Indiana : Safety by City
- Cedar Lake
- Crown Point
- Fort Wayne
- Michigan City
- Santa Claus
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Winona Lake
Voulez-vous voir Vincennes, Indiana?
This is Indiana’s oldest city and its history goes back so much further than when the French settled here.
It’s hard to even walk around Vincennes without bumping into a piece of history.
Native American Mounds, Revolutionary War re-enactments, the George Rogers Clark Memorial (of Lewis & Clark exploratory fame), and so much more greet you in Vincennes (“Vin-senzz”).
A little traveler tip here – if you go to indianamuseum.org you can purchase a family membership and save a ton of money if you plan to visit a lot of museums in Indiana.
There are more than 300 museums on the list, 11 of them in and around Vincennes.
This is also the home of comedian Red Skelton and his legacy is honored at the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy.
In true southern Indiana style, you can also visit plenty of agricultural spots and have some of the freshest fruits and veggies you’ll ever taste.
Vincennes is outlined by the Wabash River on the west, with Illinois on the other side.
It is also about equal distance to Indianapolis, Louisville, or St. Louis.
Warnings & Dangers in Vincennes
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There is a lot of bad information out there about Vincennes, calling it one of the most dangerous cities of its size. That must be really outdated data, because my investigative and math skills show there's a pretty low crime rate, aside from one specific category. There's a low risk here, but hold on to your stuff.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
I'm a little surprised Vincennes doesn't have a public transportation system, but all of the main tourist sites in town are pretty close. The walkability shouldn't be too difficult. You can call a taxi or rideshare, but it might take a while. Having a car is almost a must here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here. Especially in a city with less than 17,000 people, having 11 purse snatching is the highest I've seen outside of major cities. The average loss was $250. You should take precautions to keep your purse and wallet secured. Don't leave a purse unattended. It's interesting that there were 11 purses snatched, but not a single pickpocket.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You'll face a medium risk throughout the year, but that risk is more for the potential, not the day-to-day risks. The main concerns are flooding, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail storms, winter storms, ice storms, and extreme heat/cold. The Knox County Emergency Management website has great tips to help with all kinds of weather concerns.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There is a low risk here with just three robberies reported in 2020. One word of caution - Indiana has seen increasing gun violence, so that risk could change quickly. For now, the biggest risk is purse snatching and car break-ins.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Vincennes isn't big enough, close enough to a big city, or target-rich enough for a terrorist to even consider an attack here.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a local scam where someone calls you to say your car has been impounded and police are going to arrest you if you don't pay up. Vincennes also has enough tourist attractions that there might be scams online offering bogus tickets at low prices. Only buy tickets from legitimate outlets. Because of the potential, it's a medium risk level for Vincennes.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Vincennes is a safe place for a woman, especially when sightseeing. Women should still avoid walking around at night alone or going through unknown neighborhoods. Stay on well-lit streets and never go to a private place with someone you have just met.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows no violations in the city and all tests meet or exceed requirements. For future reference, when you do your own research, all water utilities in the United States are required to post an annual report by June 1 for the previous year. You can search by "Water Quality Report" or "Consumer Confidence Report" to find it.
Safest Places to Visit in Vincennes
I wish I had the space in this article to detail all the great museums in Vincennes, but the Visit Vincennes organization does a great job on its website.
Here is a list of the top destinations:
- George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
- Indiana Military Museum
- Fort Knox II
- Grouseland, President William Henry Harrison Mansion
- Knox County Veteran Memorial Park
- Old French House
- Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy
- Vincennes State Historic Sites
AgriTourism is a big deal in Indiana, and the Vincennes/Knox County region is ripe for the picking when it comes to options:
- Windy Knoll Winery
- Apple Hill Orchard
- Big Peach
- Little Hill Flower Farm
- McKinley’s Orchard
- Melon Acres
- Prairie Acres Farm Market
The “Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous” is held one weekend in May each year at The French Commons.
This isn’t just for Revolutionary War reenactments.
This is a fully immersive 18th-century festival with food cooked on an open fire and items for sale in rudimentary tents.
Just across the river from the Clark Historical Park is the Lincoln Trail State Memorial, where you can walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln and his family as they first crossed into Illinois.
Places to Avoid in Vincennes
The city center has the highest crime rate, but since much of that crime rate is driven by theft, that makes sense because there are more people there.
There isn’t a part of this city that is too dangerous to drive through, but in the spirit of safety, stick to main roads and well-lit areas.
You’ll want to check your preferred attractions before you book travel, as some of the places are open seasonally or during limited hours in the winter.
Indiana is also a state where Sundays are “God’s Day” and some businesses might be closed or have reduced hours of operation.
The Wabash River seems like an inviting respite for boating, kayaking, or swimming, but this is a wild river, so you have to use caution.
There are no marinas, patrols, or river traffic here. As one journalist wrote, “People rarely notice the Wabash until it floods.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to Vincennes
- The Vincennes Police Department does weekly “Neighborhood Watch” live interactions on Facebook each month. This is a great way to learn about current crime trends and see residents interact with the reporting officer. You can also ask questions about the safety of travelers at that time. The meetings are held on the first Monday of each month.
- If you are visiting during a snow event, you can’t park on streets labeled as “Snow Routes.” This is so the snowplows can get through and clear the streets. If you do park on one of the streets, you could be towed or end up sideswiped by a snowplow on your own dime.
- All that winter weather can lead to some pretty gnarly potholes on the roads. If you see a pothole, you can report it through the city website. There’s an online form and all you need to add is the location, the time you saw it, and your name and email. Don’t assume someone has already reported it.
- During planting and harvest seasons, you’re going to share the road with farm equipment. I live in a place where we have to deal with this as well, and I once got stuck behind a combine for five miles on a two-lane road. For people who live here, this is a part of life. For visitors who aren’t used to it, it can be frustrating. Just be patient and don’t try to “beat the tractor” unless you have plenty of room to pass.
- Download the CodeRED app and select notifications from Knox County. This will alert you to any weather or civil emergency that might happen. The app is free and just takes seconds to install.
- If there is flash flooding or river flooding during your visit, never drive through a flooded road. The saying “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” is an important one because it just takes six inches of water to carry a car away.
- If you want to go fishing here, you’ll need a license from either Indiana or Illinois. You won’t need a license for both as the departments have a shared agreement for anglers on either side of the river.
- Thieves will steal just about anything here, including pieces of historic lampposts throughout the city. This is a trend that started in the spring of 2022. If you are visiting and notice a piece of a lamppost missing or see someone messing with the posts, please report it to the police or park service.
- We like to joke in the Midwest that there really isn’t a season called spring, it’s called “Construction Season.” Even the most reliable GPS might not know about a road closure for repaving or major construction projects. You should check the city website or social media pages so you can better navigate around the region. It’s illegal to do this while driving, so doing it beforehand makes everyone safer.
- It is sometimes hard to know what time it is in Indiana, as the entire state isn’t in the same time zone. Vincennes is with the majority of counties that are part of the Eastern Time Zone. Six of the counties south of Vincennes, but still in Indiana, are in the Central Time Zone. Crossing over into Illinois will take you back an hour to Central Time. While modern phones will keep up with the time zone changes, and there should be signs posted, it can be confusing.
So... How Safe Is Vincennes Really?
Vincennes is a small town with an average amount of crime.
In 2020, 15 violent crimes happened in the community and not a single one involved a stranger.
87% of violent crimes happened in homes.
In 2022, the most common arrests were made for drug-related crimes.
To demonstrate that no city is safe from crime, even on Christmas, there was a suspicious man dressed as the Grinch arrested after walking around neighborhoods and approaching doors.
There was also a burglary spree at local businesses on Christmas Day.
Theft is the big concern here, whether it’s shoplifting, car break-ins, or those purse snatchings we talked about.
You should always lock your car with the windows rolled up and never leave anything inside the car in plain sight – not even the GPS holder.
The 2020 theft rate showed a one in 28 risks of being a victim.
That should be enough to make you take extra steps to protect your belongings.
A few basic safety steps here are going to help you have a historic time of your life in Vincennes, Indiana.
How Does Vincennes Compare?
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- Visas - You'll need to prepare various documents and personal information to get a U.S. visa, and you'll be required to do an in-person interview. Once you've arrived in the country, you don't need to show a visa to move between cities or states. You can travel freely until you return home.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the only currency accepted here, and you should try to purchase as much as you can ahead of time. That family membership for the museums is poised to save you a lot of money. You won't need to carry cash here, but if you want to exchange currency, do it at the airport.
- Weather - Winters can be cold and snowy, so pack full winter gear. Don't forget warm socks and thick hats to keep heat from easily escaping your body. Summers are going to be humid, so plan to sweat a lot. Packing electrolytes like the Liquid IV product can help you stay hydrated and healthy during your visit. It's not uncommon to get snow in the springtime here, so always bring a coat if you visit before May.
- Airports - If you are flying out of Indianapolis or Louisville, it will be at all times in the Eastern Time Zone. If you drive to St. Louis's airport, which is in the central time zone, you'll gain an hour driving there.
- Travel Insurance - You should consider travel insurance due to the weather risks, the amount of time you'll spend on the road, and the unpredictability of air travel.
Vincennes Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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