is “The City of Big Surprises.”
The city also touts its location as just “one day’s drive from two-thirds of the U.S. Population.”
Its location has always made it a target, as evidenced by the cannonball that is still embedded in a wall from the lone Civil War battle that damaged the city in 1862.
The city was also the focus of the 2005 Cameron Crowe movie “Elizabethtown.”
There are historic parts of the city to view, as this was the hometown of President Abraham Lincoln’s father, but there’s also a spirit of modernism and re-development.
Even in a tagline, the city boasts, “We’re Not Done Yet.”
Freeman Lake Park brings the outdoors into the city with a centralized location for everyone to enjoy.
A nature park next door is a great way to start the morning with a run or wind down after a long day with a sunset stroll.
Warnings & Dangers in Elizabethtown
OVERALL RISK : LOW
A low overall risk plus many amenities nearby make E'Town a great place to spend some time. Crime rates are low across the board.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
TACK Transportation is a system offered, but it's not a fixed-route service. TACK is designed more for elderly people to get to doctor's appointments or the grocery store. You can get taxis and rideshares here, though they won't be as plentiful as you'd find in Louisville. Having a car is your best bet. Any option comes with low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Two purse snatchings were reported in 2020, but with a theft risk half the national average, there's a low risk here. E'Town has a lot of shopping and dining options, so it might be easy to set down your purse while enjoying a barbecue and leave it exposed. Just use common sense when it comes to setting down your stuff, and you should be fine.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Kentucky, by and large, has a medium risk. Even some of the signs that were installed during that 2005 movie no longer exist because severe weather tore them down. Winter can bring blizzards or ice storms, and warm weather kicks up severe thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes. Flooding and extreme temperatures are a risk too. While it sounds like a lot, this is just a typical mix in Kentucky.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Half of the robberies that happened in 2020 were against strangers, but with a total of 12 robberies, that is still a low risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Fort Knox is a premier Army Garrison in the country, making it a potential terrorist target. However, it's also one of the most secure places on the planet, so you've got that benefit as well.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of a tourist being scammed here. The popular scams are phone calls to landlines or fake checks being sent to residents. However, after reviewing the police department's Facebook page, there are a lot of creative scammers targeting people here. While most of it is through electronic devices, there is always a risk scammers could hit the streets.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
It might be jarring to learn that 70% of the violent crimes in 2020 had female victims, but rest assured that only 10% of them were against strangers. The sexual assault rate is lower than the national average too. Honestly, the biggest challenge women face here is getting out of the shopping district without maxing a credit card or having to buy extra luggage for the trip back.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The Water Quality Report from 2021 is 12 pages long if you'd like to review it, but there's a low risk in the water here. Every test shows the water meets or exceeds the required standards.
Safest Places to Visit in Elizabethtown
Downtown E’Town is a great place to start.
This is a historical area, but it has been developed to give a more charming and modern environment than a gritty, aged look.
While there are a lot of big box stores in E’Town, this is where you can shop at unique boutiques or try some local food fare.
Look for the cannonball lodged in the side of a building on Public Square as a memento from the Civil War attack.
While you’re in that area, stop by the Hardin County History Museum.
You’ll learn more details about the Christmas Raid in 1962 and the legacy of the Lincolns in the region.
Grab a map of the Civil War Battle Tour, and you can visit different locations that played out during that fight.
You can visit the Lincoln Heritage House while spending time at Freeman Lake.
This log cabin is a replica and tribute to honor the fine craftsman Thomas Lincoln and how he helped build part of Hardin County.
Two other historical buildings, including an old schoolhouse, are here too.
Then explore Freeman Lake across 170 acres.
This is the hot fishing spot for Elizabethtown, and watercraft is available for rent.
Hiking trails lead to a disc golf course.
Just across the street is the Nature Center with a Vietnam War Memorial at the center.
There’s a wall with the names of soldiers who died, a peace garden, and several statues along the path.
Sports fans would love a trip to the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, honoring this tradition over the past century.
Stunning sports moments are told through videos and exhibits in the museum.
Swope Cars of Yesteryear Museum showcases some of the most iconic and engine-revving cars ever to come off a production line.
This attraction is free.
There’s a great story of how this museum came to be, but I won’t ruin it here.
Be sure to ask when you visit.
The city also has several arcades, an axe-throwing spot, a swimming pool, and a restaurant dedicated to the art of the game Cornhole.
Places to Avoid in Elizabethtown
The highest crime rates are along I-65 near the city’s center and in the downtown area.
This is perfectly normal, considering this is where most people visit.
In addition, the crime rates are low enough anyway that even a high-crime area isn’t a place to be worried about safety.
You can visit Fort Knox, but you must get approved at the visitor’s center.
Avoid just showing up and asking to get in.
There are specific rules and regulations you should check out ahead of time on the base website.
The General Patton Museum is actually along the road outside the base, so you can go there without any restrictions.
Just don’t bring a firearm.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Elizabethtown
- Hardin County has a Crime Stoppers program where people can submit crime tips without giving their names. That number is (800) 597-8123.
- Elizabethtown has restrictions on wearing hoodies and masks, but it only pertains to how much of your face is showing. According to the law, any group of three or more people can’t be gathered with a “substantial portion” of their faces covered. There are exceptions for situations like COVID or when wearing a mask is necessary for health or safety.
- Elizabethtown is in the Eastern Time Zone, but just a short distance west of Hardin County is the Central Time Zone. While most smartphones and cars will auto-update, it’s important to know because, as you travel, you’ll either gain an hour or lose an hour.
- You need a fishing license issued by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Game if you want to fish anywhere in the state. In addition, to fish at Freeman lake, you need a city fishing permit. I’m not an angler, but you guys sure have to jump through a lot of hoops to go fishing!
- Check the city’s calendar of events before your visit, as there might be road closures. You can check the list of big events at touretown.com.
- Follow the police department on Facebook to get up-to-date information about serious crimes and some darn funny commentary from the posting officer. The handle is @Etownpd.
- In the summer, heat indexes here can get into the triple digits. In the summer of 2022, for a few days, the “feels like” temperature was 111°! You have to stay hydrated because the humidity will really get you here.
- On the city website, you can visit the Public Works section and report roadway issues like potholes or flooding. There’s a separate place to report storm damage if you are there when the weather gets severe.
- E’Town has roundabouts, and if you don’t know how to navigate them, please research ahead of time. When used properly, roundabouts can provide a safer way to get through an intersection with a reduced collision rate. When used improperly, they can trigger road rage in the nicest grandma.
- Another potential road hazard is deer. There are a lot of these animals running through the neighborhoods and streets of Elizabethtown. You need to keep a close eye on the side of the road, especially if you are coming around a curve. If you do see a hurt animal, do not try to help it, per the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. If you have questions about this, email Info.Center@ky.gov.
So... How Safe Is Elizabethtown Really?
E’Town is a safe city, with violent and property crime rates substantially lower than the state and national averages.
The majority of violent crimes happen in homes or at businesses but do not target tourists.
24% of thefts were related to car break-ins.
In a city that feels so safe, it’s easy to let your guard down and leave a car unlocked, or a window rolled down when you park.
Don’t do that.
Use all the smart safety knowledge you would in a more dangerous city, just so you don’t become a victim of a crime of opportunity.
Here is how the risks break down in E’Town:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 356 risk
- Robbery: 1 in 2,616
- Theft: 1 in 119
When driving through this region, you’ll likely go into Radcliff, and you should read our safety review of that city to get a wider breadth of knowledge about the region.
Before you go to Louisville, please review the safety concerns there.
How Does Elizabethtown Compare?
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- Visas - Those coming from outside the U.S. will need a travel or work visa. That's going to cost $160 - $190. You should start that process several months ahead of time because there are many steps to take before getting your visa issued.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. With all the scamming attempts, it's smart to let your bank know you'll be traveling and set up specific fraud alerts. Also, confirm how the bank would contact you in the event of fraud. Some scammers pose as banks and ask you to click on fraudulent links.
- Weather - The weather here can be a mixed bag. You'll want layers of clothing to peel off or add on as the temperatures fluctuate. Winter will generally need a coat, and summers will generally be hot and humid. Bring rain gear and comfortable walking shoes.
- Airports - From E'Town, you are just 40 minutes from Louisville International Airport. That's the largest and closest airport.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is just such a smart plan. It covers so many things that could go wrong. Make sure you know your coverage in case you run into a wayward deer.
Elizabethtown Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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