Idaho : Safety by CityUnited States - safety as a country Idaho - state review
What was once a small-town Idaho community in our lifetime is now the second-largest city in the state.
Meridian, Idaho grew 36% in just the past decade and then again grew 13% just from the 2020 Census to 2021!
Meridian quickly developed into a dense residential and retail hub for the area known as Treasure Valley.
It sits about 10 miles from Boise to the east and Caldwell less than 20 miles west.
In 2019, Money Magazine rated it as one of the best places to live.
Despite the bustling streets of Meridian, you can still get into the Idaho Wilderness by just a short drive.
Even a National Wilderness Area is less than an hour away.
There’s also a water park in town and an indoor play center with fun for the whole family.
To make it not feel like too much of a charming suburban area, you can also go to the Meridian Speedway and see fast action and smell the burning rubber of race car tires.
To add to all that, each season brings a special flair to Meridian.
You get a full four seasons here and Idahoans soak up every bit of excitement they can find.
Warnings & Dangers in Meridian
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk. Even as crime numbers have gone up in the past few years, it has kept steady or the percentage has gone down with the growing population. All crime rates are substantially lower than state or national averages.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Valley Regional Transit will get you between Garden City, Boise, and Meridian. You can also get taxis and rideshares. There's low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being pickpockets. In 2020, there was just one purse snatching, but get this - it was at a value of nearly $6000. Be sure you keep valuables and large amounts of cash at home. This is a great example of why.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as wildfires, earthquakes, snowstorms, windstorms, floods, landslides, and thunderstorms are possible at various times of the year. You can review the city emergency management website to be better prepared for the natural events that occur here.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were only seven robberies in 2020 and just one was in a public place, so your chances of being robbed are pretty low. Be sure to look at the crime details of surrounding cities in the Treasure Valley, so you know which areas have a higher risk because Meridian is about as safe as you can get in this region.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of Meridian being a terror target. You might have heard about Idaho being a state where there are some home-grown terrorists. A lot of the rumors are exaggerations, but Northern Idaho (nowhere near Meridian) does have white supremacists who don't outnumber the general population but make themselves heard.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Given the residential nature of this area, the main scams are against residents. There might be a rental scam if you're looking to rent a home, and the first red flag is if someone asks you to wire money at any point in the renting process.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk and women shouldn't worry in Meridian as long as they practice standard safety practices, especially when shopping at The Village. The biggest risks are car break-ins, so don't load up the trunk with a bunch of goodies and then walk back into the mall as a thief can easily see that. Park close to large groups of people, so a thief has less of a chance of going unseen.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water is not only safe in Meridian, it's being dispensed through an upgraded water treatment center as of 2020. There's low risk when using it.
Safest Places to Visit in Meridian
The focal point of the community is The Village at Meridian.
Here you have shops, restaurants, a movie theater, outdoor spaces, cool fountains, and a playground.
This is not the downtown area.
It’s nearby and has its own vibe and a series of restaurants with cool events planned throughout the year.
The Meridian Speedway is a great way to get an adrenaline rush with car racing action.
You can review the schedule and buy tickets online at least six months in advance.
Once inside, there’s open seating and there is a section just for families where smoking and alcohol are not allowed.
To escape to the great outdoors, you can drive 45 minutes to the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
This is one of the best places to see large numbers of nesting birds of prey in the country.
Throughout the conservation area, you have a variety of stopping points for boating, panoramic views, archeological history, and picnics.
During the summer, Roaring Springs Water Park is a great place for the whole family to cool off and enjoy floating on the lazy river or going down a corkscrew water slide.
Places to Avoid in Meridian
What little crime there is gets more abundant the closer you get to Boise along the north side of I-84.
There really isn’t a bad part of town here to avoid.
You’ll want to avoid being in a rush or traveling during the rush hours if you can help it because there is a lot of traffic here.
A fast-growing city combined with the number of cars on the street and the construction being done to widen those roads for the population means a lot of traffic.
Depending on where you stay, it can take what seems like a long time to even just get to the interstate.
Meridian’s growth comes partially from an influx of people from California.
Those looking to avoid the high taxes and bureaucracy of the Golden State have been escaping to Idaho for years now, but this recent flux is kinda getting on some people’s nerves.
Avoid any temptation to talk about how much better something is where you are from, even when just visiting.
The people of Idaho don’t want the population change to change their way of life.
This is also a rather conservative area, and while it gets more liberal in Boise, you want to avoid getting into political arguments or discussing religion.
This is a very religious area with a heavy Mormon population.
Let them have their beliefs and you can have yours without getting into heated discussions.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Meridian
- Meridian is along I-85, but to get around town you will be driving on a lot of surface streets. Between the stoplights, aggressive drivers, and traffic, it can be frustrating. You need to be patient and respectful of other drivers. This is a place where that middle finger could lead to a dangerous situation.
- If you want to know more about crime prevention in Meridian, the police department has a line set up just for that reason. Call (208)846-7300 to ask any safety questions you might have.
- For those wanting to hunt or fish while you’re here, take a good look at the Department of Fish & Game website for Idaho and while you’re there you can buy a license online.
- The police department has a crime map where you can search by address and select the crimes you want to see in that area. This gives you a better look at crime trends closer to your time of visit.
- There is a lot of construction going on in this growing community and construction thefts are becoming a big trend. If you see anyone suspicious around a construction site, call the police and let them know. You’d want the same thing if someone saw a thief breaking into your car.
- Speaking of which, 30% of thefts reported were car break-ins. You shouldn’t ever leave a car unlocked or with the windows rolled down. Don’t leave any gadgets, valuables, or personal belongings in plain sight in a car. If you are going to put stuff in the trunk, do it before you leave the hotel or rental home so nobody sees it happen.
- You can’t text and drive in Idaho and even holding a phone could get you in trouble. You can set up your GPS before you go and use voice control. Idaho has a terrible record for driving crashes and deaths and is doing everything in its power to crack down in all communities.
- The city has a map of the downtown parking areas and the time limits in each area. Some of the parking times are as little as 30 minutes. Review this map and pick your preferred parking locations before you go.
- Ada County, where Meridian is located, uses CodeRED to provide emergency notifications. You should sign up when you arrive so you can get weather and civil emergency information right on your mobile device.
- If you are going to the Birds of Prey area, it’s going to take up to four hours to see everything and that’s not including long stops for meal breaks or hiking. Be sure to arrive with a full tank of gas and plenty of water to keep you hydrated.
So... How Safe Is Meridian Really?
It’s among the safest I’ve reviewed in Idaho.
Looking at the crime trends, you’ll see an increase in some areas, like violent crime, but you also have to keep in mind the increased population which will bring more crime.
When it comes to violent crime:
- 70% happened in homes
- 26% happened against strangers
- 3% happened in hotels
Shoplifting and car break-ins were the biggest categories of theft.
Over the past decade, the city has had an average of two homicides per year.
Just about all those cases have been solved as well.
Meridian is really a great middle-ground city that is close to Boise for the bigger city amenities and the wilderness areas to explore.
You should have no reservations about making reservations in Meridian.
How Does Meridian Compare?
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- Visas - You will only need to show the Visa when you leave the plane and arrive at the United States airport of your choice. You will need to show your Visa and Passport.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and I didn't come across a single thing that required cash, so you don't need to carry that around if you don't want to.
- Weather - You are going to get the full brunt and beauty of all seasons, so dress accordingly. Winters can be extremely cold and dry. You'll need lotion any time of year to keep your skin moisturized as the arid climate sucks the moisture out. Bring sturdy hiking boots any time of year.
- Airports - The airport in Boise is really the only option unless you want to drive almost five hours to Salt Lake City. Boise's airport is just ten miles away.
- Travel Insurance - You should get travel insurance to protect your trip to Meridian and make sure it covers flight cancellations and lost baggage while exploring options for wilderness area risks.
Meridian Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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