Is Newport Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On February 27, 2024
Newport, United States
Safety Index:
80
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Newport, Rhode Island, stands as a timeless beacon of charm, elegance, and maritime splendor.

Steeped in history dating back to its colonial roots, Newport rose to prominence during the Gilded Age as the preferred summer destination for America’s elite, who sought respite from the sweltering cities in the cool ocean breezes of this coastal retreat.

Those same mansions were used as scene setters for HBO’s Gilded Age.

Today, Newport’s rich tapestry of historic mansions, pristine beaches, and vibrant cultural scene continues to captivate visitors from near and far.

Unlike other parts of Rhode Island’s coastline, Newport offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical grandeur.

While its beaches boast the same pristine sands and azure waters as other coastal communities, Newport’s distinction lies in its stunning backdrop of Gilded Age mansions, sprawling estates, and historic landmarks.

Newport also has the iconic Cliff Walk and a rich maritime heritage at Fort Adams State Park.

Moreover, Newport’s vibrant community buzzes with energy year-round, offering an eclectic mix of boutique shops, art galleries, waterfront restaurants, and lively entertainment venues.

From sailing regattas and jazz festivals to wine tastings and culinary delights, there’s always something exciting happening in Newport.

Newport is also among the busiest beach communities in Rhode Island.

If you’re looking for an escape from hustle and bustle, Newport isn’t the place to do it.

Check out nearby Jamestown.

Warnings & Dangers in Newport

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Newport is a low risk overall, but you'll be safer after reading through some helpful tips in this article, especially when it comes to peak season and weather challenges.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Newport is one of the easiest places to get to and get around I've ever seen. Whether you're coming from Boston or the next island over, a ferry, train, highway, or shuttle is ready to take you there. The Discover Newport website has a full list on the Visitor Info page.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

About 10 pickpockets have happened in the past 10 years, which is a statistically low risk but also a place where a crime of opportunity could happen if you let your guard down.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

The weather impacts everything from how enjoyable the water is to the safety of being on the island. Treat it with a medium risk, and always be aware of hurricanes (June - November) and nor'easters (October - April) that could pack a wallop.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

About five robberies happen each year, looking back at five years of crime data. While the community is well-lit at night, stay in those locations and don't go walking on dark beaches or streets.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Tourists should not be overly concerned about terrorism in Newport, RI. While it's always wise to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against common crimes, terrorism is not a major threat in the area. There is no recent history of terrorism in Newport.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

You might feel some of the prices at restaurants are a rip-off (sarcasm), but the risk here is low. I would always be aware of potential renter scams, where someone posts a fake home for rent at a rock-bottom price.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

The sexual assault rate is slightly higher than the national average, but my research shows that it's not a reflection of strangers being attacked. Women should feel comfortable visiting here, even solo travelers, while always keeping their guard up and using basic personal safety steps.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. The only time you might want to exercise more caution is after a tropical storm, hurricane, or flooding, and the city would alert you to any issues.

Safest Places to Visit in Newport

DiscoverNewport.org is the official tourism site for Newport and the other communities in this region.

That does include Middletown and Portsmouth on the same island at Newport.

No visit to Newport is complete without seeing the Gilded Age mansions, which are open for tours throughout the year.

However, summer does see more homes open, while winter could have only 1-2 available for touring.

The palatial balances still stand as jaw-dropping sites, even more than a century later.

Meandering along the eastern shore of Newport, the Cliff Walk offers a scenic stroll with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the majestic Gilded Age mansions on the other.

The 3.5-mile walk is free and a great choice if you want to see the mansions without paying for the tour, but it still impresses even if you’ve been inside the palaces.

Nestled along Newport’s picturesque coastline, Easton’s Beach, also known as First Beach, invites visitors to unwind on its pristine shores or take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Atlantic.

With amenities such as a carousel, snack bar, and playground, it’s the perfect spot for a family-friendly day by the sea.

Fort Adams Beach is surrounded by Fort Adams State Park and is a popular spot for summer concerts.

King Park Beach is another sandy spot in town, much smaller and subdued.

Newport does have a slew of museums, including:

  • The Sailing Museum
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame
  • Audrain Automobile Museum
  • Museum of Newport History
  • Museum of Newport Irish
  • National Museum of American Illustration
  • Newport Art Museum
  • Newport Tower Museum
  • U.S. Naval War College Museum

… and that’s not even all the museums.

Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to see on a rainy day here.

Enjoy the scenery on the 10-mile coastal adventure on Ocean Drive.

You can walk, drive or bike it.

It’s referred to as the “The Drive” or “10 Mile Drive.”

Boat tours from America’s Cup rides to discount ferries are available with harbor adventures, lighthouse looks, and sunrise/sunset options.

A ferry route is available to Block Island as well.

Places to Avoid in Newport

Newport is a walkable, secure, and well-lit area to explore.

The only places to avoid would be private property and the beach when it’s closed or has a double red flag warning.

If you’re visiting during the peak summer season, be prepared for intense traffic and a lot of crowds.

The narrow streets of this colonial-era community are great for walking but can feel claustrophobic on top of the summer heat and humidity.

As with any popular beach spot, getting there early is imperative to avoid traffic, parking challenges, and crowds.

Follow @RIEZPASS on X to get road updates on the bridges to and from the island.

Finally, avoid confusing Newport, Rhode Island, with Newport, California.

They are both upscale beach communities.

When in doubt, look for the 401 area code.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Newport

  1. Newport does have its own police department. The phone number is (401) 847-1306 if you have specific safety questions. You can follow them on Facebook @NewportRIPolice to get updates.
  2. While most of Rhode Island uses the CodeRED system for emergency notifications, Newport uses Smart 911. You’ll want to set this up so you can be aware of weather emergencies and public safety threats. You can also sign up for CodeRED through the state emergency management site.
  3. Use the Passport Parking app to find public parking in town and near the beach. Be aware that some lots might be residents only, while others could require a beach tag from the city. If you see the Passport Parking logo on a parking lot, it should be okay to park there.
  4. When visiting Easton’s Beach, you should know that there are no flotation devices, rafts, Frisbees, kites, or balls allowed. This is for everyone’s safety and comfort.
  5. You’ll need to learn the beach flag warning system if you aren’t familiar with it. For example, a double red flag means to stay out of the water, and a purple flag means dangerous marine animals could be present.
  6. The Rhode Island Department of Health is the go-to source for beach and water quality during the summer. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, each beach is tested twice a week.
  7. Ocean bugs are part of the peak summer season at the beaches of Rhode Island. These tiny “crustacean isopods” are more annoying than dangerous, but it’s well worth taking a shower immediately after being in the water.
  8. I wanted to touch on those potential renter scams and give you more information. If you look on the city’s website, read the Short Term Rental Regulations. This will help you learn the laws of Newport, so a scammer can’t pull a fast one on you.
  9. If you plan on fishing, you’ll need a license from the state. Separate licenses are issued for saltwater vs. freshwater. You’ll need to carry that license with you, even on a fishing charter.
  10. If you’re visiting during the hurricane season, be sure you research the evacuation routes and safety protocols. The safest thing to do is leave town if a hurricane watch is issued. That gives you plenty of time to get ahead of the storm and the crowds. Keep in mind that the season runs through November.

So... How Safe Is Newport Really?

Newport’s upscale reputation would suggest a super safe community, but the crime data doesn’t always match up.

Keeping in mind that Rhode Island is one of the Top 10 Safest States in America, the violent crime rate in Newport is 16% higher than the state average and 50% lower than the national average.

In the past five years, 22% of crimes have happened against strangers, and 47% were in private homes.

That lowers the risk for a tourist off the bat.

Theft has been an issue in Newport, but the data shows the rate has dropped 60% in the past decade.

As of 2023, the rate was on par with the national average.

Most thefts fall into the category of “other,” meaning items stolen from the beach, a yard, or a campsite.

21% of all thefts were car break-ins.

I saw the noise detectors’ information from the Newport police, and my mind automatically went to “gunshot detectors,” as many U.S. cities are investing in that technology.

I laughed in spite of myself when I saw it was to keep noise levels down so no raucous parties or street racing could happen without consequences.

When noise is your biggest issue, you should feel safe visiting that community.

Also, expect crime risks and rates to be higher in the summer, along with frustrating traffic, especially coming off the bridge into Newport.

Use common sense and standard safety practices, and you’ll likely fall in love with Newport as people have been doing since the Gilded Age.

How Does Newport Compare?

CitySafety Index
Newport80
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66
Belize City (Belize)37
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International visitors will need to show a valid passport and proof of a visa or visa waiver to get through Customs and Border Patrol. The U.S. State Department has a Visa Wizard module that can help you get started.

Currency

Currency

You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Plan for credit cards to be widely accepted. While you might want to bring some cash for tipping, credit cards offer great fraud and theft protection.

Weather

Weather

You get four seasons here, and winters can include some in this beach town. Eco-friendly sunscreen and bug spray are helpful from spring through early fall. This is a rather affluent community, so you might want to dress a little more than beach casual, but it's not required. If you're going to a nice restaurant, plan to wear dress clothes as flip-flops and shorts are frowned upon, if not banned.

Airports

Airports

You'll be about a 35-minute drive from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport, but plan for an hour with traffic. Public transportation or shuttles might take longer.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is the way to go when visiting such a popular resort town. Double check if your hotel or rental has its own insurance policy so you aren't paying double for the same services.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Newport Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 1° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 9° C
May 14° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 23° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 9° C
Dec 4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
44712162125252217127
Low
°C
-2-21611162020171261
High
°F
393945546170777772635445
Low
°F
282834435261686863544334

Rhode Island - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Burrillville79
Cranston88
Cumberland84
Jamestown82
Johnston79
Little Compton81
Narragansett82
Newport80
North Kingstown83
Pawtucket80
Providence68
Warwick85
Westerly82
Woonsocket65

Where to Next?

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