Ohio : Safety by City
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Vandalia, Ohio, is a sleepy suburb of Dayton and is known as the Crossroads of America.
The nickname spans from the intersection of the National Road, US 40, and the Dixie Highway, County Road 25, which was how the town was established in 1838.
A historical marker stands at the spot to this day.
Vandalia still is at a crossroads with Interstates 70 & 75 crossing in the heart of town.
The Dayton International Airport sits on the town’s northwest side.
You’ll also find many outdoor activities here, from MetroParks to waterfalls to river activities.
Most of the attractions here are hyper-local and involve the community.
That’s a nice way to say there isn’t much to lure a tourist to Vandalia aside from the lower crime rates than nearby Dayton.
Warnings & Dangers in Vandalia
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Vandalia, but also not a whole lot to do. Crime rates are low, and even the areas we need to discuss can easily have the risk lowered.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
RTA is the public bus system for Dayton, which goes through Vandalia. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find, especially this close to the airport. Rental cars are another convenient option. All come with a low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
Six purse snatchings were reported in 2022, with an average of five to six a year for the past five years. That's a surprising medium risk for this small city. While it's not an overwhelming risk, it's still higher than other Ohio towns of this size.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a risk of severe or disruptive weather year-round, from winter storms/blizzards to summer thunderstorms and tornadoes. Flooding and extreme temperatures can also happen. It's a medium risk, but almost all the risks come with plenty of notice.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The robbery risk is low, with just one reported in 2022. Just one mugging has been reported in the past five years. That risk increases in Dayton, with 40% of all robberies being highway robberies. The robbery rate there is also 2.5 times higher than the national average.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
The presence of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base could raise the risk, but it would also negate it due to the high security around military installations. It's smart to treat it as a medium risk to stay aware of any suspicious activity. It's also a good reminder to avoid trying to access the base without permission or a reason.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most scams here target residents, so there's a low risk of a tourist getting scammed. The most recent scams will be posted on the police department's social media pages.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is one of the safer communities for women traveling to Dayton. Please read our article about Dayton to learn about the risks there.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report for Vandalia is pretty straightforward. No violations were found, and all water meets or exceeds the requirements. That gives it a low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Vandalia
Vandalia is a suburb of just 15,000 people, so it doesn’t have its own tourist site.
You can use the Dayton CVB website to find things in the region, including Vandalia.
Taylorsville MetroPark is a 1,300-acre natural oasis.
It offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
The park is home to the Great Miami Riverway, providing a scenic backdrop for water-related adventures.
With its network of trails, lush woodlands, and opportunities for wildlife observation, Taylorsville Metro Park is perfect for outdoor fun.
Aullwood Garden MetroPark is an inviting urban oasis located just a short drive from Vandalia, Ohio.
Spanning 31 acres, it features beautiful gardens, walking paths, and diverse plant life.
Charleston Falls Preserve is a serene natural gem just five miles from Vandalia.
This 216-acre park boasts picturesque woodlands, a cascading waterfall, and hiking trails that provide a tranquil escape.
The Rose Music Center at The Heights is an acclaimed outdoor amphitheater in Huber Heights, Ohio, not far from Vandalia.
With a seating capacity of over 4,000, it hosts a variety of concerts and live performances, providing a fantastic entertainment option for music lovers in the greater Dayton area.
Vandalia also has an eight-acre art park where you can stroll among the newest art installments.
Dedicated benches line the pathway.
It’s a wonderful chance to see the artistic flair of the town.
If you can’t tell, I’m really struggling to find things to do in Vandalia.
It’s just THAT suburban.
You can read the full review of things to do in Dayton on this site, but here are some of the closest attractions to Vandalia.
The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery offers a fascinating exploration of science and natural history.
With hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, and live animals, it provides an engaging learning experience for all ages.
Just a short drive from Vandalia, it’s a perfect destination for inquisitive minds and families.
Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway is a thrilling entertainment complex in Dayton, offering both harness racing and a full-service casino.
Enjoy live racing events, slot machines, dining options, and live entertainment for a fun and lively night out.
The Ving Tsun Museum is a dedicated institution preserving the legacy of the Ving Tsun martial art.
It showcases the history, techniques, and philosophy of this martial art style founded by Yip Man.
For martial arts enthusiasts and those interested in its heritage, the museum offers valuable insight.
Places to Avoid in Vandalia
There aren’t bad neighborhoods or dangerous parts of town in Vandalia.
You’re more likely to be seen as the suspicious one if you’re randomly driving around neighborhoods.
That said, there isn’t much to do in Vandalia for tourists.
It’s a highly residential and suburban area that lacks a downtown or city center.
The easy access to highways is a plus for those who will be on the road a lot, but it could also present more noise if you’re staying at a hotel near one of the highways.
Avoid visiting in the warmer months without bug spray.
Vandalia is one of many cities in humid climates where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Vandalia
- Vandalia does have its own police department. You can find them on Facebook @VandaliaPolice or call (937)898-5868 to ask specific safety questions.
- From the city’s website, sign up for Hyper-Reach alerts. These are emergency alerts to notify you if severe weather is in the forecast or a dangerous storm is happening. It covers many other public safety hazards as well.
- Since Vandalia is close to the airport, you should ask about airport noise before you book with a hotel. Read reviews to make sure you won’t be kept away at night or early in the morning. If you do have a noise complaint, you can report it to the airport at 937-454-8226.
- This is a highly residential suburb, and that means you’ll be sharing the road with school buses. Cars are required to stop when a school bus stops and can’t pass until the stop sign on the bus is removed. On a two-lane road, you will have to stop even if you’re approaching from the other direction.
- Look for the See Click Fix section of the city’s website. This is a great chance to report any problem you see in the city, like a pothole or broken streetlight. Don’t assume someone else has reported it.
- The police department’s website has a section dedicated to crime prevention, where you can learn how to avoid scams, protect your vehicle, or get personal safety tips while visiting.
- The department also updates crime statistics several times a year, which means you can get more updated crime data than we have access to at this time since we only use the official crime data from the previous year, as presented by the FBI.
- If you are involved in a car accident that doesn’t result in injuries or extensive damage, you can retrieve a copy of your accident report on the police department’s website. All forms are posted without having to request information. This will be important to show your insurance company when filing a claim.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Ohio Department of Fish & Game. The license for a non-resident is different from an Ohio resident, so be sure to purchase the right one.
- Since Vandalia doesn’t have a tourism site, you can look at the Parks & Rec section of the city’s website to find out about local events during your visit. You might want to join a game of pickleball or take a craft class.
So... How Safe Is Vandalia Really?
Vandalia escapes all but one of the recent crime trends nationwide, and that’s motor vehicle theft.
The violent crime rates are 54% lower than the state average, and just one in five violent crimes involved a stranger looking back five years.
Theft has dropped 40% in the past decades, but the separate category of motor vehicle thefts was up more than 30% in 2022.
The crime data shows 64 cars were stolen in Vandalia that year, while 1,488 were stolen in nearby Dayton.
It’s a growing problem throughout Ohio that parlays into another crime category growing nationwide – juvenile crime.
“We did arrest two 13-year-old kids who were attempting to steal a vehicle, and that’s where they got it from, social media,” Kettering Police Chief Chip Protsman said.
“So, these kids see it on social media and think it’s acceptable or there’s not going to be any consequences for it, so the parents out there need to realize what their kids are watching and stress to them how dangerous this can be.”
While stolen cars are a serious crime, you can seriously lower your risk by simply locking your car doors when you park, removing all personal items, and never leaving your keys inside the vehicle.
Several police chiefs nationwide have told me the number one reason for car thefts is due to the cars being unlocked or the keys being left inside.
No community is or will ever be that safe.
Use common sense, and you’ll enjoy your time in Vandalia.
If you’re wondering if Vandalia is safer than Dayton, yes, it is.
It also doesn’t have all the amenities, but it’s a safer place to rest your head at night.
How Does Vandalia Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
International travelers must secure a visa or visa waiver to gain entry into the country. The U.S. State Department website provides detailed information on your eligibility for a visa waiver. You can also use the Visa Wizard module on their site to determine the required visa.
Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Dayton's airport doesn't provide currency exchange. You'll need to use a bank or an ATM that will work with your debit or credit card.
You'll get four robust seasons here, so plan accordingly. Winters will be cold, so plan to bring winter accessories and a thick coat. Summer add-ons are sunscreen and bug spray. A waterproof outer layer will be helpful in case of rain or snow.
Vandalia is right next to Dayton International Airport, making it an easy ride to catch your flight. The Cincinnati/North Kentucky Airport is the next closest, and that's 75 miles southeast.
For vacations to places prone to weather-related travel issues, travel insurance is always a smart choice. Don't forget about medical coverage as well if your health plan isn't valid in the US. It's also wise to verify rental car insurance will protect you fully in case of any accidents.
Vandalia Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Ohio - Safety by City