Texas : Safety by City
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Everything is coming up roses in Tyler, Texas, home to the Rose Capital of America.
This small northeastern Texas town could easily get dwarfed between Dallas and Shreveport, but it stands on its own as a great place to visit.
The city is named after President John Tyler (the 10th President of the U.S.) and is home to nearly 106,000 people, a population that grew more than 10% in the past decade.
While this isn’t the most exciting city in Texas, it has small-town charm with stunning historic architecture and is flanked by two lakes for outdoor enjoyment.
Rambling Roses is a podcast by the city tourism bureau that gives you the inside scoop and hometown stories to give your trip a little more local texture.
Whether you’re here for the big rose festival or the small farmer’s market, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the spirit of Texas in this cozy town.
One great aspect of Tyler is that it’s tucked away from a busy interstate but still just 10 miles from the major east-west route of I-20.
You can be in Dallas in two hours or cross the Louisiana state line in that same time frame if you head the other way.
There are plenty of hotels in Tyler throughout the city.
Warnings & Dangers in Tyler
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low overall risk here for a tourist, with crime rates that are still worth noting but nowhere near the levels of some other cities experiencing a surge of violent crime. The property crime rate is a little concerning, but I can explain how you can easily lower your risk of being a victim.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Tyler Transit is the fixed-route bus system here. Taxis and rideshares will be available, but not as plentiful as in bigger cities. Ideally, you'll have your own car here so you can explore it on your own timeline.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, with just 14 pickpockets reported in 2021. You should still minimize what you carry around as much as possible. If you're there for a big event, use extra caution.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
This is one of the only medium-risk categories to worry about in Tyler. Spring brings severe weather season, and this part of Texas can get some severe storms and tornadoes. In April of 2022, a major storm caused a lot of damage and left 1/3 of the city without power. Winter can bring some sleet, freezing rain, or snow, but it's less likely. It can greatly impact travel if it does happen. Since Tyler is in the northeastern section of the state, it's more likely to get temperatures below freezing than the southern parts of the state (and Texas is a BIG state).
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
The robbery rate here is almost half the national average. On top of that, just 14% of the robberies that did happen in 2021 were in outdoor public places. That doesn't give you permission to let your guard down, but it's nice to know there's not a looming risk.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low-risk category since Tyler is a small town in a rural area. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is much more likely to be a candidate for a cyber, chemical, or physical attack.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The scams here focus on residents and the kind nature of small-town Texas people. We recommend using official tourism or government websites when you're doing research to protect your privacy and the personal information you might share while booking hotels or buying attraction tickets.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Statistically, women are slightly less likely to be the victim of a violent crime. The city does have a popular downtown area with some nightlife, so use the standard precautions if you're going to be out after dark.
TAP WATER RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk, and let me explain why. You'd never know if looking at the rather technical 2021 Water Quality Report, but there's a concern you might not see until it's too late. First, Tyler and much of East Texas have old plumbing and pipes in homes and businesses. In early 2021, a deep freeze in this part of Texas caused chaos as dozens of water mains snapped. That led to boil orders and emergency repairs that took weeks or months to fix. I recommend calling Tyler Water Utilities at (903) 939-8716 just before your trip to see if there are any issues. You might have to boil the water or use bottled water. While this isn't a weekly concern, it's something to be aware of in general.
Safest Places to Visit in Tyler
VisitTyler.com is the official tourism website; you’ll recognize it with the red rose that pops up in the website’s tab.
The site has downloadable maps, walking tours, and the Rose City Trail details.
Be sure to review the “Places to Stay” section, as there are more than just hotels here.
Cabins, cottages, and bed & breakfast inns are also available.
Here’s a quick list of some unique museums in Tyler:
- American Freedom Museum: Military history in America dating back to the American Revolution is on display and part of interactive exhibits.
- American Dog Horn Museum: Long before there were phones, there were horns. This museum is focused on the dog horn but also displays how horns were used in every facet of pioneer life, including long-range communication.
- Cotton Belt Depot: A depot built in 1905 containing railroad artifacts and model railroad displays.
- Goodman Museum: Walk through a Victorian home from the 1800s, complete with original furnishings and trinkets. Be sure to check out the rose garden here too.
- Old Mill Pond Museum: An eclectic adventure that breaks the traditional mold of a museum celebrating history in a more creative way.
- Texas African American Museum: Built in an old fire station, this museum explores the history of African Americans in this part of the country and the hope for a more inclusive future.
You can’t turn a corner in Tyler without seeing roses, but there are some breathtaking parks and gardens that you should see as well.
The one known globally is the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, with more than 200 varieties of roses across 14 acres.
Be sure to explore the museum on the property as well.
Costumes from the Rose Festival honorees over the years are on display.
A 10-mile-long azalea trail takes you through charming neighborhoods lined with azalea flowers during March and April.
It’s one of the most beautiful times of year here, but it can also get crowded.
Book your hotel reservations and tickets for this event and the Rose Festival as early as possible.
Downtown Tyler is the city’s bustling core, and the Half Mile of History Trail runs along the area’s perimeter.
You don’t need a map because stone tablets will explain where you are and where to go next.
The downtown is rich with patios and live music, with some unique shops in between.
Check the DowntownTyler.org website to see what events are happening during your visit.
If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss Discovery Science Place, with interactive exhibits for people of all ages.
The Caldwell zoo is another family-friendly attraction, with a petting zoo and the opportunity to feed a giraffe.
Children’s Park brings out the kid in everyone with a butterfly garden, life-sized statues of animals, and a storytelling amphitheater.
Places to Avoid in Tyler
Tyler is ranked as the 17th safest city in Texas, so there really aren’t any neighborhoods or parts of town that are too dangerous to visit.
There are many areas designed to have people drive around and look at the homes and gardens, but stick to tours and map routes for those events.
With Lake Palestine and Lake Tyler nearby, avoid going there if storms are in the forecast that day.
Generally, a storm will come with a weather advisory, which can elevate to a severe thunderstorm/tornado watch.
A watch means that conditions will likely produce storms, and each water will list specific risks.
A tornado warning means a funnel has been spotted by radar or storm spotters and requires immediate action to get to a safe place.
A severe thunderstorm warning means you should get inside and avoid windows.
You don’t want to be caught outside in a storm.
You should sign up for Smart911 emergency alerts here, no matter what time of year you visit.
The weather here is too risky.
It’s smart to check the forecast daily and check in with a reliable weather app.
If you’re camping in this area, please purchase a battery-powered weather radio and have emergency management help you program it.
If storms knock down power lines or mobile phone towers, you could be without life-saving information.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Tyler
- It’s funny I should mention that weather warning because as soon as I went to the city’s website, I saw a tornado watch in effect. Review the emergency planning information on the city’s website to help prepare for severe or winter weather.
- Tornado sirens are regularly tested here; the only way to test them is to turn them on. That means you might hear a tornado siren on a bright sunny day. The city will tell you through social media when a test will happen, but plan for the first Tuesday of every month at 11:00 am. They will not test the sirens if the weather isn’t clear.
- Download the MyTyler app to have a direct line of contact with the city. You’ll be able to report issues like potholes or downed tree limbs. A full list of area parks and contacts at City Hall are also in the palm of your hand with this app.
- If you have any water quality issues while you’re there, you can report them to Tyler Water Utilities through a form on the city’s website. For starters, let cloudy or discolored water run for a few minutes to see if it clears up. Old pipes can add debris to the water, which isn’t connected to water quality testing.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife issues all fishing and hunting permits, so review the process before you get to town, as there are a lot of rules and requirements. With 10 locations in Tyler to buy a license, and the option to buy online, you shouldn’t have trouble getting yours. Be sure to get a non-resident license.
- Drug crimes are rising here, and that’s on top of an opioid crisis connected to fentanyl-laced drugs. While you should never use illegal drugs, we’d rather tell you about the unknown risk that is in many drugs because you won’t be able to tell at face value.
- This is a small town with a slower pace of life than you might be used to if you’re from a bigger city. That means walkers and drivers might be a little frustrating to follow. Stay calm, and don’t engage in road rage. The police here are hyper-focused on traffic violations, too, so you don’t want to get a ticket on your vacation, either.
- If you’re parking downtown, you can use the Park Smarter app to find and pay for parking on your mobile device. You can use cash or credit cards if you choose to pay at the meter.
- There are big events in Tyler each year, like the Rose Festival and the County Fair, which can lead to blocked roads, increased traffic, and bigger crowds. If you aren’t planning to visit during one of these events, check the city calendar before you book your flight.
- Don’t pick roses, azaleas, or any other flower from a public park or private property. There are plenty of stores where you can buy your own flowers. The winter storm of 2021 destroyed several aspects of the rose industry here, and community members are working to bring them back. If everyone who came to town took a rose or two, there would be none left to see.
So... How Safe Is Tyler Really?
When you look at the influx of violent crime in cities across America, Tyler looks pretty good.
In 2021, violent crimes were down 5% overall. Property crimes were down 15% as a broad category.
The number of people reporting crimes went up 1%, which is a good sign that the community is taking a stand against crime.
The pressure point of the crime data is illegal drug use and distribution, going up almost 48% since 2020.
As we mentioned above, the drug problem is a nationwide one too.
As more drug distributors fill their products with lethal doses of fentanyl, a record number of people are dying from overdoses.
If you don’t use illegal drugs, you might assume this problem has nothing to do with you.
That’s where the police clarify that more drug crimes lead to more addicts, which overall leads to more violent crime and repeat offenders.
There aren’t enough mental health or rehab facilities to treat the growing number of drug abusers.
Will this matter on a brief visit to Tyler as a tourist?
No, but it does mean you should check the crime data closer to your visit to see if there is a surge in any crime other than what I can tell you today.
Car thefts are also increasing, but a few simple steps prevent that: lock your car, keep the windows rolled up, and leave no personal belongings – not even a GPS holder – in your car.
I’ve written that hundreds of times in the past year as I review cities, but even in my relatively safe Midwestern city, I saw the aftermath of my neighbor’s car – loaded with boxes and junk – after being burglarized.
The vast majority of car thefts and car break-ins were because of unlocked doors or expensive personal items (even guns) left in plain view.
Don’t even think about drinking and driving here.
The DUI arrest rate went up 20% in 2021.
Overall, you shouldn’t have to worry about a visit to Tyler, Texas, and we’ve talked through the few safety messages you’ll need to know.
Be especially careful if you’re there during freezing winter weather or severe storm season – and review the emergency management plan before you go.
How Does Tyler Compare?
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|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
The U.S. State Department is responsible for all visas issued to foreigners. You can visit the department's website to see a full list of visa options or use the Visa Wizard module to find the right one for you. The process can take months, so start planning ahead of time.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar (USD) here. Exchange currency before you arrive, or else you might need to go into a bigger city to get cash. You can avoid cash if you want and use a credit card for all purchases.
Plan accordingly for the season because East Texas gets all four of them. In addition, seasons can have wide temperature fluctuations (it was 74°(F) two days ago where I live, and it's now 21°(F) - welcome to the central United States!). Summers will be very hot and humid, so bring clothing you can sweat in. You'll also want bug spray and sunscreen.
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport is served by American Airlines and is just seven miles from downtown. If you want a bigger airport, you'll need to drive two hours to either Dallas or Shreveport.
You should consider travel insurance to protect the money you spend on flights and protect lost baggage. Ask about supplemental car rental insurance in case of an accident or storm damage. Large hail here can really mess up a car.
Tyler Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Texas - Safety by City