Ohio : Safety by City
- Cuyahoga Falls
- Port Clinton
- Yellow Springs
Lorain, Ohio, straddling the shores of Lake Erie, is a hidden gem that offers a blend of history and natural beauty.
Located just about 30 miles west of Cleveland, it’s easily accessible, making it a perfect day trip or weekend getaway from the bustling city.
The city’s history is deeply intertwined with the maritime industry, and a visit to the historic Lorain Lighthouse, which has stoically guarded the shores for over a century, is a must.
This iconic lighthouse offers insight into the area’s rich maritime heritage, and you can even take guided tours to explore its intriguing past.
Lorain’s lakefront pier, along with its picturesque beach, is a tranquil escape where you can take leisurely strolls, enjoy picnics, or simply savor the serene beauty of Lake Erie.
What makes Lorain worth visiting is its unique combination of history, natural charm, and proximity to Cleveland.
You can explore the city’s industrial past through historical societies, savor waterfront dining experiences, and take part in local cultural festivals.
Lorain does have some safety concerns we’ll discuss, but I can tell you right away that this isn’t a waterfront suburb teeming with hotels and resorts on the lake.
It’s a residential city of 65,000 people and has suffered years of neglect and industrial loss that takes away from the potential it has to be a stronger tourist destination.
Warnings & Dangers in Lorain
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, which is closer to an "average" risk for all intents and purposes. Some might consider it a medium risk. There are a few high-crime categories to explore, but plenty of ways to have a safe trip to Lorain.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Lorain County Transit has fixed routes you can explore to see if that suits your needs. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority does have a route that goes between the city and Lorain. Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are easy to find.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Over the past five years, about seven pickpockets or purse snatchings happened each year. That's not a high number, but it is higher than many other cities this size. It's still a low risk, and keep it low by limiting what you carry to essentials.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You'll get four robust seasons here, each with its own weather threat. Spring brings severe thunderstorms and the potential for tornadoes. Winter means blizzards, snowstorms, and ice storms. Flooding or high winds can cause problems throughout the year. Treat it as a medium risk and check the weather forecast daily.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The robbery rate here is average compared to national numbers, so you'll need to stay aware of your surroundings. We'll give it a low risk, but you should be aware that, in this case, "low" means average.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
As part of the Cleveland metro area, we would consider it a medium risk simply due to its size. However, there's no reason Lorain would be a terror target. Lorain County Office of Emergency Management Agency has a Homeland Security website where you can review the emergency plans in greater detail.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most scams here target residents, so the risk is low for tourists. Use common sense when booking a hotel or a rental house, and don't fall for fake listings that require you to wire money ahead of time. Check the police department's social media pages for current scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is another low risk, but remember – low means average here. Use standard precautions like traveling in pairs, not walking around at night, and not meeting strangers in a private place.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. You should have no concerns about drinking the tap water here.
Safest Places to Visit in Lorain
The best tourism site is the county’s website, which includes a list of things to do and places to visit.
It’s simple but effective.
That website is LorainCountyOhio.gov.
Visit the “Jewel of the Port” Lorain Lighthouse.
It’s only open in the warmer months, but it’s a beautiful beacon near the port.
You will take a boat to get there and should wear closed-toed comfortable shoes.
Check the Black River Audubon Society website for birding hotspots in the county.
Lorain is also on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.
Both Lorain and Lorain County have historical societies with museums and special tours of local historic places.
You can check the schedule online for tour information and walking maps.
At the Lorain Port, you can walk the mile-long pier, rent a boat, or take a fishing charter adventure.
Erie Steak & Seafood Company offers a great dining spot right on the water with amazing views and great food.
Take a train ride on the Lake Shore Railway Association. Look for the schedule on the Lorain & West Virginia Railway website.
Catch a live performance or movie at the Lorain Palace Theater, a historic venue offering a diverse array of entertainment options.
Look for events at Black River Landing in the summer for an outdoor entertainment experience.
Choose from more than two dozen MetroPark locations throughout the county with 110 miles of hiking trails.
Seasonal events offer a great way to meet community members and learn more about this region.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails are available in the winter.
June visitors shouldn’t miss the Lorain International Festival, held the last week of the month each year and spanning seven days.
Take a leisurely stroll or have a picnic at Lakeview Park.
This beautiful park offers scenic views of Lake Erie, a rose garden, and a charming beach for a relaxing day out.
Places to Avoid in Lorain
The safest parts of Lorain are the far western and eastern sides, but the safety level depends on what kind of crime levels you’re used to at home.
This is a working-class community with a 26% poverty rate.
Most households barely have a livable wage.
The flooding of 2023 caused some homes and people to fall further into despair.
You should avoid driving around at night unless you have a specific destination in mind, and don’t drive through neighborhoods aimlessly.
The risk is low of a stranger being a random victim of crime, but you also don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way.
If you’re looking for a charming lakefront town, you might want to consider heading further west to Port Clinton.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Lorain
- Lorain has its own police department with support from the Lorain County Sheriff. The police department does have a mobile app you can download to stay in touch with law enforcement and see recent information about crimes, trends, and safety guidance.
- The police department website has a crime mapping tool that allows you to check more recent criminal activities in different parts of town. You can also turn on a “hot spot” layer to see where the highest grouping of crime is happening.
- Sign up for Lorain County Alerts so severe weather information can be delivered to you as soon as it is issued. Whether it’s a major storm brewing or windy conditions on the lake, you can’t plan a day in Lorain without knowing what to expect outside.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the state, which is purchased through the Ohio Department of Fish & Game. You’ll want a non-resident license, so be sure to select the right category.
- Every bicycle used in Lorain must be licensed and have the appropriate sticker. Be sure to check for proof of this before renting a bike. If you’re bringing your own, contact the city to get proper guidance.
- When a snow emergency is issued, it means a winter storm is approaching, and streets are expected to be covered in snow. It also prohibits parking on the street during the snow emergency. Violators can be ticketed or towed.
- Lorain can be impacted by flash flooding, and a storm in August 2023 did major damage. Avoid driving through a flooded roadway, even if you don’t think it’s that deep. Just six inches of water can move a car or knock down a person.
- Use the Ohgo website and app to track traffic conditions around the region. You can view live cameras and get real-time traffic reports. Look for construction and weather conditions along your route as well.
- Download the Lorain Listens app to report issues you come across, like potholes or trash dumping. You can also see other reports in different areas if that helps you get a better view of the city before you visit.
- Avoid trying to walk across Lake Erie. While it can freeze over, it’s too risky to attempt it without training and knowledge of weather patterns and ice depth.
So... How Safe Is Lorain Really?
Lorain might be considered a more dangerous city if it weren’t surrounded by some other cities that have high crime.
It’s more of an “it’s not the worst place in Ohio” sense than anything.
Lorain just can’t seem to dig itself out of the slightly higher crime rate than the average hole it’s in.
Violent crime rates are 24% higher than the national average, but over the past five years, less than 1% of those crimes happened against strangers.
Lorain also has now established a High Impact Patrol Team working to target the most dangerous crimes.
It will be another year or two before we see how effective that is.
One of the biggest concerns you should have as a tourist is the growing rate of car thefts, with juveniles as young as 13 stealing cars.
This is a statewide trend and, in some cases, a regional trend.
About two cars a week are stolen in Lorain, according to 2022 crime data, and Cleveland car thefts were up 98% in 2022.
Lorain also deals with a drug problem, which is a nationwide trend of fentanyl-laced illegal drugs causing overdoses and deaths.
You should never take drugs from someone, even if they look like prescription drugs.
Always use a legitimate pharmacy.
If you need to visit Lorain, you won’t find many hotels.
If you’re looking at Lorain as a place to stay for a Cleveland visit, there are far better neighborhoods for tourists.
How Does Lorain Compare?
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When visiting Lorain from outside the U.S., you'll need a visa or visa waiver plus a passport that isn't within six months of expiring. You'll show proof of your documents at Customs and Border Patrol when you enter the country.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Cleveland's airport does have a currency exchange. You can also use your home bank, which is where you'll find the lowest rates.
You need to bundle up in winter and expect cold weather from November through March. Spring and fall have fluctuating temperatures and weather, so extra layers will be helpful. Don't forget sunscreen and bug spray in the warmer months.
You'll be about 30 minutes from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Lorain, but plan for an hour in traffic.
Don't risk a trip that could be delayed or canceled without travel insurance. The weather here is too risky, and travel insurance can cover so many costs associated with those issues. Also, the U.S. doesn't offer free healthcare, so supplemental coverage is smart if your home policy doesn't extend here.
Lorain Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Ohio - Safety by City