Is Nacogdoches Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On June 12, 2024
Nacogdoches, United States
Safety Index:
78
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Nacogdoches, the “Oldest Town in Texas,” is steeped in the history and charm of East Texas.

Established in 1779, it played a pivotal role in the state’s early development, from its days as a Spanish settlement to its involvement in the Texas Revolution.

This quaint town of around 33,000 residents is nestled in the piney woods of East Texas.

Nacogdoches is more than just a historical landmark; it’s a vibrant community with a welcoming spirit.

The downtown area, with its brick streets and preserved 19th-century architecture, is a refreshing yet modern entertainment district.

The town is home to Stephen F. Austin State University, infusing youthful energy and academic vibrancy into the community.

About one-quarter of the town’s population is part of the university.

Visitors to Nacogdoches can immerse themselves in its rich heritage while enjoying the serene beauty of its gardens, parks, and trails.

The combination of historical significance, cultural depth, and natural splendor makes Nacogdoches a compelling destination for travelers seeking a truly Texan experience.

While it is somewhat isolated between Houston and Dallas, the generous space allows room for three national forests and a more woodsy atmosphere than you’ll find anywhere else in the Lone Star State.

Warnings & Dangers in Nacogdoches

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk in Nacogdoches and plenty of activities and safe places to visit throughout the region.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Check the Brazos Transit District website (btd.org) to see if the fixed-route bus system works for your needs during your visit. Taxis and rideshares will be abundant, especially in a college town. Speaking of which, Stephen F. Austin State University has a shuttle system for students around campus. Of course, you'll need to get to Nacogdoches, so a rental car would be ideal.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Over the past five years, eight pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported. I took the liberty of checking the Austin State Police crime data as well, and no pickpockets were reported in that same time frame. However, about 30 bikes were stolen.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

This is a medium risk due to the many issues this region can experience. First, severe weather capable of producing tornadoes and damaging straight-line winds can happen at any time of year, but the risk is highest in the spring. Plus, since this is a forested area of Texas, dangers from falling trees or branches pose a larger problem. Flooding and flash flooding are other concerns, and you should know the evacuation routes in the event of a flood. Winter rarely brings snow or ice, but when it does, it can be very disruptive since this region isn't used to dealing with it.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Just 13% of robberies over the past five years were muggings (aka "highway robberies"), so the risk is low. Plus, the robbery rate is a good 70% lower than the national average - though that rate has dropped substantially over the past two years. Five years ago, the rate was 10% higher than the national average.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

The risk is average for what you'd expect, but not for the reasons you might think. Instead of being worried about international terrorist attacks, the drug trade along a busy stretch of highway has been a problem for a while. With an average of eight drug crimes reported each week, the best thing you can do is alert the police of suspicious activity.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Check local law enforcement social media sites for the latest scams. The local Better Business Bureau office and the state Attorney General’s office will have common scam tactics and protection advice. Scams here focus on residents, college students, and the elderly. The police department does offer some guidance to avoid common scam tactics.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Statistically, women are 2% more likely to be the victim of a violent crime. However, with 54% of violent crimes being domestic in nature, the risk is low. Just be sure to stick with friends or family and always call for a ride home instead of walking at night.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The U.S. has strict standards for tap water per the Safe Water Drinking Act. Communities are required to provide a Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) once a year by July 1. The 2023 Water Quality Report shows three violations during three months when the water wasn't tested for coliform. That's a big miss, but the risk that could have been posed is over now.

Safest Places to Visit in Nacogdoches

“Visit Nacogdoches” is the name of the tourism website.

You will often see the city referred to as “Nac” in writing, likely due to the long name that many people mispronounce.

On the tourism website, you can download a free tourism guide without having to give personal information.

I honestly tried to whittle down this list as much as possible to give an overview, but there really is a surprising number of things to do and places to see for all interests.

Plus, this part of Texas gets stunning fall foliage in November, generally later in the month.

The Nacogdoches Historic Town Center is a must-visit, with its brick streets and 19th-century buildings housing unique shops, restaurants, and galleries.

Strolling through this area, you’ll feel the spirit of the early pioneers who settled here.

Find a downtown directory map on the city’s website under Nac Main Street’s section.

The Old University Building is an impressive structure dating back to 1859, and it now serves as a museum detailing the city’s educational history.

Its Greek Revival architecture and period furnishings provide a glimpse into the past.

The Stone Fort Museum, located on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus, is a reconstructed stone house that originally served as a trading post in the 18th century.

The museum’s exhibits cover the rich history of early Nacogdoches and its settlers.

The Millard’s Crossing Historic Village offers a charming collection of restored 19th-century homes and buildings.

This living history museum provides a peek into pioneer life with its period costumes, furnishings, and daily activities.

Next, the Sterne-Hoya House Museum and Library offers an intimate look at early Texas history.

Built in 1830, it was the home of Adolphus Sterne, a prominent figure in Texas’ independence movement, and features original furnishings and artifacts from the era.

The Nacogdoches Railroad Depot is another significant landmark, illustrating the importance of the railroad in the town’s development.

The depot now functions as a museum, showcasing railway artifacts and the history of train travel in the region.

The Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens is a delightful stop, representing one of the oldest buildings in Nacogdoches.

The site includes a blacksmith shop, smokehouse, and heirloom gardens, offering hands-on activities and guided tours.

Nature enthusiasts should not miss the Lanana Creek Trail, a scenic walking and biking path that winds through the heart of Nacogdoches.

The trail offers a peaceful retreat with lush vegetation, historic sites, and the occasional glimpse of local wildlife.

If you’re interested in flora, visit the SFA Mast Arboretum, a research and teaching facility that spans over 68 acres.

It features diverse plant collections, including native Texas species and rare exotic plants.

The Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden is the largest azalea garden in Texas, showcasing thousands of azaleas, camellias, and other flowering plants.

Spring is the best time to visit when the garden bursts into vibrant colors.

For a unique shopping experience, visit Naca Valley Vineyard, where you can sample locally produced wines and enjoy a tour of the vineyard.

The picturesque setting is perfect for a relaxing afternoon of wine tasting.

For art lovers, the Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House is a cultural hub.

This contemporary art gallery hosts rotating exhibitions featuring local, national, and international artists, making it a dynamic venue for the visual arts.

Lake Nacogdoches offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming.

The lake’s serene environment makes it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to unwind.

Finally, the Zip Nac Adventure Park provides thrilling zip line courses through the East Texas piney woods.

It’s an exciting way to experience the natural beauty of the area from a different perspective.

Places to Avoid in Nacogdoches

While there aren’t specific bad parts of town or dangerous neighborhoods, it’s not a place where you want to haphazardly drive around various neighborhoods.

Stick to the main roads and highways, as 54% of violent crimes happen in private homes.

That’s according to the last five years of crime data.

Another thing to avoid is believing outdated articles about safety in Nacogdoches.

You’ll find articles talking about how it’s one of the most dangerous in the country, and that’s not true – at least, not anymore.

Crime rates have improved even over the past five years or so, even more over the past decade.

Finally, census data makes Nacogdoches look like a very poor town with a high poverty rate.

While it’s definitely not the highest-paying community and is known for less expensive housing, there’s a reason the numbers appear bleak.

That’s because the 10,000 or so college students are counted in the Census.

As students, they usually don’t have full-time jobs or large salaries if they do work.

That brings down the traditional workforce salary presentation in the data.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Nacogdoches

  1. Nacogdoches is large enough to have its own police department. You can follow them on Facebook @NacogdochesPoliceDepartmet (yes, it’s spelled incorrectly). Feel free to email npd@ci.nacogdoches.tx.us or call (936) 559-2607 with specific safety questions.
  2. Use the HyperReach program to sign up for emergency alerts through NacWise. Any local emergencies, disasters, or severe weather alerts will be sent to your email, phone text messaging system, or phone number.
  3. The city also offers a “Notify Me” section where you can get specific safety or hazard alerts. The difference is that the NacWise might tell you a flood warning is in effect, and the Notify Me section would detail the road closures due to flooding in Nacogdoches.
  4. Oncor is the power company in this area, and if you’re there when a power outage happens, you can check the website or app to see how widespread the issue is.
  5. Anglers are required to have a fishing license through the Texas Department of Parks and Game. Be sure you get a non-resident license and then carry it with you at all times while fishing.
  6. During the scorching summers here, never leave children or pets in a hot car, not even just for a few minutes. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to deadly levels quickly.
  7. If you have any information about a past crime or witness a crime and want to share details with police, you can call (936) 560-4636 anonymously to speak with someone at Nacogdoches Crime Stoppers.
  8. Drive Texas is the website and app that can give you real-time traffic conditions across the region. Live cameras, construction reports, and detours are clearly marked. If you create an account, you can even sign up for alerts on your chosen route.
  9. Texas state parks and the national forests in the area have different rules and possible fees. Entrance to these areas is generally free, but there might be timed-entry reservations or day-use area costs you should consider before planning a trip.
  10. There is a lot of free parking in Nacogdoches, but the university does require permits for most parking lots. Always check ahead of time to see if there is a time limit or cost for parking where you are heading.

So... How Safe Is Nacogdoches Really?

40% lower than the state average and 34% lower than the national average.

Violent crime appears to be down 56% since 2014, but a sharp drop-off happened in 2020 when the crime reporting system went from the UCR to the NIBRS model, which would impact the way some of the crimes were classified.

Theft rates have almost been cut in half over the past decade and now fall slightly below the national average.

About 30% of thefts over the past five years were related to car break-ins or car accessory thefts, like pricey catalytic converters.

Another 34% is tied to shoplifting.

Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges expressed concern about Route 59 several years back, noting it is a thoroughfare for crime and drugs.

One that goes right through town: “It has always been a major corridor for drugs.

It’s one of the top highways if not the top highway in the nation for criminal activity,” Bridges said.

The town also has a gang problem, but that’s not exclusive to Nacogdoches.

Despite Nacogdoches being listed as a low-income community, it is statistically safer than comparable cities in other states.

Plus, the “Oldest Town in Texas” appeal brings in a lot of tourists.

There’s no risk in this town that common sense, situational awareness, and basic safety steps can’t overcome.

How Does Nacogdoches Compare?

CitySafety Index
Nacogdoches78
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Dallas64
Memphis54
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

All international visitors need either a visa defining the purpose of the trip (tourist, work, school, etc.) or a visa waiver. Start the process using the Visa Wizard module on the U.S. State Department website. Also, keep in mind that your passport must be valid for at least six months after our trip, or you’ll need to apply for a new one.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar (USD) is accepted in the United States. International airports usually have a currency exchange desk on site, while regional airports won’t. Your home bank offers the lowest fees. For those using credit cards, check to see if there’s a foreign transaction fee before you start racking up charges. Don't wait until you get to Nacogdoches to get cash.

Weather

Weather

East Texas is going to be humid in the summer, with highs in the 90s. That can make the air feel oppressive. Be prepared to sweat a lot and use protection against bugs and ticks. On the flip side, winters are milder, with highs in the 60s and lows above freezing. Bring layers to peel off or add on as the temps swing throughout the day.

Airports

Airports

East Texas Regional Airport is the closest airport, about an hour away. American Airlines provides flights to Dallas/Fort Worth. In two hours, you can drive to Houston. The drive to Dallas Forth Worth International Airport would be about three hours.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance goes into effect as soon as you purchase it. Comprehensive insurance offers the best protection and peace of mind. Given the remote location of Nacogdoches, ensure you have rental car coverage for roadside assistance, at minimum.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Nacogdoches Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 8° C
Feb 11° C
Mar 15° C
Apr 19° C
May 23° C
Jun 27° C
Jul 29° C
Aug 29° C
Sep 25° C
Oct 20° C
Nov 14° C
Dec 10° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
141721252932343531262116
Low
°C
2481217212322191373
High
°F
576370778490939588797061
Low
°F
363946546370737266554537

Texas - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Abilene67
Amarillo65
Austin65
Beaumont51
Brownsville68
Carrollton72
Corpus Christi71
Dallas64
Del Rio68
Dell City81
Denton72
El Paso77
Fort Davis80
Fort Worth77
Fredericksburg85
Frisco84
Garland83
Granbury74
Grand Prairie72
Gruene82
Harlingen75
Houston59
Irving79
Laredo68
Lewisville80
Llano83
Lubbock38
Luckenbach77
Marathon78
Marfa80
McAllen74
McKinney84
Mesquite52
Midland78
Nacogdoches78
New Braunfels83
Plano86
Port Aransas83
Richardson81
San Angelo83
San Antonio53
Schulenburg83
Sherman73
Smithville84
South Padre Island70
Tyler70
Waco61
Waxahachie83
Weslaco68
Wichita Falls68
Wimberley81

Where to Next?

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