Connecticut : Safety by City
- East Hartford
- New Haven
- New London
- Old Saybrook
- West Hartford
- Windsor Locks
Old Saybrook, Connecticut is as charming as it sounds.
The town sits where the waters of the Connecticut River meet the Long Island Sound, giving it waterfront views on both sides.
Once you get off the chaos of I-95, you are taken to a small town of 10,000 people who like a simple life with a lot of history.
There’s no hustle and bustle here, just simple life with tree-lined streets and a lot of outdoor activities.
This is Katharine Hepburn’s hometown and a theater here bears her name.
You can see it inside and out on the historic district walking tour where so much architecture from the early years of Old Saybrook has been preserved.
It is the oldest town on the shoreline of Connecticut.
One of the benefits of this city is it doesn’t just invite people to come during the busy summer season and then shut down during the winter.
The city website encourages visitors throughout the year and one of the most popular beaches is open 365 days a year.
This is a spot to visit if you’re looking for a safe, quiet getaway.
Where you want morning strolls to turn into long, leisurely lunches.
A place where you can birdwatch all afternoon and then enjoy dinner among new friends in town.
Take a boat ride that is in no rush to get back to shore.
Some might call Old Saybrook “boring”, but there’s an Amtrak station in town to take you to the bigger cities with more action.
Warnings & Dangers in Old Saybrook
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. Even with just 10,000 people, the crime rates are incredibly low. You'll spend more time finding things to do than finding a dangerous neighborhood.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The 9 Town Transit is the bus system that takes you as far east as New London, as far north as Middletown, and as far west as Madison. CT Rail's Shoreline East route goes through here as well as the Saybrook Junction Market Place. That's also where you'll pick up the Amtrak trains too. A one-way ticket to New York City will cost about $30. Taxis and rideshares might be slower than in other cities, but they are still an option. There's low risk with whatever you choose.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here. Pickpockets haven't been reported in crime data for several years now. This is the kind of place where if you leave your purse behind, someone will chase you down to return it.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of any kind of extreme weather you don't see coming. You're going to face the risk of hurricanes and tropical storms from June through November. In the winter, you'll get snow and bitterly cold temperatures, but nothing this area isn't used to. There might be flooding concerns during heavy rains with so much water nearby, but that should come with flash flooding or flood watches.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Since 2012 there has been one robbery and that was at a convenience store. There's a low risk of being mugged here. Probably the only real risk would be on the train to and from New York City.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Given its distance from any largely populated area, there's a low risk. It's important to keep in mind that places like New York City and New Haven might have a bigger risk because of the population size and national treasures, so Old Saybrook would probably see some people evacuating there.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
This is a small town where everyone knows everyone else. If someone tried to scam you, another person would probably say, "Frank! Stop trying to scam that tourist." You can rest assured there's a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women might actually love the solace of this area and have a low risk of traveling here. There are plenty of places to read a book, enjoy a day at the spa nearby, and just walk along the beach safely. While you should never let your guard down, this is definitely a place where you don't have to keep your head on a swivel.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Connecticut Water proudly boats in its 2021 Annual Water Quality Report, "We are pleased to report that the water quality results in your system meet all state and federal drinking water standards." There's a low risk here. Water quality in the Long Island Sound might have some issues if too much bacteria gets into it, but that would come with a beach warning.
Safest Places to Visit in Old Saybrook
Spend the day at Fort Saybrook Monument Park.
Try to find the fort itself and you’ll spend hours scratching your head.
That’s because the fort no longer exists.
The first one burned down and the second one was razed for commercial development (that never happened), so all you’ve got is the land, some monuments, and historic stories of the turmoil that happened on this land.
This is also one of the best scenic vistas in town.
Harvey’s Beach is the public beach in town and it’s open all year round.
You can visit from 8 am until sunset and lifeguards are only there during the summer months.
Watch the tide schedules because going at high tide means less beach room, as it’s a small beach.
Low tide means you can see really cool tide pools.
Get some exercise while doing the Saybrook Historic District walking tour.
You can pick up a map in town or print one out from the Chamber of Commerce website.
During late winter, one of the best activities is an eagle cruise.
The eagles move south looking for water that isn’t frozen over and they find it at the Connecticut River.
A one to two-hour tour lets you see these birds in all their majesty as they search for food, soar through the air, or just stare back at you from their nests.
Check the schedule at “The Kate” when you visit.
This is the theater named after Katharine Hepburn and it brings a wide variety of culturally diverse performances to the area.
Places to Avoid in Old Saybrook
You don’t need to worry about bad neighborhoods or crime-ridden sections of Old Saybrook.
Even the crime maps show just two districts and both have a low number of crimes.
That safe community is why people choose to live in Old Saybrook, and living here comes with certain benefits.
Connecticut has a lot of activities that charge in tiers – one for residents, and one for non-residents.
Avoid trying to fake being a resident as they really vet people thoroughly before giving them any kind of local discount.
There are a lot of beaches here, but few of them are open to the public.
Even the ones open to the public might charge more for non-residents to park.
Avoid trying to sneak onto a private beach or boat up to the shores of a private beach.
If you know someone in town or who lives in that neighborhood, they can bring guests.
However, you won’t be able to blend in as a local and, again, you’d have to have a beach sticker on your car to get in anyway.
Avoid going into natural areas where you aren’t sure of the land type.
There are marshes here that could quickly leave you trapped and if you are alone there might not be anyone to hear you call for help.
Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Old Saybrook
- Let’s go through a few outdoor tips in Old Saybrook that hold true for other areas of the state as well. If you are hunting or fishing, you’ll need a license through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Those are easy to get online ahead of time.
- There are a lot of ticks in Connecticut, so you need to wear bug spray when going into the woods. Try to dress with your socks over the bottom of your pants to keep the sucker away. Check your body from head to toe when you come out of the woods to make sure one isn’t stuck on you. Use tweezers to pull them out by their heads. Then disinfect that area of skin. Ticks can carry Lyme Disease.
- There have been black bear sightings in this part of Connecticut. If you see a bear, don’t get closer for a picture and don’t feed it anything. If you are hiking in deep woods and bringing food, keep it in a bear-safe container. You can report a black bear sighing to DEEP through its website. The bear spray might be a good idea to bring along, just in case.
- A big story in Old Saybrook over the past couple of years is the turnover rate among police officers in the city. There were allegations of a toxic and harassing work environment, and locals reported being necessarily harassed by police officers. The city commission is looking into the allegations, but it’s good to know there might be some government tension when you visit Old Saybrook.
- You’re going to need a good weather app for developing weather information. You will also need to know the tide schedules if you’ll be fishing, waterfowl hunting, or spending time at the beach. Keep an eye on the possibility of storms in the summer and winter storms from November through March.
- You can get statewide alerts with hyper-local information through CT Alert. You just sign up for the notifications you want and then you can unsubscribe when you leave. This is a great way to know what risks or safety concerns exist as you’re visiting different areas.
- You can also follow Old Saybrook Emergency Management (@OSOEM) on Facebook to get updates on weather emergencies heading toward the area.
- In Connecticut, bicyclists are considered the same thing as vehicles and are expected to follow all the laws. Don’t roll through a red light or ignore a stop sign. The police here don’t have a lot to do, so you can bet they’ll be looking for people to violate the law and issue a ticket. Children under 16 must wear a helmet as well on a bike.
- Old Saybrook is pretty windy throughout the year. This should help you pack because, for those with long hair, you’ll want a hat or something to keep your hair from blowing in your face. Also, flowing dresses or skirts might be challenging as they blow around and you have to try to hold them down.
- There were just 71 thefts in 2020, but 25% of those were car break-ins. This might be a town where people feel comfortable leaving cars unlocked and windows rolled down, but you should not. Always treat your vehicle like you’re in the worst part of the baddest town ever, and lock it up, roll the windows up, and leave nothing in the car of value.
So... How Safe Is Old Saybrook Really?
It’s a small, safe town with not a whole lot of activity.
There were just eight violent crimes in 2020 and five of those were domestic issues.
There was just one robbery in town.
Shoplifting and car break-ins were the biggest theft crimes.
The city has had two homicides total since 2010.
It’s important to know not all Connecticut communities offer this level of safety.
The numbers drastically change when you head to Bridgeport or New Haven, for example.
Even going to New London, you’ll have a different variety of crimes and in Mystic, you have a new set of busy tourism challenges.
Research those cities before visiting so you can be prepared, as Old Saybrook will spoil you with its sense of safety.
How Does Old Saybrook Compare?
- Visas - In the United States, you just have to provide your Visa when you enter the country at the airport or port of entry. You won't need additional processing between cities or states.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and some of the prices might be higher than you're used to at home, even in small towns like Old Saybrook.
- Weather - If you like having four seasons, you'll love Old Saybrook. From changing leaves in autumn to whiteouts of snow in the winter, those beautiful spring blooms, and the summer sunrises at the beach - there's a lot to explore. You will generally always need a jacket here, even in the summer, because evenings can get cool. Winter is really harsh, so bundle up with a lot of warm clothing to enjoy the sites without shivering.
- Airports - Tweed-New Haven airport is the closest, at 30 miles west. The Providence, Rhode Island airport is 70 miles east, which will take an hour's drive. If you are flying out of a New York area airport, plan for 2-3 hours on the train and then another two hours to get to the airport and check-in.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance can help with any delays along the way, from airplane mechanical issues to road closures due to snow storms. It's a great idea to have this insurance for a trip to Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
Old Saybrook Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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