Oklahoma : Safety by City
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Hennessey, Oklahoma, is one of those towns so small that you could drive right by it and not even realize it.
You’d be missing a good deal of Wild West history if you did.
While it’s just 70 miles from Oklahoma City, it’s nothing like the largest population center in the state.
About 2,100 people live here, and most people who visit do so out of necessity or accident.
One quick turn off the highway, and you’ll be in the heart of Hennessey.
It’s located along the historic Chisolm Trail that cattle drivers followed from Texas to Kansas after the Civil War.
Finding a hotel won’t be hard – there’s only one here.
But you will also find the one-and-only largest quilt shop in Oklahoma.
Outdoor spaces and the historic downtown still capture the old-time essence.
It’s in no rush to be as modern as other cities, but you’ll find a great place to stop for the day or a night.
Hennessey is in Kingfisher County and just 20 miles from the city of Kingfisher.
If you pair the two together, you could make a nice weekend out of the trip.
It’s also common to add Enid to that mix, as all the cities are right off Highway 81.
Warnings & Dangers in Hennessey
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Hennessey is one of those towns where crime is almost unheard of, and that makes it a low risk. It's also secluded and beats to the march of its own drummer. You'll enjoy the eccentricities of the town.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
No public transportation here, and calling a cab or rideshare might take a while. You'll need your own vehicle and a tank full of gas in this north-central part of Oklahoma.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
No pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported in the past decade. The risk is low. But don't go leaving your car unlocked or anything. Still, practice smart safety steps.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The winds here can get pretty wicked. Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, blinding rail, gorilla hail, and intense lightning are risks from spring through fall. Winter can get a little messy with snowstorms or ice storms. You'll need to stay aware of the weather forecast in any season. There's a medium risk.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Only one robbery in 2019 was reported in recent years, giving this another low risk.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk. It's far too easy to drive right by this town. There's nothing that would garner attention from terror groups. However, you should expect to see people with guns as this is hunting territory.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
This is another low risk. There aren't enough tourists to warrant scams. However, if any scams happen, local law enforcement will post them online.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
The seclusion and remote nature of this town might be a little offputting for a solo traveler. You should have an emergency kit in the car and, again, be prepared for changing weather.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report noted a handful of violations, mostly due to substances in the groundwater from agriculture or naturally occurring elements. The water was never unsafe to use. There's a low risk with tap water, but any questions you have can be addressed by reading the water quality report or contacting the utility.
Safest Places to Visit in Hennessey
You don’t have many choices when it comes to places to visit in Hennessey, so let’s go through them all.
You can find a section about the town on the TravelOK.com statewide tourism site.
There’s also an All About Hennessey website that includes news, events, and some attractions.
The Sam & Burla Snyder Memorial History Center is a guaranteed jaw-dropping experience, as I’m hesitating to tell you the full story behind the town.
Let’s just say the town’s namesake met an untimely end.
Also, for the quaint place it is today, it sure has a roughneck history.
If you want to pay tribute to the founder, stop by Pat Hennessey Park.
While he was once buried there, at some point, his body was moved – but nobody is sure why or where it went.
Bull Foot Park is along the historic Chisolm Trail and was a watering hole (literally) for the cattle during the drives.
You can walk the trail here and see the unique cattle drive sculptures.
You might be surprised to know there are two wineries in town.
A wine festival is held here each fall.
Vernost Wine Company produces small batches at the Historic Ranch Room.
Live music is available on weekends and some weeknights.
Bring cash because that’s the only currency accepted here.
The Turner Me On Winery offers samples, sips, and special tours of the vineyards and wine-making rooms.
Prairie Quilt is one of the top destinations in town as the largest quilting shop in the state.
Classes are offered, or you can browse through thousands of quilting accessories.
Turkey Creek Golf Course is just west of town.
You don’t need a tee time to play 18 holes – just show up.
All rounds are first-come, first-served.
Hennessey also has an aquatic park with a pool, splash pad, playground, and sports fields.
You don’t have to be a resident to use the park, and the fee is less than $5 per person.
For those traveling with kids, you might find fun activities on the schedule at the Hennessey Public Library.
Activities are planned for everyone from toddlers to teenagers throughout the week.
Places to Avoid in Hennessey
Hennessey is about 12 blocks wide and 12 blocks long, so there’s really no way to avoid any part of town.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about crime in this community.
While people here are friendly, you should respect their way of life.
Asking things like “How do you live out here?” or “Don’t you get bored?” aren’t appropriate questions.
I’d also strongly recommend you know weather risks and check the forecast often.
Bring a weather radio and find a local AM station that gives the forecast in this remote area.
You don’t want to be caught in a rural area when a storm rolls in and you don’t have shelter.
If you’re looking for more hotels, Enid and Guthrie would be the closest places with more options.
They are each less than an hour from Hennessey.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Hennessey
- Hennessey does have a small police department with a chief and four full-time officers. You can call (405) 853-7130 if you have any questions.
- It’s also smart to follow the Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook by searching “Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office.” The phone number is (405)375-4242.
- Check out the Facebook page @AllAboutHennessey to get the pulse of the community, local events, and ask residents questions.
- Use OK Traffic’s website to check road conditions in the area. You don’t have many detours if a road is closed because of an accident or downed power line. Luckily, most of the roads in this area are on a grid. The website also offers real-time traffic and live cameras.
- There is a website for the emergency management agency in Kingfisher County, but considering how the site looks and the fact that the last post was photos of a tornado from 2008, you’ll probably want to follow them on Facebook @KingfisherEM instead.
- I wish there were a way to accurately describe the winds that can howl through Oklahoma, especially in the rural areas. It can be hard to keep your car steady on the road without holding on tight. Look out for wind advisories and wind warnings. Many semis will take the highways here, and they are all two-lane roads. Use caution when driving and watch out for blowing objects.
- Don’t be surprised if you see bison or bulls wandering around on the roads or the land around the roads. Never approach wildlife or feed them. It’s a federal law that you can’t harass wildlife, and they can also charge a lot faster than you realize.
- If you plan to go fishing, you’ll need a license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Out-of-state licenses are required for anyone without an Oklahoma Driver’s License. That covers fishing on all public lands. Don’t go onto private property to access a lake.
- The Kingfisher Times is the local news website. You can find the most hyper-local information here. Oklahoma City television stations would only cover major events or crimes that happen in Hennessey.
- The town website has a form where you can report an issue, like a pothole or downed tree line. Any little bit of safety information helps this small police department keep the community safe.
So... How Safe Is Hennessey Really?
Hennessey hasn’t had more than five violent crimes in a year going back to the year 2000 and no more than two in a year since 2020.
Since 2016, no more than 16 thefts of any kind have been reported.
Over the past decade, just 15% of those were related to car break-ins.
Despite the overall safe nature of the town, there’s a drug problem in Oklahoma, and Kingfisher County made headlines when four people were killed execution-style at an illegal marijuana farm.
This was one of several big cases involving massive investigations and a series of arrests due to the Mexican cartel’s influence on the illegal drug trade here.
That’s not something the average visitor is going to notice, but it’s worth mentioning just in case you come across something suspicious in the woods or rural areas.
It’s another great reminder of why you should set an itinerary and stick to it.
How Does Hennessey Compare?
|Hong Kong (China)
A visa or visa waiver is necessary for international visitors to enter the country. The U.S. State Department website is your go-to resource for determining your eligibility for a visa waiver. You can also use the Visa Wizard module on their site for assistance.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, but this town is way too small to look for a currency exchange. Plan to use a credit card as much as possible. If you want cash, get it from your home bank. They will offer the lowest rates and fees.
Dress comfortably and casually here. The best way to prepare to pack is by checking the weather forecast because seasonal temperatures can fluctuate a lot. Oklahoma is known for being windy. You'll also want bug spray and sunscreen.
You're about 70 miles from Will Rogers World Airport in Hennessey. That's the closest and largest airport.
For trips to places where weather may impede travel, we always suggest travel insurance. Don't forget travel health insurance if you aren't covered in the U.S. Also, inspect your rental car policy to see how you're covered for weather damage, accidents, and roadside assistance.
Hennessey Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Oklahoma - Safety by City