Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Indiana is rich with small towns bringing their own uniqueness to the state’s regions, and Martinsville is one of them with a downtown square that looks like the town square from the “Back to the Future” movies.
The historic courthouse stands in all its glory, as it has since before the Civil War, and it’s surrounded by unique stores that you’ll only find here.
There’s even a candy shop that’s now more than a century old and still churning out some of the best-looking candy I’ve ever seen.
Nearby you have the White River and a state forest, leaving something to do for everyone who travels here.
If a small town isn’t enough for you, Indianapolis is just 45 minutes northeast.
Martinsville celebrates its bicentennial (that’s 200 years) in 2022, and it’s poised for success over another 200 years.
This is a place with fewer than 12,000 people and nobody seems to mind.
The small-town vibe is cherished here.
The great part of these small towns is the treasures you find while visiting.
Some of the top restaurants here don’t even have websites, like the neighborhood favorite for home cooking “Come N Git It.”
Check out the Indiana Foodways Alliance, which is a non-profit organization that celebrates the unique eats across the state, and Martinsville is loaded with options.
Warnings & Dangers in Martinsville
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
One of the downsides of the smaller towns in Indiana is they don't always give updated crime statistics. Martinsville is one of those that hasn't provided information since 2014. I then checked Morgan County Sheriff's Office and they haven't provided any information to the FBI whatsoever. Because of this, by default, I give every crime statistic dependent category a medium risk. I can't give a low risk where no crime data supports it. In addition, Indiana is seeing an increase in gun violence and drug-related crimes and overdoses.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
There is no public transportation in Martinsville and the bus system in the county is for residents of Morgan County over 60 years old. You can get a taxi or rideshare, but it might be a bit of a wait. It's going to be necessary to have a car here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk by default. When I can't get good data from an agency, I dig into their social media posts. Recently there have been many thefts from stores, work truck break-ins, and even a bank robbery. While no reports of pickpockets were made, that's not necessarily something that is going to make a social media feed. You should always protect your belongings and, when visiting a new place, only carry around the essentials in your purse or wallet.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You've got a year-round potential for severe weather here. From severe thunderstorms to tornados to flooding to winter storms to ice storms. You should be weather aware at all times, and you can review Morgan County's emergency management plan online. As a side note, the Emergency Services Manager of Morgan County unexpectedly passed away in April of 2022. Your condolences would be welcomed.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robberies reported on the social media pages of the police department revolve around businesses, but because of the unknown number of robberies since 2014, we have to go with medium risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk that Martinsville would be a hard target. Indianapolis is the closest large population center that could be a target.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
While nothing indicates there are scams going around Martinsville that aren't targeted at locals, it is a medium risk by default. You should never fall for a prospect that involves purchasing gift cards, wiring money, or seems too good to be true.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should be careful visiting here because I don't have good data about sexual assault numbers and such. There was a report of "victimization" at a local high school, but the police wouldn't go into more detail. While there's plenty to enjoy here, use proper safety standards, like not walking around at night by yourself.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The city of Martinsville did give a public report on the water quality in 2020, and stated, "We... are proud to inform you that your water is SAFE and meets federal and state requirements." What's interesting, however, is that there is no table showing the contaminants and levels of those contaminants found in the water. I've looked at hundreds of water quality reports and this is the first one that doesn't go into that detail. If you go by their assurance, there's a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Martinsville
You really should take your time to explore the town square.
The courthouse is an “Italianate design” complete with a giant clock tower at the top (hence my “Back to the Future” reference).
The square is circled by stores with unique names like “The Waffle Witch”, “Gather Around BBQ,” and a candy store dating back to 1919, where you can take a tour to see how candy canes are made.
You can download the Indiana Culinary Trails Passport app on your mobile device and it will guide you through some of the most unique foods the county has to offer.
The more places you visit, the more likely you are to win a prize, like a free pie.
Martinsville is home to a winery, distillery, and several brew houses.
Cedar Creek Winery is one of the popular places to visit here and they also have a full cigar list.
Morgan-Monroe State Forest is 10 miles south of Martinsville.
This is a massive 25,000-acre stretch of land that has several campsites, cabins, lakes, and even a chance to pan for gold.
Part of this forest is a designated hunting area too, so hunters and non-hunters should know where those boundaries are and when hunting is in season.
The Fred & Dorothy Meyer Nature Preserve is much smaller but just as dynamic of a place to visit outdoors.
Here the trails aren’t clearly marked, so you’ll need to follow the arrow and pink tape that marks the way.
There are a lot of steep areas here, so wear good hiking boots and watch your step.
The Link Observatory and Space Science Center is just north of the city but still has a Martinsville address.
Various public events are held throughout the year.
As of mid-2022, the science center is getting back to a post-pandemic tour schedule, so call before you visit.
Places to Avoid in Martinsville
Most crime is going to happen around the city center since there are more people there.
It’s worth calling the Martinsville Police Department at (765)349-4900 to ask about crime trends closer to your time of visit.
There is one boutique hotel near the town square and the rest of the hotels are going to be along I-69.
Avoid driving around the rural areas here without a fully charged phone and a full tank of gas.
Since mobile phone service can be hit or miss, you might want to put your device in airplane mode so it doesn’t drain the battery trying to find service.
It might help to bring a paper map of the area in case the GPS stops working.
While the police department doesn’t offer a lot in the way of crime statistics, you can tell a lot about crime in a city by the programs the police offer or the extra patrols they do.
In Martinville they have:
- Operation Sheepdog: After-hours patrols for catching drug-related criminals
- Curfew & Code Enforcement: From keeping the noise down to collecting debris from yards, it helps keep the city a pleasant place to visit
- Fraud Prevention: A presentation is available for seniors on how to avoid getting scammed
No matter what a town’s crime rates are, you should always lock car doors, roll windows up, and leave no belongings inside the car when you park.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Martinsville
- If you have any suspicion of drug activity happening when you visit Martinsville, you can call 911 if it’s an emergency, but there’s also the (765)349-4900 number. You should ask for the chief or deputy chief when calling with this information.
- Non-residents can hunt or fish during the appropriate seasons here, but you’ll need a license from the Indiana Department of Fish & Game. You can search for the different licenses on the department’s website and even purchase them online.
- I mentioned earlier how you can pan for gold at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest legally. You do need a permit for that. It’s a free permit and you can get yours by calling the Forest Service at (765)342-4026. If you happen to come across an archeological artifact, you must report it to the Forest Service.
- In the forest, you are now allowed to swim in any of the lakes. This is for your own safety. Boating is allowed with limited types of boats allowed. There’s a lot of research to do if you want to explore all of the options at this park.
- When you go hiking in the parks around Martinsville, you should always wear good hiking boots. This land is a lot more hilly than you might think, and it’s also very rocky, leading to some cliffs and ledges. Avoid hiking after heavy rain because it might be too slippery to walk on or rockslides could be triggered.
- You should have a reliable weather app, from either an Indianapolis television station or from the National Weather Service, so you can stay weather aware. Never go into the wilderness if storms are in the forecast. If you do get stuck outside in a storm, don’t seek shelter under trees.
- 511in.org is a great way to keep track of construction and delays on roadways throughout the state. You can also see live cameras of certain locations. During the winter, the snowplows have cameras, so you can see how snowy the roads are.
- Jimmy Nash Park Hill is the place to go for sledding in the winter. This park has a very steep hill and it was almost closed down because so many injuries happened here. The public fought back and the hill stayed open with additional safety measures. You should never sled in an area with “no sledding” signs posted and never sled head first. It’s wise to wear a helmet when sledding.
- On the flip side, Martinsville can also get extreme heat in the summer. Actually, as I’m writing this, the area is about to get extreme heat and there’s a newspaper article about safety steps. It might not sound that hot when the temperature is reaching 92 degrees (it’s all relative depending on what you’re used to at home). However, when you combine the high humidity of this region, it can have a “feels like” temperature in the triple digits. You will also sweat a lot and that means you are more likely to struggle with dehydration, so you have to drink extra water with added electrolytes.
- You want bug spray here when spending time outside. That humidity leads to a lot of mosquitoes. Also, there are ticks in the woods here, so always do a full body search (don’t forget the delicate areas) and immediately remove any tick you find.
So... How Safe Is Martinsville Really?
I don’t have real data to answer that question perfectly, but here’s what I can tell you.
You’ll see some reports saying this is one of the most dangerous cities of its size in the country.
You’ll see statements that all small towns in Indiana are riddled with gangs, drugs, and gun crimes.
Even nearby Indianapolis saw a 6% increase in gun violence in 2021, according to Indianapolis Police records, and that’s on top of an escalating crime trend since 2014.
With any small town like Martinsville, it just takes a few crimes to render it “dangerous” because of the way crimes are calculated.
The FBI reports on crimes per 100,000 people.
So, if there were 10 robberies in Martinsville, a city of 11,932 people, that would be a robbery rate of 83 per 100,000, which is above the national average of 79 per 100,000.
There’s an added layer of what makes a city dangerous to live in versus what makes a city dangerous to visit.
An ongoing opioid overdose problem might not impact a tourist unless they are looking for drugs.
A high home burglary rate wouldn’t impact a tourist who doesn’t own a home there.
Violent crimes would impact a tourist if they were happening in public places.
The problem is, Martinsville and Morgan County haven’t released data for the better part of a decade.
Sometimes law enforcement agencies don’t release data because they don’t like that math I explained above and it can make a city seem more dangerous than it really is.
From what I can tell from looking back through several years of social media posts, this city gets more car break-ins, commercial thefts, and missing people than violent crime.
If you practice all the good basic safety steps we all know and use common sense when visiting a new place, you have no reason to avoid Martinsville, Indiana.
How Does Martinsville Compare?
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- Visas - You are going to have to prepare a lot to get your Visa, including an in-person interview and a list of all social media accounts associated with you over the past five years. Plan to start this process four months ahead of time to be safe.
- Currency - The U.S Dollar (USD) is the only currency accepted here. Some restaurants are cash-only, so call ahead to be sure or check out their reviews.
- Weather - The weather is going to vary through the four seasons, with extreme heat or cold possible in the respective seasons. You should dress in layers and remember the summer is going to be humid, so you'll be sweating through your clothing when spending time outdoors.
- Airports - You can be at the Indianapolis International Airport in 30 minutes. The airport is on the southwest side of the city, so it's a straight shot up the highway to get there from Martinsville and you won't get stuck in downtown Indy traffic.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a great idea for delays and cancellations that can be weather related, or in case there's a staffing or maintenance issue.
Martinsville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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