Nebraska : Safety by City
- Grand Island
- La Vista
- Nebraska City
- North Platte
- South Sioux City
La Vista, Nebraska, is a suburb of Omaha and a growing part of a community in a dense residential and retail part of town.
The suburb sprang to life in 1960, and the first development, labeled the “House of Nines,” is still a popular reference to the neighborhood today.
La Vista also intersects with I-80, offering a robust shopping and hotel district right off the interstate but before the congestion of Omaha.
The city is near all the major highways that circle Omaha, making it a great pivot point anywhere you plan to visit while still being in one of the safest parts of the city.
It’s also the same interstate that goes to Lincoln if you plan on visiting the Capital City.
Cabela’s is the anchor store of the community, but there’s a great development surge happening that will offer more amenities in the near and distant future.
La Vista made nationwide headlines in May 2021 when an 11-year-old boy named Ryan Larsen disappeared after leaving school.
The child has autism, complicating an already baffling case.
As of this publication, Larsen has still not been found, and the search continues.
It’s a particularly emotional story for this close community, so I’d recommend not mentioning it unless someone brings it up.
Warnings & Dangers in La Vista
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low overall risk here for visitors, with low crime rates across the board. However, in a very safe county, it does have higher crime rates than in places like Gretna and Papillion. Since it's a highly residential area, you'll be drawn to neighboring communities, which are also safe - if not safer.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Omaha Metro Transit service does reach La Vista. You can review the routes on the transit website. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. Rental cars are also widely available.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The risk is low, but with any retail district, you should use standard caution. Cabela's can get busy on weekends, and the parking lot is huge. Just stay aware of your surroundings and keep your car locked. If you buy expensive items, keep them in the trunk until you remove them from the vehicle.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The weather is tough in Nebraska. I'm writing this from the Cornhusker state, and we have some severe weather moving in today. Hail could be golf ball-sized, and winds could get up to 75 miles per hour. That's a "slight" risk by Nebraska standards. Tornadoes are not uncommon, and winter weather can be treacherous (or we can have a whole winter without more than an inch or two of snow falling at a time). It's really important just to pay attention to the forecast. Let me be among the first to say, "When Thunder Roads, Go Indoors." That means if you can hear thunder, you're close enough to get hit by lightning and should go inside.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Just one robbery per year was reported in 2020 and 2021. The risk is low but follow all standard safety precautions.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Offutt Air Force Base nearby is going to put a lot of military planes in the sky, which can be concerning. While we encourage visitors to treat every major metro area with a medium risk, there's a lot of security here too. On that note, don't try to gain access to Offutt unless you have permission to be on the base, or else you'll get a visit from the military police.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
In this residential area, the risk is low. You can check the Better Business Bureau and social media sites for city and law enforcement to see if any scams are trending closer to your visit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
I visit La Vista all the time solo as a middle-aged woman, and I have walked the Cabela's shopping area many times. It's a safe community to explore, and there are plenty of resources nearby if you get into trouble.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Metropolitan Utilities District supplies water to La Vista, and the website is a treasure trove of water safety information. The latest report in 2022 shows full compliance and no violations. For issues like water main breaks or flooding that causes water quality issues, you'll need to check social media for the city and emergency management. It's rare but can happen. Your hotel should have all that information in case something happens too.
Safest Places to Visit in La Vista
Go Sarpy is the name of the tourism website for the county, which does include the La Vista options.
You can sign up for a tourism newsletter, but you will have to give some personal information to get that.
You are only required to give a name and email, but you have the option to share your address and phone number.
Visit Omaha is the site for the larger metro area. Visit Nebraska covers the entire state.
La Vista has a large shopping area just off the interstate, where Cabela’s is the flagship store.
This sporting goods store is much more than a shopping experience.
There’s an aquarium, archery range, and shooting gallery inside too.
You can also buy fishing and hunting licenses there while getting local expert advice on the best spots.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is across from Cabela’s.
This is a movie theater experience mixed with a brew pub dining menu for a meal before the movie or service inside the theater.
Star Wars fans will love the design of the lobby.
Fun Plex Water Park is the largest in the state and just four miles from La Vista.
An amusement park is on site with safe rides for kids of all ages, go-karts, and bumper boats!
Chalco Hills Recreation Area is one of the most popular fishing spots and hiking areas close to the metro area.
You will need a fishing license here, and all fishing is catch-and-release.
The sunrise and sunsets here are stunning, with wildlife viewing throughout the park.
Please don’t feed or lure wild animals.
Walnut Creek Recreation Area is another great outdoor option, just south of La Vista in Papillion.
Places to Avoid in La Vista
You’re safe to travel across Sarpy County without running into bad neighborhoods or dangerous parts of town.
It’s always best to stay on main roads and highways and not cut through neighborhoods, but there’s little risk of ending up in a rough part of town.
Before you plan a trip to the park or to a nearby river, check the weather forecast.
The National Weather Center of Omaha is very active online and on social media to alert about any issues.
For those who aren’t used to wildfire regions, a Red Flag Warning might be a new weather alert.
This means that winds, low humidity, and dry conditions make wildfires likely to get out of control if a fire starts.
Avoid being in Nebraska without knowing how to find a safe place to go in case of a tornado.
You should know what to do if you’re outdoors, in a car, or in a building.
Your hotel should have specific safety advice about a tornado shelter.
Safety Tips for Traveling to La Vista
- La Vista has its own police department, and you can find them on Facebook @LaVistaPolice. Since there are other La Vista-named places in America, be sure you always see the 402 area code to confirm it’s the right one.
- Sign up for Sarpy County Alerts through the county’s emergency management website. You’ll get updates about developing weather and safety information throughout the region. Weather can develop here quickly, so you need to stay informed. I’m actually writing this from Nebraska on a day we have a greater risk of severe storms, and even though it’s common, it still can put you on edge if you’re not set up for alerts.
- The city of La Vista also has alerts you can sign up for, but these are more for issues like road construction, lane closures, water main breaks, and parking bans during winter weather. It helps to get as much safety information as you can. All alerts are easy to unsubscribe from when you leave.
- If you happen to get information about a past crime or notice suspicious activity, you can report it through Crime Stoppers without having to leave your name. The phone number is 1-402-592-STOP (7867). There’s also the Sarpy County TIPS website where you can file concerns or complaints about issues like graffiti or mental health issues.
- Sarpy County has a program to stop people from driving drunk. If you plan to consume alcohol, you can stop by the SAC Federal Credit Union and ask for an “I Care Cab Fare.” This is a credit card that will work with any Omaha-area taxi cab company. Learn more by looking at the Sarpy County DUI Task Force on the city’s website.
- Nebraska Outdoors is a website and app provided by the state to cover all aspects of enjoying Nebraska’s wilderness. From purchasing a fishing license to checking out the nearest state park, everything you need is in one spot.
- La Vista has a YouTube channel that is a double dip of information for tourists. The police department has safety tip videos on there, and the city provides updates on parks and businesses while celebrating local options to explore. You can find it @citylavista.
- Use 511 Nebraska to check road conditions in the state and metro area. You can create an account and set alerts for your preferred routes. The app includes dozens of highway cameras, color-coded street conditions, and real-time traffic reports.
- Since La Vista is a big residential community, many “things to do” will be community events. You can get that information through weekly or monthly “Citywise” emails. If you don’t want to give your email address, you can view the newsletters on the city’s website.
- Visit the Corridor 84 website to see the developments available during your visit. This major roadway is being expanded and renovated to include more tourist attractions and entertainment options in the city while revamping a part of the city that was in shambles.
So... How Safe Is La Vista Really?
La Vista has a violent crime rate that’s less than half the national average.
The police department puts out monthly statistics for year-to-date, so you can see what crimes are trending compared to the previous year.
This is much more helpful since the last official data reported as of this publication is 2021.
In 2022, many local law enforcement departments were changing from UCR crime reporting to NIBRS reporting, per FBI guidance.
This is not mandatory but is helpful for tracking nationwide crime trends. As a visitor, it’s always best to search local law enforcement websites for the most updated data.
One of the biggest increases in crime was domestic violence, which more than doubled in 2022.
That’s a pattern we’ve seen across Nebraska.
It’s also something that likely won’t impact a tourist.
About one car break-in, a week was reported in 2022, which is a good reminder to keep your car locked with personal items out of plain sight.
The neighboring Sarpy County communities are safe as well, leaving you a lot of room to explore safe neighborhoods.
For concerns in Omaha, you can read out story “How Safe Is Omaha for Travel?”
How Does La Vista Compare?
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
International travelers will go through Customs and Border Patrol at the airport, where they'll need a passport and visa or visa waiver. You can start the process on the U.S. State Department website to see the latest changes to the visa process.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here, and there are plenty of currency exchange options in the Omaha area. You will pay higher fees if you use a bank where you aren't a member or might even be required to open an account. It's much easier if you take care of currency exchanges at your home bank.
You'll get all four seasons here, but bring layers in spring and fall, where you can get several seasonal temperatures in one day. When cold fronts move through, temperatures can plummet. A hoodie or jacket should be fine, but in April, you might need a winter coat. Summer will be hot and muggy. Bring bug spray.
Eppley Airfield (OMA) is about 25 minutes away, but check traffic before you go. It's an easy drive on interstates and main roads, but traffic backups are common.
You should consider comprehensive coverage, even though it might cost a little more. The wild weather here can cause delays, and healthcare is never free in America. Winter storms could also shut most of the city down. You want to be protected against such things.
La Vista Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Nebraska - Safety by City
|South Sioux City||78|