Indiana : Safety by City
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- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Muncie, Indiana, went through several names during its founding years, including Buckongahelas Town, before finally becoming the Muncie we know today.
This is home to Ball State University, named after the Ball brothers who brought glass and metal manufacturing to this city and became great philanthropists of this region.
Muncie is still a working-class community 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
Despite having such a great university in the city, there is still 30% of the population living in poverty.
That’s one of the highest poverty percentages I’ve seen in my research.
One year of out-of-state tuition at Ball State costs more than the average Muncie worker makes in a year.
The city isn’t giving up on itself and is reinventing parts of the area to adapt the Rust Belt into a modern place with technology and medical jobs for the next generation.
DWNTWN is the reinvigorated downtown area and there’s a riverfront district under development as of mid-2022.
Fans of painter Bob Ross will love the Minnetrista, where they can see the very same studio where “The Art of Painting” was filmed.
Muncie is also home to the National Model Aviation Museum.
There’s fun to be had above and below water here, with an outdoor center offering diving lessons and excursions without even leaving the city limits.
There’s something for everyone in Muncie, you’ve just got to look a little closer to find it.
Warnings & Dangers in Muncie
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here mostly driven by a high violent crime rate. There is a one in 125 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Muncie. Several Muncie Police Officers were charged with excessive use of force and obstruction in 2021, while the previous mayor was sent to prison on a bribery plea agreement. It doesn't help a community when there's corruption in some of the people who are supposed to keep them safe.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS) is the public bus system here. You can download the app to see routes and purchase fares. Taxis and rideshares are available. There's low risk with any option, but always use caution if waiting at a bus stop.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
While there were no pickpockets reported in 2020, 92% of all thefts fell into an "all other" category, which suggests the thefts are not put into categories well here. The theft rate is right at the national average. Looking at the straight crime data, it seems you're more likely to have your stuff taken by force than manipulation here. There's a low risk, but not for the right reasons.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You've got year-round threats, with severe thunderstorms, flooding, and tornadoes when it's warm outside, especially in the spring. Winter brings snow, sleet, and ice with potentially dangerous low temperatures. There's a medium risk because of all the potential for things that can happen here with the weather.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
10% of the robberies that happen here are in public places and the robbery rate is just under the national average. 22 of the 519 violent crimes were against strangers, so there's a low risk a tourist will be the victim of a robbery, but there's a higher risk of being around an area where there is some kind of robbery or violent crime happening.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here as Muncie isn't a hard target. It's too small and doesn't have any industries that are sweet spots for terror groups. The closest hard target would be Indianapolis since it's a major city.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
One of the higher-profile scams was the one done by the mayor, who's now out of the office and serving jail time. There aren't any reports of scams that would target tourists, but there are the typical utility or IRS scams against residents.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
The sexual assault rate is higher than the national average, and since this is a college town, you should use caution when visiting the bars and nightclubs here. With a big party, the atmosphere comes higher risks of drinks being drugged or sexual assaults happening. You should proceed with a medium risk to keep your wits about you when visiting the city.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
American Water is one of the best tap water providers in the country and the 2021 Annual Water Quality Report shows compliance was achieved in all required categories. You can feel safe that tap water has a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Muncie
Minnetrista Museum & Gardens is a great place to learn the history of Muncie uniquely and interactively.
You can paint in the same studio where Bob Ross brought The Joy of Painting to life, and visit Oakhurst, which was the home of the Ball family.
If you’ve ever used a mason jar with the signature Ball wording on it, you know just how much of a footprint the Ball family made in the glass industry.
There is also a garden walkway here.
The Rose Garden Gazebo is a great place for an impromptu photo shoot.
The Cardinal Greenway is a 62-mile trail that runs through Muncie.
This is a former railway turned into a recreational route and it starts in Muncie at the Wysor Street Depot, which is also a location on the list of historical places.
Downtown Muncie, written as DWNTWN, has an event almost every week of the year and includes more than 70 shops, restaurants, and bars.
From art walks to food truck Fridays, you can always find a local community event happening during a visit to Muncie.
Phillips Outdoor Center holds diving training and excursions in a former quarry that is now flooded.
You can see the unique fish and plants underwater.
There are even special items to find, like a sunken hot tub, sailboats, and even a plane.
If you’d rather stay above ground, you can walk the rainbow trail and try to spot all the colored rocks along the way.
Praire Creek Reservoir Park is just to the east of the city but feels like a world away.
You can go boating, camping, and fishing here, with plenty of sports fields and showers, including public restrooms.
Places to Avoid in Muncie
The highest crime rates are in the Thomas Park/Avondale and Whitley areas, and also include the East Central and Old West End parts of town.
The most important thing when visiting Muncie is to stay on main roads and don’t cut through or drive randomly through neighborhoods if you don’t know anyone there.
Most of the residential areas and secondary roads don’t have sidewalks, so even just going for a morning run or walk would best be done on one of the trails where it’s safer.
To give some perspective, I was reading a social media chain on the safety of Muncie, and one resident stated that the nice homes are north and west of Ball State and the prices can go well over $100,000.
While in many cities, $100,000 isn’t going to get you a lot of home, in Muncie the average price of a home is $76,500.
This is a casual city where you don’t need to dress up or bring your fancy jewelry.
That’s just going to attract unwanted attention from the wrong people.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Muncie
- Muncie takes part in the Smart911 program, which I am a big advocate for. This is a way to fill out all the health conditions, emergency contacts, medication lists, and other important information just in case you ever need to call 911. It’s especially helpful when traveling and your hotel neighbors aren’t going to know any information about you to help the police if necessary.
- You can submit a non-emergency crime tip through a form on the police department’s website. There’s a City Protect website that allows you to submit a tip anonymously if you’d like.
- If you’re there when it’s snowing, the city of Muncie will clean the main and secondary roads. Some streets are private and the owners have to schedule plowing. Neighborhoods won’t be plowed unless there are more than six inches of snow.
- If you are visiting a local park and see vandalism, you can report it through the city’s website. There isn’t a way to attach photos or videos but take pictures anyway, so when someone follows up with your complaint you can add it.
- Prairie Creek Reservoir has a lot of activities, but they aren’t all located in the same place. If you want to ride ATVs, that’s a different place than the beach. You can fish at the reservoir, but you do have to show proof of a valid Indiana fishing license. Your license from home won’t suffice.
- The public bus system, MITS, doesn’t provide bus service on Sundays, so you’ll need to find another way to get around that day.
- Delaware County offers a list of places where you can sign up for emergency alerts for severe or winter weather. Most are the local Indianapolis television stations or The Weather Channel. I worked for local news for many years, and in Indianapolis WISH is my favorite station, but WTHR is a close second and they also have a strong Facebook following. The Star Press is the local newspaper and they issue weather alerts too. No matter where you get the information from, it’s important to stay weather aware while visiting here.
- If a tornado warning is issued, you need to seek shelter immediately. You should think of a plan everywhere you visit to know where to go in case of a tornado. Your hotel should have a designated safe space in case a storm comes in the middle of the night. If you are caught in the car when a tornado warning is issued, don’t seek shelter under an overpass. Don’t stay in the car, either. Find the closest ditch and lie down, protecting your head with your hands.
- In any city prone to flooding, especially one like Muncie with a river flowing through it, there’s a common saying of “Turn Around. Don’t Drown.” This means you should never try to cross a roadway that’s flooded, no matter how many other people you see doing it. The road could be washed away underneath. Just six inches of water can carry a car away.
- ParkMe.com is a great app to see the availability of parking around the Muncie area and reserve a spot in some of the lots. You can also see how much the parking will cost you when you get there.
So... How Safe Is Muncie Really?
One of the best comments I saw someone from Muncie say is, “If you don’t mind things being a little gritty, Muncie isn’t terrible.
I love it, but it’s not for everyone.”
Indiana is one of many states dealing with an increase in drug crimes and gun violence.
Even as I write this, the city just held an anti-gun violence rally and vigil to stop the flood of crimes happening.
In February of 2022, a man was killed along the Cardinal Greenway and left dead on the side of the trail.
This was a big crime in the city, but as police have found out now, it wasn’t a random act and the suspect knew the victim.
22 of the 519 violent crimes in 2020 were against strangers, so there’s a low risk of a stranger being a random victim of violence.
10% of the robberies were in public places, so that’s a reassuring statistic as well.
The issue with places like Muncie is that gun violence and drug crimes are happening all over the city and there’s little being done to stop the trajectory of the increase.
The police department is struggling to find officers with experience, as many departments are facing that same challenge.
Here are how the risks break down in Muncie:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 125
- Theft: 1 in 73
- Robbery: 1 in 1,592
You have to be safe here with the basics, like locking hotel room doors and windows, plus locking up the car and bringing all personal belongings inside.
If you stay in the main population areas and the tourist attractions or event centers of town, you should have a fun time in Muncie.
However, if you go looking for trouble, you’ll definitely find it.
How Does Muncie Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
You have a pretty intense interview and documentation process to complete before getting a U.S. Travel Visa, so start the process early. You'll need a Visa when you go through Customs, so don't pack it in your checked baggage. You won't need it when you travel around Muncie or Indiana.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and I didn't see any locations that were cash-only, so try to stick to one credit card in your wallet for fraud prevention and theft safety.
All four seasons happen here and sometimes snow can fall a foot at a time, so it's critical you check the forecast before visiting. Even without snow, temperatures can get into the dangerously cold zone. Spring and fall require layers of clothing, because it could be cold in the morning and mild in the afternoon. Summers are going to be humid, so you'll be sweating a lot. Bring clothing that you don't mind sweating through.
Muncie is about an hour and fifteen minutes from Indianapolis International Airport, which is your biggest airport option. The Cincinnati Airport is about two hours away. You can get to the Columbus, Ohio airport in under two hours.
Travel insurance is going to give you peace of mind when traveling to a place that is so prone to severe weather throughout the year.
Muncie Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Indiana - Safety by City