Pennsylvania : Safety by City
- Kennett Square
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, sits right smack in the heart of southwestern Pennsylvania, spread along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Imagine rolling green hills, charming small towns, and a rich history etched in coal mines and colonial legacies.
That’s Uniontown in a nutshell, and it’s part of a region known as the Laurel Highlands.
Think of it as a history buff’s playground with an adventurous streak, a place where you can learn about the past while getting your adrenaline pumping in the great outdoors.
And hey, if you’re a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, two of his architectural masterpieces – Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob – are just a stone’s throw away.
Go underground into the largest cave on this side of the country or explore waterfalls and historic sites in Fayette County.
In full transparency, Uniontown is more of a home base for adventure into the wilderness or on a stop to Pittsburgh, 90 minutes northeast.
However, you can enjoy many adventurous experiences nearby.
Warnings & Dangers in Uniontown
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Uniontown comes with a medium risk, and that goes for crime as well as safe places for tourists to enjoy in town. You have to leave Uniontown to experience many of the best parts of the county.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
You can look at the Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation website to see if the limited route serves your needs. Taxis and rideshares should be easy to find, but you'll save money with a rental car since there's a lot of driving involved in exploring this region.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The larceny rates are surprisingly lower than the national average, but I'd use standard cautions here, as if you were in a bigger city like Pittsburgh. About one to two pickpockets or purse snatchings happen each year.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, even with the multitude of weather events that can happen in Uniontown. The kicker is that this isn't a region that habitually gets severe or devastating weather. You still might face severe thunderstorms, an occasional tornado, flooding, wildfires, and winter weather, but you could also see none of those. Stay aware of the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
This is a category that can look different depending on how much context you put into it. The risk is low, but stick around, and I'll explain why I would say that when the rate is nearly twice the national average.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is a low-risk category, as it's a very small town surrounded by more small towns and open spaces. Domestic terrorism can happen anywhere, so you should always report suspicious activity.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scammers stole more than $200,000 from residents in 2023. While the risk is technically low, you might face more attempts at scams here out of desperation in a poverty-stricken community. The risk only stays low if you educate yourself on common scam tactics. You can find that on the Federal Trade Commission website.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
The rundown nature of the town might make it less appealing to women, and this might not be the best past for a solo adventure, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. You'll need street smarts and a firm stance against anyone who tries to approach you.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
I always feel confident when I see that American Water services a community as they have a sterling reputation. The latest water quality report shows full compliance and no violations, giving this a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Uniontown
“Go Laurel Highlands” is the name of the website for this region.
You can search by city or type of activity you want to do.
A free destination guide is also available for download.
The Visit PA website also has a section about Uniontown and Laurel Highlands.
Uniontown is on the National Road Heritage Corridor, offering 90 miles of attractions along Pennsylvania highways.
NationalRoadpa.org is a website with an interactive map and travel guide to help you plan an epic road trip.
Venture underground and be captivated by the subterranean wonderland of Laurel Caverns.
Shimmering stalactites drip from cathedral-like ceilings, forming nature’s own breathtaking art gallery.
Guided tours unlock the secrets of this geological marvel, leaving you spellbound by the magic hidden beneath the earth.
Step into the Art Deco embrace of the State Theatre Center for the Arts, where Broadway musicals, local plays, and live concerts paint the evening in vibrant hues.
In less than an hour, you can visit two Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces at Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater.
Lose yourself in the labyrinth of Yesterday’s Today Antique & Craft Mall, where vintage treasures and local crafts beckon you to unearth a unique souvenir or a story whispering from a forgotten corner.
Stand where history echoed at Fort Necessity National Battlefield, where George Washington faced his first battle.
This region is also well known for covered bridges, waterfalls, hiking trails, cross-country skiing routes, and fishing holes.
Places to Avoid in Uniontown
This might be one of the oddest sentences I’ve written in my travel safety career – but I don’t think you’ll even need to go to many places in Uniontown to visit Uniontown.
As a city of fewer than 10,000 people, it’s not really large enough to have a place to avoid.
The blight and poverty-stricken neighborhoods give away the “places to avoid.”
On top of that, aside from downtown, which is the center of the city’s footprint, the rest is all highly residential, with a handful of grocery stores throughout.
I’ve never seen a city with LESS to do inside the limits than this one.
Even all the hotels are grouped outside the highways that surround the city on the west side.
One thing is for sure – this isn’t a place where you want to drive around looking for something to do.
One in three people here lives in poverty, and the rest have an average income of almost half the national average.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Uniontown
- Chalk this up to another thing I’ve never seen in all my research years – Uniontown does have its own police department but doesn’t have a website or social media that are readily available or easy to find. I can tell you that the phone number is 24-430-2933 if you want to call to ask specific safety questions.
- You should also know information about the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, which does have a Facebook page @fayettecopasheriffsoffice. To be sure you’re on the right page, look for the 724 area code. The phone number is (724) 430-1295, and you can email email@example.com.
- Sign up for CodeRED emergency alerts through the county’s website. If you are traveling statewide, consider signing up for Alert PA. While major weather events aren’t common here, you should be aware of those that do happen. These alerts will cover anything that has to do with public safety.
- Downtown Uniontown has a series of one-way streets mixed in with the two-way routes. Be sure to pay careful attention. If you make a wrong turn, the roads are narrow, and there isn’t much room to correct the mistake.
- Parking downtown is free, but take note of the two-hour limits in some areas. Some parking garages and spots are leased by the month, so don’t take one of those spots either. I wish I could offer a parking website to learn more, but it doesn’t appear one exists.
- Any fishing in Pennsylvania requires a license from the Pennsylvania Boat and Fish Commission. You can purchase them online or at vendors in town, and the commission has a list of vendors by county.
- Juvenile crime is a growing problem in America, and in communities like Uniontown, it’s especially concerning. I bring this up because you shouldn’t assume that a group of pre-teens or teenagers hanging out in a park are just sweet kids. In fact, a 14-year-old is believed to be responsible for one of the most recent murders.
- Stay out of empty or condemned buildings. While the city is working on a plan for blight, and the aesthetics of a rundown building can tap into the artistic side of someone, these buildings are dangerous and could have dangerous people or products inside.
- Keep an eye out for deer on the road, even in the towns around this region. Pennsylvania ranks top of the list for car accidents involving deer. The animals can jump out in front of a car quickly, but their eyes will glow in your headlights at night, giving you some time to slow down or stop.
- While visiting historical or natural areas, don’t take any rocks, fossils, or artifacts, even if you find them on your own. Let a park ranger know. You should also learn the seven principles of Leave No Trace.
So... How Safe Is Uniontown Really?
I want to provide a little context for the crime data I’ll review with you.
First, Uniontown is a city of 10,000 people, while crime data is figured out by crimes per 100,000 people.
The numbers can be skewed easily in either direction with just a handful of more/fewer crimes.
Uniontown’s violent crime rate is 236% higher than the Pennsylvania average and 137% higher than the national average.
The raw data shows 94 violent crimes in 2023, which works out to about two a week.
That number seems to back up the percentage and overall risk, as you wouldn’t expect a city of 10,000 to have that many crimes.
As noted above, robberies also fall into a category that is 77% higher than the national average.
However, the raw number of that is 14 robberies.
That means about one happens in a month.
In this circumstance, the risk doesn’t seem as bad as the percentage would suggest.
Theft rates are 26% higher than the national average, with a raw number of 176.
That means about 3–4 thefts happen a week.
That could be anything from a vehicle break-in to stealing a bike to taking a cooler from a campsite.
One of the biggest problems is the homicide rate, which reached a record of six in 2023.
Local leaders are working with the community to take a stand against increasing violence.
“It has been a diversified opinion,” Adam Lawson, the pastor at Fresh Fire Church in Uniontown, said when discussing the community crime concerns.
“We have people that are angry, fed up.
Then there are those that believe nothing is going to change, it’s only going to get worse.
In the midst of that, there are people who are just heartbroken, fearful and full of anxiety.”
While living in Uniontown would come with a slew of different advice, visiting Uniontown should prompt you to be vigilant and on guard.
It’s not a place to walk around at night, either.
In fact, you might want to consider staying in Ohiopyle if you want to get the full essence of Fayette County in a safer environment.
How Does Uniontown Compare?
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International visitors should get a passport and have either a visa or visa waiver, depending on their eligibility. You can check the process timeline and steps on the U.S. State Department website.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here. Don't carry around cash unless absolutely necessary, and keep it out of sight. You don't want someone to see you counting a wad of cash when making a purchase at a fast food restaurant. The Pittsburgh airport does have CXI currency services.
Nothing stands out for how to pack, especially for Uniontown, but there are four distinct seasons here. With so much to do outdoors, bring layers and a waterproof jacket or coat. Bug spray will be needed from spring through fall.
Pittsburgh International Airport is 90 minutes northwest, an easy trip from Uniontown on the National Road.
Comprehensive travel insurance is the way to go to cover emergencies, delays, or cancelations. You'll need roadside assistance if you're getting a rental car.
Uniontown Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Pennsylvania - Safety by City