How Safe Is Savannah for Travel?

Savannah, United States
Safety Index:
70

Savannah, Georgia, is a city so rich with Southern culture that you can almost see it from the Spanish moss canopies that spread from tree branches.

Here you get a world of history, a walk through Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, ghost stories, stunning architecture, modern amenities, and all that near some of the best East Coast beaches and golf courses.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Savannah as the country’s #1 Most Relaxing Getaway, so it’s no surprise you’re looking for a safe and quaint place to enjoy during your travels.

While it has a lot of similarities to Charleston, South Carolina, the two are different in some key areas.

Sometimes referred to as “Slow-vannah,” you’ll need to adapt to the Southern pace of life, which is walking, talking, and driving slower than you might be used to in your hometown.

Here you’ll find that strangers wave to you when passing while the tea is sweet and the food scene is bustling with Southern food and home-cooked deliciousness.

You’re also less than an hour from Hilton Head, South Carolina, or Tybee Island if you want to explore the beaches and oceanfront amenities.

Warnings & Dangers in Savannah

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

There's a medium overall risk with elevated crime rates, and a new crime action plan is lowering some crime categories but not helping others. Even between the 2021 full-year numbers and a partial look at 2022, there are some real concerning areas for tourists to be aware of, but it's not risky enough that you should avoid visiting.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Chatham Area Transit (CAT) is a public transportation system with fixed-route buses and direct routes to and from the Savannah airport. A free system called "DOT" offers shuttles around the top 20 or so stops in the downtown area. A ferry takes tourists between Savannah and Hutchinson Island, which is especially important for those attending conventions to know, as the convention center is on the island. You can also get taxis, rideshares, or rental cars easily.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

The Savannah Police Department (SPD) refers to this crime as "Sudden Snatching." In 2021, there were 58 of them, yet as of November 5, 2022, there had already been 78 - a three-year high. Since there's a lot of transient traffic here and busy tourist areas, treat this as a medium risk.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

You should be aware of tropical weather from June through November, as hurricane season can send storms directly toward Savannah. Severe thunderstorms, flooding, and tornadoes are also possible. Extreme heat can happen in the summer.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

SPD calls this a "Street Robbery" instead of a "Highway Robbery" as other cities do. Street robberies far outnumber residential or commercial robberies, and in 2021 there were 157 of them, making up 66% of all robberies. By November 11, 2022, the number of street robberies was at 153 - on track to break the previous year's number. Treat this with medium risk and avoid walking around at night by yourself or wearing flashy and expensive things.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

The only part of Savannah that makes it a more likely target is the port, which is one of the top 5 busiest in the nation. From a tourist perspective, there's a bigger risk of petty crime, but you should always be prepared for random acts of terrorism - even domestic attacks. Check out the Homeland Security website for advice on how to be vigilant when traveling.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

The biggest scams tourists need to be aware of involve where they stay during their visit. Rental scams are common in any tourist city, and scammers will post fake listings at low prices to get your money wired ahead of time. Then you arrive with no place to stay because the house wasn't actually for rent. Even staying at a well-known hotel can make people fall prey to the "Front Desk Scam." This is when someone calls the hotel room phone and says they are from the front desk. They claim a processing error requires you to give your credit card number again. If you get one of these calls, refuse to give info over the phone and head to the front desk to confirm if it's legit.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Sexual assault is another case where the 2022 numbers already surpassed the 2021 official data. That said, the risk is about 25% higher than the national average. This is a fun city, but you should use caution when you're drinking alcohol or walking at night. The city has a certain lure to it that makes people want to spend time outdoors at night, so always travel with a buddy and never go alone with someone you don't know well.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

There are several different water quality regions in the Savannah area, so if you aren't staying in the central part of the city, visit SavannahWaterQuality.com. Savannah's 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance in all water testing. If flooding happens during your visit, check for water quality alerts from the city.

Safest Places to Visit in Savannah

VisitSavannah.com is the official tourism site, meaning you search on a secure website with safe options for things to do during your visit.

Check the Deals & Special Offers section for ways to save money on restaurants, hotels, or tours.

The Historic District, the Victorian District, and the Starland District are three of the most popular districts in Savannah.

Moon River’s District, which inspired the song of the same name, is a place for those who want to get close to the outdoors and learn about marine and wetland life.

For first-timers, take a tour or two of Savannah.

There are a lot of options. You can do tours ranging from a standard walking history tour to a graveyard tour of the “Garden of Good & Evil” to the “Savannah for Morons” tour, and then there’s a slew of haunted tours too.

You can learn a lot about the city and the things to do by taking a tour first.

A daytime walk along River Street is like a mix of several eras.

You’re walking on cobblestones while impressive cargo ships pull into port and the smell of Southern food fills the air.

NOTE: You will have to walk down steep, historic (aka “somewhat tricky”) stone stairs to get to the west end of River Street. Ask the visitors center if you need more ADA or less exhaustive ways to get there.

The City Market has brought tourists and locals to gather since the 1700s and has impressive food selections and shopping boutiques.

There is a lot of history in this market area as well, but I won’t ruin the history tour for you.

It’s quite amazing what this area has withstood in its lifetime.

Savannah has a lot of museums for art, architecture, and history, but you can explore that on the tourism website.

One of the newest museums I wanted to tell you about is the American Prohibition Museum.

This museum is the only one of its kind and shows the moment in time when alcohol was banned in America (and how unsuccessful that was in practice and economy).

There’s also a speakeasy at the conclusion of the tour to celebrate the end of Prohibition!

The Starland District is an up-and-coming neighborhood rich with art and an eclectic hipster mentality.

This is a perfect neighborhood to grab that morning cup of coffee or an afternoon pick me up, and the pastry shops are popular too – I’m told the “Back in the Day” bakery has the best sweets in town.

Take a drive through a Spanish moss canopy in the Moon River District and visit Wormsloe, the remains of the estate of Noble Jones, who passed in 1775.

To be clear, the home is in ruins, and this isn’t one of those stately homes you can walk through, but WOW, is the drive there gorgeous, and the history of the land is impressive.

There’s really SO much more to learn about safe places to visit in Savannah.

The tourism site is well planned, and I don’t want to stop writing about it, but we must move on.

Places to Avoid in Savannah

The higher crime areas are west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

There are also a few places on the city’s northeast side, just south of the river, with elevated crime rates.

The good news is that those areas aren’t in the places tourists are going to visit.

While the police do tell us their crime control strategy does include “hot spots” in the community, they won’t disclose which areas those are.

The busy tourism districts keep tax money coming into the city, so there’s a healthy police presence.

Plus, this region has survived a Civil War and a massive hurricane in the past.

It will not be impacted by rising crime rates, and city leaders aren’t letting Savannah become “too dangerous to visit.”

I can’t really tell you to avoid walking around at night because that’s why some people come to Savannah!

I would recommend sticking with the Ghost Tours if you want to explore cemeteries and “spooky” places.

Don’t let your tour guide leave until you have a way to get back to your hotel or next location.

Stay aware of your surroundings and avoid dark streets.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Savannah

  1. Savannah Police has one of the best, easiest-to-read crime statistics outlines I’ve seen in hundreds of travel research stories. You can look at the data weekly or yearly. There’s also an interactive crime map so you can see crime from yesterday if you want!
  2. Sign up for emergency alerts through Chatham County. While mostly the alerts will keep you informed about severe weather, they also give details of water quality issues, major accidents, or civil issues. This was especially important during the civil unrest and protests of 2020.
  3. If you’re traveling during hurricane season, research the risks if a tropical system is headed that way. While Savannah can take a direct hit, it can also get remnants of a storm that hit Florida. A small tropical storm might keep the city open but close the beaches. A hurricane could lead to evacuations and closures, but there’s also a chance the storm could turn and not have much of an impact. Our advice? Don’t risk it. We’ve lived through hurricanes and the aftermath. It’s not worth staying in the humidity without power or hot food.
  4. If you have any information or suspicion of crime while you’re visiting, call the SPD Crime Tip Line at (912)525-3124. Too much of the American violence problem is from people who don’t trust the police or don’t want retaliation for speaking out against a criminal. You can report the information anonymously as a tourist and then go home knowing you helped make a difference in the community.
  5. For those out drinking, there’s a way to signal for help even if you can’t be direct. You can order an Angel Shot at the bar, which shows someone bothering you or being aggressive. The bartender or manager will take it from there. If you are out late, ask if a security team member can walk you to the car.
  6. Don’t walk around with headphones on or while distracted by your mobile device. Try to avoid looking lost, even if you are. This could be a signal to thieves looking for a crime of opportunity. Even though the people of Savannah are very nice, always ask specific questions of an employee of a business or a police officer. Each police district has a headquarters you can call or stop by.
  7. SPD has a lot of safety videos on its website to show how to limit the risk of common crimes, like car break-ins, assaults, or even just feeling unsafe in an area. This is a great resource to use and a lot more helpful than a pamphlet.
  8. If you see a protest or fight happening, walk the other way. It’s human nature to be curious about what is going on, but it’s not worth the risk of unexpected gun violence happening.
  9. A rash of violence has happened in the popular City Market area. The police are adding more lighting and more patrols to the area, but there is talk of a possible curfew or limiting alcohol sales if the problem continues. It’s worth researching the City Market before your visit to see if the crime improves or if those warnings hold up.
  10. If you’re going to the beach, head there early. Traffic can get very backed up, and you can exponentially increase your travel time if you wait too long. I am a fan of getting to a beach area before 9:00 am and finding my spot in the sand. You can also drive there early to get a good parking spot and then Uber around to the different wilderness areas.

So... How Safe Is Savannah Really?

This is a challenging one to answer.

Savannah once was a more dangerous city with high crime rates, which then tapered off.

The surge in gun crime in America has brought those numbers back up.

The Savannah mayor stated in late 2022 that the plan to reduce gun violence is working.

“Homicides down 36% … commercial robbery down 67%, residential robbery down 22%, domestic assault with a gun down 40%.

It works,” Savannah Mayor Johnson said.

Here’s what the mayor DID NOT say:

  • Rape is up 17%
  • Street robberies are up 27%
  • Aggravated assault with a gun (non-domestic) is up 58%
  • Aggravated assault without a gun (non-domestic) is up 46%
  • Sudden snatching is up 36%

Another challenge in Savannah is that crime has moved out of the “bad” neighborhoods and into popular public areas in some cases.

On top of that, juveniles are more likely to commit gun crimes than in the past, but their age makes it challenging to hold them accountable for it.

There’s a new police chief in Savannah and large incentives to get more officers on the force.

Staffing shortages are hitting many American cities as there just aren’t enough police officers.

While there are some reports that say Savannah is more dangerous than Atlanta, that’s likely just data twisted to make a point.

You’ll need to have exceptional situational awareness here, a lot of common sense, and a confident walk to help keep anyone from trying to find a weak person.

Basic personal security will go a long way; there’s just so much history to see here.

You shouldn’t miss it because of some manipulated crime data, but you also shouldn’t write off the risks either.

How Does Savannah Compare?

CitySafety Index
Savannah70
Dallas64
Memphis54
Orlando64
Las Vegas62
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70
Manama (Bahrain)54

Useful Information

  • Visas - The U.S. State Department oversees the issuance of all Visas. You'll either need a Visa or a Visa Waiver, but there's a detailed process before you get the right paperwork. Start planning a few months out. Once you're in Savannah, you can travel between Georgia and South Carolina without having to go through processing.
  • Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, but please don't use public ATMs to do currency exchange. Go into a bank, and limit how much cash you carry with you. Most purchases here can be made with a credit card or mobile device. If you get a receipt, don't throw it in a public trash can. Take it back to the hotel to be shredded.
  • Weather - Savannah gets relatively mild to hot weather throughout the year. There will be times in winter you might need a heavy jacket or coat, but usually, some layers of sweaters or sweatshirts will be fine. Summers are going to be humid, so plan to sweat a lot, and don't bring clothing that won't absorb sweat well. You'll want comfortable walking shoes because there are many steps to take to see it all.
  • Airports - Savannah Hilton Head International Airport is just 11 miles from downtown. You can also drive two hours to Jacksonville, with the Savannah airport should have plenty of flights without too many legs to get there.
  • Travel Insurance - We strongly recommend travel insurance for trips to the U.S. Healthcare is expensive, and if you don't have a health plan covered here, a sprained ankle could cost hundreds of dollars. You also want to ensure you can get airfare reimbursed if a hurricane causes cancellations.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Savannah Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 11° C
Feb 13° C
Mar 16° C
Apr 20° C
May 24° C
Jun 27° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 28° C
Sep 26° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 13° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
161821252932333230262118
Low
°C
571014182223232116107
High
°F
616470778490919086797064
Low
°F
414550576472737370615045

Where to Next?

6 Reviews on Savannah

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    What!? Savannah is rated as the top 20 dangerous US Cities!!!!!!!!!!

  2. C
    Christian says:

    A great way to spend a week or so.

    If you like historic cities this is one place you should visit. Art galleries, beautiful parks, restaurants and shops make Savannah a place to visit and stay for a while. A great way to spend a week or so.

  3. D
    Don Davies says:

    Informative!

    Thanks for the information. I generally think that if you follow these, you will have a safe and enjoyable trip to Savannah GA! I also suggest you find the best hotels in safe locations to really make sure you are in a secured place!

  4. L
    Liliana says:

    Plenty to see but not very safe

    While I agree with a lot of things, I would not rate Savannah as a 70 on the Safety Index. I think it wouldn’t pass 55 tops. The city has interesting things to see and do but there are pickpockets everywhere and just like the article mentions, everything is at a medium risk for sure. Muggings happen in the nighttime but also in the daytime and you need to be careful especially in the rough neighborhoods. There are all sorts of scams going around here, not just credit card frauds so be careful who is watching you while you withdraw money from an ATM. As a woman, I would never come here alone. Even if you’d pay me.

    Pickpockets seem to be the biggest problem. Any crowded area or event is filled with them. It’s easy to spot them in most cases but they are getting more sophisticated and sometimes they won’t be so easy to see. Keep your valuables in a safe place and your phone tucked away. I saw someone steal a phone from a person’s hand and it took them a few seconds to disappear in the crowd.

    Like I said, the Safety index should be updated. I don’t know if Savannah was once safer and maybe deserved a 70 but now it is not that anymore.

    As for things to do if you are here I would visit Cathedral of St. John the Baptist which is a delightful piece or art in my opinion (especially the inside of it). The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is one of the best WWII museums and I’ve been to plenty of them since both me and my husband are fans. This place is a treasure trove of stories and information about all phases of that conflict. I highly recommend you visit it while in Savannah as it’s easily one of the best things to see here.

    Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences was opened in 1886 and includes both American and European works of art from the 19-20 centuries period.

  5. D
    Don Davies says:

    I really think Savannah Georgia is safe in general and I’ve been there on so many occasions. It’s even my favorite place actually. Thanks to sites like visitsavannah.com , I was able to get to know about the beauty of Downtown Savannah!

  6. L
    Lulu Lacy says:

    Had a wonderful, fabulous, fantastic trip to Savannah on 6/26-7/2/22-just 2 weeks ago.

    Everything: from picking up the rental car at the Savannah Airport, to our perfect hotel on Bay Street in the Historic District, to our Sunset Cruise on the Atlantic/Savannah River bay, day-trip to Jekyll Island to see the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Hospital, to the walk around this J.W. Marriott historic hotel-Gem and Mineral Exhibit, to walking and flying our drone on Riverstreet-by the river at night, to eating at the Churchill Rooftop Patio Bar, to walking through City market and visiting artists galleries and visiting with artists in their studio.

    We had zero problems! We felt safe walking to some of the squares from our hotel; we walked around in the evening- honestly this article is just a repeat -saying the same thing over and over from previous articles on how unsafe Savannah is.

    Well, we found it to be beautiful, clean, historic, romantic, the nicest -sweetest -calm and friendly people; and we are in our 50’s-so please take this article with a grain of salt. We got along really well while in the heart of Savannah.

    The only complaint would be the lack of public use -restrooms on Tybee Island. And on the 4th of July, there were supposed to be 46,000 people there for the fireworks. So tell me, if there wasn’t a single Rent-a-toilet on any of the beaches, where did they use the restroom? The ocean? oh my!

Rated 3.83 / 5 based on 6 user reviews.

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