Is Port Clinton Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On October 17, 2023
Port Clinton, United States
Safety Index:
76
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Port Clinton, Ohio, hugs the edge of the Lake Erie shoreline and opens the door to the nearby island.

It’s a perfect destination for a traveler who wants to be close to the water and away from city crowds. 

As the self-proclaimed “Walleye Capital of the World,” the town has deep roots in fishing and a proud maritime heritage.

The nearby Liberty Aviation Museum is a captivating window into the area’s aviation history, with vintage aircraft and wartime memorabilia.

Speaking of nearby islands, Port Clinton is the gateway to these enchanting destinations.

The Jet Express Ferry whisks you away to Put-in-Bay, an island known for its vibrant atmosphere, golf cart exploration, and the iconic Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, offering awe-inspiring panoramic views of Lake Erie.

In Port Clinton, the history, the islands, and the genuine hospitality come together to create a destination that offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, making it an excellent choice for travelers looking for an authentic and unforgettable experience on the shores of Lake Erie.

You’ll also have the bonus of more tourist towns nearby to explore, from an amusement park to a slew of outdoor recreational activities.

Warnings & Dangers in Port Clinton

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk in Port Clinton with so many things to do and a lower-than-average crime rate.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Sandusky has a transit system that extends to Port Clinton. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find. Rental cars are ideal for their flexibility, and most island ferries allow cars.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

This is a low risk, with just one pickpocket reported in the past five years. Of course, that's thanks to smart safety steps taken by visitors. Keep up that great trend by limiting any valuables and only bringing what you need.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

We have to give this a medium risk because of the weather risks throughout the year. Winter can bring major snow storms and ice storms. Flooding is a risk year-round, with warm water flooding and winter ice causing flooding. Severe thunderstorms, dangerous winds, and the occasional tornado are possible. There's a slight risk of an earthquake.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Port Clinton hasn't had more than three robberies in a year going back five years, and during that time span, only one was a highway robbery. That's a low risk, and you can keep it that way by paying attention to your surroundings and only walking around at night in well-lit, secure areas.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

The risk is low, but the nearby nuclear power plant will bring a slightly higher risk that is negated by the impressive amount of security. At the same time, report anything suspicious you see immediately.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Port Clinton Police have a list of common scams on their website, and social media pages are updated when new scams arise. It's a low risk, but you should always stay informed to keep it that way.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Women of all ages can enjoy the same low risk, assuming basic personal safety steps are taken, and weather/water awareness is in place.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The water quality reports for the past few years show full compliance and low risk. If there's an issue with flooding or frozen/busted pipes, you might have to boil water or deal with reduced pressure, but those aren't that common. It's just a reminder to stay informed with local emergency alerts.

Safest Places to Visit in Port Clinton

The tourism guide for Port Clinton and the surrounding region is on a website titled “Shores & Islands.”

It includes Put-In-Bay, Sandusky, and Cedar Point.

A free, downloadable travel guide is available without giving personal information like email or phone number.

You can also view live cameras of the various destinations on that site.

A great way to explore the shore is a leisurely walk in Waterworks Park.

This scenic spot boasts stunning lake views and well-maintained pathways, making it an ideal place for a tranquil morning or evening stroll.

Port Clinton also has a lighthouse where the Portage River meets Lake Erie.

Tours are offered in the summer but it’s a year-round photo op.

As the self-proclaimed “Walleye Capital of the World,” Port Clinton offers fantastic fishing opportunities.

Charter a boat and try your luck at catching walleye or perch on Lake Erie’s vast waters.

It’s an angler’s paradise with several inland rivers to explore as well.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the tranquility of East Harbor State Park.

Hike the trails, rent a kayak, or have a picnic along the shore.

This park is a haven for birdwatching and offers a serene escape from the bustle of everyday life.

Animal lovers shouldn’t miss the African Safari Wildlife Park, a drive-through destination where animals wander alongside the cars.

A designated walking trail allows a closer look at certain animals.

There’s even a massive T. rex dinosaur display.

History comes to life at the Liberty Aviation Museum.

Explore vintage aircraft and wartime memorabilia, including the iconic B-25 Mitchell bomber. It’s a fascinating window into the area’s aviation heritage.

Satisfy your seafood cravings at the Jolly Roger Seafood House.

Known for its fresh catches and nautical-themed decor, this restaurant offers a delightful dining experience.

Be sure to try the locally caught perch or walleye for an authentic taste of the region.

Discover unique boutiques and charming shops in Port Clinton’s historic downtown.

From antiques to locally crafted goods, you’ll find a variety of treasures to take home as souvenirs or gifts.

Hop on the Jet Express Ferry for a short ride to nearby Put-in-Bay.

This charming island is known for its lively atmosphere, golf cart rentals, and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Erie.

Places to Avoid in Port Clinton

Port Clinton doesn’t have bad neighborhoods or dangerous parts of town, but with any tourism-focused city, you should still stay aware of your surroundings.

There’s a nuclear power plant within 12 miles of Port Clinton, and that might make some people nervous.

To ease your concerns, read the Ottawa County Emergency Management website and the county page for details of the plant.

In the unlikely event of an emergency, you will know what to do by reviewing those sites.

You can also choose to stay outside the “Ten Mile Zone,” which would be the greatest area impact in an emergency.

While this is out of an abundance of caution, it simply helps to be aware of the potential risks to ease your concerns.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Port Clinton

  1. Port Clinton does have its own police department. You can follow them on Facebook @portclintonpd.org. For specific safety questions, call (419) 734-3121. You can also email pcpdchief@portclinton-oh.gov.
  2. Ottawa County Emergency Management provides the opportunity for visitors to enroll in safety alerts. These alerts will come to your mobile device and will alert you to public safety hazards or incoming severe weather. You can sign up on the website. Look at the top of the screen for the link to enroll.
  3. The ferry to Put-In-Bay is available seasonally, and there are certain boats where you can bring your own vehicle. If you take the express boat, which gets you there in 30 minutes, you won’t have the car ferry option.
  4. Before planning a trip from May through July, I recommend you research mayflies. These annoying flying bugs coat the shoreline to the extent that the power company turns off street lamps to avoid attracting them. They won’t hurt you, but when they die, they fall to the ground and can make it slippery. On the flip side, a healthy population of mayflies means the water is clean and the environment is healthy.
  5. Anglers need a fishing license from the Ohio Division of Wildlife. While fishing is allowed year-round, there are some restrictions on certain bodies of water. Even if you are taking a charter, you’ll still need a license.
  6. Lake Erie is large enough that you need to understand water currents and safety standards for each one. For example, a longshore current can move a swimmer parallel to the beach but far from the starting point. Rip currents can pull you out into the water. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a great Beach Wave Safety article online.
  7. Do not bring rafts or pool toys to the beach if they aren’t Coast Guard-approved. That includes inner tubes, pool noodles, and pool rafts. They just aren’t safe enough for the waters of Lake Erie.
  8. Law enforcement does patrol in boats, from local officers all the way up to border patrol officers, since the Canadian border is just north of Put-In-Bay. You should follow all instructions by law enforcement boats as you would driving on the road.
  9. When a snow emergency is declared, that means the parking rules change. It sounds a lot more serious than it is, but you can still get a ticket if you park on the street or in violation of the snow emergency. Keep in mind these are issued in tandem with more serious weather issues, like a blizzard warning or heavy snow advisory.
  10. Winter visitors should also have a portable charger for mobile devices in the event of a power outage. Ice storms can knock down tree lines and power poles.

So... How Safe Is Port Clinton Really?

Port Clinton already enjoys crime rates below the national and state averages but isn’t resting there.

It’s also determined not to be a place where criminals from other jurisdictions flee.

New license plate reader cameras installed in 2023 will make your trip to Port Clinton that much safer.

The cameras record license plates, details of a vehicle, and identifying marks without giving details of the person in the vehicle.

Drone training has also been done to keep an eye on the sky.

“With our ability to communicate with our officers, as well as with county and state law enforcement, if a stolen vehicle enters our city, we’ll have the ability to know about it in a matter of seconds,” said Port Clinton Police Chief David Scott.

“Flock cameras provide another layer of security for our residents and the many thousands of people who visit our beautiful city every year.”

What particularly surprised me was the car break-in rate – just 11% when other cities average around 30%.

Over the past five years, less than 5% of violent crime victims were not known to their attackers.

That’s more of a safety boost for tourists.

You’ll want to plan for the weather, whether it’s a winter storm or a summer thunderstorm, and always use the smart water safety steps we’ve discussed.

As long as you use common sense, you’ll love your time in Port Clinton.

How Does Port Clinton Compare?

CitySafety Index
Port Clinton76
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

To access the country, international travelers are required to obtain a visa or a visa waiver. The U.S. State Department website contains detailed information about visa waiver eligibility. A valid passport is also required.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Most airports will have currency exchange desks or ATMs, or you can exchange currency at your home bank for the lowest fees.

Weather

Weather

For a trip to Port Clinton, Ohio, prepare for changing weather. Pack a mix of clothing, including layers for cooler evenings, such as jeans and sweaters. Bring comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sunny days. Don't forget an umbrella for potential rain showers. Add extra layers in the winter.

Airports

Airports

The closest commercial airport to Port Clinton, Ohio, is the Toledo Express Airport (TOL), located approximately 50 miles to the west of Port Clinton. Cleveland's airport (CLE) is 70 miles in the other direction.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Anytime you take a trip where weather could potentially interfere with flights or driving, we highly recommend getting travel insurance. Don't forget to look into health insurance too if you won't already be covered at your destination. Also, double-check the insurance on your rental car to be prepared in case of an accident or breakdown.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Port Clinton Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -2° C
Feb -2° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 10° C
May 16° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 24° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 1° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
11613192527262317103
Low
°C
-5-5161218212017104-2
High
°F
343443556677817973635037
Low
°F
232334435464706863503928

Ohio - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Akron49
Ashtabula45
Canton32
Cincinnati48
Cleveland55
Columbus57
Cuyahoga Falls80
Dayton40
Defiance75
Elyria74
Findlay78
Kettering71
Logan78
Lorain67
Mansfield62
Medina71
Middletown76
Parma74
Port Clinton76
Put-in-Bay77
Sandusky76
Tiffin78
Toledo69
Vandalia76
Westerville77
Yellow Springs74
Youngstown52
Zanesville68

Where to Next?

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