Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Fort Wayne, Indiana, uses the branding slogan “Big City. Bigger Heart.”
This is a Midwestern town with family values and friendly people, with an affordable city filled with a wide variety of attractions.
U.S News & World Report ranks Fort Wayne as one of the #5 Cheapest Places to Live, and you can bet tourists will find some of those savings too.
While this mid-sized city might not be as urban as some might like, you have Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Detroit all within a three-hour drive.
Fort Wayne is rich with parks and riverside attractions, and you won’t have to travel far to find something new to do.
Bring comfortable shoes because you can do a lot of walking on the extensive trail system.
One of the best parts about visiting Fort Wayne is the large number of things to do that are family-friendly.
There’s a children’s zoo, a science center, and the “Old Fort,” with buildings replicating those of the 1800s.
I can’t go as far as calling Fort Wayne “exciting,” but it’s definitely worth visiting.
Warnings & Dangers in Fort Wayne
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Fort Wayne bucks the national trend of increasing violent crimes with strict police work and accountability. There's still plenty of crime here, but not enough to give it anything more than a low risk.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Citilink is a public bus system, and you can buy tickets online. There are rideshares, taxis, and rental cars available. Every way to get around comes with low risk. Just make sure you know how to drive in winter weather before deciding to rent a car here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
While the theft rate is the only category with higher than average crime rates, you can feel safe with a low risk that you won't get pickpocketed. The risk goes really low by practicing smart safety, like keeping your wallet in a hidden pocket and not using dangling purses.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Fort Wayne can get severe weather throughout the year. Snowstorms, blizzards, ice storms, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes are all a risk. Make sure you have a reliable weather app to keep track of the weather while you're here.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is actually 20% lower than the national average, so that's another low risk for you here. The biggest contributor to crime here is gang activity, so there's not "zero risk." Always use good situational awareness.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here too. This city is too small and without any rich targets that would make a terrorist interested.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The typical residential scams happen here, but there's a rare chance a tourist will face one of those. Always be on the lookout for anyone pressuring you to make a purchase or using a sob story to convince you to donate money.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women have the same low risk, but with the understanding that they should use standard safety protocol. Walking around at night alone in any city isn't a good idea.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance with all water tests and even states, "In 2021, the State Health Department awarded them the Certificate of Excellence for superior quality in the lab.
Safest Places to Visit in Fort Wayne
Science Central is a hands-on, interactive experience with exhibits for kids of all ages.
The center also has “Disability Days” to cater to special needs visitors.
Science experiments are done throughout the day, and you can also see a unique “Science on a Sphere” presentation.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is right next door, but they allow adults in, too, of course.
You can walk through the African Journey, an Australian Adventure, the Central Zoo, and an Indonesian Rainforest.
For a little extra, you can feed several animals; stingray, giraffe, or goats (or all three!).
The Old Fort walks you through the military history of the region, dating back to the late 1700s.
During certain times of the year, you’ll see war reenactments.
Sign up for the monthly newsletter to see what events are happening there closer to your visit.
Any time of the year you can walk around the grounds.
Just pick up a map with historical notes so you can learn as much as possible about the real Fort Wayne.
You can’t have a Three Rivers area without having a tourist boat, right?
Hop aboard the Sweet Breeze to take a trip up and down the river.
Tours are available in 45- and 90-minute rides. During the Halloween season, you can even take a haunted boat trip.
The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is a tropical getaway even on the coldest winter day.
You can walk right from a rainforest to a desert and see the unique plants and flowers of each region.
The kids get some special activities, and there’s a gift shop, too, if you want to take a plant home with you.
You can’t visit Fort Wayne without trying Coney Island.
This hot dog restaurant has been in service since 1916 and still holds onto the charm of an era gone by.
Even if you aren’t hungry, just seeing the restaurants is a real treat back in time.
Places to Avoid in Fort Wayne
While there aren’t any “too dangerous to be there” parts of town, you should avoid certain neighborhoods and parts of town unless you are in a public area with a lot of other people around.
The 2021 Annual Report from the police department breaks down the crime by quadrant.
Let’s look at some of those numbers:
- Homicide: 4
- Robbery: 29
- Aggravated Assault: 63
- Theft: 1122
- Homicide: 15
- Robbery: 40
- Aggravated Assault: 89
- Theft: 1675
- Homicide: 15
- Robbery: 68
- Aggravated Assault: 164
- Theft: 11280
- Homicide: 5
- Robbery: 25
- Aggravated Assault: 43
- Theft: 820
By that account, the southeast and northwest areas have the higher crime rates.
The southeast quadrant also gets the most calls to police.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fort Wayne
- Podcast lovers can listen to the Fort Wayne Police Department podcast called “Blue and You” to learn about safety issues that are ongoing in the community.
- The department also offers a Crime Prevention Hotline where you can call and ask specific questions about safety concerns. That number is (260)427-5999.
- Fort Wayne is one of those places where everyone trusts everyone and might leave their cars unlocked. Don’t be one of those people. Always lock your car doors and roll up the windows. Don’t leave a car unattended in the winter to warm up. That’s another way thieves can quickly get away with your car before you even realize it’s gone.
- Fort Wayne police suggest you don’t wear headphones or your mobile phone while enjoying the trails or walking downtown. This distraction can signal a would-be criminal that your guard is down. Always walk with purpose and confidence. Hide your mobile device away when you don’t need to use it.
- The police department offers an overall look at crime statistics or a list of recent incidents on its website. You can use both of these to see crime trends closer to your visit. You can search the address of your hotel or the neighborhoods to see crimes too, which can be very helpful if you’re wondering where the most car thefts happen, for example.
- Look up “TREC The Fort” each day to see what construction projects are going on so you can detour around them. Especially during spring and summer, you’ll see a lot of road construction here as crews repair the winter damage.
- 311 Citizen Services offer a way you can report any issue, like those potholes, to help make the city safer. Especially after storms, there might be downed tree limbs. The collection of reports is visible to the city and other people using the system.
- With three rivers in this region, you need to stay on top of the water quality and water levels before you even consider boating, fishing, or walking along the banks. You can look up any body of water in Indiana at hoosierriverwatch.com.
- Swimming in the rivers is strongly discouraged, no matter what the water quality says. The rivers can quickly fill with pollutants, especially when stormwater runs into them. While nobody is going to stop you from swimming, it’s not advised. Use a local pool or splash pad to cool off.
- If you are driving in the winter and a storm is on the way, buy a blanket, shovel, flares, and kitty litter. Grab a flashlight and red rag as well. These will also help you keep safe should you break down or get stuck on a road. Use the kitty litter for traction under the tires. The red rage should be used outside the vehicle to signal that you need help.
So... How Safe Is Fort Wayne Really?
While so many communities struggle with the staffing and tactics to stop violent crime on the rise, Fort Wayne Police seem to spot a problem and nip it in the bud.
Here’s a statement from a Gang Unit detective about a rash of crimes in the summer of 2021.
“Late last summer and last fall, we had a flare-up between two local hybrid street gangs that kicked off.
That led to a drastic increase in violent homicides and non-lethal shootings, drive-bys, intimidation, and the typical crimes that gangs contribute to.
As a result of that, we focused with our own unit, Homicide, Narcotics and road officers …we all worked collaboratively, and at this point, we’ve locked up the vast majority of both of those gangs,” Detective Sergeant Gary of the Gang Unit told local station WANE 15.
One of the biggest challenges in cities with high violent crime rates is a lack of community engagement or an unwillingness of neighborhoods to report crimes to the police.
Fort Wayne seems to have a better relationship with residents, leading to more arrests and accountability.
You should really feel safe visiting Fort Wayne and know that basic safety steps will go a long way here.
How Does Fort Wayne Compare?
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- Visas - You'll need a Visa Waiver or a U.S. Travel/Work Visa to get through Customs at the airport. You won't need your Visa to get around Indiana, but keep the passport handy. Plan to start the Visa application process about four months ahead of time.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here, and you should avoid using public ATMs to exchange currency. Go into a bank or just use a credit card for all transactions.
- Weather - In the winter, bring insulated clothing and outerwear because temperatures can get bone-chillingly low. Spring and fall can get cold, too, so bring a jacket or several hoodies to stay warm. Summers are nice but can get uncomfortably hot sometimes, and the humidity makes it feel sticky. Bring comfortable walking shoes and plenty of bug spray.
- Airports - Fort Wayne International Airport is really the only airport worth considering in the area. It's about 25 minutes from downtown. Otherwise, you'll have to drive three or more hours to get to a major city.
- Travel Insurance - Consider travel insurance due to the risk of weather delays throughout the year. Especially with the airport not being a major airport, you risk these flights getting canceled or delayed to make room for the larger planes in Indy, Chicago, and Cleveland.
Fort Wayne Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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