Pennsylvania : Safety by City
- Kennett Square
Hershey, Pennsylvania beckons with the sweet aroma of chocolate and the thrill of coasters reaching for the sky.
But this town’s story goes beyond its iconic candy bars, weaving a tale of industrial ingenuity, community spirit, and a dash of entrepreneurial magic.
In the late 19th century, it was a sleepy farming town named Derry.
Enter Milton Hershey, a visionary candy maker with a dream.
In 1903, Hershey established his chocolate factory here, drawn by the abundant dairy farms and a reliable water source.
The factory’s success boomed, attracting workers and snowballing into a bustling company town.
However, Hershey had bigger plans than just a factory.
He envisioned a self-sufficient community for his employees, a place where they could live, work, and thrive.
Thus, Derry was reborn as Hershey in 1906, a separate entity with its own schools, parks, and even a trolley system.
Hershey’s commitment to his workers’ well-being was revolutionary, setting a precedent for responsible industrial practices.
Today, more than three million visitors flock here annually to experience that heritage firsthand at attractions like Chocolate World’s behind-the-scenes tour, Hershey Story Museum, Hersheypark, and even Hershey’s decorated streetlights during the holidays.
Whether you’re visiting Harrisburg and looking for a day trip or planning to spend a week in Hershey, you’ll be impressed with the Disney-sized attitude and amenities.
Warnings & Dangers in Hershey
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Hershey and a lot of things to see and do. Hopefully, this guide will take some of the stress out of planning.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Capital Area Transit (CAT) provides public transportation for the region. Even if you're staying in Harrisburg, there are routes that go to Hershey. Taxis and rideshares are another option. You can rent a car, too, but if you're staying at a Hershey hotel and prefer to use the transportation there, you could get by without a car here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
An average of three pickpockets or purse snatchings happen each year, leaving this as a surprisingly (statistically) low risk. I would treat it as a medium risk, so you make smart personal safety choices. The rides in the park do offer a place to store your belongings during the ride.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Hershey experiences all four seasons, with risks including severe thunderstorms, flooding, ice storms, blizzards, and even the occasional tornado threat in warmer months. Cold arctic air in winter brings big snow events, while summer humidity fuels severe thunderstorm development. Spring and fall extremes also pose flooding, hail, wind, and other weather hazards throughout the year. The risk is low, but you should pay close attention to the weather forecast in case one of these events intensifies. The park will close access to rides and the waterpark if there's a weather threat.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The town sees about four robberies on average, and most of those are in private homes. The risk is low, but don't let your guard down. You do have safety in numbers, so stick with groups of people if you're out after dark.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
An icon like Hershey's hometown would always be considered a potential target, but that risk is lowered by all the planning put into preventing and handling an incident. In 2019, a full-scale simulated attack on the park and first responders actively practiced what to do in this unlikely event. There was an incident in the past few years when a bomb threat led to an evacuation. You can rest assured safety is paramount here but always report suspicious activity.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
Only use Hershey's websites or trusted BBB-certified third-party vendors to purchase tickets or buy hotel rooms. The risk is low, but if you go looking for a deal that is too good to be true, you'll find out it is. Any ad that claims you'll get free tickets by filling out a survey is a scam. Treat this as a medium risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women of all ages, traveling solo, in groups, or with children, enjoy Hershey for its attractions and have little to worry about beyond basic personal safety steps. Things like locking your car or not leaving a stroller unattended go a long way to keeping it at a low risk.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
American Water is one of the most recognized water quality companies in the country. The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations.
Safest Places to Visit in Hershey
Hersheypa.com is the tourism website for the community.
You can also use the ExploreHBG.org website for Harrisburg and Hershey.
Each Hershey attraction has its own website.
There’s a lot of Hershey going on here, so let’s detail out each attraction under the Hershey label.
The flagship Hersheypark theme park contains rollercoasters, rides, and attractions for all ages.
Popular stops include the Hershey Triple Tower and Fahrenheit vertical drops.
At Hershey’s Chocolate World, visitors can take a free tour ride exploring the chocolate-making process and create their own sweet souvenirs.
Guests can observe working machinery on the factory floor tour as well.
The Hershey Trolley Works is a guided trolley tour of Hershey that takes visitors past some of the town’s most famous landmarks, such as Hersheypark, Chocolate World, and the Hershey Hotel.
The tour also includes a stop at a working chocolate factory.
The Hershey Story Museum lets you discover Milton Hershey’s rags-to-riches story from failed candy maker to American mogul and philanthropist.
Historical artifacts and interactive exhibits bring his legacy to life.
The impressive Hershey Gardens feature nearly 24 acres of themed garden attractions, like the tropical Butterfly Atrium and the whimsical Children’s Garden.
Seasonal bloom displays adorn the grounds.
Home to over 200 species, Hershey’s ZooAmerica provides up-close encounters with bald eagles, black bears, otters, wolves, and more native North American creatures in naturalistic habitats.
High Point Mansion is where Milton and Catherine Hershey lived, and you can now tour this stone estate.
Tickets are only sold on the website, and you’ll need to purchase them at least 24 hours ahead of time.
If you like regal theaters, the Hershey Theatre is a can’t-miss attraction.
Tired after a long day in the park?
MeltSpa by Hershey is a spa that offers a variety of chocolate-themed treatments, such as a chocolate massage and a chocolate wrap.
The spa also has a relaxation room with a chocolate fountain.
Places to Avoid in Hershey
As far as dangerous parts of town, you don’t need to worry about that.
This is a safe community to explore.
I’d ask you to read our Harrisburg article, however, since that guidance doesn’t stretch far beyond the Derry boundaries.
If you don’t like crowds, avoid Saturdays.
The slowest days are Tuesday through Thursday, but during the summer, long holiday weekends, and the winter holidays, crowds will be busy any day of the week.
You’ll be faced with a lot of options when you purchase a Hersheypark ticket.
Do you want endless drinks all day?
Is it easier for you to get a meal each day in the park instead of purchasing whenever you’re hungry?
Don’t feel like you have to get every extra add-on.
Ice and water are free in the park if you’re worried about dehydration.
Not all Hershey attractions are open year-round.
Hersheypark generally opens on weekends in April and May before going daily in June.
In September, it goes back to only only to weekends through the end of the year.
Pennsylvania really liked the name Derry when it came to naming locations.
There are four areas with the name “Derry.”
We are talking about the Derry in Dauphin County.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Hershey
- Hersey is an unincorporated area that is part of the town of Derry. That means the Derry Police Department covers law enforcement here. You can find them on Facebook by searching for “Derry Township Police Department.” The phone number is (717) 534-2202.
- Emergency notifications in Derry come from the Nixle program. It’s a great tool to see police activity and get emergency warnings of bad weather or public safety alerts as soon as the local media does. You can also sign up for Alert PA if you are traveling outside of Hersey during your visit.
- Follow the township of Derry on Facebook @TownshipofDerry. Local leaders post-closing information during winter weather or other safety alerts that guests should know.
- Derry police post a weekly crime blotter with a full list of calls for help. You can review that on the Facebook page to get a better handle on more recent crimes. The Crime Watch website for Derry also has an interactive crime mapping tool.
- The only free attractions in the HERSHEY’S area are HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD and our famous HERSHEY’S Chocolate Tour ride. All other separate attractions require a ticket, and advance purchase is recommended.
- Before booking those tickets, look at Hotel Hershey to see if you want to stay there. Many times, the price of the room will include some of the Hershey attractions or VIP access. You also get a free shuttle to Hersheypark. That also goes for Hershey Lodge and Hersheypark Camping Resort.
- You’ll want to download the Hersheypark app to get wait times for coasters, the latest alerts, and maps of the park. Much like Disney World, the app makes everything less stressful. There are also several Reddit accounts with great advice for first-time visitors.
- If you see an option for the Preview Plan when buying tickets, that allows you access for several hours the night before your entrance date. You get more access to the park when most people are leaving.
- Hershey holds major events during Halloween and Christmas, so don’t think the holidays will be a slower time of year. In fact, prices might increase in the lodging and the park.
- Most rides at Hersheypark will have a height or weight limit. The most common weight limit I see is 250–300 pounds or 450 pounds for two to three people on a ride. This is for safety and to ensure the ride operates as expected for everyone.
So... How Safe Is Hershey Really?
Since Hershey is part of Derry, we can only use the Derry Police Department crime data to get a better picture of safety risks.
In any event, the crime rate is low across the board.
Violent crime is 48% lower than the state average and 63% lower than the national average.
The city has only had two homicides in the past decade (2012 – 2022).
The only thing that stood out was among the 30 violent crimes in 2022; half of those were against strangers.
It’s still a low risk, but that’s higher than I’ve seen in most places when it comes to victims of violent crimes.
Thefts were 45% below the national average, another interesting note considering how many tourists come through this area.
However, it does explain why 31% of all thefts are shoplifting.
Speaking of tourists, it helps to know that crime data is counted by the number of crimes versus number of residents, which is 24,715 in Derry as of 2022.
So any percentage I give you doesn’t include the more than three million people who visit each year.
That makes crime data almost inconsequential, considering how low it is.
You want to use all the safety precautions advised while visiting the Hersey attractions and limit what you bring with you to avoid a crime of opportunity.
Even when it comes to safety, Hersey is the sweet spot of Pennsylvania.
How Does Hershey Compare?
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
|Niagara Falls (Canada)
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
All international travelers must have a valid visa (or be eligible for a visa waiver) and a passport valid at least 6 months after their return. The U.S. State Department's Visa website is your starting point.
The US Dollar is the only currency you can use here. Take care of town things before you leave home - first, see if your credit card has a foreign transaction fee. Second, exchange currency at your local bank to get the lowest fees. Most ATMs here will be able to dispense US cash from a foreign debit card but expect to pay higher fees.
The typical four seasons experience in Hershey makes it easy to pack for, but also consider how much walking you'll be doing. Bring comfortable shoes. For those who love outdoor adventures, you'll want to bring bug spray. Winters can be cold and snowy. Check the forecast before you go to see if you'll need snow boots.
Harrisburg International Airport is just 12 miles from Hershey, making it a quick and convenient airport to choose from during your trip. Philadelphia International Airport is two hours from Hershey.
Travel to the U.S. with confidence! Comprehensive insurance covers emergencies, weather disruptions, and car problems. Don't neglect U.S. health coverage verification.
Hershey Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month
Pennsylvania - Safety by City