Nebraska : Safety by City
- Grand Island
- La Vista
- Nebraska City
- North Platte
- South Sioux City
South Sioux City is in Nebraska, just across the Missouri River from Sioux City in Iowa.
It’s a highly residential community of 14,000 people but still close to the attractions of the Iowa side.
To make the naming system even more complicated, there’s North Sioux City on the South Dakota side of this tri-state area.
With several major highways/interstates through South Sioux City, there are several hotel and convention options, including a riverfront hotel.
You will need to cross one of two bridges into Iowa to get to major shopping and entertainment areas.
If you don’t cross the river in South Sioux City, you’ll have to travel another 40 miles west to cross into South Dakota.
South Sioux City has more parks and scenic byways, but it’s an abrupt beginning and end to the metro area.
Omaha is 90 minutes south, and Sioux Falls is 90 minutes in the other direction.
Warnings & Dangers in South Sioux City
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here, but that only goes as far as the river. Since this is a residential community, there's a higher chance you'll have to leave the safer place to go to a more dangerous community.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The Sioux City Transit system does have a South Sioux City route, even though it crosses state lines. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to call. Rental cars are also widely available.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, but more than half of the thefts here are shoplifting. That means there are people capable of theft around you. Use standard safety precautions, even when stopping at convenience stores or grocery marts.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The risks run the gamut here, from winter storms to severe spring weather and possible tornadoes. Flooding is a risk along any river, and flash flooding is common. Ice storms can make travel treacherous and high winds can make driving challenging. The Dakota County Emergency Management website has all the information you need to protect yourself from the medium risk here.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, with generally five or fewer robberies each year, and most of those are in businesses or private homes.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
The risk is especially low in this residential community. It's still wise to sign up for Homeland Security Terrorism Advisories to learn about the overall concerns in the country.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
One scam I saw that might impact tourists are people being sold fake jewelry on the streets and then trying to cash in at pawn shops. Any deal that seems too good to be true usually is. Never give in to pressure to pay money over the phone for a "violation", as that's not how law enforcement works, but scammers prey on your fears. There's a low risk, but it's worth knowing these are the most common scams here.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk, but again, that's just for South Sioux City. The risks go up in Sioux City but will get even lower in the nearby small Nebraska towns.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance. For more urgent issues, like hydrant flushing or water main breaks, you'll need to check local law enforcement and media websites.
Safest Places to Visit in South Sioux City
The South Sioux City Chamber of Commerce has a website with some local attractions.
The group recently released an app to give information about attractions, restaurants, and hotels.
The Visit Nebraska website also lists some options in the Tri-State area.
Siouxland Freedom Park is near the river and covers 55 acres.
There’s a Vietnam Memorial Wall replica here with the name of everyone who died in that war.
You can take the walking trails along the river or enjoy the dog park, especially if you’re missing your pet from home.
Other parks include:
- Cottonwood Cove Park: Small park on the river with camping, playgrounds, and a boat launch.
- Crystal Cove Park: 100 acres, including disc golf, a 33-acre lake, and a walking/biking trail.
Ponca State Park is just 30 minutes away and covers 2,200 acres with a large education center that includes exhibits about the Native Americans, pioneers, and animals of this land.
You can also kayak, fish, swim, or cross-country ski in the winter.
The park also has 22 miles of trails.
The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is right across the river from South Sioux City.
It’s a large museum along the river that tells the story of the famed adventurers in this region.
From walking exhibits to movies in climate-controlled rooms, this is a great stop for the whole family.
In that same part of the riverfront, you’ll find a dry-docked boat that hosts the Sergeant Floyd River Museum.
It’s a lesson in transportation along the Missouri River long before there were bridges or cars.
Places to Avoid in South Sioux City
I consider myself to be a fairly intrepid reporter, and even I’m struggling with things to do in South Sioux City.
Unless you’re staying at one of the convention hotels and will be locked inside the rooms for work-related stuff, you’ll need to venture across the state lines.
You don’t have to avoid South Sioux City but don’t expect much from it.
There aren’t dangerous neighborhoods, and you won’t get lost in the “bad part of town.”
It’s just really important to know how much crime concerns change when you enter Sioux City, Iowa, and I wrote that article as well.
Is it as bad as the dangerous parts of St. Louis?
Of course not.
There’s just a lot more crime than you’d expect from a mid-sized Iowa town.
Safety Tips for Traveling to South Sioux City
- South Sioux City has its own police department, and people are encouraged to call or email with additional safety questions. The phone number is (402) 494-7512, and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find the department on Facebook @sscpd.
- The South Sioux City area is safer than Sioux City. You can still be close while staying at a hotel in a safer area.
- Make sure you have WEA alerts enabled on your phone. These Wireless Emergency Alerts will send weather information to your device as the alerts are issued.
- Use 511 Nebraska to check road conditions, weather issues, and live cameras on the Nebraska side. For the Iowa side, use 511IA.
- The police department’s website has several documents about the dangers of fentanyl and the opioid epidemic. Too many people say, “He/she never used drugs!” after an overdose. Become educated on the risks because even some prescription pills sold illegally are laced with deadly doses.
- Driving while distracted is illegal in Nebraska, and anyone caught using a handheld device while driving can face a fine of up to $500. You can learn more at the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign on the transportation department’s website.
- Anglers need a fishing license in Nebraska, and you should check the reciprocity agreement with Iowa that allows you to fish on both sides of the state line in shared waters. That prevents you from needing a license in each state.
- A snow emergency sounds worse than it really is in Nebraska towns. While the snowstorm might be huge, the “snow emergency” changes the street parking rules. You’ll be required to move your vehicle off the snow routes and could get ticketed or towed if you leave a car covered in snow on a street or in a public parking lot for more than 24 hours.
- Pay close attention to the speed limits in South Sioux City. I have visited here a few times, and there are stretches of road that are wide and remote, but the speed limit is much slower than you’d expect. The roads can quickly go from 55 mph to 35 mph in a short distance. Construction will also force lower speed limits and larger fines for those who violate the speed limits.
- As the city is near an industrial area, there could be times a nasty stench takes over. This is an ongoing problem, but the smell is worse on the other side of the river due to the way the winds blow. You can also check daily air quality through the Air Now app to see if there are any particles in the air.
So... How Safe Is South Sioux City Really?
The crime concerns in South Sioux City are more important for residents than tourists.
Violent crime reached a five-year-high in 2022, with domestic crimes rising and fueling crime rates.
The total crime was up almost 6% year-to-year.
“Our initial thinking that was when COVID was at its height, and everyone was locked in together, that there would be more domestic assaults, but there wasn’t everything went down.
And now that we’re out of COVID, for whatever reason, domestics are up,” said Chief Ed Mahon said.
The last homicide in South Sioux City was in 2017.
This is more of a location where residents have higher risks but watch out for thefts.
Theft rates are 60% higher than the national average, but since 58% of those thefts are shoplifting, the average is met when you take out the people stealing things from stores.
That means there are enough people capable of stealing that you should keep your car locked and remove all personal belongings when you’re not in the car.
Please review our Sioux City article before visiting here to get a better lay of the safety land.
How Does South Sioux City Compare?
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- Visas - The standard requirements for entry into the U.S. apply here, with a passport and visa (or visa waiver) needed to get through Customs and Border Patrol.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted here. You can exchange currency at the airport or local banks, plus Western Union shops can help, but there's a lower fee and more benefits to taking care of that at your home bank.
- Weather - Bring a mix of layers in fall, winter, and spring. The Midwestern weather is all over the place. For example, I'm writing this on a beautiful spring day in Nebraska. We're going to break records this Friday, hitting 90°(F). By Sunday, the low will be near freezing. The emergency management page has a great graphic showing how to dress in winter weather. In summer, it will be hot and humid. You'll need sunscreen and bug spray.
- Airports - I'm not joking when I say the closest commercial airport has an airport code of SUX. It's across the river in Sioux City, Iowa, just eight miles away.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance is the best investment you can make for a place with such volatile weather in each season.
South Sioux City Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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