Kentucky : Safety by City
- Bowling Green
- Cave City
- Cumberland Falls
- Harlan Tri-Cities
- La Grange
- St. Matthews
You might have never heard of Radcliff, Kentucky, but you’ve certainly heard of Fort Knox, right?
These two locations go hand-in-hand in central Kentucky, just south of Louisville.
Radcliff was once a city of exiled residents, forced to leave their homes because of the expanding Fort Knox.
Once the fort was fully functioning, Radcliff became the place to go and have some fun after a day of military training.
Now a city of 23,000 people, Radcliff is close to the big city but right next door to some of the most incredible forestry you can find in Kentucky.
I’m not going to mislead you – Radcliff is a residential town without many things to do within the city limits.
You can use it as a great starting point for adventures in all directions.
Radcliff is also one of the most diverse communities you’ll find in Kentucky, opening the state to new cultures and creative avenues.
That’s not to mention the incredible range of food you can try here while still getting a sample of the traditional Kentucky bourbon.
I’m not going to bury the lead here.
You will not be able to get into the gold vault at Fort Knox unless you have a Presidential Order.
Warnings & Dangers in Radcliff
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Radcliff. This is one of the smaller towns around Fort Knox, but it's also a relatively safe area with violent crime almost 40% less than the national average.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
With no public bus system, you'll have to rely on taxis and rideshares that you can find. Those options just might not be as readily available as you'd like. Having a car here is preferred.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
No pickpockets or purse snatching have been reported for the past few years. The highest categories for thefts are shoplifting and car break-ins. There's a low risk of getting your wallet stolen from your pocket, but a 22% risk that it could be taken from your car.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Kentucky, by and large, has a medium risk. This state can get the best and worst weather. Spring brings tornado season, and the south is known as Dixie Alley, meaning a second Tornado Alley. Even if you dodge the twister, you still face a more common risk of severe thunderstorms, large hail, flash flooding, and intense lightning. Winters aren't too cold, but a blizzard or ice storm isn't out of the question, and those can cripple travel.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Nine robberies were reported in 2020, and oddly enough, 20% of them were in public places. There's a low risk it will happen to you, but you should always keep your guard up and be aware of your surroundings.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here with Fort Knox being so close by. There's also a ton of security with Fort Knox being so close by. You can call 1-866-EYE-ON-KY (1-866-393-6659) anytime to give a tip about suspicious activity.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Wow. The scammers in Radcliff and the surrounding area are creative. One scam involved fake customers ordering from delivery drivers, then trying to steal the driver's car. In another instance, a scammer would call someone randomly and tell them they won the lottery. They would ask for bank information to make the deposit or demand tax money upfront. The risk of a tourist getting scammed is low, but these scammers sure know how to come up with ways to get your money.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women should feel safe visiting here with low risk but should look at the safety ratings of Elizabethtown and Louisville, as not all cities nearby are necessarily as safe as Radcliff.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2020 Annual Water Quality Report is the most recent one available. It does show all tests were at or below the potentially dangerous levels, which means the water is safe with low risk. You can call the Hardin County Water District at (270)351-3222 if you have questions closer to your visit.
Safest Places to Visit in Radcliff
When I first took on this monumental assignment to research and review travel safety in hundreds of U.S. cities, I vowed to stay hyper-local since this website is so in-depth about each city.
It’s easy for travel sites to just find the BIG things nearby and report on them.
I like to get into the nitty gritty of each small town and find unique spots while highlighting nearby attractions.
Radcliff challenges that goal with not a whole lot to do in the city itself.
However, there are some great opportunities when you take a closer look.
Let’s start with the food.
We discussed how the community is diverse, and that shows in the restaurant selections.
There are authentic German, Korean, Chinese, Mexican, and Japanese restaurants throughout the city.
I would recommend avoiding the national brands and trying some unique, locally-owned businesses.
You can also find traditional Southern restaurants here too.
The Red Hill Cutlery has the world’s largest pocketknife outside the building.
This massive sculpture is made of over 6,000 pounds of steel and stands nearly 18 feet tall.
Inside, you’ll find the Kentucky Museum of American Pocketknives.
The museum has recently moved, so make sure you have the right address, which is 92 Bourbon Trace.
Right next door, you’ll get a taste of Kentucky at the Boundary Oak Distillery.
Here you can sample and purchase a variety of bourbons, including a lavender variety.
There’s also moonshine waiting to be tasted.
Tours of the facility are available.
This is one of more than 40 stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Saunders Springs Nature Preserve is on the east side of Radcliff.
With 26 acres of dense forest, there are plenty of places to explore on bike, foot, or car.
This is a free park that’s open year-round.
Along the paths, you’ll find caves, small waterfalls, babbling brooks, and more than 300 varieties of plants and flowers.
There are three cabins from the 1800s in the park and part of a 1920s water plant still standing.
Did I mention there’s good fishing here too?
That’s a lot to pack into 26 acres!
On your way to Fort Knox, you can visit the Kentucky September 11th Memorial.
A piece of the twin towers stands over an intricate piece of art depicting the tragedy.
There’s a wall of names in honor of Kentucky soldiers who served in the military after 2001 and died in the fight.
Nearby Fort Knox offers great tourist attractions outside the main entrance.
The General George Patton Museum of Leadership is open every day but Sundays and Mondays.
Inside contains the largest collection of General Patton artifacts worldwide.
Exhibits include weaponry, uniforms, and military vehicles.
The World War II Barracks is open anytime the museum is, and Armoy Unit Memorial Park is on-site as well.
Bridges of the Past is a walking trail that runs two miles along the former road between Louisville and Nashville.
Even President Andrew Jackson was a frequent traveler on this route.
Toga Trail is another hiking path but is more for the experienced hiker as it is rough terrain.
The hike is worth it to see the falls in action.
You can visit Fort Knox, but there are a lot of requirements to review, so plan ahead of time.
You can’t just show an ID and get in.
There’s a vetting process for everyone without a military ID.
Places to Avoid in Radcliff
Radcliff is really just a long city with the Dixie Highway going through the center of it.
Most crime is along this road because that’s where most businesses are located.
It’s not too dangerous or 100% safe.
It’s actually hard to get lost in this small town.
In such a strong military town, you should avoid making ANY kind of joke about the military, terrorism, or suspicious items (unless the item is legitimately suspicious).
It’s also wise to never bring up the Civil War unless you want to get into a debate about states’ rights.
You should also avoid attempting to enter Fort Knox at any entrance but the visitor’s center if you don’t have a Department of Defense ID Card.
The main entrance is off Bullion Road.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Radcliff
- You can always call 911 in an emergency, but for non-emergency situations or general questions, there are two numbers you can program into your phone to reach Radcliff Police: (270)351-4470 or (270)351-4477.
- If you have a crime tip, call (270)351-TIPS(8477) to reach the anonymous tip line. Leave a message with as much information as possible about the crime and as much personal information as you’d like to share.
- If you see potholes on Radcliff roads, call the Works Department at (270) 351-8150 to let them know. The winter freeze/thaw cycle can cause big and damaging potholes to pop up suddenly.
- If you are hiking or bicycling on any trail near Fort Knox that is on government land, do NOT go past a marker where a trail is blocked off. While the trails are open throughout the year, there are times during the hunting season and military training exercises when those trails will shut down for your own safety.
- When in the wilderness, do not take any plants, flowers, or archaeological things you might find. The “Leave No Trace” order is as much about taking your trash with you as it is not distributing anything in nature.
- You need a hunting and/or fishing license to do either activity in Kentucky. The state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife offers a variety of options for purchase online. Your home license isn’t valid here.
- If you are traveling throughout Hardin County, the liquor laws might change as you go. The county is technically a dry county, but four cities in the county – including Radcliff – are wet counties. That means in unincorporated areas you won’t be able to buy alcohol. You can in Radcliff, Elizabethtown, Vine Grove, and West Point.
- Speaking of West Point. It is a West Point. It is not THE West Point, though it might be confusing, since West Point is a military trading academy and Fort Knox is so close by. The military West Point is in New York.
- The trails in this area can be steep and rugged. Some do include stairs built into the earth, so if you have any mobility issues, review each trail before you go. If you visit after heavy rainfall, use extra caution as the ground can be slippery.
- Fun Fact: The Boundary Oak distillery does sell its used barrels, which could be a cool trip memento. They aren’t on sale in the store. You’ll need to call (270) 351-2013 to get pricing and pick-up information.
So... How Safe Is Radcliff Really?
Radcliff is a relatively safe city, but it doesn’t have its fair share of crime.
The violent crime rate is lower than the national and state average but surpasses average rates of property crime.
Researching cities has helped me gain a new appreciation for not just crime data, but the intricacies of what you can learn in each city and how you can apply it to future travel.
In one example from 2020, a young man who lived with his parents met a woman on a dating app.
He invited her over.
She went to the bathroom for a long time, where it seemed she called a group of men to come to rob the house.
Four men beat down the door and robbed the family at gunpoint.
Another example in April of 2021 involved a woman shopping at Walmart.
She was wearing a gun on her belt and was a concealed carry permit holder.
As she reached to grab something off the top shelf, a man pulled the gun from her holster and took off running.
This started reports of an active shooter situation, which can be quite scary for anyone, but especially tourists.
Here is a little bit more context to the crime data from Radcliff:
- 25% of thefts were shoplifting.
- 20% of thefts were car break-ins.
- 0% were pickpockets or purse snatching.
- 57% of violent crimes were against strangers, either in public or in homes.
- 57% of violent crimes happened in homes, either to a stranger or a known party.
- 20% of robberies happened in public, with 9 robberies total.
- The risk of being robbed is 1 in 2,560.
- The risk of being a violent crime victim is 1 in 397.
Being that it’s a military town and, well, Kentucky, there are going to be more people carrying guns either openly or concealed.
You’re going to have trained military fighters who know how to use weapons.
Depending on your gun stance, that could make you feel safer or more in danger.
It’s just something you should be prepared to see when you’re visiting.
This is also home to one of the Army’s finest garrisons.
There is a community, state, and country pride here.
On top of that, you’re surrounded by beautiful Kentucky wilderness near the state’s biggest city.
How Does Radcliff Compare?
|New York City
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
|Niagara Falls (Canada)
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
You'll need a U.S. Travel or Work Visa to enter the country. For U.S. residents, you'll need a Real ID starting in mid-2023 if you want to get past security at Fort Knox.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar (USD) here. You should let your bank know you'll be traveling and making purchases in a more rural park in Kentucky so you don't get sidelined by fraud alerts.
You should plan according to the season. Winter can get cold, but it's generally not the dangerous cold the northern part of the country gets. You'll need a coat most likely. The rest of the year you should bring a mix of clothing to accommodate whatever weather pops up. The temperature can fluctuate throughout the day. In summer, bring bug spray and use it often. Avoid floral scented perfumes. A citrus scent can help keep bugs at bay.
The Louisville International Airport is 40 minutes away. It is the largest and closest option.
Travel insurance is something you hope to never use, but you don't want to be caught without. You should protect every aspect of your trip, your belongings, and your health by investing in it.
Radcliff Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Kentucky - Safety by City