California : Safety by City
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Redding, California, is smack dab in the center of Northern California and surrounded by outdoor adventures.
Redding gets more sunshine than any other city in California and is the second sunniest city in the whole country.
Ask anyone who knows anything about Redding and they’ll say it’s the scenery for them.
It’s not the typical California destination city.
It’s somewhat secluded from the rest of the state, and that’s just how the people who live there like it.
Redding is also more affordable for living, at least by California standards, making it an affordable destination as well.
One of the world’s largest sundials dots the landscape in the city of Redding.
Turtle Bay Museum is a mix of a garden, zoo, forest, and art gallery.
Be prepared for scorching summers here because of the way the city is positioned in the mountains and how the wind flows in the summer.
This place becomes an oven.
As someone wrote in a Reddit post, “You could go someplace cooler, like hell.”
Redding still gets all four seasons, but a double dose of summer heat.
Warnings & Dangers in Redding
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Redding. The city was ranked in the top 40 most dangerous cities in America back in 2018. Redding has a drug problem and a gang problem. Crime rates are higher than the national average. It's a beautiful city with some gritty edges.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Redding Area Bus Authority is the public transportation for the region. Taxis and rideshares are readily available 24/7. Still, if you can get a car, you should. There's not a whole lot to do in Redding and you'll want to explore outside the city. There's low risk with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were no pickpockets reported in 2020, according to crime data submitted. Most of the thefts were put into the "All Other" category. While there's a low risk, there are parts of town where that risk might go higher.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Extreme heat, wildfires, and earthquakes are the top[ 3 disaster concerns here. There's a medium risk because of this. While you'll enjoy a lot of sunny days, you also have to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Redding was impacted by the 2018 Carr Fire which led to the evacuation of nearly 40,000 people and did significant damage to the surrounding wilderness areas.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low chance of being mugged. With 94 robberies reported, just eight were highway robberies.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There are no hard targets near Redding. This is a pretty remote area, so there's a low risk of a terrorist incident.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The most recent series of scams involved power bills for residents, so nothing that would impact a tourist. There's a low risk. The only caution to use is, if you are renting a home during your stay, make sure the person who listed the property has proof of a license to rent. If they can't show you one, it might be a scam. Never wire money for a deposit either.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women coming to Redding, provided they practice all basic safety steps. Over the past five years, on average, rape reports are down but there were still 67 reported in 2020.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
I like that the city of Redding is very transparent and upfront in its annual report about the state of the water and the big concerns. It reads, in part, "Last year your tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and State drinking water health standards. However, five of the ten Enterprise groundwater wells, which are operated approximately six months out of the year, did exceed the maximum contaminant level for manganese, which is a secondary drinking water standard." You might choose bottled water here, but there's a low risk in tap water.
Safest Places to Visit in Redding
I don’t like to use the word quirky, but the city of Redding does, so we’ll go with that.
The downtown area is quirky while still offering a laid-back vibe.
You can stroll through streets filled with boutiques and restaurants while live music fills the air.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be there during a food truck rally and get to sample a little bit of everything.
One of the most Instagram-worthy shots is at the Cascade Theatre in the downtown area.
The theater first opened in 1935 and hosted numerous shows and events.
A renovation brought the theater back to life while still keeping intricate historic touches.
The Turtle Bay Museum seems like a lot of fun and there’s something for everyone.
It’s hard to describe what it actually is, so I’ll let the Turtle Bay team explain this.
As they say on their website, “The Museum at Turtle Bay is where art, science, history, forestry, and horticulture meet with permanent exhibits about our region and changing exhibitions from around the world.”
While you’re at Turtle Bay, you have to walk across the sundial bridge over the Sacramento River.
It’s free and open to the public every day of the year.
To get away from it all, you have Lassen Volcanic National Park (don’t worry, it’s not an active volcano) and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
Both options offer fishing, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and snow camping (in the winter).
Places to Avoid in Redding
If Redding was the face of a clock, draw a line between the 5 and 11.
That line follows the areas with the most crimes in Redding.
Redding Police provide an interactive crime map so you can check more recent crimes in any given area.
Near Cypress and Churn Creek Road, you’ll find several homeless camps.
About 500 people live without shelter in Redding, and while the city is working to provide mini-shelters for them, for now, they camp where they can — and Churn Creek is a road known for the homeless.
You might also get asked for money downtown, but it’s not enough of a deterrent to make you avoid going there.
There are drugs in Redding, as with any other city, but drugs and gangs don’t run the city.
Many people would tell you to avoid Redding between June and September.
That’s when the heat fires up.
If you do visit during this time, make sure you have a car and a place to stay with working A/C
A swamp cooler isn’t going to cut it with the intense heat here.
The heat comes from a natural event called adiabatic warming.
This is when the air coming down the slope of a mountain heats up as it moves.
Redding gets this warming phenomenon on three sides of the city, leaving a sweltering hot mass of air sitting on top of it.
It’s just unusual for a place so far north in California to get THAT hot each summer.
The July average high is 101°(F).
Safety Tips for Traveling to Redding
- Redding has red light cameras, so know you are always being watched at major intersections when you drive. It’s also worth noting the city of Redding has a variety of traffic signals beyond “red, yellow, green.” There are flashing arrows and flashing dots. It’s worth reviewing the Police Department website if you are going to be driving around this area.
- You can sign up for Code Red alerts throughout Shasta County when you arrive. Then any emergency that happens will be texted or dialed right to your phone.
- Wildfires are a real risk here and the community is still reeling from the 2018 Carr Fire. It’s critical to follow Inciweb, the website that tracks and updates wildfires in real-time, so you can know if there’s a risk in your area.
- With so many outdoor activities, it’s easy to get stuck in a storm without being able to seek shelter. If you are in an area where there is a lot of lighting, the best pose is to squat like a baseball catcher. Don’t lie flat, and don’t seek shelter under a large tree.
- California banned single-use plastic bags, so if you need a bag with any purchase it’s going to cost you 10 cents. This is the norm across the state, so don’t complain to the checkout person because it’s not their fault. This is to help the environment. You can bring your recyclable bags or you can just pay the charge.
- This is a real danger, but the wording of it made me realize I can’t say it better. If you visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, you will find areas called Hydrothermal, which means hot water coming from the ground. It’s important to stay on the specific trails in this area, because as the Park Service writes, “Stay on trails or boardwalks. The ground in these areas may look solid, but maybe a think crust hiding pools of acidic, boiling water or mud.” To punctuate that point, they posted a picture of a burned foot from someone who ignored this advice.
- It’s not all about the heat in Redding. Winters can be cold and while the Redding valley doesn’t get a lot of snow, the surrounding mountains can. There’s plenty of skiing and other winter activities to enjoy, but you have to be prepared with plenty of layers, snowshoes, hats, gloves — the works.
- Bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes are a concern in the mountains surrounding Redding. Read up on safety before you go and bring bear spray with you. There’s just a lot of information on how to stay safe with these animals that would take up this whole page. While it’s rare you’ll come face to face with any of them, it’s always best to be prepared. Staying on trails can help you avoid rattlesnakes, but bears and mountain lions go wherever they dang well, please.
- You need a pass to get into Lassen Volcanic or Whiskeytown. These can be bought ahead of time online or at the gate, but you’ll need to use a credit or debit card to pay in person.
- Redding is somewhat isolated in the northern part of the state and there’s just one main way in and out. Check road conditions through CalTrans before you arrive or leave to make sure you aren’t getting stuck in traffic or road closure.
So... How Safe Is Redding Really?
You just can’t expect too much from Redding.
When people think of a California city, the first things that come to mind are beaches and the ocean.
Northern California is a whole, incredible, different world.
There have even been many initiatives to split California into two states because the energy is so different between north and south.
Redding is a conservative town, so avoid any political debates.
This is a part of the country where you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind about their conservative views.
While the crime rates are higher than many cities of its size, no crime sprees are running rampant.
Visitors will mostly come here to see the outdoors, and there’s little crime in wilderness areas.
There are just other hazards the higher up in elevation you go (see “Bears, Mountain Lions, and Rattlesnakes” above).
One local summed up what Redding is like on Reddit and I wanted to share it with you.
“Think of a mid-town suburb with no city in the middle of it and that’s about what you’re looking at.”
Redding is safe for travel, yes REALLY, but there’s still more crime than there should be.
If you just follow basic safety steps like locking your car, staying away from unknown neighborhoods, and keeping your purse or wallet close and secure, you should be just fine.
How Does Redding Compare?
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- Visas - All Visa requirements are handled at the airport. There is nothing else needed in Redding. You will need a fishing license from the California Department of Wildlife if you plan to fish anytime during your visit.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here. Even the National Parks don't want you to use cash and prefer credit/debit cards, so you'll have little need for cash while you're here. This will also help with panhandlers and potential robbery.
- Weather - Redding gets all four seasons, but as we said before, Summer is extra "Summery". Winters are going to be in the 50's for highs and 30s for lows. Spring warms up to daytime highs in the 60s and 70s, but June is when summer hits hard. There is a lot of sun here, so bring clothes that shield out UV rays, and sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended.
- Airports - You can get to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Burbank through Redding Regional Airport. It's your best bet. The bigger Sacramento International Airport is a two-hour drive south.
- Travel Insurance - The remote location of Redding mixed with all the hazards that can happen make travel insurance ideal for a trip to Redding, California.
Redding Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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