Oregon : Safety by City
- Baker City
- Coos Bay
- Hood River
- Klamath Falls
- La Grande
- Lincoln City
In Southern Oregon, the city of Medford awaits in the Rogue Valley, where the Rogue River snakes through fertile orchards and volcanic foothills.
Founded in 1883 as a bustling railroad town, Medford grew from muddy streets to a vibrant city boasting nearly 86,000 residents.
Its rich history lines Central Avenue, where Harry & David, the gourmet gifting giants, first set up shop.
The surrounding valley, cradled by the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains, is an agricultural Eden.
Juicy pear orchards bathe in the sunshine while vineyards climb sun-drenched slopes, crafting world-class Pinot Noir.
Medford serves as its crown jewel, a dynamic hub offering eclectic eateries and an artsy downtown, all set among postcard landscapes.
But Medford’s allure extends beyond its earthly bounty.
Remember Jack London’s iconic Call of the Wild?
Its inspiration bloomed right here, on the banks of the Rogue River where London spent his formative years.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Medford is a gateway to paradise.
Hike to the summit of Pilot Butte, a volcanic cinder cone overlooking the city, or kayak down the meandering Rogue, spotting bald eagles soaring overhead.
Crater Lake National Park, with its sapphire waters and dramatic caldera, lies just an hour’s drive away, begging for exploration.
Even the redwoods of California or the rugged Oregon coastline can be reached on a day trip.
The beauty of the landscape shadows some of the safety concerns, but we’ve rounded up the good, the bad, and the volcanic for you.
Warnings & Dangers in Medford
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Medford, but it's teetering next to medium risk based on some safety issues. However, common sense goes a long way, and there are plenty of safe places to visit that are quite fantastic.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Rogue Valley Transportation District has several options. Explore the website to see if the routes work for you. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. Unless you're going on a guided tour, you'll need a rental vehicle to visit places like Crater Lake.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
This is a medium risk, with nearly 40 pickpockets or purchase snatchings in 2022. While that doesn't seem like a lot, most cities this size have 10 or fewer. Theft is an ongoing problem here, solidifying the medium-risk ranking.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
While earthquakes pose the highest potential threat, Medford grapples with a variety of natural hazards. Wildfires are a summer and fall concern, especially during droughts. Flooding from the Rogue River and Bear Creek is possible, particularly in spring with melting snow. Severe weather brings occasional windstorms, heavy rain, and potential flash floods.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
This is an average risk - with a rate about 11% higher than the national average. You are far more likely to have something stolen from you without using force.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk, as the biggest concerns here focus on theft and drug use. You should still report suspicious activity anytime you see something that doesn't seem right.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The risk is low, but keep it that way by reviewing the Scams and Fraud section of the police department's website. They offer a list of the most common scams and what to do if you're a victim.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Nothing I've researched, from crime data to news stories, suggests women are at a greater risk than anyone else. You will need standard personal safety measures. This is definitely a place where you shouldn't let your guard down.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
You can ask for a copy of the latest water quality report by calling (541)774-8206. The risk is low, and the U.S. has incredibly high standards for water quality, along with testing requirements that are made public.
Safest Places to Visit in Medford
Despite all the potential issues we can point out in Medford, it’s truly a wonderful city when you look at things to do.
The tourism website is Travel Medford.
You should know that it covers Medford, Ashland, and the entire Rogue Valley.
You can view the tourism guide without having to give personal information, which is ideal.
You don’t want to set yourself up for spam.
Also, I particularly like this website because it has a blog and a news section – so you know you’re getting updated information.
Not all tourist sites are that attentive to detail.
A great place to start is the Southern Oregon Historical Society to get a better grasp on the history that brought the Rouge Valley to be a travel destination.
Tub Springs State Park offers mineral-rich waters that bubble to the surface, filling rustic tubs tucked among pine trees.
Breathe in the forest air, soak in natural warmth, and let stress melt away as you listen to the gurgling melodies of hidden springs.
Crater Rock Museum ignites a passion for Earth’s jewels.
Dazzling displays of gems, fossils, and petrified wood whisper stories of ancient times.
Touch polished amethyst, marvel at towering crystal formations, and let your imagination soar through prehistoric landscapes.
Crater Lake National Park sits about an hour from Medford.
A volcanic caldera cradles a mesmerizing blue lake, the deepest in the U.S.
Hike rim trails for breathtaking panoramas or take a boat cruise on the lake.
This park is ranked as one of the most beautiful in the nation.
Foodies should make plans to visit the Artisan Corridor, with chocolates, cheese, and wines along the path.
While this small stretch of eateries is along the railroad tracks, don’t let it deter you.
This is a safe and splendid place to come with a big appetite.
Hike Upper or Lower Table Rock for panoramic Rogue Valley views.
Both offer moderate 2-mile trails with 700-foot climbs.
Upper Rock features a flat summit, while Lower Rock unveils unique vernal pools.
Pack water, wear sturdy shoes, and prepare for wind at the top.
Time your visit between March-May for wildflowers or September-October for vibrant foliage.
Places to Avoid in Medford
The average person won’t find any part of Medford unsafe, but with the homelessness and drug problems, you might feel uncomfortable in some areas.
On top of that, Medford is very much laid out, with major roads going north and south without major highways cutting east and west.
It’s important to read reviews on hotels before you choose, as I’ve seen several that say the downtown area has homeless people or potentially unsavory characters walking around.
If you’re from a big city, it’s probably laughable that it would be a concern (as some people on Reddit pointed out).
However, if you want to stay in the safest area of town, choose a hotel as far north as possible in Medford.
Wherever you stay, avoid leaving cars unlocked or personal items lying around.
Theft is a huge problem in Medford (and Oregon as a whole).
Safety Tips for Traveling to Medford
- Medford has its own police department. To be sure you’re on the right Facebook page, be sure to look for @MedfordPoliceOR. The phone number is (541) 770-4783 if you want to call and ask specific safety questions.
- Police issue an annual report that summarizes the successes and challenges of the previous year. It’s worth a read to get a better look at the crime landscape.
- Sign up for Citizen Alert through the city’s website under the “Emergency Management” section. This provides immediate alerts about weather risks, safety concerns, and natural hazards.
- While you’re there, look at the evacuation map. If a wildfire or earthquake prompts evacuations, you can see where your hotel is and then look for the closest escape route. It’s better to know this now than when thousands of people are trying to access the website in the event of an emergency.
- The city’s website has a “Solve a Problem” section where you can report issues like broken streetlights, graffiti, or potholes. Using this can help make the city safer for everyone.
- Parking in downtown Medford is free on weekends, but the weekdays have a mix of paid parking options from 15 minutes to three hours. A private company issues tickets if you violate a parking rule, but you are still required to pay a fine if you get a ticket.
- If you plan to visit national parks and forests, buy an interagency pass for $80. You’ll get access to any federal land for a year. Depending on how many places you want to visit, you’ll likely save money in the long run.
- You should check the wildfire risk map and air quality daily in Medford. Sometimes, wildfires miles away can send smoke into the city, leading to breathing problems. You also need to know if there’s a fire burning near an area you want to visit.
- Any water activity on the rivers in spring will be subjected to spring run-off. That means the snow melting rushes down the rivers, causing potentially dangerous conditions.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Be sure you choose the non-resident license. Options are from a one-day fishing license to an annual license.
So... How Safe Is Medford Really?
Medford is a city that I’d give different guidance if you were considering moving there versus just visiting.
The violent crime rate is 10% higher than the state average but 5% lower than the national average.
On top of that, 15% of crimes happened against strangers in 2022, and 34% happened in private homes.
One of the biggest problems fueling any kind of crime in Medford is drugs.
Overdoses in the city and Jackson County have reached historic levels.
“It is life-threatening and that is the biggest concern,” Medford Police Department Lieutenant Rebecca Pietila said in 2023.
“Not that there’s ever a safe time, but now more than ever you are risking your life with the experimentation of drug use.”
You might think that if you don’t use drugs, then you’re not at risk, right?
Well… not exactly.
Those who get hooked on drugs can become desperate, committing crimes, stealing, and even using force to get money to pay for another round.
That *could explain why the theft rate here is 138% higher than the national average and 69% higher than the state average.
Oregon has an incredible number of thefts, based on my research of the 2022 crime data.
An average of one car is stolen each day.
37% of all thefts are shoplifting, and another 29% are car break-ins or accessory thefts.
I wouldn’t discourage anyone from visiting Medford based on this information, but you’ll need basic security steps with everything you do, from locking your car to being mindful of where you walk at night.
There are safe places and wonderful amenities in Medford, there’s just an underbelly I hope you don’t experience while you visit.
How Does Medford Compare?
|Santiago de Chile (Chile)
|Hong Kong (China)
International travelers are required to obtain a visa or visa waiver to enter the country. To determine your eligibility for a visa waiver, consult the U.S. State Department website.
Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted throughout the country. You can exchange currency at your home bank for the lowest fees. If you're a member of a local bank, you should be able to use their services. ATMs are another option but check with your bank for fees and limitations.
Packing for Medford depends heavily on the season. In spring and summer, layers of breathable t-shirts, quick-dry pants, and a raincoat - afternoon showers are common. Hiking? Add bug spray, sturdy boots and sun protection. Fall brings cooler mornings and evenings, so pack light sweaters and jeans. Don't forget a warm hat and gloves for winter's crisp air and occasional snowfall. Bring ice spikes if you're hiking in the winter.
Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport is just three miles north of downtown Medford. That's your best option, as both Eugene and Portland's airports are 3–5 hours away.
Where weather may impede travel, insurance gives peace of mind. Supplemental health insurance or adventure insurance can help cover emergency health care. Verify rental car policies guard you in case of crashes or breakdowns on the road.
Medford Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month
Oregon - Safety by City