Kentucky : Safety by City
- Bowling Green
- Cave City
- Cumberland Falls
- Harlan Tri-Cities
- La Grange
- St. Matthews
Saddle up your horse and grab your bourbon glass, we’re going to the “Horse Capital of the World” in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Southern flavor of this community makes it endearing and unforgettable.
The location is ideal with Cincinnati, Louisville, and Daniel Boone National Forest all just 90 minutes away.
This is Kentucky life at its finest.
Lexington has managed to grow in population while still holding onto that small-town feel.
The business growth hasn’t impeded on the picturesque horse farms and rolling hills of Kentucky Blue Grass.
The music scene here is amazing too, with live music streaming out of bars and on street corners.
You’ll be tapping your foot and falling in love with Blue Grass music before you leave.
The Festival of the Bluegrass is the oldest of its kind in the state and kicks off summer with the signature sound of Kentucky.
You’re also in the heart of Kentucky history in Lexington, with those stately homes reminiscent of Gone With the Wind.
Even downtown has been revitalized without losing that classic Southern charm.
Blue Grass/Bluegrass is spelled in different ways depending on the attraction or location.
Search engines should accommodate this discrepancy, but there doesn’t seem to be a universal agreement on which is correct.
Warnings & Dangers in Lexington
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Another bonus when visiting Lexington is the low crime rate. This is a safe community with its share of crime, but no overwhelming concern about running into a dangerous crowd.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Lextran is the public transportation system here with plenty of routes to get you where you want to go. Taxis and rideshares are readily available, as are rental cars. We'd recommend renting a car if you can, so you can explore all the regions in and outside of Lexington.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
While the theft rate here is above the national average, there were just 32 pickpockets or purse snatchings in 2020. That's not a lot for a city of 322,000 people, but it's also a nice reminder that pickpockets can happen anywhere. Limit what you carry to the bare essentials.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Flooding and tornadoes pose the biggest risks here, with several major events on record. Winter weather isn't all that common but can cripple the city when it does happen. Treat this as a medium risk so you are prepared for the worst, but still hope for the best.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is at or slightly above the national average, but with 20% of robberies happening in public places, there's a low risk for a tourist.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Places like Louisville and Cincinnati would be much richer targets for a terrorist, so you shouldn't be worried about anything but a low risk here.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The biggest scam in Lexington involved the CITY being scammed out of millions of dollars through a spoofed vendor demanding payment. Other scams are the typical spoofing calls from law enforcement or utility companies. A tourist shouldn't worry about anything but a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The sexual assault rate here is 35% higher than the national average, but the larger percentage of those were domestic situations. It's important to drink water between bourbon tasting to keep your wits about you. Common sense and good personal safety practices will keep your risk low.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Lexington takes water quality as seriously as it takes horse breeding and bourbon. The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance. In addition, check out this accolade, "We take water quality so seriously that all three of our water treatment plants have been nationally recognized with Directors Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Partnership for Safe Water program for surpassing federal and state drinking water standards."
Safest Places to Visit in Lexington
Visitlex.com is the official tourism website for the city.
It’s smart to use this as a starting point so you don’t end up on a third-party tourism site that could put viruses on your computer or hack information.
The attractions in Lexington revolve around horses, history, and bourbon.
The Distillery District downtown is on the 25 acres of an abandoned distillery.
Now it’s filled with distilleries, restaurants, and events that bring crowds of all ages to enjoy this resurrected district.
The American Saddlebred Museum is a must-see to learn about the history of horses in Kentucky.
You’ll find artwork and artifacts here, but no live horses.
Visiting here first will help you when you do visit a horse ranch, which starts another big tourist challenge – there are 450 horse farms in this area.
You can schedule through a tour company and the tourism department recommends these options:
- Horse Country Inc. – (866)466-1509
- Horse Farm Tours – (800)976-1034
- Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours – (859) 260-8687
- Unique Horse Farm Tours – (859) 213-6653
Another great equestrian stop is Thoroughbred Park.
While the park is less than three acres large, the real Insta-moment is the bronze life-sized racehorses.
Historic home tours here are really quite incredible.
I will give a trigger warning – there will be some talk of slavery, whether directly or indirectly.
Some sites actually offer slavery tours.
The Henry Clay Estate offers tours of the statesman’s home in the 19th century with real family artifacts.
Gratz Park is lined with grand oaks and colorful homes in one of the oldest residential sections of town.
This would make a great morning stroll with your cup of coffee.
Hopemont is reflective of the community when it was the epitome of culture.
There’s a Civil War museum inside and a beautiful garden.
The Mary Todd Lincoln House is the childhood home of President Lincoln’s wife.
It’s also among the oldest structures in the city.
Live like a Lincoln and take a tour of this grand home.
Get outside at Boone Creek Outdoors, where you can get courageous and ride a zip line 1400 feet in the air or just meander and listen to the history lessons of the Kentucky Palisades.
Ropes courses, bridges, and lots of stairs also fill this space.
Bring comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
The Lexington Farmer’s Market isn’t limited to one place on one day like many other cities choose to do.
There are four locations throughout the city and Monday is the only day off for the vendors.
Places to Avoid in Lexington
Lexington has that “If you don’t go looking for trouble, you won’t find it” vibe.
While there are some lower-income neighborhoods or streets with higher crime rates, there are also complaints that tourists bring in crime and drug activity when staying in the Airbnb section of town.
I love researching new areas to see the variety of comments.
As much as one person thinks a city is safe, another person would walk along in the middle of the night with their newborn.
One constant with Lexington through – Nicholasville Road traffic can be a nightmare, especially during rush hours.
If you’re looking for a less crowded Lexington, you should check the events schedule to make sure your trip doesn’t overlap with a horse race or big annual festival.
If you are coming for one of these events, be sure to reserve far in advance as prices will go up while hotels max out reservations.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Lexington
- Look at the crime data section of the Lexington Police Department website. The department keeps track of crimes monthly and updated often. For example, I can see through the August 2022 report that violent crime is up every month of the year.
- Follow LexWrecks on Twitter to get the latest traffic information in the city. There’s also a link to a traffic map where you can see live cameras at the busiest intersections. If you love digging into data, the department also offers traffic compilation statistics for each month.
- Bluegrass Crime Stoppers offers several ways to report crime information without having to give your name. This isn’t for emergency situations. If you have any information about a crime, or even hear other people talking about a crime, call (859)253-2020 or you can download the P3 Tips app.
- If you have any questions you want to ask an officer about crime prevention or safety, you can call the Crime Prevention Hotline at (859)258-3600. Anyone with questions about the LGBTQ+ community can reach out to Lt. Matt Brotherton at mbrotherton@lexingtonpolice,ky.gov
- Lexington Parks and Recreation sends out a monthly newsletter. You can sign up on the city’s website to get information about outdoor events happening closer to your visit. There is also a list of upcoming events on the landing page of the city’s website. Just scroll down a bit and you’ll see it.
- I realize when I say things like “research the emergency management plan,” there’s a low chance you are actually going to do it. Luckily, Lexington offers a BeReady app so you can quickly research any weather-related issue or emergency situation that happens.
- Still not going to listen to me? Ok, here’s another option. Sign up for Lex Alerts so you can get emergency notifications on your mobile device or in your email.
- Follow all the safety guidance during a horse farm tour. Standing directly in front of or being a horse could lead to you getting kicked. I almost learned this one the hard way.
- When choosing a horse farm tour, read the FAQs or tour descriptions. Some tours limit what you can wear (like requiring closed-toed shoes), while others won’t let you bring any drinks but bottled water. Each horse farm differs in whether they provide transportation or allow you to arrive and be picked up via rideshare.
- Lexpark.org gives a thorough lay of the parking process in Lexington. They offer a service where you can reserve a spot ahead of time. What a great way to avoid wasting time looking for a spot, right?
So... How Safe Is Lexington Really?
While Lexington is an overall safe city, that’s not to say it doesn’t have crime.
You’ll find crimes of all kinds in the city, including the month of May 2022 when 11 homicides happened.
There are also an average of four cars stolen each day.
As for thefts, 32% are related to car break-ins, so always lock your car doors and roll up the windows.
Leave nothing in plain sight and remove the rental car paperwork from the glove compartment.
Store it in a safe place.
If you are staying at an Airbnb, lock all the doors and windows when you go to sleep.
Use a deadbolt when available.
For hotels, try to park under a street light or within sight of a security camera.
2021 saw crime rates go down in many key categories, but in 2022 the pace is trending for an increase in crime – some categories as high as 30% in a month compared to the same month in 2021.
The risk during your visit to Lexington will largely depend on how attuned you are to your personal and property safety.
Always keep an eye on the weather because you don’t want to be caught outdoors when a storm is bearing down.
How Does Lexington Compare?
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- Visas - The U.S. requires all out-of-country travelers to have a valid passport and a U.S. Travel or Work Visa. You can also check the U.S. State Department website to see if your country allows a Visa Waiver. The visa process can take up to four months, so don't delay getting your documents in order.
- Currency - You'll only be able to use the U.S. Dollar (USD), and it's smart to exchange currency before you come for the best value. You really don't need a lot of cash here, and a credit card provides more fraud protection anyway.
- Weather - You'll want to bring winter clothing from November through March, but it generally doesn't get bitterly cold here like it would in the northern states. Spring and fall can have fluctuating temperatures, so bring a mix of sleeve and pants lengths. Summer will be hot and humid, so pack shorts and t-shirts that are light-colored and loose-fitting. Don't forget sunscreen and bug spray.
- Airports - Blue Grass Airport is seven miles from downtown Lexington. It's a good-sized airport, but if you want a larger option, the Cincinnati airport is 90 minutes north.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a great way to protect your airline investment and protect your belongings and health along the way. Make sure you know what protection you have in the event of severe weather or flooding.
Lexington Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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