How Safe Is Hillsboro for Travel?

Updated On December 18, 2023
Hillsboro, United States
Safety Index:
73
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Hillsboro, Oregon, is east of Portland in a region known as the Tualatin (“Twa-lutin“) Valley.

The population of Hillsboro has exploded over the past decade – up 17%.

That’s in large part due to the explosion of tech industries, earning it the nickname “Silicon Forest.”

At the same time, Hillsboro is also one of the oldest cities in the state, founded in 1841 and grew as a logging and agricultural city.

Hillsboro also has the benefit of being close to the urban core of Portland but just an hour from the ocean, with beautiful mountains in between.

While in Hillsboro, you even have a choice of different neighborhoods to explore, from the growing downtown with unique culture and historic buildings.

Orenco Station has a more suburban feel with some great outdoor spaces that don’t require long drives.

Tanasbourne is for shoppers, with outdoor options for any gear, clothes, or gifts you might need or want during your trip.

You’ll find the biggest gathering of hotels here close to the amenities.

Jackson School offers a quiet, residential area with tree-lined streets and trails for walking or biking.

Warnings & Dangers in Hillsboro

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Hillsboro has a low risk, but you'll need to use excellent safety steps to protect your stuff. Theft rates are a bit concerning, but with common sense, you can lower your risk.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM

TriMet and MAX light rail are the public transportation systems in the Portland Area. I've read some comments that the MAX stations in Hillsboro could be sketchy. But can't the same be said about any large metro system? Taxis and rideshares are easy to find. Rental cars are widely available. I'm going to put a medium risk on this one because of some safety concerns, but again, common sense can keep the risk low.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

An average of 10 pickpockets or purse snatchings have happened each year over the past five years. In 2022, there were 15 of them. While it's not an overwhelming risk, the theft rates, in general, should make you wary. The risk of being pickpocketed is low, but it borders on medium.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

While Hillsboro enjoys a mild climate, tourists should be mindful of potential natural disasters like winter and spring floods near the Tualatin River, infrequent tremors (earthquakes), and dry summer wildfires in forested areas. The risk is low, but also understand this is a rainy area, with an average of 38 inches per year.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

The robbery rate is 25% lower than the national average, and highway robberies make up just 17% of all reports. This is a city where people are more likely to steal your stuff through a crime of opportunity than by force. The risk is low.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Being part of a major metro area will always have us designate a medium risk, but Hillsboro proper isn't at risk. You can check the latest Terrorism Advisory Bulletin from Homeland Security to learn about terrorism issues and safety steps in general.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

As a residential area, scams are going to focus more on the people who live here than tourists. There is a growing homeless population in Hillsboro as the cost of living increases, so you might face panhandlers (especially downtown). The risk is low.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Women are much safer in Hillsboro than in Portland, but the theft rates are worth noting for creating extra cautious safety habits. Even things like leaving a trunkful of new shopping bags could make you prone to theft.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2023 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. The report is very detailed, so if you have water quality questions, read the document posted on the city's website. Any potential risk is explained, but the risk is low due to the high water quality standards in the U.S.

Safest Places to Visit in Hillsboro

The Hillsboro city website has a section called “Living Here and Visiting Hillsboro.”

This is a great overview of the city from history to the next local event.

You can also visit TualatinValley.org to read the Hillsboro section and read about neighboring cities.

Travel Portland is the name of the website for Portland.

Explore a dazzling collection of minerals, gems, and fossils from around the world at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals.

Interactive exhibits and hands-on activities make learning about geology fun for all ages.

The David Hill Museum is a step back in time in Hillsboro’s oldest surviving building, now a museum showcasing local history and artifacts.

Learn about the city’s early pioneers, industries, and fascinating past.

Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve covers 600 acres teeming with diverse wildlife and boasting stunning views of the Tualatin River.

A birdwatcher’s paradise, offering opportunities to see over 200 species.

For a larger outdoor space, Tualatin Hills Nature Park covers scenic trails through forests, meadows, and wetlands across 2,000 acres.

Enjoy breathtaking views, diverse wildlife encounters, and a variety of outdoor activities.:

Downtown Hillsboro has its own website at downtownhillsboro.org.

Explore the historic heart of the city with its restored buildings, art galleries, and charming shops.

Discover local history, sample diverse cuisine, and experience the vibrant city center.

Five Oaks Museum, formerly known as the Washington County Museum, showcases diverse regional cultures, histories, and contemporary art through rotating exhibitions.

Located on the homelands of the Tualatin Kalapuya tribe, it provides a platform for local voices and amplifies diverse perspectives through captivating storytelling.

Tillamook State Forest, Oregon’s largest, is less than an hour away and boasts 364,000 acres of lush temperate rainforest.

Explore scenic drives, tranquil campsites, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.

Hike or bike through towering trees, visit the Tillamook Forest Center or experience the magic of the Wilson River.

Places to Avoid in Hillsboro

While Hillsboro doesn’t have neighborhoods so dangerous that you must avoid them, you will find that the north side looks and feels safer than the south side.

That’s just because the south side is a little more run down.

When a city grows as fast as Hillsboro, it’s hard to keep up with old neighborhoods when building new ones.

A lot of comments I’ve seen focus on drug users acting erratically or some suspicious people at the MAX stations.

Even a few people mentioned homeless people downtown.

Those issues will exist in most suburbs.

However, these are all good reminders that even a rather safe community shouldn’t prompt you to let your guard down.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Hillsboro

  1. Hillsboro does have its own police department. The name Hillsboro is a popular one around America, so be sure you’re following the right department on Facebook. The handle is @hillsboropd. You can call (503) 629-0111 or email policepio@hillsboro-oregon.gov if you have specific safety questions.
  2. The police department has a section on its website where you can report less serious crimes, like car break-ins and theft under $5,000. You can review the list of crimes that don’t require a police officer to respond.
  3. You should dial 911 in case of an emergency, but if you aren’t sure if your report rises to that level, store the number 503-629-0111 on your mobile device. That’s the non-emergency dispatch.
  4. Review the Crime Prevention and Safety section to get great guidance on the most common crimes in Hillsboro. From fraud/scams to child safety, you can learn a great deal from this helpful section of the department’s website.
  5. If you plan on using a bicycle to get around, review the state and local guidance on the rules and laws. Children under 16 are required to wear a helmet, but it’s strongly advised that adults do as well.
  6. Water activities like fishing and boating require permits. You can read the rules and prices on the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife website. Be sure you get a non-resident license.
  7. Check the air quality report through the Washington County website. Wildfires can cause air quality to be dangerous for outdoor exercises, especially for young children, the elderly, or those with respiratory issues. The advisories might also limit any indoor burning, like a fireplace in a cabin. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a great resource to learn more about this.
  8. Most of the parking in downtown Hillsboro has a two-hour time limit. Once your time is up, you cannot park on that same block for the remainder of the day. If you need to stay longer, look for full-day parking lots.
  9. Public transportation in Portland allows riders to use the Hop Fastpass. Your mobile device becomes your ticket, and you’ll pay through your phone. This is an ideal way to avoid pulling out your wallet in public.
  10. With as much rain as this area gets, it’s not uncommon for roads to be covered in water. Never drive along or across a flooded roadway. You’ll see signs saying, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

So... How Safe Is Hillsboro Really?

By comparison to major metropolitan areas, Hillsboro is fairly safe.

After crunching the crime data, I reviewed some social media posts and neighborhood forums.

I think one comment really summed it up.

“It’s not the best area, but not the worst, either.

Your physical safety is not at risk, but if you leave stuff outside, it will get stolen for sure.”

Crime data backs that up.

The violent crime rate is 13% higher than the state average and 25% higher than the national average.

About one in five violent crimes happen against strangers, and 41% of all violent crimes happen in private homes.

Both of those statistics make it a little safer for a visitor as opposed to a resident.

Oregon has a car theft problem, and in Hillsboro, about six cars are stolen each week.

In addition, 32% of all thefts are car break-ins or accessory thefts.

Park in a garage or secured location as much as possible.

Never leave your car unlocked.

Always remove every personal item from inside the vehicle, even rental paperwork, since there’s a lot of personal information on there.

The theft rate is also 39% higher than the national average, fueled by 33% of all thefts being shoplifting.

The police chief did say that it appeared some shoplifting was largely attributed to a certain group of people, and when those people were arrested, the numbers went down.

However, the larger problem here is helping people get the services they need, especially those impacted by pandemic-related job losses or inflation.

“We always want crime to go down.

But we are looking closely at — are some of the increases reflective of the outreach and the availability of services in both our city and our county?”

Hillsboro Police Chief Jim Coleman said.

Hillsboro is safe enough that you shouldn’t have any concerns about visiting this area.

It’s also got enough of an edge that you shouldn’t ever let down your guard.

How Does Hillsboro Compare?

CitySafety Index
Hillsboro73
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

All international visitors need a passport and either a visa or visa waiver. Visas are issued by type of travel, such as work, school, or tourism. Visa waivers take less time to get, so check that first to see if you qualify.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Portland's airport does offer foreign currency exchange. Credit cards and mobile payments are widely accepted here. Don't carry more cash than you absolutely need due to the theft rates.

Weather

Weather

Daytime highs range from the 40s to the 80s throughout the year, with summer being the warmest. Lows are usually in the 30s or 40s. There is no way to get around that it rains a lot here. You should pack waterproof layers and don't forget rain boots. It's also going to be humid, so pack anything that can help with frizzy hair or controlling curls if needed.

Airports

Airports

Portland International Airport's code is PDX. It's important you don't get that confused with Portland International Jetport across the country in Maine. PDX is about 45 minutes from Hillsboro, but traffic could easily double that time.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is the best option for anyone traveling overseas. America doesn't offer any free healthcare, and even something as simple as a sprained ankle can cost hundreds of dollars in an urgent care setting.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Hillsboro Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 5° C
Feb 7° C
Mar 8° C
Apr 11° C
May 14° C
Jun 17° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 5° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
8111316202327272418118
Low
°C
123571012119531
High
°F
465255616873818175645246
Low
°F
343637414550545248413734

Oregon - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Astoria85
Baker City77
Bayshore78
Beaverton84
Bend87
Coos Bay52
Corvallis73
Eugene52
Gresham70
Hermiston79
Hillsboro73
Hood River82
Klamath Falls67
La Grande84
Lincoln City78
Medford67
Portland69
Roseburg75
Salem81
Seaside74

Where to Next?

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