Kentucky : Safety by City
- Bowling Green
- Cave City
- Cumberland Falls
- Harlan Tri-Cities
- La Grange
- St. Matthews
Cincinnati visitors who want to be as close to the airport as possible without actually sleeping at the airport will end up in Erlanger, Kentucky.
Erlanger is just east of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
It’s a highly residential and “drive-through” town of under 20,000 people.
The I-72 and I-275 interchange takes up a good chunk of the central section of town, giving a visitor easy access to Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky area.
Now, before you worry about the noise of being so close to an airport, in 2021, only five calls came from Erlanger about the noise.
Florence, Union, and Fort Mitchell were the cities with the most airport noise complaints.
You can look at the noise abatement section of the airport’s website to get a look at the flight paths for daytime and nighttime.
Erlanger offers some hyper-local attractions, like a park where you can watch the planes land and some family-friendly entertainment centers.
For the bigger attractions, you’ll need to head closer to Cincinnati, which is just 20 minutes away.
You will find an abundance of hotels in and around Erlanger.
Being this close to the airport, there are hotels from economy to high end and plenty of transportation options to get to the airport or around the city.
Warnings & Dangers in Erlanger
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Sometimes, the city just outside an airport isn't a very safe place to be, but Erlanger breaks that mold. Low crime rates in all categories make it safe, not just for visitors but for people who need to stop and get gas or essentials on the way in or out of town.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) has two routes that go through Erlanger. There are so many taxis and rideshares they'll probably argue for your business. I was once in downtown Cincy and had an hour to get to the airport - in rush hour traffic - and my Uber was there within two minutes of me placing the request. You can also rent a car at the airport for easy pick-up and drop-off. All options are low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The theft rate is almost three times lower than the national average. No pickpockets were reported in 2020, and car break-ins account for 20% of the thefts here. There's a low risk, but don't leave your personal items in the car when you park, and always lock the doors.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Erlanger gets a wide variety of weather risks, with tornadoes and flooding being the most serious. Winter storms are possible too. There's also a helpful spirit when disasters happen, as the Erlanger Police Department was able to give five of their police cars to the departments in eastern Kentucky that lost vehicles in the floods. They didn't loan them out; they actually gave them away free of charge.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Erlanger has gone from 18 robberies in 2016 to two robberies in 2020, and the decline has been consistent. There's a low risk it will happen to a tourist, with just one of the 34 violent crimes in 2020 involving a stranger.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk because Erlanger is part of a major metropolitan area. There's also a strong Homeland Security presence in the county and region to monitor and address risks. Any large metro center is going to be on a higher alert.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are no report scams I could find that had anything from anyone from Erlanger, so I can just conclude the chances of being scammed in Erlanger are slim.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
In 2020, 64% of violent crime victims were women. With such a low violent crime rate, that doesn't mean "women are targets," especially considering just one violent crime had a stranger as a victim. There's a low risk in Erlanger.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The tap water provided to Erlanger is safe with low risk. The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and the water utility even provided water quality data for elements that aren't regulated but could still be present in the water.
Safest Places to Visit in Erlanger
Erlanger is in Kenton County.
We’ll talk about things to do in both places since Erlanger doesn’t have a lot of things geared toward tourists.
Doe Run Lake Park is a great way to get outdoors without having to leave the city.
There’s a 50-acre lake ripe for fishing and boating, while hiking trails surround the area.
Nearly nine miles of trails are available, but accessibility is largely dependent on weather conditions.
The Erlanger Historical Society has a downloadable walking/driving tour of the historic areas of town with buildings that are significant to the city’s past.
Whether it was the railroad or the interstate system, transportation has always been a key to Erlanger’s development.
Full Throttle Adrenaline Park is an indoor adventure loaded with action options.
Axe Throwing, Go Karts, Paintball, Mini Bikes, and Virtual Reality Gaming.
There’s also a “Rage Room” where you get to break all kinds of stuff in a safe and protected environment.
You can take the Anderson Ferry across the Ohio River into Kentucky as a unique experience instead of sitting in bridge traffic.
This ferry is more than a convenience – it’s a historical landmark, having been in business for more than 200 years.
Only now, instead of carrying horses and buggies across the river with real horsepower pulling the way, the ferry can take people and cars.
Baseball fans can catch a game in nearby Florence as Y’alls play there.
Yes, the name of the team is the Florence Y’Alls.
Doesn’t that sound almost as fun as a Cincinnati Reds game?
The tickets are at least a lot cheaper.
At Mineola Pike and Donaldson Highway, there’s a viewing platform to watch the planes land at the airport and there’s a playground for the kids as well.
The Vent Haven Museum is undergoing renovations as of this publication but will open in Spring of 2023.
It’s the only known museum of its kind, focused on the art of ventriloquism.
You will need to schedule a tour in advance.
Places to Avoid in Erlanger
The area west of the Commonwealth Avenue and Dixie Highway intersection has the highest crime rates, but that’s mostly a residential area with few reasons for a tourist to be there.
Even with the low crime rates, there’s no inherent danger of being in that area.
There are some cool places I couldn’t go into detail about because they aren’t open to guests.
There are two golf courses in Kenton County, but both require membership.
There’s also Silverlake, which is a fitness center with a lot of family-friendly attractions, but that’s open to members only as well.
If you’re visiting Erlanger, it’s likely you are just staying here for a visit to the larger region.
As you can tell, there isn’t a lot to do in the city itself.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Erlanger
- With so many interstates in Erlanger, there are a lot of aggressive drivers and the police departments team up with the state police often to crack down on aggressive driving and speeding. Stick to the speed limit, not the flow of traffic, when you’re on the highway. Stay in the right lanes to avoid people tailgating you.
- Kentucky has a “move over” law that is enforced. This means if you are driving on any roadway and you see emergency vehicles on the side of the road, you should move into a lane farther away from the responder. You can move back to your original lane as soon as you pass.
- Sign up for CodeRED alerts from Kenton County. This will include emergency information regarding the weather, criminal activity, and civil issues like road closures and water main breaks.
- Follow Erlanger Police on Facebook @ErlangerPD to get information on criminal activity, traffic crackdowns (I’ve seen about 20 posts for an I-75 Traffic Blitz just looking through the past few months), and events happening. You can also search social media for activities happening using the hashtag #erlangerevents.
- If you’re visiting in the winter and a winter storm, even a small one, comes through, use extreme caution on the roadways. It’s always smart to wait a day if you can so the roadways can be cleared. The Cincinnati area has a great street crew that works around the clock to clear roadways. No matter how familiar you are with driving in winter weather, it’s never going to be easy or smart to drive on a sheet of ice.
- Doe Run Lake Park has a great system of hiking trails, but they aren’t paved and the southern end of the lake can have impassable trails after heavy rain. Check the map of the lake on the Kenton County website, because landslides have also blocked parts of the route before.
- You’ll need a fishing license for any lake, river, or stream fishing in Erlanger and Kentucky. Your home license won’t suffice. There’s also a boating license required if you are planning to rent one. You can review all the rules on the Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
- Kentucky can get extreme weather anytime of year with tornadoes and severe thunderstorms becoming quite dangerous. Western Kentucky was hit by storms in late 2021. You can’t risk “hoping for the best” when it comes to Kentucky weather. If there’s a severe thunderstorm watch, plan for a day of indoor activities.
- In late 2021, there was a rash of car break-ins, mostly focused on unlocked cars. Remember, just because a city is safe according to the crime numbers doesn’t mean there aren’t criminals out there looking for a good opportunity. Since most car break-ins happen in less than a minute, it’s important you do your due diligence to protect your vehicle and belongings.
- If you see anything suspicious like an abandoned bag, Kentucky Homeland Security wants to hear from you. There’s a hotline just for reporting suspicious activities. That number is 1-866-EYE-ON-KY (1-866-393-6659).
So... How Safe Is Erlanger Really?
Erlanger is a city where most crime rates are two to three times lower than national and state averages.
It’s also a city without a whole heck of a lot to do.
This is about the most residential and uneventful city I’ve researched.
There are plenty of hotels and basic amenities like big box stores and national chain restaurants, but there’s little to keep you busy beyond that.
Here is how the risks break down in Erlanger:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 577
- Robbery: 1 in 9,806
- Theft: 1 in 180
You’re going to venture outside of Erlanger most likely, so please review the safety stories we’ve provided for other parts of the Cincinnati metro area.
How Does Erlanger Compare?
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|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
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You'll need a U.S. travel or work visa to enter from outside the country and you only need to show your visa when you go through Customs at the airport. You can travel between the two states without having to show identification.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar in the metro area and northern Kentucky. With this being such a transient town, there's little hope of finding a lost wallet or purse, so keep your belongings secured and only bring the credit cards you need. You can exchange currency at the airport.
Plan for cold winters, with insulted outwear, but you might catch a break for a nice mild weather pattern. You'll need different layers and lengths of shirts and pants for fall and spring since the temperatures can vary widely throughout the day and week. Summer will be warm and humid. Bring bug spray and comfortable walking shoes.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport is just a few minutes away. You could walk there if you really wanted to, but there are plenty of cabs and rideshares available. Ask if your hotel has an airport shuttle.
Travel insurance is going to be a great safety net in case of a flight cancellation, weather delay, or injury during your trip to Erlanger, Kentucky.
Erlanger Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Kentucky - Safety by City