Is Little Compton Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On February 28, 2024
Little Compton, United States
Safety Index:
81
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Among the affluent towns of the Classic Coast of Rhode Island, Little Compton boasts more history than almost any other American city can claim.

Little Compton sits perched where the Sakonnet River meets breezy coastal headlands jutting into the Atlantic.

Scenic farmscapes, unhurried small-town charm, and miles of shoreline cradling tranquil beaches impart a timeless pastoral essence uncommon even for New England.

It was officially incorporated in 1682 when English settlers from the Plymouth Colony established a community there.

Aside from modern advances, not much has changed in this seaside town.

These days, summer swells bring beachgoing throngs descending upon Little Compton’s acclaimed sandy stretches.

But come September, the 21 square-mile community returns to small-town solitude and windswept vistas.

Stately gray shingled 18th century homes built by merchant ship captains now harbor part-time residents.

With an average home price of around one million dollars, the people who provide essential and tourist services are being priced out of their community.

Just how much that impacts tourism in Little Compton remains to be seen.

With that grandeur comes some lost opportunities for tourists.

For example, five beaches in the community sounds great until you realize just two are open to the public.

Sure, Little Compton is safe, but is it fun – especially when Newport and South County are just a few miles away?

Warnings & Dangers in Little Compton

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk here with hardly any crime to speak of, much less a targeted plot against tourists. It's a laid-back rural town, and it will stay that way thanks to preserved land.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

RIPTA is the public transportation for all of Rhode Island, and Little Compton is on the route. Go Orange Cab Company is the only cab service that comes to this area. Lyft, Uber, and luxury rideshare brands are available. Rental cars can be picked up at the airport.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

The entire city sees an average of 14 thefts a year going back a decade. That's 14 total - not just pickpockets. In fact, no pick-pockets or purse snatchings have been reported in that time frame. The risk is low.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

You need to treat this as a medium risk due to hurricanes and nor'easters that 'can cause widespread damage. Those come with plenty of advance notice. However, storms offshore can also impact beach safety. You need to be aware of tides, weather forecasts, and storm updates.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

No robberies have been reported in the past decade, making this a very low risk. If you're renting a home, it's good to know that no more than five burglaries have been reported in a year going back to 2015.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

This is another low risk. Even with the affluent people here and the large homes, it's still a rural area with no appeal for those wishing to cause widespread damage.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

The biggest issue here has been rental scams, where someone posts a fake listing for a rock-bottom price with the caveat that the renter pays in advance. Once the guest arrives, they find out the home isn't available, and the scammer has disappeared with their money. Use BBB-approved rental companies and never wire money to secure a rental. Otherwise, the risk is low.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

This is another low risk, even if you're traveling solo or with kids. The crime rates are among the lowest you'll find anywhere in America.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Wells provides the water here, and there's a growing concern about whether there will be enough water to fill the groundwater wells. For now, the water is safe to use, and you can read recent reports and plans to address groundwater issues on the town's website.

Safest Places to Visit in Little Compton

You’ll use the DiscoverNewport.org website to find out information about Little Compton and the surrounding cities on different islands and peninsulas.

Their version of the visitor’s guide is called the destination guide, and you can opt to download it without giving your personal information. ‘

The site also includes the best locations for sunrise and sunset, so I won’t spend time on those in the spirit of efficiency.

Most of the things to do in Little Compton are available in the summer, but I’ll note if each one is available in the winter.

“Summer” here means early July through mid-October, usually around Columbus Day.

You can start with the summer hours at the Little Compton Historical Society.

With the rich farming history here, the tour covers the different eras of Little Compton with a special “Everyone Was A Farmer” exhibit.

Each year brings a new theme to the historical society events.

While it’s open for guided tours in the summer, you can schedule an off-season private tour depending on tour guide availability.

South Shore Beach is the town’s public beach.

It’s open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with beach passes available for the day, weekend, week, or season.

The beach closes from 11 pm through 5 am.

You’ll need to park at that beach to get access to the Goosewing Beach Preserve, which falls under the care of the Nature Conservancy.

In the center of Little Compton is the Town Common, a rare centrally located gathering place for events and activities.

While it might appear similar to a town square, the historical distinction and centrally located section that has been there since the beginning of the community makes it stand out.

The cemetery in the middle of the town common dates back to the original town settlement.

Some farms are open seasonally, depending on the crop or product at that time of year.

You can consider Christmas tree farms, orchards, and fresh produce.

Young Family Farm is one of the summer favorites.

In the fall, the historical society hosts a farm tour.

Old Stone Orchard is a fall favorite, with pumpkins, apples, and sunflowers.

It is open from September through mid-November.

Speaking of stones, the impressive stone walls of this community were used to divide the lands between farmers since these are compact but fertile lands.

Just driving around the town common and nearby neighborhoods offers a glimpse into the past.

Places to Avoid in Little Compton

You might have noticed there isn’t a lot under the Places to Visit section.

Little Compton is a sleepy bedroom community that oozes charm.

It’s better to drive around, stop for breakfast at The Barn or enjoy a day at the beach and then move on to one of the other nearby communities.

The two beach areas we mentioned above are the only public beach access areas in Little Compton.

The other beaches are just for residents and their guests.

Before booking a home rental here, ask if you will have access to the private beaches.

Avoid trying to sneak into or blend in with the crowd at the private beaches.

Many people here go back generations, and they’ll spot a tourist a mile away.

You can visit nearby Tiverton and explore more public beaches there.

Fogland Beach is a particular favorite and a great spot to put a kayak in the water.

Finally, don’t mistake Little Compton for Compton, California, which is historically known as one of the most dangerous cities in America.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Little Compton

  1. Little Compton does have its own police department. You can reach them by phone at (401) 635–2311. They are more present on social media using Instagram, with the handle @littlecomptonpoliceri.
  2. Use the CodeRED system to sign up for emergency notices. You can get text messages, phone calls, or emails. This will cover incoming severe weather, evacuations, public safety hazards, and road closures.
  3. Know the meaning of beach flags before you head in the water. For example, a double red flag means the water is too dangerous to explore. A purple flag means dangerous marine life is present, which could mean stingrays or jellyfish.
  4. Check the Rhode Island Department of Health between Memorial Day and Labor Day for water quality and beach safety testing. You might find that one beach has been labeled unhealthy while another beach is safe to visit.
  5. After a swim in the ocean, be sure to shower immediately. Small shrimp-shaped creatures called crustacean isopods can be present in bulk. They won’t hurt you but can cause irritation or just be downright icky.
  6. This entire region is humid in the summer, which fosters more bugs like mosquitoes, biting flies, and greenhead flies. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the community. It’s just part of summer at the New England beaches. One thing you can do is apply citrus-scented perfume to help keep them at bay.
  7. Since Little Compton is so close to Massachusetts, you’ll want to use the New England 511 website to understand traffic conditions. You’ll also be able to see construction zones, live cameras, and weather conditions.
  8. If you plan to visit Newport while you’re here, plan to leave very early in the morning. Traffic is intense in Newport during the summer, and parking can be hard to find. You could also consider taking a taxi to drop you off and pick you up.
  9. I stumbled upon the Little Compton Blog online, which covers issues of local importance but does touch on concerns like beach access or celebrations of local businesses. You get a great dose of history, which will help you appreciate your time here even more.
  10. You can camp on the beach here, but you’ll need to fill out an application and wait to be approved. It’s worth waiting for if you can score a spot.

So... How Safe Is Little Compton Really?

Little Compton had 54 crimes in 2023 across the board.

That’s every potential crime category.

The highest number was in Destruction of Property, with nine incidents.

In any given year, looking back a decade, violent crimes can be counted on one or two hands.

2023 had two violent crimes.

Even thefts were unthinkable low, with just eight.

This really isn’t a community where crime is a concern, but it’s also a community where residents are actively engaged in preserving the small-town charm.

No loud parties or boisterous activity will be allowed.

It’s up to you to learn the weather and ocean risks and know the potential for a storm approaching.

Hurricane Season runs from June through November, with a peak in August through October.

If a tropical storm watch or hurricane watch is issued, leave.

How Does Little Compton Compare?

CitySafety Index
Little Compton81
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Dallas64
Memphis54
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

A visa or visa waiver is required for every international visitor. Start by checking the U.S. State Department's website to see if you qualify for the waiver. A passport that isn't within six months of expiring is also required.

Currency

Currency

You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Exchange currency at your home bank or the airport, but you don't really need to carry cash here. Credit cards are the payment method of choice.

Weather

Weather

Be casual, but pack for the weather forecast. Little Compton gets four robust seasons. Even in the hottest part of summer, a sweater or jacket could be needed on cool evenings.

Airports

Airports

Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport is about 50 minutes away by car. That's the closest airport, but if you're flying out of Boston, plan for about 75 minutes on the road.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a smart choice when visiting a place impacted by weather so often. You also want to have some kind of health insurance if your personal coverage doesn't extend to the U.S.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Little Compton Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -1° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 9° C
May 14° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 22° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 13° C
Nov 8° C
Dec 3° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
34713182326262217116
Low
°C
-4-315101518181594-1
High
°F
373945556473797972635243
Low
°F
252734415059646459483930

Rhode Island - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Burrillville79
Cranston88
Cumberland84
Jamestown82
Johnston79
Little Compton81
Narragansett82
Newport80
North Kingstown83
Pawtucket80
Providence68
Warwick85
Westerly82
Woonsocket65

Where to Next?

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