Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Evansville, Indiana, sits on the oxbow bend of the Ohio River, with Kentucky on the other side.
This southern Indiana community is home to nearly 118,000 people and is the third-largest city in the state.
The “River City,” as it’s sometimes called, is rich with activities, no matter what a traveler wants to do.
You’ve got outdoor attractions and river features, incredible sports leagues, a growing restaurant scene, its own zoo, and the first Indiana casino.
Several universities are located here, including the University of Evansville, and the University of Southern Indiana.
This gives a great college vibe to the town and some great potential for watching live sports during your visit.
Bosse Field is one of the top three oldest baseball fields still in use and you might recognize it from some of the scenes in “A League of Their Own.”
The city is broken down into several entertainment districts:
- Downtown: History meets modern amenities with plenty of Instagram-worthy opportunities
- Haynie’s Corner Arts District: Electric boutiques and art galleries to channel your inner hipster
- North Main Street: The sporting district with plenty of tailgate-type events.
- West Franklin Street: Live music fills the air in this foodie-luring section of town.
The house featured in the sitcom Roseanna is located in Evansville, even though the show depicts a city modeled after Elgin, Illinois.
Want to know how to find it?
Warnings & Dangers in Evansville
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Evansville as violent crime is growing and homicidal activity surged at the end of 2021.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) has 20 routes around South Bend and taxis and rideshares are available. There's a medium risk due to the risk of theft, but it's not a risk some basic personal safety steps can't overcome.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There were no pickpockets in 2020. That's the good news. The bad news? There were 35 purse snatchings with an average take of $1000. It's a medium risk here because theft is twice the national average and any opportunity will likely be seized by a criminal.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You'll get a little bit of every type of severe weather in each season, and that means there's medium risk. Being along a river is always going to come with flooding risks. Severe thunderstorms can happen any time of year, but get more likely in spring. Winter brings less of a risk with just 10 inches of snow reported a year, but there can be ice storms that cripple the community.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
33% of the robberies in 2020 were in public spaces, which means there's medium risk. One thing that notably stood out to me in this research is the amount of value from the purse snatching and thefts. The average robbery value was $850. Again, the purse snatching was $1000 per purse. Generally, in my research, I see robberies and pickpockets being anywhere from $1 - $500, which is occasionally a higher number in a wealthy community. This is a great reminder to only carry what you absolutely need when visiting a city with this much crime (or any city, for that matter). One technique I use as a woman is bringing "tourist" purses, which are small, crossbody bags. There's little room for more than a hotel key, credit card, ID, and my phone. They wrap over my body and I can nestle them under a coat in the winter.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Terrorists are usually looking for high population centers or military bases, so Evansville is a low risk. It's pretty isolated in southern Indiana and across the river in Kentucky, there are just rural areas.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There is a list of common scams on the police department's website, but most are targeted at local people and are pretty common nationwide. Evansville police do report a trend of fraudulent $20 and $100 bills. If you are using cash and get change, you can review the "how to spot counterfeit money" on the department's website, just in case a merchant doesn't realize the money is counterfeit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
The sexual assault rate here is 58% higher than the national average. There is a strong nightlife in Evansville, so a woman should always use caution if she's out at night drinking. Women have a medium risk just like anyone else because of the dangers here and high crime rates overall. Don't walk around at night by yourself and try to stay in a group.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2020 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report shows no violations of the standards and the water is considered low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Evansville
Let’s start along the Ohio River, where you can visit a military landing tank.
It’s fully functional and one of a kind for being active on the water, but it’s also a museum where you can learn about LST-325’s history and battles.
This ship is unique because it doesn’t need a port or dock and can pull up to any beach, which was a big benefit in World War II.
These types of ships are known as amphibious.
The Old Post Office and Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse round out the list of historical attractions downtown, but we’re not done there yet.
There are several more museums, including the Evansville African American Museum; the Museum of Arts, History, and Science; and the Children’s Museum of Evansville.
Bally’s Casino is right on the water and there are a bunch of restaurants, bars, and shops here too.
Don’t think someone is leading you astray if they tell you to go down an alley.
Some of the businesses here are located in alleyways.
North Main Street is the place for sports fans.
Evansville is known for its NCAA teams and has minor league hockey, baseball, and soccer here.
You can rent bicycles in this district and ride around the attractions as well.
Mesker Park Zoo is on the northwest side of town and is home to animals from across the globe and a thriving botanical garden.
You can also feed a penguin or a giraffe.
Where I live, they have a zoo where you can feed the giraffes and it’s such a fun experience.
Sometimes I forget the rest of the zoo is there!
Wesselman Woods is an urban wetland area of Evansville.
This is the largest wetland in the state and is open throughout the year to visitors.
You can explore on your own through the hiking trails or sign up for a tour with a guide who can show you the intricacies of the ecosystem.
The preserve is on social media, but TikTok is especially entertaining.
If you want to see the exterior of the Roseanne house, it’s at 619 Runnymeade.
It is someone’s home, so don’t knock on the door or go on the private property.
The interior looks nothing like you saw on the show anyway.
Places to Avoid in Evansville
The south and west sides of the city have the highest crime rates.
Looking at the crime map, it’s interesting that the downtown area is one of the lower crime areas, but it’s surrounded by high crime areas.
The northeast part of the city is the safest.
Here’s the list of the 5 most dangerous neighbors as tallied by raw crime data through NeighborhoodScout:
- Covert Ave. & Burdette Ave.
- N. Main St. & W. Morgan Ave.
- N. Main St. & W. Franklin St.
- W. Columbia St. & N. Fulton Ave.
- S. Garvin St & Washington Ave
There’s a lot of free parking in Evansville, so be sure to put safety first when picking a place to park.
Do you see surveillance cameras?
Is the area well-lit?
Are there other people around?
Will there be a parking lot or garage attendant?
If you’re visiting the casino and get lucky, don’t walk to your car without being escorted by security.
I lived in Nevada for many years and did this all the time, sometimes just for safety in general, not because I had cash on me.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Evansville
- If you buy tickets to an event and severe weather is in the forecast, there’s a good chance it will get canceled. The police department has a blanket request that any weather advisory, watch, or warning should lead to cancellations of meetings and events.
- The Police Department has an entire crime prevention unit that serves the different districts in Evansville. Visitors are welcome to call the unit and ask any safety questions they’d like. That number is (812) 435-6135. This is a great resource in a city with growing crime rates.
- This statistic really blew my mind. The police department has its own “Hit and Run” unit. Turns out they investigate almost 1,000 – ONE THOUSAND – hit and runs in Evansville each year. It’s important if you are a victim to get the license plate number of the car and/or driver’s description. Buying a dash cam could be beneficial here and it costs anywhere from $99 – $500. A dash cam can record video, a timestamp, and add GPS locations, which is very valuable if you are the victim of a hit and run.
- A lot of the violent crime in Evansville stems from gangs or “groups”, as they are now called, committing a large proportion of crimes. To stop crime, you have to stop the groups, and sometimes residents are too scared to speak up. If you see any signs of gang or criminal group activities, you can report it to the Gang Unit at (812)436-7926. You can also call the WeTip hotline at 1-800-782-7463.
- If you’re planning to go fishing here, you’ll need a license from the state of Indiana. It is easy to get online. If you are planning to eat the fish you catch here, you should research the health concerns through the Indiana Department of Health as there are times the fish could be contaminated with dangerous bacteria.
- Speaking of that bacteria, it’s especially potent right after heavy rain or thunderstorms, so it’s best to avoid swimming in the water. You can check the weekly Ohio River Weekly Water Quality Report to see the latest levels of bacteria like E. coli. I’ve swam in my fair share of rivers, from the Truckee in California to the Meramec in Missouri, and I don’t think I’d ever get in the Ohio River. The current can be fast, there’s unmonitored boat traffic, and a lot of debris under those murky waters.
- You might hear rumors of piranas (sharp-toothed people binging fish) being in the waters of the Ohio River, and that’s not completely true. Yes, piranhas have been found in certain spots, but always suspected of being owners who just dumped the fish in the water and not because it’s a native species.
- Evansville has a branding statement of “E is for Everyone” to showcase its diverse and inclusive community. There shouldn’t be any gender identity, race, culture, income level, etc. that isn’t welcomed here.
- If you are at a big event, see a big crime scene, or a major traffic accident, there’s a good chance there will be a drone overhead. It’s part of the Evansville Police Department’s Drone Unit. It was used 20 times in 2021 and continues working the skies or Evansville into 2022.
- 370 motor vehicles were stolen in 2020, and that was during a pandemic that shut the city down. As more people are now on the roads and visiting popular spots, that means more cars for thieves to look at. You should always roll up the windows and lock the car doors when you park and leave nothing in plain sight. If you’re driving a rental car, it’s a good idea to take a photo of the license plate when you pick it up so you can give that information to the police if your car does get stolen.
So... How Safe Is Evansville Really?
The problem with Evansville’s crime, like many other cities, is that a small population in the community is causing a lot of crime.
Evansville Police Department reports that 0.09% of the population is involved with gangs or groups that are causing more than half of the murders and 60% of the shootings.
EPD is teaming up with the National Network for Safe Communities to tackle this problem head-on, from educating younger people on how to avoid a life of crime to providing resources that get people out of poverty.
20% of the people in Evansville live in poverty and that desperation can sometimes lead to a life of crime.
Here’s the risk breakdown in Evansville:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 99
- Robbery: 1 in 1019
- Theft: 1 in 37
The city had a near-record level of homicides in 2021.
This is at a time when the nation is battling increased gun violence and a growing Opioid Crisis as counterfeit pills are laced with Fentanyl.
Evansville isn’t unique for having these crimes, they just have a lot more of them than other cities of their size.
That said, there are parts of Evansville where you’ll be very unlikely to see any crime.
You might never see the underbelly that haunts this community.
It also depends on where you’re coming from.
A person from Chicago is going to laugh at the crime numbers here, but someone from Omaha might be much more concerned.
There’s no way to get around that the crime rates here are nearly double state and national averages.
There is a way to avoid the crime by following basic safety procedures and being a good witness if you do end up being a victim.
How Does Evansville Compare?
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- Visas - The visa process can take up to four months, so start planning early. You'll need your visa at the airport, so don't put it in checked baggage. You won't need it to visit different places in Evansville.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here for all purchases. I'd strongly recommend not carrying cash or designed purses here. You should only carry one credit card and make sure you set up fraud alerts and purchase limits ahead of time.
- Weather - Winters do get cold here, so bring a warm coat, gloves, and scarf. You'll want good walking shoes or hiking boots too. Summer is going to be warm and humid, but a jacket or sweatshirt will help with cooler mornings and nights. For fall and spring, temperatures can fluctuate, so dress in layers.
- Airports - Evansville Regional Airport is on the far north side of the city. If you'd prefer an international airport, you can drive three hours to either Indianapolis or St. Louis, Missouri.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for a place with so much theft and crime, in addition to the weather dangers that can always cause flight delays or cancellations.
Evansville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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