Ohio : Safety by City
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Mansfield, Ohio, a city with a rich history and a unique cinematic legacy, is nestled in the heart of north-central Ohio.
Known as the “The Fun Center of Ohio,” Mansfield is an inviting destination for travelers seeking an authentic American experience.
Its captivating history dates back to the early 19th century when it was founded, and it played a pivotal role during the Civil War as a transportation hub.
What truly sets Mansfield apart is its connection to the iconic film “The Shawshank Redemption.”
The movie’s director, Frank Darabont, chose this city as the backdrop for the fictional Shawshank State Penitentiary due to its well-preserved, striking Victorian architecture.
Did you know that Tom Cruise was initially tapped to star as Andy Dufresne but backed out?
Mansfield Reformatory, a stunning piece of Gothic architecture, stood in as the film’s Shawshank prison, leaving an indelible mark on the town’s identity.
Mansfield is more than just a movie set; it’s a vibrant community filled with culture, art, and outdoor activities.
The city hosts the renowned Shawshank Trail, guiding visitors to various film locations.
Explore Kingwood Center Gardens, a serene oasis of floral beauty, or visit the Mansfield Fire Museum to glimpse the city’s heritage.
At the same time, Mansfield has also been dubbed “Danger City” but news publications for a growing crime rate and high gun violence statistics.
Know before you go with this safety guide, so you can enjoy everything Mansfield has to offer.
Warnings & Dangers in Mansfield
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here overall, but the risk is lower for visitors with the right guidance. The crime rates are just too high to give it a low-risk score.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Richland County Transit has fixed routes between Mansfield, Shelby, and Ontario (Ohio). Check the schedule to see if that suits your needs. Rental cars, taxis, and rideshares are readily available. The risk is low with any option if you use proper safety precautions.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
About 3-5 pickpockets or purse snatchings happen each year, looking back at crime data from the past five years. That's a low risk statistically, but the theft rates here are 70% higher than the national average, which bumps this to a medium risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Here's another medium risk due to severe or disruptive weather that happens throughout the year. It's important to stay weather-aware, as severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, ice storms, and extreme temperatures are all possible in respective seasons.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
35% of robberies are highway robberies over the past five years, which means they happen in public places like streets, sidewalks, or parking lots. However, the robbery rate here is 26% lower than the national average and has dropped 70% in the past decade. I feel safe giving this a low risk but still use safety steps like not walking at night alone.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Mansfield is a hub of military cyber warfare, which does mean there's a hard target in town. With that risk comes a lot of extra security. The risk is low, but it's always smart to report anything suspicious you see, just in case.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most scams here target residents, so there's a low risk for tourists. Keep it low by researching trending scams on the police department's social media sites.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
Women should explore Mansfield with the same medium risk as everyone else. Try to travel in pairs or groups if you can, and avoid going to a private party or meeting someone new in a private place. Stay in public places that are well-lit and near other people.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The water quality in Mansfield meets or exceeds the standards. The only issue here is the aging water mains that lead to outages or non-functional hydrants. As of October 2023, the replacement of the water mains is up for a vote. If there are any water issues during your visit, you'll get a notification. We'll tell you how to sign up for those a little later in this article.
Safest Places to Visit in Mansfield
Destination Mansfield is the name of the tourism website for Mansfield and surrounding Richland County.
You can download a tourist guide for free, and there are several niche publications, like a BBQ Trail or Beer/Wine Guide.
One must-visit destination is the Ohio State Reformatory, a historic prison turned museum that has gained fame as the filming location for “The Shawshank Redemption.”
Explore the hauntingly beautiful architecture and learn about its intriguing history.
You can also download a Shawshank Trail guide on that tourism site to find more locations in Mansfield from the movie.
For art enthusiasts, the Mansfield Art Center is a haven of creativity.
The center hosts ever-changing exhibitions, workshops, and artist talks, making it a vibrant hub for the local art scene.
Don’t miss a trip to the Richland Carrousel Park, a charming place that will take you back in time with its hand-carved wooden carousels.
It’s a great spot for a family outing or a leisurely ride.
If you’re seeking a connection with nature, the Kingwood Center Gardens is a botanical paradise.
With beautifully landscaped gardens, walking trails, and seasonal events, it’s a serene escape within the city.
To delve into Mansfield’s history, the Mansfield Fire Museum is a fascinating choice.
This unique museum showcases the rich heritage of firefighting, featuring antique firefighting equipment and memorabilia.
A haunted Mansfield brochure is available for those who like scary stories and local legends.
One of those is the Shawshank prison, yet another reason to visit.
Adventurous souls can explore the B&O Trail, a scenic path perfect for biking or hiking.
The trail provides beautiful views of the countryside and offers an opportunity to connect with Mansfield’s natural beauty.
For those intrigued by aviation, the Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base offers an exciting chance to witness military aircraft up close.
The Air National Guard occasionally hosts open houses where you can explore these impressive machines.
If you’re a film buff, the Renaissance Theatre is a must-visit.
This historic theater showcases a variety of performances, including movies, concerts, and live theater.
Depending on which season you visit, look for the Mohican Adventures, about 30 minutes away.
Raft trips, an aerial park, camping, and a fun center are open to guests.
Winter brings Snow Trails to life, with tubing, snowboarding and skiing available.
With two lodges and a children’s learning center, there’s something for everyone and all skill levels.
Places to Avoid in Mansfield
Some of the neighborhoods around downtown, especially those with numbered street names, are among the most dangerous.
Unfortunately, the police department doesn’t provide a crime mapping technology that you can review before you visit.
The best plan is to stay in a hotel north of Highway 20, as that’s among the lowest-crime areas in Mansfield.
Also, south of Winwood Drive is a collection of hotels away from the higher crime areas.
You can also get closer to I-71 with that option.
Look for hotels in the Mansfield/Ontario area too, as that’s also outside the high-crime part of the city.
No matter where you visit around Mansfield, it’s a place where you want to mind your own business if you see trouble brewing or suspect something illegal is happening.
As part of a nationwide trend, Mansfield is seeing juveniles committing violent crimes more frequently.
Years ago, it would have made sense for an adult to interject into a fight between teenagers, but not anymore.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Mansfield
- Mansfield does have its own police department. You can follow them on Facebook @MansfieldPoliceOH. The phone number is (419)522-1234. Questions can also be emailed to email@example.com.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through the WENS program. You’ll learn more about how that works on the Richland County Emergency Management website. It’s important to get public safety and severe weather alerts in this region.
- The city of Mansfield has its own alert system through Everbridge. This will also cover severe weather or winter storm weather information in addition to hyper-local issues, like closed roads or public safety alerts.
- Mansfield has free parking downtown, but that’s just for designated lots. Streets have metered parking. If you don’t pay for metered time, you could get a ticket. Luckily, the police department does allow you to pay parking tickets online.
- When winter weather arrives, street parking could be banned while the snow plows clear the streets. If more than two inches of snow is in the forecast, parking in a garage or parking lot.
- If you are in town during a storm and the power goes out, report it through the First Energy Corporation website. (You did remember to keep your phone charged, right?) You can also see a list of other outages on an interactive map.
- If fishing is part of your travel itinerary, you should know a license is required for any fishing in Ohio. You can buy a non-resident license online through the Ohio Department of Fish & Game.
- Use Ohgo’s website and app to track traffic and road conditions across the region or the state. There are many great scenic drives in this region, but you want to make sure you have clear roads to explore.
- There’s a stretch of Park Avenue West that is known as the Miracle Mile, but it’s also known for drag racing and speeding. Use caution, especially at night, and expect a stronger police presence in that area.
- If you’re spending time in the parks or wilderness, be sure to do a full-body scan for ticks when you’re done. All ticks should be removed by the head with tweezers.
So... How Safe Is Mansfield Really?
By October 2023, Mansfield’s annual homicide rate had surpassed the all-time high.
The surge of gun violence, which isn’t unique to just Mansfield, prompted the launch of a task force to help make the community safer.
“This recent uptick in gun violence is concerning, and please let us reassure the community that every resource at our disposal is being utilized to address these investigations,” Mansfield Police said in a release.
“In response, a Homicide Task Force has been implemented, which consists of Richland County Law Enforcement detectives and an Assistant Prosecutor.
Their focus is to not only identify the suspects involved but to also reduce all gun violence in Richland County.”
Looking at the bigger picture, violent crime in Mansfield is 65% higher than the state average and 21% higher than the national average.
The only silver lining for a visitor is that just 3% of violent crimes have happened against strangers over the past five years.
Theft rates are 70% higher than the national average but have also been cut in half over the past decade.
There’s just a ways to go to get that rate anywhere near a “safe” level.
Almost one-third of thefts are related to car break-ins and accessory thefts.
About two cars are stolen each week in Mansfield.
Risks like that are easy to lower by simply locking car doors and removing any valuables from inside.
While there’s a definite underbelly of crime in Mansfield, there are a lot of great things to do.
Hopefully, this guide has helped make that trip safer for you and your loved ones.
How Does Mansfield Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
The U.S. State Department offers detailed information about how to apply for a visa. I encourage anyone who is eligible for a visa waiver to apply since those make the process much easier. You'll also need a passport that isn't within six months of expiring.
The U.S. Dollar is the currency of the land. You can use currency exchange services at the Cleveland airport, but your home bank offers the lowest rates. Plenty of purchases can be made via credit card, and that payment method offers the best fraud protection anyway.
Mansfield experiences four distinct seasons, so pack accordingly and don't forget comfortable shoes and bug spray (for warmer months). Winter will generally require a warm coat and cold-weather accessories.
With Mansfield halfway between Cleveland and Columbus, you'll be an hour from each respective city's airport. Cleveland is a larger airport with more international flights.
Get travel insurance that covers weather delays, canceled flights, car accidents, and health issues. It's worth the small investment to protect against worst-case scenarios.
Mansfield Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Ohio - Safety by City