Ohio : Safety by City
- Cuyahoga Falls
- Port Clinton
- Yellow Springs
Elyria, Ohio, is a beautiful suburb filled with waterfalls along the Black River, just a few miles from Cleveland.
The city has gone through several iterations in its local economy, from mills to car manufacturing to retail, and now moves forward with a technology industry boots.
Elyria (“Eh-leer-ree-uh”) has more of a small-town feel, with a grassy town square surrounded by locally-owned shops.
Here you’ll find plenty of parks and trails along the river, and every path leads to a new waterfall or gorge.
These are beyond your typical neighborhood parks, for sure.
You’ll also be less than 10 miles from the Lake Erie shoreline in Lorain, which opens the door to move activities.
The Ohio Islands are easily accessible by a 40-mile drive to Sandusky.
The city is also near two major interstates with plenty of hotels, offering easy access wherever you are headed.
On the surface, Elyria might look a little rundown due to the retail struggles that face many cities.
However, I can assure you there are plenty of plans in place to revitalize this area.
By the time you get there, it could have a whole new vibe.
Warnings & Dangers in Elyria
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in this suburb, with violent crime rates well below average and thefts being the only area of concern. Without a lot of things to do in Elyria, it's important to research neighboring communities, too.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Lorain County Transit is the bus system for the region, but I'd recommend reviewing the routes to see if it covers enough ground for you. In 2022, feedback was being considered about new routes, so there could be more options by the time you review it anyway. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. A rental car would be my suggestion for getting around.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
About eight pickpockets or purse snatchings a year were reported over the past five years. That's a statistically low risk, but I can tell you that's higher than other cities of similar size in Ohio. Given how close this is to the Cleveland area, it's wise to move forward with a medium risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You can get severe or dangerous weather in any season, so treat this as a medium risk. Spring and summer thunderstorms can be dangerous and produce tornadoes and flash flooding. Winter brings snow storms, blizzards, ice storms, and dangerously cold temperatures at times.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Robberies race 47% lower than the national average, in addition to being down 72% since 2016. Just 25% of those were highway robberies. The risk is lower, but it's never low enough to let your guard down.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Elyria, but the greater Cleveland area is so large that it warrants a medium risk. Don't let that concern you because the larger cities also have additional security and safety plans.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Due to the residential nature of the community, scams here are largely targeted at residents. It's a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's nothing from the crime data or recent news reports that suggest women are at a higher risk in the community. You'll still want to use all the personal safety steps as you would in any large urban area.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The risk is low, with all standards being met or exceeded in the most recent water quality report. You can also review the State of the City address online to hear more about what is being done to keep the water safe.
Safest Places to Visit in Elyria
Elyria doesn’t have its own tourism website, and the section of the Ohio tourism site listed one thing to do in the city – and that was just a hotel.
Your best options are the Visit Cincy website and the Elyria city website list of local events or seasonal activities.
One of the main attractions is the Hickories Museum, a beautiful mansion filled with historical artifacts and exhibits.
Guided tours are available on specific days of the week.
Check out the Lorain County History Center (also in a mansion) to learn more about the region.
Enjoy the tranquility of Cascade Park, a scenic spot with stunning waterfalls on the Black River and trails through the woods.
You can see more waterfalls and gorges along this river just north of Elyria at the Black River Reservation.
Downtown Elyria is an idyllic town square surrounded by stores and restaurants.
Stop by the Elyria Arts Council while you’re downtown for a look at local art or to sign up for a class.
To help the local economy, we recommend eating at a local restaurant downtown or elsewhere in the city to support its growth and stability.
Places to Avoid in Elyria
The areas around downtown and south of downtown have the highest crime rates.
You’d expect a downtown area to have more crime since there are more people, but the south side of the city might be a place to avoid if you don’t have a reason to be there.
In a big metro area like Cleveland, it’s just smart to stay out of neighborhoods if you don’t have a reason to be there.
Use highways and main roads to get around.
More than half of violent crimes in Elyria happen in private homes anyway.
You don’t want to stumble into a bad situation.
Elyria was once a major shopping destination thanks to its easy access to interstates.
Like most American cities, the traditional shopping mall has become almost extinct.
That means some of the things that used to draw people to Elyria aren’t there anymore.
The city is trying to redefine itself beyond waterfalls and awesome parks.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Elyria
- Elyria does have its own police department. You can call the main line at (440)326-1300 to ask specific safety questions. I also recommend following them on Facebook @elyriapolice to get regular updates about crime and safety.
- You’ll want to stay informed about severe weather, and you can do that by signing up for Lorain County Alerts on the county website. It’s smart to sign up for Cuyahoga Alerts as well to cover the rest of the greater Cleveland area.
- Use the Community Crime Map from the police department’s website to check for more recent crimes when planning your trip. For example, you can look for car thefts within the past six months or robberies in the past month within a mile of your hotel.
- Help keep crime rates down by reporting any suspicious activity you see. You can use the 411 Tip app or fill out the form on the police department’s website. You don’t have to leave your name or contact information if you don’t want to.
- Use the Road Closure Updates section of the Elyria city website to help plan your GPS routes around town. Especially in spring and fall, crews will be working to repair streets before the winter weather sets in.
- You can also report road issues through the city’s website, like if you notice a new pothole or see a traffic light not working. It just takes a few minutes, and you can make an impact on road safety. That same form can be used if you want to pay a compliment to a city employee who helped you during your trip. You can also call 440-322-3129 to report a pothole.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Ohio Department of Fish & Game. You should have this with you at all times while fishing. Be sure to get a non-resident license.
- Elyria gets a lot of complaints about speeding in the community, and police crack down on this regularly. Stick to the speed limit, especially in neighborhoods where children could run in and out of the street. I’m looking at a report right now of a motorcycle that was going 91 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. Yikes!
- If more than four inches of snow accumulates, the city will put a parking ban in effect. That means you can’t park on the city streets until the ban is removed. This allows snow plows to clear the streets, making them safer for everyone.
- Use Ohgo’s website and app to track traffic and road conditions throughout the Cleveland area. It does cover the entire state too. You can create an account and set preferred routes. Then you can get an alert about traffic or bad weather ahead.
So... How Safe Is Elyria Really?
Elyria statistically has lower violent crime rates than many communities in the Cleveland area.
The rates are 32% lower than the state average and 49% lower than the national average.
Also important for a tourist to know is that just 4% of violent crimes over the past five years were targeting strangers.
That means the majority of crimes are among people who know each other, not random acts of violence.
At the same time, Elyria leaders are taking additional steps to crack down on crime, including surveillance cameras in high-crime areas.
“We are here today, not believing we’re going to solve everything tomorrow,” Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield said during a late 2023 safety forum.
“But we’re here to make sure we are able to tell the next generation that we did all we could to make Elyria, Lorain, and our entire society better.”
Theft is one of the categories that are higher than the national average, with shoplifting and car break-ins being two of the top-named categories.
There is an “Other Theft” category at the top, making up 47% of those thefts.
Theft is 4% higher than the national average.
The car break-ins would be one of the most concerning for tourists, and that’s at 21% of all thefts.
Another safety bonus is that the area of Elyria, where the hotels are located, is right along the interstates and one of the safer parts of the community.
How Does Elyria Compare?
|Santiago de Chile (Chile)||71|
|Hong Kong (China)||70|
To gain entry into the country, international visitors need a visa or a visa waiver. The U.S. State Department website provides information on eligibility for a visa waiver. Additionally, you can use the Visa Wizard module on their site to identify the necessary visa.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Cleveland's airport does have currency exchange, but you'll find your lowest rates at your home bank. I wouldn't be too worried about bringing cash. Credit cards are widely accepted and offer great fraud or theft protection.
Dress for the season, but always err on the side of cold and windy being this close to the lake. Summers can be hot and humid, but even evenings can get chilly. Bug spray is needed when it's about freezing. Wear comfortable shoes and leave valuables at home.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is just 20 miles away, but you'll want to check traffic before you head out. Since you'll use a major interstate to get there, you could face traffic delays.
For trips to places where weather may impede travel, we always suggest travel insurance. Don't forget travel health insurance, too, if you lack coverage outside the US. Also, inspect your rental car policy to be sure you're covered in the event of an accident or roadside assistance need.
Elyria Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Ohio - Safety by City