Colorado : Safety by City
- Cañon City
- Colorado Springs
- Fort Collins
- Grand Junction
Pueblo, Colorado isn’t a whole lot of what you’d expect in this state.
It’s not nestled into a huge mountain range.
The mountains are way in the distance.
You don’t get large snowfalls here, so there’s no walking in a winter wonderland much of the winter.
You don’t even have the same seasons as other parts of Colorado.
It’s part of what makes Pueblo different or special, depending on how you look at it.
This is a diverse city with the offspring of immigrants brought in to help make steel more than a century ago, making it a milestone location for steel production.
Throughout economic and labor challenges in the 1980s through the early 2000s, the steel industry survived – barely – but is still a critical thread in the fabric of this community.
The city’s culinary claim to fame is the Slopper.
It’s a hamburger/cheeseburger served with a covering of chili sauce, then topped with diced onions.
It doesn’t sound good, it doesn’t even look that good in pictures, but I’m told it’s one of the most amazing dishes you’ll have and you need to at least try one when you visit Pueblo.
Pueblo isn’t a town trying to impress you.
There is a lot to do here, but nothing that will make your jaw drop in amazement, as you might get in Colorado Springs.
This is a working-class blue-collar town with people trying to make ends meet and police trying to make crime go down.
It’s one of those cities where you’ll rarely see a crime in one neighborhood, but don’t dare go into “insert neighborhood name here” or you’ll be in danger.
Warnings & Dangers in Pueblo
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here. As of 2020, Pueblo ranks as the 21st most dangerous city in America. Normally, I brush off the "lists" because I like to crunch my own data so you can have the best information possible. My jaw dropped at some of the numbers reported in the 2020 Annual Report by the Pueblo Police Department. There are problems here we need to discuss before you visit because it's not so dangerous that you should avoid them altogether.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Pueblo Transit is the bus system around town. There are 12 routes to take. Taxis and rideshares are available too. I'd say there's a medium risk because of the high crime levels and, on top of that, having a car is going to make your experience in Pueblo better.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Here's one thing that shocked me - there were 4047 thefts in Pueblo in 2020. More shocking? Just two were pickpockets. The unfortunate part is that it seems people are more likely to just outright rob you than to pick your pocket. It's a low risk of being pickpocketed, but the potential for it is a higher risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Wildfires and flooding are the biggest risks here. This is a dry high desert climate and the comfortable temperatures make for some areas being a tinder box when a fire breaks out. There is also a lot of wind here, so hold on to your hat. Overall, it's low risk compared to other Colorado communities, but during wildfire season be on your toes as the unpredictable fires can quickly lead to an evacuation.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here. 30% of the 198 robberies were in public places. Again, this is a hit-or-miss community when it comes to crime, but if you do get robbed it's going to be by a very dangerous person.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here. No hard targets are in Pueblo and the next closest city that is a hard target is 45 minutes away in Colorado Springs.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of being scammed and the main scam warnings are the typical ones from almost every community. Again, criminals here would rather just take things from you than go through the hassle of scamming you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
There were 291 cases of sexual assault or another sex offense, so there's a medium risk for women here. It's not a town where you should go out at night (there's not much to do at night anyway) or drive through strange neighborhoods.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
No violations in the water were found in the 2021 Annual Water Quality Report. The water has a low risk and actually has won competitions in the past for being some of the best tasting drinking water in the nation.
Safest Places to Visit in Pueblo
The Pueblo Zoo is a family-friendly attraction with plenty of animals, from adorable to spiders.
You can also get behind-the-scenes tours to see the African Painted Dog, African Penguin, American Bison, or Red Panda.
Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for children; kids 3 and under get free admission.
Pueblo has a lot of great history to see, but it’s spread out in the community.
The Historic Pueblo society lists all the nationally registered historic places on its website.
There are buildings, bridges, and rail cars on the list.
The Rosemont Museum is an elegant look at life in Pueblo in the late 1800s.
The home has been persevered with almost all the original furnishings to make this a truly unique experience.
For those who love the art of flight, you must see the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.
Throughout 85,000 square feet, you can see military, civilian, and space aircraft and artifacts.
Lake Pueblo is an awesome spot to take a dip in the high desert.
It’s popular for fishing, camping, swimming, boating, and bicycling.
The fee is $10 per car per day.
If you can make it to Liberty Point Memorial, you’ll get expansive views of the Pueblo region with mountains in the distance.
You can see hawks soaring, wildlife in the grass, and boaters on the lake with overwhelming views of the blue Colorado sky.
Places to Avoid in Pueblo
Crime maps show the south and east sides of town are the most dangerous.
The east side and Bessemer neighborhoods are two you should avoid at all costs.
While the crime is pretty consistent across the area, I did some research and found the majority of hotels in Pueblo are on the far north side of town and in one of the safer areas.
You want to avoid trying too hard to make friends here.
Pueblo is a town of 112,000 people, but it’s also a place where everyone seems to know everyone else and there’s a certain disinterest in anyone who’s not from there.
Nobody will be rude or violent about you being a tourist, they just might look at you oddly wondering why you are in “their” town.
If you get asked what high school you went to, people assume you are a local.
Avoid being out after nightfall if you don’t have a specific reason to be there.
While there are bars and restaurants, it’s not really a town with a lot of nightlife.
You’d have to go to Colorado Springs to do that (and you’d be safer).
Safety Tips for Traveling to Pueblo
- 946 cars were stolen in Pueblo in 2020. That’s more than two cars per day. Take all safety steps to keep your car safe. Get a theft deterrent for the steering wheel, get a car with an alarm, park in lots monitored around the clock, and take all your personal items out of the car when you leave it. Make sure you have travel insurance or car insurance that covers a stolen car.
- If you see any crimes happening in Pueblo that are non-emergencies or get crime information after the fact, you can call Crime Stoppers at (719)542-7867 or fill out a form on the Pueblo Police website. The rewards are now doubled for 2022 if you provide information that leads to a felony arrest, and you can give information anonymously.
- The Pueblo Police have offered specific tips to help prevent purse thefts. Even though only one purse snatching was reported in 2020, when someone uses force to take a purse it turns into a robbery. The most recent rash of crimes has been happening in the parking lots of shopping centers. Carry as small of a purse as you can (this will also help the temptation to carry more stuff with you), park as close to the store as possible, never leave a purse in the shopping cart, and use a crossbody purse is the best option to prevent theft. If you are a victim, police suggest making a lot of noise so bystanders can see and help get suspect information.
- If you see a group of people loitering in an area, avoid them. There is a lot of gang activity here and gangs can travel in groups. Don’t even drive by them on your way out of a parking lot. It might be overly cautious to do this, but it’s also in your best interest.
- If you want to fish while you’re here, you’ll need a fishing license from the Colorado Department of Wildlife. You can purchase it online ahead of time. Be sure to get a non-resident license and don’t try to fake being a resident for a cheaper deal. You have to actually prove that you live in Colorado to get it.
- Graffiti is a sure sign of gang activity in any community, so if you see graffiti on a building, call the Graffiti Hotline at (719)553-2501. The city wants to clean up the paint before any more buildings in the area get hit.
- A day or two before your trip, look at the wildfire maps in Colorado and make sure there isn’t a fire burning near Pueblo. You might want to consider canceling if there is. These fires can turn from dangerous to deadly very quickly.
- There are a good number of homeless people and panhandlers in Pueblo. Generally, if you just say no and move on, they will leave you alone. If you feel inclined to donate, give the money to a homeless shelter instead of an individual.
- Sign up for emergency notification from the Pueblo Police Department on its website. You can choose either emails or text messages to get the information. This will help keep you updated on any crime sprees or concerns while you’re in town.
- Recreational marijuana use is legal in Pueblo (and all of Colorado) but it’s only allowed on private property where the owner is okay with the use. You can’t use any form of marijuana in public places, businesses, or on the street.
So... How Safe Is Pueblo Really?
The dangers in Pueblo are largely connected to gang activity, drug use, and poverty.
Reading through social media posts, some people in their golden years say they’ve never heard or seen a crime in 40 years of living there, other people say they’ve gotten used to the sound of gunfire and it helps them sleep at night (being sarcastic, of course).
Largely, if you don’t go looking for trouble (or drugs) you won’t find it, but there’s always the risk of being caught in the crossfire of a gang fight or being approached by someone desperate for drugs.
This is no different than many large cities, but it’s a bit surprising to have such high crime numbers in this medium-sized city.
Here’s the risk of being a victim of a crime in Pueblo:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 108
- Robbery: 1 in 5464
- Theft: 1 in 27
- Car Theft: 1 in 118
There were 14 homicides in 2020.
The crimes were mostly domestic issues or gang shootings.
This isn’t the safest city in Colorado, and it’s actually one of the more dangerous cities.
There’s a 21% poverty rate and an average income of $42,000.
People are just trying to survive here and live as good a life as they can, and sometimes get roped into illegal activity.
If you’re looking for a scenic vista with snow-covered mountains nearby to visit, Pueblo isn’t for you.
If you have friends or family here you’re visiting, they’ll be very helpful in telling you the parts to avoid while enjoying the fun parts of this community.
How Does Pueblo Compare?
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|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
You will need to go through customs to get into the United States, but once you've been processed there you don't go through additional checkpoints in the different states or cities in the country.
You'll just use the U.S. Dollar here. This is definitely not a place to let anyone see you carrying cash, so use a credit card for as many purchases as you can, and if you can pay in advance for something - do it.
This is the only city in Colorado I've researched that gets less than the national average for snow. The winters still do get bitterly cold, so bring full weather gear. If you plan on visiting the mountains or going skiing, you can rent ski gear at most resorts. Summers can get into the 90s for highs, so bring a water bottle to fill up throughout the day and plenty of sunscreen and chapstick. A good, hydrating body lotion will be very helpful too since it's so dry here.
Pueblo Memorial Airport is just six miles from downtown. United Airlines provides commercial service there. You can also drive an hour to Colorado Springs to use the airport there.
Travel insurance is a really good idea when traveling here, especially if you use the smaller Pueblo airport, which can be more prone to cancellations. Also, wildfires can shut down roads and impact air quality, so you want to be able to re-book if it's too dangerous to visit during your preferred dates.
Pueblo Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Colorado - Safety by City