Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Kokomo, Indiana, might look like a lot of other cities in Indiana, but it is known as the “City of Firsts” for its innovative history.
If you’ve ever enjoyed riding in a “horseless carriage” (aka – car), a car radio, using stainless steel silverware, you can thank the brilliant minds in Kokomo.
Those of you who are of a certain age will remember the start of the AIDS epidemic, and a young boy named Ryan White who got AIDS from a blood transfusion and led to national headlines when he was shunned at his school.
Some people of Kokomo rallied for White, but due to death threats, the family was forced to leave their home.
The city has a storied history of natural disasters from a flood that threatened to wipe out the city to numerous tornados causing deadly consequences.
Throughout every trial and tribulation, Kokoko kept its fighting spirit and overcame all the challenges while encouraging the innovative spirit that made it the city of nearly 60,000 that stands today.
Warnings & Dangers in Kokomo
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Kokomo, mostly because of a high violent crime rate. While this city is certainly not an anomaly with its crime data, it's worth being aware of so you can plan your trip safely.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The City Line Trolley is the main public transportation here with busses that look like trolleys. There are five routes covering 250 stops at every major amenity in Kokomo. Taxis and rideshares are available. There's low risk with any option, but you should use extra caution at bus stops and when riding buses. You just can't let your guard down here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were two pickpockets reported in 2020. The theft rate is one in 71. There's a low risk of you being pickpocketed, but there's a greater risk of a car being broken into, so lock the doors and remove valuables when you park.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Kokomo has an unfortunate history of being hit by tornadoes time and time again, the most recent one in 2016 when more than 1,000 buildings sustained damage. An April 1965 tornado took 25 lives. You have to be well-versed in tornado safety when visiting here. There is also a risk of flooding. Winter brings a risk of winter storms and ice storms. There's a medium risk because not only is there potential, Kokomo seems to have bad luck when it comes to tornadoes.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
10% of robberies happen in public places in Kokomo, which isn't a high risk, but let's look at the bigger picture. The way data was categorized in 2020, if a robbery escalated to an assault, then it was listed as aggravated assault and not robbery. While the robbery rate is just below the national average, the aggravated assault rate is twice the national average. I'm going to call it a medium risk to make you aware of the violent crimes here and to remind you that fighting back with your life to protect a purse, wallet, or mobile device is a terrible idea.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, as Kokomo isn't a hard target. Nearby Indianapolis is much bigger and would likely be the nearest potential target.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The Kokomo Police Department has a website page dedicated to scams, but the advice is for the general scams that happen everywhere. There's nothing that would target a tourist here. Just remember if it seems too good to be true, it is. Don't just walk away. Report it to the police if you are approached.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women should visit here but know there's a medium risk, again, because of the high violent crime rate. Avoid walking around at night alone, and stick to main streets and well-lit areas.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
One thing to know when reading these articles is that we don't have a motive. We aren't trying to push or pull you one way or the other. We based information on raw data and facts. It's important you know this because I'm about to tell you that the groundwater is contaminated in Kokomo. However, and I'll say it louder for the people in the back, HOWEVER, the water, as it's treated by American Water, comes to the tap safe for consumption and use. The Environmental Protection Agency is deeply involved with this problem and solution and Kokomo's situation is high on an EPA priority list. You can read all the official documentation on the EPA website as well as the American Water Annual Water Quality Report. If this in any way makes you uncomfortable, you can just use bottled water for drinking. The water, as it comes to the tap, has a low risk, but you need to know the truth so you can make the best judgment for yourself.
Safest Places to Visit in Kokomo
VisitKokomo.org is a great resource for everything about Kokomo.
One thing that I like about this is that many cities in Indiana are part of a county travel guide, and not just a particular city.
Kokomo goes above and beyond to make sure you have specific information about any activity you might like to do while visiting.
Kokomo is known for its eclectic vibe, and you can first immerse yourself in this by visiting downtown.
There are activities, festivals, and fairs throughout the year here too.
All of the stores and restaurants are unique to the city with no national brands in this part of the city.
There are stunning murals on buildings and an art walk to stroll through, even making the alleys safer with the brightness of art and the comfort of more people around you.
The Howard County Museum will draw you in with its stunning architecture and keep you there for all the intricate artifacts and history lessons inside.
You’ll get a special bonus edition of the museum if you are visiting during the holiday season when it comes alive with the spirit and lights of Christmas.
Military families and supporters will want to walk the “Walk of Honor” at the Howard County Veterans Memorial in Kokomo.
It’s open around the clock and there’s no charge to visit.
For summer fun, the Kokomo Reservoir is open for fishing, boating, and kayaking. Kokomo Beach isn’t a real beach, but it’s an elaborate water park open during the summer for family fun.
Equestrians and horse fans can head over to Russiaville to visit the Crown Haven Center.
You can take riding lessons, give the kids a pony ride, relax in a horse-drawn carriage, or ride a trail.
To get a slice of the food scene here, visit Martino’s Italian Villa.
This local pizza place has earned a spot in the Pizza Hall of Fame.
There are a lot of unique restaurants in Kokomo to explore, but this is one recommendation you’ll get a lot – so you heard it here first.
Places to Avoid in Kokomo
The area between Reed Road and Apperson Way has the highest crime levels, and that’s right through the center of the city and spreads north and south.
The southwest and northwest sides of the city have some higher crime areas too.
Just because these areas have higher crime rates, doesn’t mean they are too unsafe to visit.
You should avoid spending a day, or part of the day, outdoors if storms are in the forecast.
History shows too many tornadoes higher on the Fujita scale in this area to take any threat lightly.
I tell you this as someone who storm chases in tornado alley, so I’m not just trying to scare you.
I’ve seen firsthand how quickly a dark sky can start swirling and drop a funnel cloud.
Kokomo has so many indoor attractions that you can plan a day inside when storms are in the forecast without getting bored.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Kokomo
- You can make an anonymous tip to the police about a crime by using the TIP411 app. Since there is a lot of violent crime here that people are too scared to talk to police about directly, this is a great way to not worry about retaliation of any kind by just giving detailed information without connecting a name to it, unless you choose to. Central Indiana Crime Stoppers also has an anonymous line where you could be eligible for a reward if your information leads to an arrest. That number is 1-800-262-TIPS.
- The Industrial Heritage Trail has a series of surveillance cameras that police have immediate access to. This helped earlier in 2022 when a man was walking home from a bar around 2:30 am and was badly beaten on the trail. The cameras helped identify the suspects.
- The local newspaper, Kokomo Tribune, posts daily police blotter reports. This is a subscription-free newspaper where you can monitor local crime trends closer to your time of visit.
- It can be very concerning to hear about the high violent crime rate here. As with many cities in Indiana, a small section of the population is responsible for a lot of the crime. You can email the police department at email@example.com to ask any questions you have about your visit. Perhaps they’ll have recent crime trends to tell you about or give you specific safety advice for that time span. You can also schedule a tour of the police station if you’d like. Just email Sgt. Neil Marcus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For any fishing or hunting in this area, you’ll need a license from the Indiana Department of Fish & Wildlife. You can’t get by on your home state or city license. Make sure you get a non-resident license.
- The police department has a website page dedicated to the steps you should take if you lose a wallet or purse (or if it gets stolen). These tips are very helpful in the immediate aftermath when you might be panicked.
- There’s a very busy area in Kokomo near the municipal stadium and Championship Park. The city worked with the police department to improve safety at the crossings and roadways here. You should use extra caution in this area. Even if you have the right of way as a pedestrian, you should look both ways – twice – to make sure cars are actually stopping for you.
- As much as you can, visit and spend money at local businesses. The city admits on its website that the tourism industry is struggling, and every little bit helps. Plus, meeting local business owners will create a friendship that can help you find safe places to visit and get insider information about places to visit and places to avoid.
- As a dog owner, I feel inclined to tell you about this one. Summers can get hot and humid in Kokomo, and the city has an ordinance that makes leaving a pet in a hot car illegal. It comes with a $250 fine. If you see this happening, call 911. Let the police handle it and don’t confront the owner directly.
- Parking is free in Kokomo, whether it’s on the street or in a garage. There is a brand new parking garage near the YMCA. Be sure to park near a stairwell or elevator and if you can park in plain view of a surveillance camera, all the better.
So... How Safe Is Kokomo Really?
Kokomo, like many Indiana cities, is battling a growing trend of gun violence.
The city leaders and police department here are taking the reins in trying to crack down on this.
As a tourist, it’s not as concerning that you’ll be in a bad neighborhood and get shot, but there have been shootings at very popular family places like Chuck E. Cheese and that aquatic center I told you about.
Kokomo Police released a statement about gun violence earlier in 2022 stating, in part, “The Kokomo Police Department has increased our patrol efforts since 2020 and initiated new patrol and investigative efforts to address the community’s concerns of gun violence.”
Although efforts have been effective, a full assault against violence requires assistance from the community who desire to be a part of a positive change that benefits the safety of their community.
The risks in Kokomo break down like this:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 136 risk
- Robbery: 1 in 1,568
- Theft: 1 in 71
There were 8 homicides in 2020. It’s not so much that a tourist has a risk of being a victim of a violent crime directly, it’s that these incidents are spilling outside of private homes and neighborhoods and into public places like local parks.
Kokomo Police Department Capt. Scott Purtee told the Kokomo Tribune in 2021, “If your intention is to come to our city parks and cause problems or cause harm to other people or citizens, we will stop it.
We don’t necessarily want to have to arrest people in our city parks, but if they’re here to cause problems, we will do whatever we have to do to keep the community safe.”
Kokomo details on its city website, front and center, what is being done to tackle violent crime in the community.
I can tell you, as someone who has done extensive research on Indiana cities, this is one of the most transparent and honest plans I’ve seen from law enforcement and city leaders.
How Does Kokomo Compare?
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- Visas - Plan for about four months to get your visa and make you realize the extent of information you'll need to be issued a visa. You'll have to go through a live interview and provide all your social media information and handles from the past five years. You can't get into the United States without this, so pay close attention to the list of instructions and deadlines.
- Currency - There are a couple of restaurants here that are cash only, and only the U.S. Dollar is accepted. You should exchange currency at the airport and don't wait until you get to Kokomo.
- Weather - Plan for cold winters and hot summers. Humidity is high here too, so the cold feels colder and the heat makes you very sweaty. Dress in layers through spring and fall, because it can be below freezing in the morning and in the 60s by afternoon. Bring bug spray during the warm months and good walking shoes.
- Airports - You can get to the Indianapolis International Airport in less than 90 minutes but plan for two hours in case you hit traffic. The Fort Wayne International airport is also about 90 minutes away, but that's not as big of an airport as the one in Indy.
- Travel Insurance - You should consider travel insurance for all the delays that can happen with the weather in Indiana.
Kokomo Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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