Idaho : Safety by CityUnited States - safety as a country Idaho - state review
Welcome to the Magic Valley of Idaho and the small, but the blossoming city of Twin Falls.
Sitting south of the banks of the Snake River, adventure or relaxation awaits.
You can also do a little bit of both.
The nickname Magic Valley comes from the creative irrigation systems created to turn once barren high desert land into some of the best vegetative soil you can find.
This leads to incredible fruits and veggies that are so delicious you won’t even miss the Whole Foods that isn’t here.
This is canyon country and the walls of the Snake River beckon base jumpers throughout the year and you don’t even need a permit to jump off a bridge near 500 feet above whitewater rapids.
It’s a canyon so extreme that even famed daredevil Evel Kenevil couldn’t make the jump in a historic and dangerous failure back in the 1970s.
The city of Twin Falls is home to nearly 52,000 people and the surrounding county adds about 40,000 more.
Even with the incredible growth seen here and across Idaho over the past few decades, you still get a small-town feel here.
You’ll need to be outdoorsy and okay with windy conditions to enjoy Twin Falls, and you’ve got every benefit of Idaho and a little bit of Nevada within an hour’s drive.
As one Redditor commented about the outdoor life here, “We’ve got everything but the ocean.”
Warnings & Dangers in Twin Falls
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk when visiting, but it's not the safest city in Idaho by any means. You can easily avoid the highest crime categories with some advice we'll talk through in this article.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
When the city population went above 50,000, it became eligible to get funding for public transportation that currently doesn't exist. You'll find taxis and rideshares here, but not nearly as in-demand as in other cities. Having a car is almost a requirement here. ATVs are also used to get around the area.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of getting pickpocketed or having your purse snatched. Just one incident of purse snatching was reported in 2020. You shouldn't let that make you careless, but you also don't need a firm grip at all times on your wallet or purse.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
The number one threat here is severe weather like thunderstorms, wildfires sparked by those storms or man-made, and drought. Flooding is another, but lower, risk factor. There's a low risk on an average day, but when storms form, the risk goes up. Wildfires are also unpredictable at times, and if there's a fire burning just before your time of visit, you should consider rescheduling the trip.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There were just seven robberies in 2020 and that's pretty consistent with previous years. Three of those happened in a public space, so you have a low risk of it happening to you. There are pretty liberal gun laws in Idaho, so you need to assume anyone with a gun is well-trained in how to use it.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of Twin Falls being a hard target, but the Twin Falls law enforcement agencies still ask people to be vigilant and report anything suspicious.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are a couple of jury duty and utility scams going around the neighborhoods, but nothing that would impact a tourist. There's a low risk of being scammed. Two hallmarks of any scam would be someone asking you to buy gift cards for payment of a product or asking you to wire money for a rental or purchase.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk for women traveling here, but it's worth noting the sexual assault rate is 45% higher than the national average. You should avoid meeting anyone in a private place if you don't trust them and don't walk around the city alone at night. There's not a lot of nightlife here, so there's little reason to be out at night anyway.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The latest water quality report shows no violations in the drinking water of Twin Falls, so there's a low risk. It meets or exceeds all required standards at the state and federal levels.
Safest Places to Visit in Twin Falls
You definitely want to see Shoshone Falls.
This 212-foot drop of water has been called the “Niagara Falls of the West” and there’s a viewing platform with a safety railing.
Snowmelt makes the viewing at its best in the spring or the start of summer.
You can also see waterfalls at the Perrine Bridge.
That bridge itself is a feat to see if you aren’t scared of bridges like I am.
The bridge is a 1500-foot ride across and you can drive, walk, or bike it.
Heck, you can even jump from it.
Base jumping is legal and allowed any time of year and there’s a base camp at the end of the bridge where base jumpers can prep and recover from the jump.
Keep an eye out along the south rim to see the dirt ramp from that failed Evel Kenevil jump.
If you want to ride the Snake River and see the falls from below or even ride some white water rapids, several tour companies in town will make sure you’re safe while rafting or riding down the river.
I rode the Snake River back in the 1980s and it was a year with a lot of snowmelt, so the river was high and raging.
I was scared of getting in the water and my dad just pushed me in.
I didn’t even have time to be mad at him because the guide said “RAGING RAPIDS AHEAD! EVERYONE IN THE RAFT!” It was scary at the time, but looking back, it was one of the coolest experiences in my life!
There’s a zipline that goes over the Snake River too if you are really adventurous.
You can also climb the walls of the canyon.
For a tamer experience, you can dine at one of several restaurants that line the canyon.
Downtown Twin Falls isn’t much for nightlife, but there are plenty of restaurants, breweries, produce stands, fairs, and festivals to keep you entertained until bedtime.
During the day, take a rest at the Downtown Commons, which is an open space area where kids can play, adults can relax, and there’s no canyon view (for those who are getting vertigo).
Places to Avoid in Twin Falls
The area around downtown and the College of Southern Idaho has the highest crime incidents, but that’s also the busiest part of the city.
The area around the Perrine Bridge is a lower risk.
I guess it’s not wise to commit a crime near a place where someone can throw you into a canyon.
Here’s something to avoid that is going to sound more like a PSA than advice, but don’t throw your 12-year-old daughter in raging rapids if she’s scared.
Not, but seriously.
There are a lot of intense views up and down the canyon walls here.
If you or someone in your group suffers from acrophobia (fear of heights), don’t tease them or bully them into doing an adventure they aren’t ready for.
I am very adventurous but I get terrible vertigo sensations when I see heights and they can ruin the rest of my day if I don’t take action.
You can get treatment for acrophobia ahead of time from a professional in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Twin Falls
- Prepare for windy conditions year-round. The canyon alongside the city just acts as a wind tunnel and blows fiercely at times. High-profile vehicles might be at risk, and it will definitely force you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. If you have long hair, prepare a lot of ponytails.
- Sign up for weather alerts using an app called SIRCOMM Citizen Alert Notification System (SIRCOMM C.A.N.). You’ll also get wildfire, road closure, hazmat, and crime emergency information.
- Even with the emergency alerts, you’ll still want a reliable weather app to monitor the conditions each day. There are local weather apps available or you can use one from the National Weather Service. If storms are in the forecasts on any given day, you should stick close to the city. You don’t want to be in the wilderness when a thunderstorm hits for a variety of safety reasons.
- If you do find you have vertigo after seeing the incredible heights here, you can always go back to the hotel and just lie down. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths until the sensation passes. I find using Dramamine (generally for seasickness) helps me with vertigo, but I am not a doctor, so don’t take that as official medical advice. I can just tell you it helps me.
- Just because you CAN base jump here doesn’t mean you should. This is a very dangerous act that can result in severe injury or death. You should only do this if you are experienced in it. The same goes for rock climbing. The tour groups here are ideal for any kind of dangerous activity because the guides will make sure you are educated on all safety techniques and won’t let you make a dangerous mistake in the spirit of “I’ll never get to try this again, so why not??”.
- You can sign up for alerts from the city of Twin Falls on its website. This is more for information about the city, coming events, and opening/closing of attractions.
- Idaho doesn’t allow any kind of interaction with a mobile device while driving. You can only use text-to-speech functions. You can get an $85 ticket on the first violation. If you need to touch a mobile device, pull over when you safely can. With the extreme winds and aggressive drivers in this area, you’ll be thankful you kept focused on the road.
- There are plenty of roads where you can ride an ATV. In fact, some people ride their ATVs 45 minutes south to the city of Jackpot, Nevada for some gambling. You should contact Idaho’s department of Parks & Recreation. There’s a form where you can give detailed information about where you are going and you’ll get specific information back about where you can/can’t ride.
- If you want to fish along the Snake River, you’ll need a license from the state department of fish & game. You can purchase it online or when you get to Twin Falls.
- You might see some wildlife around this area, with good chances of seeing or hearing coyotes. There might be an occasional moose sighting too. There aren’t any known bears in this area as the canyon keeps them from making their way south. As with any wildlife, take in the view from a distance and never feed them.
So... How Safe Is Twin Falls Really?
Let’s dig into some of the details because this city has some growing pains in certain crime categories.
The violent crime rate is much higher than the state and national average.
Your chances of being a victim, just based on the numbers, is one in 200.
However, 61% of the violent crimes in 2020 happened in private homes.
18% of the violent crimes were against strangers.
That means while the violent crime rate is higher than you’d like to see in a vacation spot, it’s not a crime that targets tourists.
The theft rate is also slightly higher than the state and national average.
However, 43% of thefts were shoplifting, which isn’t a risk to a tourist.
You should take note of the 27% of thefts that were from car break-ins, with an average loss of $400.
Be sure to lock your car, roll-up windows, and remove all belongings after you park.
Driving is another safety concern because Idaho is known for having some pretty aggressive drivers who aren’t afraid to confront you during a fit of road rage.
Look at some of these statistics from a 2019 study:
- Aggressive driving was to blame for half of all accidents.
- 66 people died in aggressive driving crashes that year.
- 74% of accidents happen on rural roads.
- 36 people died because of distracted driving.
If you are patient, calm, and prepared for the risks, there are plenty of rewards to be found in Twin Falls, Idaho.
How Does Twin Falls Compare?
|New York City
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
You won't need a Visa in Twin Falls. That's just to be used when you arrive in the United States. You'll use the passport as your legal ID when visiting here.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and you can charge just about everything. Many of the attractions and tours can be booked in advance.
Prepare for a full four seasons and pack accordingly. You'll want layers of warm clothes in the winter with some snow boots. While it doesn't snow as much here as in other parts of the state, it's still going to snow a little each winter. In the summer, you can plan for shorts and t-shirts, and it's a good idea to get water shoes for your adventures in the river.
You are about 90 minutes to the Boise airport and three hours or so to Salt Lake City's airport. Neither drive is particularly hard except in rugged winter conditions. There could be snow on the roads or slick spots, so definitely plan more time in the winter for traveling to and from the airport of your choice.
You should definitely invest in travel insurance to make the most of your trip to Twin Falls, Idaho.
Twin Falls Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Idaho - Safety by City