Nebraska : Safety by City
- Grand Island
- La Vista
- Nebraska City
- North Platte
- South Sioux City
Papillion, Nebraska, is a fringe community of the Omaha metro area.
It flanks the south side of the region and is one of the fastest-growing communities here while being the county seat of Sarpy County.
While it’s a suburban section of the community, it’s also filled with many outdoor adventures and community events that make it special from the more dense areas of Omaha.
Although the name of the city has French roots, it’s pronounced: “Pap-PILL-yun.”
Some residents and travel sites might refer to it as Papio.
The city is also renovating the downtown Papillion area by expanding the space and restoring amenities in a blighted section of town.
The Papillion Business and Technology Park is also bringing more companies (and residents) to town, hoping to make this a premier destination in the broader Lincoln/Omaha region.
Most of the hotels will be in nearby La Vista or Bellevue, but you have a handful of options in Papillion.
More are certainly to come as this city expands.
Warnings & Dangers in Papillion
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here since the community is highly residential and voted one of the best small towns in America by Business Insider.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The Omaha Metro Transit system does go to Papillion. Rideshares and taxis will be easy to find. Rental cars are available at the airport or throughout the greater Omaha metro area.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, but your car is a different story. Never leave a car unlocked or with the windows rolled down. Keep all personal items out of plain sight, or remove them completely.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The outdoor nature of Papillion's attractions makes this a firm medium risk. Winter weather can create great options but can also cause treacherous roads and dangerously cold temperatures. Spring brings severe storm seasons with tornadoes and large hail. That risk runs through fall.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, with no more than four happening in any year dating back to 2000. In 2021, there was just one robbery.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Offutt Air Force Base is nearby, which would bring more of a risk but also an incredible amount of security. You shouldn't be worried if you see military planes flying overhead. It's actually a whole tourist attraction within itself! There's no reason to worry about terrorism in Papillion.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
This is another low risk, as most scam attempts are against residents. You can check the latest scams on law enforcement websites and social media sites or check in with the Better Business Bureau.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women here, and they'll love the family-friendly safe spaces and shopping districts to explore in a suburban setting while having the nightlife of Omaha as an option nearby.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance with all state and federal standards. We also love the responsible nature of this report, as it was posted months in advance of the June deadline.
Safest Places to Visit in Papillion
Papillion’s city website has a visitor’s guide section with all the attractions available.
I especially love that this guide just covers Papillion and not the entire Omaha area.
Visit Omaha is the tourism website for the greater region, and then Visit Nebraska is the statewide tourism site.
Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area are one of the big draws in Papillion.
The 450-acre park has a large lake, campsites, 3 miles of trails that connect to other city trails, and several playground options.
Check for events, closures, and safety rules on the Facebook page @walnutcreekrecreationarea.
Halleck Park is the choice for plant and flower lovers, as it has an arboretum in addition to 70 acres of trails and sports activities.
There’s even a sand volleyball court and horseshoe pit.
Papio Fun Park is more than just a park.
It’s an amusement center of go-karts, mini golf, laser tag, and batting cages with an arcade and special booths to test your sports skills.
You can buy wristbands for a better bargain while experiencing more attractions.
For a true taste of Nebraska fun, look up the events happening during your visit to Bellevue Berry Farm.
Each season brings a new “U Pick Em” opportunity or event.
The site has hayrides and treehouses to explore, and there’s a small mock Western town to play in.
(For the kids… yeah… the kids.)
This location has become especially popular around Halloween.
Get your shopping fix, or just enjoy a stroll through the Shadow Lake Towne Center.
This open-air mall has plenty of restaurants too.
I would also recommend any Omaha visitor take the time to visit the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
This zoo has won many accolades and is known as one of the premiere zoos in the Midwest.
You can see for yourself by visiting Omahazoo.com.
I like to take the beautiful back roads of Nebraska to get to Omaha and avoid the crazy drivers on I-80, so I must recommend one of my favorite stopping points just 30 minutes south of Papillion.
Platte River State Park is a magical place that usually isn’t too crowded.
There are waterfalls and rocky inclines to give sweeping views of the Platte River.
Camping has been expanded to rugged options or “Glamping” for those who don’t like the outdoors beyond climate control.
Places to Avoid in Papillion
You don’t need to worry about the bad part of Papillion.
This is a safe city with plenty of safe neighborhoods, parks, and recreation areas.
Since it’s close to the Platte and Missouri River, you do want to check the flood stages or river advisories before you visit any riverfront area.
Flash flooding or ice jams on the river can cause problems.
You should also check the air quality each day, as fires or wind can cause smoke or unhealthy dust particles to be in the air.
Those with respiratory issues or allergies can really be triggered by these events.
I live about 30 minutes from Papillion, and I arranged my outdoor time today around the Red Flag Warning and air advisory.
I use the Air Now app daily.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Papillion
- Papillion Police Department serves this community and is on Facebook @PapillionPolice. You are welcome to call with any safety questions. That number is (402)597-2035.
- With so many parks, it helps to follow the Parks & Recreation Department on Facebook too. That handle is @Papillionparksandrec. The social media site covers local events, safety tips, and closures when necessary.
- Use 511 Nebraska to plot your path on the roadways. Omaha is the most congested city in the state, and the traffic can get backed up during rush hours. I got to Omaha to get my hair done, and I refuse to go during rush hour and opt for travel later in the morning, but I still hit a good deal of traffic.
- During the harvest in the fall, you’ll see farm equipment on roads. This is part of life in Nebraska, and be patient when you’re stuck behind one. They won’t pull over or speed up just because you’re behind them. Pass when it is safe to do so.
- Sign up for Papillion Alerts through the city’s website. This will get you important weather and safety information as storms approach, move over the city, and move past with damage left behind.
- I love this one. Papillion works with Bellevue Police, La Vista Police, and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office to have an all-encompassing interactive crime map. This is so helpful in tracking crimes in a wider area. For example, you can search car break-ins within 1/2 mile of your hotel.
- If you text and drive in Nebraska, you could face a fine of up to $500. This includes any hand-held use of a mobile device. Since crime rates are low in Papillion, you can bet officers have time to look for violators.
- Anglers need a fishing license, and the best way to get that is through the Nebraska Outdoors app. The app includes all the parks, camping reservation options, and any information related to outdoor activities in the state.
- You might hear people reference the Omadome when talking about severe weather. This is a made-up (although seemingly very accurate) that severe storms and winter weather will look imposing as it arrives but then magically (usually through dry air) lessens or moves away from the region. As someone who lives in the “Omadome,” it FEELS true, but it isn’t. And we’re all used to severe weather and have kits ready. Visitors shouldn’t believe this legend but can laugh after it seemingly happens again.
- It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. I’m connecting some dots here, but since Papillion Police have a Minor In Possession Hotline (MIP Hotline), it seems this is a pretty big problem. You can call to report any MIP incident. The daytime hotline is (402)597-2035, and the after-hours hotline is (402)339-3196.
So... How Safe Is Papillion Really?
Papillion is a safe place where unruly teenagers doing TikTok trends and property damage are more common than violent crimes.
Even the few violent crimes that do happen aren’t against strangers.
Since 2015, violent crimes have been down 250%.
38% of all thefts are related to car break-ins or accessory thefts, with an average loss of $900 per theft!
On a more positive note, from 2019 to 2021, theft rates were cut in half in Papillion.
The city is also located far enough away from Omaha, on the outer edge of the metro area, that even the more dangerous parts of the bigger city aren’t nearby.
Papillion has avoided the rising crime rates plaguing America but still should be treated with all the same safety precautions.
As this is a more outdoor area, you need weather awareness and education for storms and water safety.
There’s no reason to pause when considering Papillion as an extension of an Omaha trip.
How Does Papillion Compare?
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- Visas - International tourists have the same requirements no matter where they land or enter the U.S. A passport not within six months of expiring is required, along with either a visa or visa waiver. Some country's residents are eligible for the Visa Waiver program, but you'll need to review the State Department website to see if you qualify.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is also consistently used across the country, with no other options for payment. While you can exchange currency at certain locations in Omaha, your home bank will give lower fees and better value. You'll also get better fraud protection with credit card purchases instead of cash.
- Weather - You'll want comfortable and casual layers of clothing, especially in fall and spring when the temperatures can fluctuate. Winter can be very cold, but there isn't always snow on the ground. It's really important to check the forecast a few days before you arrive because the weather changes quickly here. You'll need bug spray and sunscreen in the summer, and plan for humid conditions.
- Airports - Eppley Airfield is Omaha's airport, and it's the biggest one around. The airport is 30 minutes from Papillion, but always check the 511 Nebraska app for traffic backups.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance is the best value to protect every leg of your trip from emergencies, weather delays, and severe weather cancelations.
Papillion Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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