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Located on the Inland Empire, close to San Bernadino, Fontana, California has developed into a regional hub of the trucking industry due to the east-west State Route 210 and Interstate 10 crossing through the city along with Interstate 15 traversing diagonally through the northwestern quadrant.
Fontana is home to a beautifully restored historic theater, the Auto Club Speedway on the site of Kaiser Steel Mill, and a municipal park.
The city also hosts the Fontana Days 5K and Half Marathon run.
This race is considered the fastest half-marathon course on Earth.
The 2020 population of Fontana was around 208,000 according to the United States Census Bureau, making it the 21st largest in California and the second-most populated city in San Bernardino County.
Most of the city was constructed atop a young and gently southward sloping sediment hill with deposits from Lytle Creek.
Warnings & Dangers in Fontana
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Fontana and the surrounding area are not the safest destinations. If you are planning to visit the area, take precautions by monitoring your surroundings and avoiding bad areas, especially at night. Always lock your personal or rental car, never leave any visible items, and park it in a guarded, or secure lot.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation is also not very safe due to pickpockets and the occasional mugging late at night. Therefore, it is best to use a taxi during the evening. While taxis are a convenient and safe method of transportation, only use licensed services. Ridesharing apps are an excellent option for staying safe and getting where you need to go efficiently. You can also ask the hotel to use a taxi service they recommend.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
In the most crowded areas of Fontana and the surrounding areas are pickpockets. They also can bother you in the streets in the middle of the day under the guide of beggars. That means, women should keep their handbags in front of their bodies and men should keep wallets in their front pockets. Also, never flash valuable items or money in public.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
This region of the United States faces numerous natural disasters due to its location on a fault line and the dry climate. Earthquakes, floods, and wildfires are common in and near Fontana. Severe weather threats like extreme heat during the summer months can threaten the entire community, including visitors.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Unfortunately, the risk of armed robberies and attacks is high. Never stroll around the city alone at night, do not linger in bars alone, or get involved in bar fights. Avoid contact with drug dealers and always be on guard. In case you have any issues, contact the police immediately and always know where the closest station is in case you require assistance.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Due to international conflicts and the global terrorism threat, a medium risk exists. This is especially true due to Fontana’s proximity to the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles. Always keep updated on the latest information before your trip.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Fraud is uncommon in this city, but you are more likely to fall victim to a serious crime than come across as a petty thief. In any case, keep an eye on your surroundings, do not flash cash in public, and only withdraw money from ATM banks, just to be safe.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
If you’re a solo woman planning to travel to Fontana, only do so with maximum precaution. Do not wander around the city alone at night and don’t attract unwanted attention to your appearance and behavior. If you are going out at night, use a ridesharing app or taxi to return to your hotel.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Reports show that the water distributed by the Fontana Water Company is compliant with all federal and state safe drinking water regulations and standards. Therefore, you are safe to drink the water directly from the tap when visiting.
Safest Places to Visit in Fontana
Crime grade notes that the safest areas to visit in Fontana are the northeast section of the city where only 743 crimes occur within a year.
This area is primarily residential with normal supporting commercial plazas and strip malls.
Also, the one surrounding city that is fairly safe with a B grade is Crestmore Heights.
Glen Avon has a C+ and Rancho Cucamonga and Devore Heights have C- ratings.
Places to Avoid in Fontana
According to Crime Grade, a crime occurs every 38 minutes in Fontana.
The city received a violent crime grade of D+, a property crime grade of D, and other crimes are an F.
The majority of crimes occur in the eastern sections of Fontana, with around 3,208 per year.
Statistics show that most issues occur in places like schools, parks, and airports.
However, the rule of thumb is, crime happens where people are, so it is best to check with the local police department as these statistics can constantly change.
It is important to note that most of the surrounding cities have C and D overall crime grades, so the area is considered fairly unsafe.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fontana
When visiting Fontana, there are several safety tips you should follow including:
- Avoid unsafe areas. When visiting Fontana, always confirm the areas that must be avoided and do not wander into them during the day or night, or you’re asking for trouble. Gang activity is incredibly high so being on someone else’s turf makes you a target for crime.
- Check the weather before venturing into the mountains. Hiking in the Inland Empire is fantastic and should not be missed when visiting. However, since you will likely be in the mountains, the weather can transform from a clear day to a snowstorm. There are regular incidences where tourists go missing and have never been found. If a squall hits during the cooler months or the temperature rises in the summer, you could have a major problem.
- Don’t leave valuables in parked cars. While this is a general tip for anywhere you visit, it is especially critical to follow when in Fontana. Crime is incredibly high in this area so criminals will not hesitate to smash your windows to retrieve valuable items. Keep all items out of sight and lock the car before heading to your destination.
- Don’t visit bars alone. While there are some excellent bars and restaurants in the area, don’t visit them alone, especially not late at night where criminals prey on drunk individuals. Go with friends then take a taxi home early before bar fights break out and other crimes are committed against tourists.
- Don’t wander off the hiking trail. When traveling into the mountains, stick to the hiking trails and campsites. There is a wealth of information on the best campsites and trails to follow in the region. You should also register with the ranger’s office before spending the night. There are many hazards other than the weather in the wilderness.
- Don’t walk around at night. Simply put, don’t wander around at night. The gangs are notorious and will not hesitate to rob you, regardless of if you’re a tourist or local.
- Don’t walk into dimly lit areas. Similarly, don’t walk into dimly lit areas, even during dusk. You have no idea what kind of criminals lurking in the shadows, and you don’t want to find out.
- Never travel into the wilderness alone. This should go without saying but never venture into the wilderness alone. With the immediate weather changes, temperature shifts, and wild animal threats, you could easily go missing. Travel with at least one buddy and some way to communicate if you have a problem.
- Pack for different weather. The weather in the mountains can change at the drop of a hat, especially in the winter. You need to be prepared for anything. Even in the summer, the temperatures can drop drastically at night, so it’s best to pack heavy clothes for overnight stays, just in case.
- Wear sunscreen in the summer. Due to the desert climate, the summers in Fontana are brutally hot. Even if you are going outside for a few minutes, apply sunscreen to exposed areas. Many of the threats on this list are violence and crime, but skin cancer and heat exhaustion are also very real issues that can cause permanent damage but can simply be avoided with sunscreen.
So... How Safe Is Fontana Really?
Unfortunately, the crime index in Fontana is high.
The greatest issues are related to vandalism, attacks, robberies, and theft of items on visitors and residents alike.
This area has a major problem with corruption and drug trafficking due to its proximity to Mexico.
San Bernardino is suffering from a budgetary crisis, hence the corruption problems.
Although the hope is that the area will improve, last year, Fontana’s neighbor, San Bernardino, lead California in deaths from weapons associated with gang activity.
While there are decent areas of the city, it is best to take elevated precautions and never walk around alone at night, always know where the local police station is located, read the local news for updates, and understand the best places to visit where to avoid.
There are many excellent bars and restaurants but it’s not advisable to visit bars alone.
Therefore, track your surroundings and belonging, avoid distant areas from the center and poorly lit streets, and avoid those asking for help or talking to strangers.
How Does Fontana Compare?
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- Visas - Since Fontana, California is in the United States, a visa is not required for U.S. citizens to cross state lines. However, standard visas based on the source may be required for foreign travelers into the United States. To drive, fly, or cruise to California, U.S. citizens must show their regular government-issued identification card.
- Currency - Like the rest of the country, the U.S. dollar is the currency used in California. You may also use Discover, AMEX, Mastercard, and Visa in Fontana, and ATMs are readily available. You may come across a few cash-only locations, so it’s always advisable to have some cash on hand.
- Weather - Given its location, Fontana is regularly impacted by the hot, dry, and strong Santa Ana winds, which whip through the Cajon Pass in the San Gabriel Mountains with the source being the Mojave Desert. Fontana typically experiences incredibly hot summers with many days well over 100F. Winters have more mild temperatures ranging from lows in the mid-40s F to highs in the mid-70s F.
- Airports - The closest airport to Fontana, California is Ontario/San Bernardino Airport, which is only 9.6 miles away. The Santa Ana Airport is 37.7 miles away, Burbank is 53.1 miles, Los Angeles International Airport is 57 miles, and San Diego is 95.5 miles.
- Travel Insurance - While travel insurance within the United States is never required, in modern uncertain times, it is always recommended. There are regular strikes, cancellations, and delays that plague the airline industry, so travel insurance can help you recoup the monetary loss.
Fontana Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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1 Review on Fontana
It can be unsafe if you aren’t careful but offers many things to do
Fontana was a nice, unexpected surprise for me. I was supposed to stay for 2 days here but I ended up staying for a few more just because I liked the place and it felt like one of those places where 2 days are just not enough. There was plenty to see and do here, but yes, there are a few bad things to keep into account as well.
Public transportation is not the safest, especially at night. Pickpockets are very present in buses so keep your valuables close by and make sure someone’s hand is not in your pocket while on a bus. Avoid traveling via bus at night if possible. And try to use well known taxi services
so there aren’t any problems.
I was surprised to learn from a local that pickpockets can disguise themselves as beggars and while you aren’t looking they will try to steal your money, purse, phone and anything else they can. Be particularly careful when a few of them surround you. They are certainly trying to distract you while one cleans you out.
I’ve heard of muggings happening here and quite often unfortunately. The vast majority happen at night, in poor lit areas so avoid those like the plague. Most problems can be avoided with a bit of care and by paying attention to where you’re going and who is around you.
As for the things you can visit or do here, there’s the Auto Club Speedway where you can see Nascar races if you are lucky. You can even experience this first hand at the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. Tried it myself and I recommend it.
If real cars are not to your liking you can go for the CalSpeed Karting. This is a lot of fun! You’ll go for around 50 miles per hour and the track is very nice.
The Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park has a lot of nice paths to explore and hiking opportunities.
The Sierra Lakes Golf Club is one of the best golf courses that I have personally tried out. The grass is very well maintained.