Kentucky : Safety by City
- Bowling Green
- Cave City
- Cumberland Falls
- Harlan Tri-Cities
- La Grange
- St. Matthews
Maysville, Kentucky, provides a picturesque view of the Ohio River from its charming downtown area.
Murals cover the flood walls, and history fills the streets of this small northern Kentucky town.
This city still shares the memories of Daniel Boone opening a trading center here and the Lewis & Clark expedition going through the town center.
Maysville was also a stop on the underground railroad, and a slave auction here reportedly inspired Harriet Beacher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Atop a hill overlooking downtown, there’s an abandoned hospital sitting in shambles.
This place once treated military members haunted by the trauma of Pearl Harbor and is now said to be haunted by ghostly apparitions screaming from the windows.
Maysville is also the childhood home of Rosemary Clooney, and one of her movies premiered at the theater in Maysville.
Her now-famous nephew, George Clooney, grew up in a different part of Kentucky.
Maysville has three neighborhoods to explore:
- Downtown/Commercial District
- Old Washington
- Mason County
History tours and museums abound in this quaint community, and then you have a lot of outdoor areas to explore.
Warnings & Dangers in Maysville
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Maysville has a low overall risk with lower than average violent crime numbers, but there are some points about property crime we can discuss later. The city also has a lot of things to do for a small town.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Maysville has a public bus system that runs a fixed route seven days a week, with limited hours on Sundays. Children under five and senior citizens ride for free, and everyone else pays 25 cents each way. Taxis and rideshares are available, but not nearly as much as in a larger city. The downtown area is very walkable too. There's a low risk no matter how you choose to get around.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The theft risk is one in 48 in Maysville, but five years ago, it was just one in 34, so there's a safer trend as thefts have decreased over the past five years. While none of those was a pickpocket, you still need to keep a close eye on your belongings. There's a low risk of getting pickpocketed, but there's a greater risk of being a theft victim in general.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here due to the sheer amount of severe weather that can happen. Being along the Ohio River comes with flooding risks. There are severe thunderstorms that regularly produce tornado warnings. Winter can bring snow and ice storms. While none of this is out of the ordinary for Maysville, it might catch a tourist off guard.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
When you figure out the "Crime per 100,000," as the FBI does, Maysville has a higher than average rate. In reality, there were eight robberies in 2020. 38% of those happened in public. While it's still a low risk it will happen to you, it's good to know that it wouldn't be uncommon either.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There is a low risk here since it's a small town surrounded on three sides by rural areas and more rural areas across the river into Ohio. Kentucky does have a hotline set up for any type of suspicious activity. That number is 1-866-EYE-ON-KY (1-866-393-6659).
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Maysville residents get the typical IRS and utility scams, but the most unique one recently was a rash of counterfeit bills going through the city. They were marked with Chinese lettering. It's another great reason to use credit cards when you can.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Just 25% of the violent crimes in Maysville were against women in 2020. Four sexual assaults were reported. There's no reason in any of the crime data to suggest a woman is at a higher risk, but you should still use common sense, like don't walk along the river at night alone.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
All the water samples look good from the 2021 Water Quality Report, with no violations of any kind. Feel free to use the tap water at low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Maysville
Downtown Maysville is alive with art, charm, and unique businesses.
It’s colorful to give a modern vibe, but church steeples are still the dominant toppings in the community overlooking the river.
Stop by the Russell Theatre for a tour of the place where Rosemary Clooney’s movie “The Stars are Singing” debuted.
Mayesville also has its own Opera House.
The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center brings all of the state’s history into one location, and that’s a lot of stories to tell.
More than 4,000 artifacts and memorabilia live here.
Inside you’ll also find a museum of miniature homes and communities.
The Old Pogue Experience will take you through the bourbon process you can only find in Kentucky.
You’ll be transported back to the late 1700s and walk through the bourbon evolution and revolution.
While any city along a river needs a floodwall, Mayesville has turned its floodwall into art.
The Maysville Murals take you through the city’s history all the way back to the 1600s.
Old Washington is a historical district that takes you to another era.
This city boasts numerous “firsts,” like the first post office west of the Allegheny Mountains.
While this area is technically a series of museums, it’s more like walking through a pioneer village.
Another slice of history you can’t miss in Mayesville is the National Underground Railroad Museum.
Slaves on their way to freedom were hidden here until they could safely cross into the free state of Ohio.
You’ll also learn about the local efforts to abolish slavery.
Another stop worth the cultural education is the Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum.
Mayesville sits along two of Kentucky’s scenic drives, and Mason County offers a self-guided covered bridge driving tour.
Places to Avoid in Maysville
The city center is where most of the crime happens, but that’s just because the area around it is sparsely populated.
A downtown area or historic district is always going to be teeming with people, meaning a higher risk of crime in general.
It’s hard to visit Maysville without seeing the abandoned Hayswood Hospital.
It is perched atop a hill at various levels of decay.
At best, it looks downright creepy sitting there abandoned and derelict.
Please do not enter the property here or try to get into the hospital.
While there are dangers of going into any abandoned building, this one is loaded with asbestos and floors that can easily crumble.
Police will not hesitate to come in and arrest trespassers.
It’s important to avoid any road that is flooded during heavy rain or after a storm – even if the water doesn’t look that deep.
There’s an insane video from 2017 showing cars that were tossed around like toys when the water swept through.
You also can’t be certain the road underneath your vehicle isn’t going to wash away.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Maysville
- Mayesville uses Smart 911 for its emergency alert system. You can sign up online and also update your personal emergency information if you ever need 911. It’s critical you have a way to get weather alerts here.
- Parking is free in downtown Maysville. If anyone tries to charge you, then you should report them to the police. You should always park in a well-lit or busy area so more people can see suspicious activity.
- Download the Maysville Police Department app, available for iPhone or Android, and you can report crime information or suspicious activity from the palm of your hand.
- Many of the attractions here are open seasonally. That’s especially true for outdoor areas like Old Washington. Even the stores open throughout the year have limited hours or are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
- In the summer of 2022, Maysville Police reported several incidents and injuries related to Orbeez guns. While these are toy guns, they shoot gel balls that can be painful.
- The Facebook pages for the city (@cityofmaysville) and police department (@MaysvillePolice) post all of the severe weather watches and warnings that happen, in addition to other announcements. The way Facebook’s algorithm works, you might see a Severe Thunderstorm Warning several days after it was issued. Always look at the date and time to check if the weather issue is happening now or if that post is outdated.
- From April through December, there are strict parking rules to allow the street sweepers to get through. While there’s no way I can summarize all the details of this in one bullet point, search the street section of the city’s website to learn where you can or can’t park. Another (easier) option is to avoid parking on the street and use a parking space or lot. The police are fed up with people violating this and have begun issuing tickets.
- If you want to go fishing in Kentucky, you’ll need a license from the Department of Fish & Wildlife. You can’t use your license from home. Make sure you get a non-resident license and any necessary permits for certain fish species.
- Check the city’s Facebook page regularly as a quick scan shows many boil orders due to things like water main breaks or construction work. It’s enough of a recurring thing that I don’t think I’d use the water there without being sure there wasn’t an issue. Don’t let that deter you – it’s great the city is so transparent and focused on your safety.
- The downtown area and Limestone Landing Park are right on the river. I mean, you can bend down and touch the water. The Ohio River is one of the most polluted rivers in the country, has a lot of debris, and a swift current. Don’t go for a swim in the river. While it’s not illegal, it’s definitely not safe.
So... How Safe Is Maysville Really?
Maysville generally has about 15-20 violent crimes a year, looking back as far as 2010.
In 2020, the city reached a high of 26 violent crimes.
Even with that, violent crime rates are still 27% lower than the national average.
While 30% of the 2020 crimes happened against strangers, 67% of the crimes happened in private homes.
Theft rates are 40% higher than the national average, with 25% of those being shoplifting.
There’s a 14% car break-in rate.
Since 2018, there has only been one pickpocket in the community.
While it’s not the safest community in Kentucky, it is far from the most dangerous.
The crime rate here is nothing some common sense and smart personal safety choices can’t overcome.
The weather is a big concern when the skies get cloudy, especially for people who come from places without severe weather.
You should always take watches and warnings seriously, and if a snowstorm is coming during your visit, reconsider the trip.
You could end up in a hotel without power or water in a worst-case scenario.
In the best-case scenario, you’ll be limited as to where it is safe to drive.
How Does Maysville Compare?
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A U.S. Travel Visa is required for anyone who is visiting, and there's a Work Visa for anyone visiting here as part of their profession. Prices range from $160 - $190. You will need to schedule an interview at your U.S. Embassy and those book up months in advance sometimes.
Only the U.S. Dollar (USD) is accepted here. You can make almost all purchases with credit cards or mobile payment options. There's little need to carry cash with you. If you are going to exchange currency, do it at the airport. Small towns don't always have currency exchange options.
There's a wide variety of weather and temperatures throughout the year. To be safe, pack different layers of clothing so you'll have options. You'll need a coat in the winter. A waterproof jacket is a great idea too. Since there's a lot of walking to do in Mayesville, bring several pairs of sturdy walking shoes.
You can get to the Cincinnati or Lexington airports within 90 minutes. If winter weather is happening, double that drive time, so you aren't rushed on slick roads. There aren't major interstates along the roads that lead to the airports.
Travel insurance gives great peace of mind for accidents on the road or delays in the air. With the volatile weather here, a delay can quickly turn into a cancellation.
Maysville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Kentucky - Safety by City