Idaho : Safety by CityUnited States - safety as a country Idaho - state review
Nampa, Idaho is part of the Treasure Valley region that is currently exploding in population.
In the past decade, Nampa grew almost 20 percent and the people just keep coming in.
This means there’s more for tourists to do in Nampa and the surrounding cities of Boise, Meridian, and Caldwell.
Each city holds its own unique place in the region.
Nampa is particularly popular for how close it is to Lowell Lake with outdoor sports and fun during any season.
If you are traveling with a dog, there is boarding and doggy daycare available too, in the great outdoors.
The only thing that might make you think twice about Nampa is that it is more industrial.
There’s a massive sugar beet factory near the residential and shopping areas, but it doesn’t take away too much from the beauty of the area.
Nampa as a city isn’t all that exciting.
We’ll go through some of the attractions in town, but with Meridian, Caldwell, and Boise so close by, you won’t miss out on anything during your trip to Nampa.
Warnings & Dangers in Nampa
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk overall. It's a relatively safe town with a crime rate that reflects a growing community but not one so high you wouldn't want to stay in a hotel there.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
ValleyRide is the public bus system that can get you around Nampa and some surrounding cities, but I wouldn't rely on it for all transportation. There are buses and rideshares, plus Nampa is filled with walking and biking trails. It would be great if you could rent a car here. All options come with low risk, aside from accepting the fact there will likely be a lot of traffic in this whole region.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were just two pickpockets reported in 2020, so that's a low risk for a traveler. You don't want to leave your stuff in the car, as 30% of the thefts reported were from car break-ins.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
You will have to watch out for wildfires, thunderstorms, drought, flooding, and winter weather here. It's a low risk, but during wildfire season that risk can quickly and unexpectedly skip over medium risk right to high risk. It's important to have a reliable weather app you check here daily.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
With seven robberies and only three in public places, there's a good chance you won't ever worry about being mugged. Since there's not much nightlife, there's no reason to be walking around at night.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Unless there is a terror group with a hatred of sugar beets, you shouldn't have any worry about an attack in Nampa. The good people of Idaho are rather frustrated with its reputation for creating homegrown terrorists and everyone is very vigilant here. The concerns are rooted in some white supremacist groups mostly associated with North Idaho.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are IRS and utility bill scams, plus a popular one where a scammer threatens to have you arrested if you don't pay a parking ticket. However, those are mostly focused on the locals. A tourist has a low risk of getting scammed.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe here, but there's a sexual assault rate that I have to address. The rate is more than twice the national average. The average works out to a one in a thousand chance of being a victim, which is much higher than in neighboring cities. If you are going to be out drinking in Nampa, go with a friend and never leave a female friend behind or let them go home with a stranger.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The city meets or exceeds all requirements and just did an upgrade to the water filtration system in 2020. You should feel safe using the water here with low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Nampa
Lake Lowell is the place to be for outdoor adventures right next door to Nampa.
It is open throughout the year, no matter what the weather, from sunrise to sunset.
You can go boating or fishing, enjoy the trails with stories told through plaques along the way, or play disc golf.
There’s a scenic drive around the lake too if you don’t want to get out of the car.
The Canyon County Historical Society has a few museums in the middle of town.
Volunteers from the town dress up in period costumes to help bring the story of Treasure Valley to life.
The Nampa Train Depot and Indian Creek Museum are free for children under six and adults get in for $5.
You do need to make reservations a week in advance for the Indian Creek Museum.
The Snake River Stampede happens the third week in July at the Ford Idaho Center and it’s one of the best rodeos in the country.
Check the center’s schedule for other events happening during your visit.
Drive about seven miles south and you can visit Vogel Farms Country Market.
There’s fresh poultry, fruits, and vegetables for sale.
You can shop at the store there for all the homegrown and homemade Idaho snacks.
You can even take a few lessons on how to can food or take a cooking class.
Farm tours are also available.
Places to Avoid in Nampa
The area along the I-84 byway, which is the main road in Nampa, has the highest rate of crime.
That’s also the busiest part of town, so that’s pretty common.
North of I-84 is the lower crime area and the further to the edge of town you get, the lower the rate gets.
It is interesting in all my research in Idaho how many articles and videos there are about Idahoans verbally pushing back against the population influx.
It’s not that they don’t want more people enjoying the Idaho way of life.
They just don’t want the Idaho way of life to get ruined.
A large number of transplants are from California.
Idahoans are a little fed up with the “Californication” of their state.
It’s best to avoid talking about how something is better or cooler back home.
Enjoy this unique state for all the amenities it does have and not for what you think it is lacking.
This is also an area that is very proud of its country, religion, and the Second Amendment.
You should really avoid getting into heated discussions about politics or religion.
You will meet a good number of Mormons here, and it’s important to know that you can’t visit a Mormon church if you aren’t a member of the church.
Only members of the faith can go to the temple.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Nampa
- Here’s a great number to keep on hand if you see or get information about a non-urgent crime. Crimestoppers of Southwest Idaho is (208)343-2677 (COPS). You can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a reward.
- Sign up for AlertSense notification from the Nampa Police Department. This will send information to your mobile device or email if there is an active police investigation impacting traffic or businesses or a shelter in place order gets issued.
- You might notice some pungent smells in Nampa. This industrial and agricultural area has two main smells. One can come from the sugar beet factory, the other from the manure used to fertilize fields.
- Nampa has clever signs on the roadways begging people to get their heads out of their “apps”. This is to punctuate the new law that bans texting and driving. Even holding a mobile phone while driving could get you pulled over. Only voice commands can be used when driving.
- Half of all traffic accidents in Idaho are related to aggressive driving. While you’ll find aggressive drivers in most states, Idaho is facing so many new people on the roads with the population boom. Add in the stress of a post-pandemic world, roads that weren’t built for this many people, and construction underway to expand the roads – it can spell trouble. Give yourself plenty of time while driving and be courteous to other drivers.
- You can’t use your fishing or hunting license from home here. You’ll need to get one from the Idaho Department of Fish & Game. Those are available online. Be sure to review the rules for when certain hunting and fishing seasons start because you have a lot of options here.
- You might be surprised to know that even Idaho has gang problems. Nampa Police work to not only catch gang members but educate youngsters on the dangers of gangs. It’s important if you see graffiti that you report it to the police non-emergency number.
- Stargazing is popular in Nampa and some of the areas outside of town can give some pretty spectacular shows. If you are heading out to stargaze, bring a flashlight with a red filter on it to prevent light pollution. Don’t go too far into the wilderness or on private property. You might hear coyotes in the distance, but they are rarely aggressive against humans.
- If you are renting a car here in the winter, get a car that can handle snow. You should also bring blankets and pillows when driving outside the city in case of a breakdown. Snow chains and carpet scraps are a good idea too, just in case you get stuck in a really snowy area.
- Don’t go into the wilderness if there are storms in the forecast. Lightning can be dangerous itself, but it can also cause wildfires. With the winds in Idaho, those fires can quickly spread over hundreds of acres and corner you.
So... How Safe Is Nampa Really?
Nampa is just about average in many ways, including crime rates.
There is a one in 314 chance of being a victim of a violent crime just by looking at the numbers.
Digging a little deeper, we see that 64% of the crime happens at home and less than 20% happens against strangers.
Shoplifting accounts for 30% of the thefts, and we talked earlier about how another 30% are due to car break-ins.
Thieves are looking for a quick take in vehicles, so anything you leave inside could be a lure.
Don’t make it easy by leaving a car unlocked or a window rolled down.
It’s also illegal in Idaho to leave an unlocked car running to warm it up in the winter.
It’s also important to know the safety risks in the wild.
Idaho is mostly public land and very little has been done to make it accommodating for people who want a simple journey down trails.
The ruggedness of the area is what attracts people to it.
Be educated on wildlife sightings and weather hazards while preparing for a trip with plenty of water, bug spray, and sunscreen.
You won’t need bear spray here, as bears are seldom seen in this part of the state.
How Does Nampa Compare?
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- Visas - You should start the Visa process at least four months before your trip to give plenty of time for processing. Once you have the Visa, you'll need to show it at the airport when you enter the United States. After that, you can travel freely between cities and states.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar in Idaho. There are no toll roads in Idaho and you can use a credit card or mobile pay option for the majority of purchases. You are rarely going to run into a cash-only operation.
- Weather - Plan for all four seasons here. While the climate is always going to be dry, that presents a much different kind of bone-chilling cold in the winter. Summers get hot and you can feel like you're baking at times in the sunlight. Sunscreen, a hydrating body lotion, and hiking boots are a must.
- Airports - The Boise airport is about 20 miles east and that's the closest option. That's actually really the only option unless you want to drive more than five hours to Salt Lake City.
- Travel Insurance - It's a great idea to get travel insurance, especially when weather conditions throughout the year can lead to flight delays or cancellations.
Nampa Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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