New Hampshire : Safety by City
- Hampton Beach
- North Conway
- West Lebanon
Pembroke, New Hampshire, is a sleepy bedroom community just southeast of the state capital, Concord.
It also has a great position between Concord and Manchester, the two being just 20 minutes apart.
To cover as much of this region as possible, we’ll go through things to do and safety advice in Concord and Pembroke.
That’s no easy feat because there are just so many great options here.
You have the history of the area, dating back to the 1600s, in addition to Native American presence well before that.
There are NASA activities honoring America’s space heroes, including Christine McAuliffe, who was the first teacher slated to go into space but perished in the Challenger explosion.
The industry history of Pembroke and Concord paved the way for the clothing your wear today.
You also have all the tax-free shopping you can handle.
Then there’s the wonderful New Hampshire outdoors, with parks surrounding Pembroke.
Plus, Concord is surrounded by six other towns, making this one of the largest metro areas in the state.
All that, plus Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, are just an hour away.
Warnings & Dangers in Pembroke
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Despite some high-profile crimes over the past year, this entire region has below-average crime rates in one of the safest states in the country. Top that with the abundance of things to do, and there's a low risk for everyone.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Concord Area Transit is the public transportation system here. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find. Rental cars offer more exploration throughout the state, which includes the coastline beaches and the White Mountains. All options are low-risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
With just four pickpockets or purse snatchings since 2017 in Concord, and none in Pembroke, this is a low risk. Keep those standard safety steps in check, and you'll keep the risk low.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
This is a medium risk due to the potential for threats throughout the year. This region can get hurricanes, nor'easters, major winter storms, and extreme temperatures in winter and summer. Both cities have great emergency management plans you can review online.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Almost half of the robberies reported here happen in residential spaces, so there's a low risk for tourists. While you still need to avoid walking around at night alone or leaving well-lit areas, common sense will keep the risk low.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
While any capital city could be a target for protesters who turn violent, there's not an overwhelming risk here of any kind. The latest terrorism advisory bulletin from Homeland Security can be read online and will likely mention the mass shootings and domestic terrorism that is plaguing the nation. You can't really avoid that risk, even though it's low, but you can be a good steward and report any suspicious activity.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Check the Better Business Bureau website and the police department's social media pages for trending scams closer to your visit. Most are spoof calls geared toward residents, but you can't be too cautious. The risk is low, but scammers get more creative all the time. As much as possible, avoid giving your phone number or email when you're researching this region.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
This is another low-risk area, as nothing in the crime data suggests female tourists are a particular target.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Concord's 2023 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. Pembroke's Water Quality Report shows some concerning statistics, like e. Coli found in the water supply and two required assessments were not completed, with the only note being, "During the past year, we failed to conduct all the required assessment(s)." The city has been working to replace thousands of feet of pipes to make the water safer. It's worth reading the Pembroke Water Quality Report if you have larger concerns about this summary.
Safest Places to Visit in Pembroke
Visit Concord and Visit New Hampshire are two websites that can get you information about this region through official tourism organizations.
Pembroke doesn’t have a tourist guide, but you can look at the city’s website or social media pages to find upcoming events.
Concord is known as the “Culture Capital,” and it’s not a stuffy downtown filled with politicians in black suites carrying briefcases.
I absolutely love free walking tours since I don’t have to pay or move at the pace of a large group.
Concord has a historic walking tour with 62 locations to explore!
Download the guide so you can read about each place as you visit.
Art lovers can walk the streets to see murals painted on the side of historic buildings, the statues around the state house of notable New Hampshire icons, and the sculptures on Main Street.
New Hampshire doesn’t have a sales tax, which means you’ll save 5-7% compared to neighboring states.
This is a great reason to stroll through the downtown shops with unique items and locally-owned stores.
Space enthusiasts can’t miss the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.
Christa McAuliffe & Alan B. Shepard are two state space heroes you can learn about through different exhibits.
There’s also a special exhibit of Mt. Washington’s weather, known as having the “Worst Weather in America,” where you can step into the “Shake Shack.”
Planetarium shows are popular too.
Just outside Pembroke is the Bear Brooke State Park, the largest of its kind in the state.
You get a mix of history and nature here, with three museums in the park.
Horseback rides, boating, camping, and archery are other options, along with 40 miles of trails are among an abundance of things to do here.
Chuckster’s Family Fun Park on the north side of Pembroke touts the “World’s Longest Mini Golf Hole.”
You’ll also find a rock climbing wall, go-karts, batting cages, and seasonal bumper boats.
Scenic Rail Riders take you on the train tracks dating back to the 1840s, but you won’t ride a train.
Guests will pedal their way along the tracks.
If you can ride a bike, you can ride this rail.
It’s like a pedal boat but on train tracks instead of water.
Native American history is preserved and celebrated just northwest of Concord at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum.
The Canterbury Shaker Village is less than 30 miles from Pembroke, and I urge you to consider this as part of your trip.
To see how the Shakers lived their communal lives in celibacy and child-free, it’s as interesting as it is idyllic with the New Hampshire countryside setting.
Places to Avoid in Pembroke
Concord, Pembroke, and the surrounding cities are unilaterally safe to visit.
There aren’t bad neighborhoods or sketchy parts of town.
The worst you’ll see is homeless gatherings downtown, which is easy to avoid.
You won’t want to underestimate the power of a New England winter or the intensity of a hurricane that can come on shore.
While the town is used to winter weather and clears the streets quickly, it can be overwhelming for those not used to more than a few inches of snow in the winter.
I say this half-joking, but if you can avoid getting a Massachusetts license plate on your rental car, that’s ideal.
There’s a rivalry between the two states, and Massachusetts license plates will automatically make every New Hampshire driver assume you’re a terrible driver.
You should also know people here can have a thick accent.
Very few “r’s” are pronounced in words.
Like “Pahk the cah” means “park the car.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to Pembroke
- Pembroke and Concord have different police departments, but they work in tandem as needed. Find each on Facebook @pembrokenhpolice and @concordNHPD. Emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Always look for the 603 area code, as that covers the whole state of New Hampshire.
- Concord Area Transit has a website, but you can also review the maps and routes using Google Maps. Senior citizens should explore the regional options of CAT, as special services go outside the metro area.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through each city’s website. This will cover issues like planned construction, winter parking bans, and other hyper-local safety issues. You can customize which alerts you want to get.
- Concord and Pembroke will start re-paving roads each spring after the winter damage caused. You can check the paving progress on each city’s website. This is important as it might cause detours to your route that won’t always show up on GPS systems.
- From Concord heading south to Manchester and into Massachusetts, there’s a turnpike system with tolls. Check the maps on the New Hampshire Department of Transportation website under “Operations/Turnpikes” to see how to pay tolls and what the costs are. Toll-free roads can get you around, but the turnpike is the fastest.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the state Fish & Game Department. Be sure to know where you plan to fish, as freshwater and saltwater license options are available.
- A Hike Safe Card from Fish & Game costs $50, but it does insure you against the cost of being rescued on a hike. While reckless behavior won’t be covered, if you have an accident on a trail, New Hampshire law states you can be billed for the cost of the rescue.
- The Talk Concord Podcast covers events, updated amenities, and city safety concerns. It’s a great resource to get more information about the town before you visit. These are especially helpful during the fall festival season and the holidays.
- Use New England 511 to check road conditions, traffic cameras, and live-traffic updates throughout the region. You can create an account and set your preferred routes to get specific alerts. Even with this great tool, always carry a paper map with you. Parts of the White Mountains and Appalachian Trail won’t have mobile phone service.
- Concord’s website has a “translate” option on the front page, where you can choose any language to break down any language barriers to get the best safety information.
So... How Safe Is Pembroke Really?
The capital region of New Hampshire is well-known for its low violent crime rate, dating back at least a decade.
In fact, Concord’s violent crime rate has been cut in half since 2011.
That’s one reason a double murder of a couple walking a popular Concord trail shocked the community.
No motive was given, and the suspect is known to have a long criminal history.
It appears to be a random act of violence, as the couple in their 60s were simply taking a walk after returning from the Peace Corps.
In another growing trend nationwide, juvenile crime is a concern.
In an April 2022 incident, a 17-year-old girl reported she was randomly attacked by a middle schooler.
She says he punched her in the face and then ran off.
Several juveniles were running around White Park at the time of the incident.
The highest theft category here is shoplifting, accounting for 33% of all thefts since 2017.
21% of thefts were related to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
47% of all robberies have been in homes.
Pembroke has lower crime rates in an already low-crime region.
Common sense and situational awareness paired with standard personal safety measures will go a long way here.
Statistics are a great starting point, but when you see real-life crime stories that impact total strangers, it’s enough to keep your guard up even more.
These are isolated incidents, mind you, and a great reason why all suspicious activity should be reported immediately.
How Does Pembroke Compare?
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- Visas - All international tourists will need either a visa or visa waiver, depending on the country of origin and the purpose of the trip. The U.S. State Department has a helpful Visa Wizard module to get started on the right path. A valid passport is also required. If you're going to Canada as part of your U.S. visit, the Canadian Border Services Agency has its own set of requirements.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted in the United States. Exchange currency at your home bank or use a local branch of your bank in Concord. That will get you the lowest rates. Just about everything here can be purchased with credit cards, which offer the best fraud protection.
- Weather - As a capital city, there might be tours where you'll want to get more dressed up, but casual clothing is perfectly fine. You'll need full cold-weather gear in the winter and expect snow to be on the ground. Spring and fall require layers of clothing for varying temperatures. Summer is warm and humid. Bring bug spray and sunscreen. Hiking boots are necessary if you'll be exploring the mountains while you're here.
- Airports - The closest commercial airport to Concord is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT), located approximately 20 miles south of the city. Portsmouth International Airport (PME) is less than an hour away. Boston Logan (BOS) is less than two hours southeast.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance is the best way to protect your investment and get covered in case of severe weather delays or cancelation.
Pembroke Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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