Ohio : Safety by City
- Cuyahoga Falls
- Port Clinton
- Yellow Springs
Westerville, Ohio, breathes a whole new life into the Columbus area with historical charm, vibrant community events, and unique attractions.
With modern history dating back to the 19th century, Westerville was known as the “Dry Capital of the World” due to its strong support for the temperance movement.
This history is still evident in the town’s character today.
The Anti-Saloon League Museum, which is located here, pays homage to this heritage.
Situated just northeast of Columbus, Westerville offers a convenient escape from the bustling city.
The town’s Uptown district is a hub for boutique shopping and local cuisine, creating an inviting atmosphere.
The town is home to Otterbein University, a historic and picturesque campus.
This university also brings a plethora of things to see and do beyond the neighborhoods of Westerville.
Visiting Westerville means experiencing a blend of history, natural beauty, and modern amenities, all while enjoying the warm hospitality of its residents.
It’s a delightful destination that encapsulates the best of Ohio’s past and present.
It’s also quite ironic that a place once so dedicated to banning alcohol has activities like the Ale Trail and wineries nearby.
You truly get a mix of exciting history and modern amenities, with an abundance of things to do in Columbus and Polaris nearby.
Warnings & Dangers in Westerville
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Westerville, with low crime rates and a surprisingly good number of things to do in a suburb.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Central Ohio Transit Authority covers the public transportation in this region. You can review the website and see if the options work for your needs. Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are easy to get. All options are a low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Over the past five years, the city averaged three to five pickpockets and purse snatchings a year. The risk is low, but use extra caution in the entertainment areas.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You'll get a mix of severe and dangerous weather potential here throughout the year, which lends itself to a medium risk. Warm weather visitors should be prepared for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash flooding and high winds. Winter guests need to know that blizzards, ice storms, and snow storms are possible. Plenty of advance notice is given for any severe weather potential here.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The risk here is low, with robbery averages 63% lower than the national rate. Less than one in five robberies are individual highway robberies.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk as a suburban area without any hard targets that would be considered an elevated risk. You can always help reduce the risk of problems by reporting suspicious activity. The Homeland Security Department also issues Terrorism Advisory Bulletins to the public throughout the year.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scams here are highly residential, so you can enjoy a low risk. In the shopping areas, you might come across some pressured sales tactics at stores and kiosks. A simple "No, thank you" should suffice.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is one of the safer communities for women to visit, with low crime rates and plenty of family-friendly attractions. Whether you're an outdoor lover or want some retail therapy, Westerville has it all.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Throughout my research, I've noticed that Westerville really hammers the water safety aspects, which is refreshing to see so much transparency and public education. You can read the latest water quality report online. As of 2023, all EPA standards were met or exceeded.
Safest Places to Visit in Westerville
VisitWesterville.org is the tourism website for the city.
You can use that in tandem with ExperienceColumbus.com to get an overview of the region.
I also recommend checking the “What’s Coming” section of the Westerville website to see new businesses and attractions in the works.
One of the busiest parts of the city is Upton Westerville.
Stroll through the historic heart district, where you’ll find a delightful mix of boutiques, art galleries, and local eateries.
The Uptown area exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for leisurely shopping and dining.
You also have a massive shopping area known as Polaris just west of Westerville.
The Polaris Fashion Place upscale shopping mall is the heart of Polaris.
This is where you’ll find major retailers like IKEA and big attractions like a Topgolf franchise.
Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Inniswood Metro Gardens.
These meticulously landscaped gardens showcase various plant species, themed gardens, and tranquil walking trails.
The Japanese Garden is particularly special, with its Zen-like ambiance.
Visit the Hanby House Historic Site dating back to the mid-1800s.
The former home of the Hanby family was a significant stop on the Underground Railroad.
Explore the history of abolitionists and enjoy the beautiful gardens surrounding the property.
Another historical stop is Heritage Park and the Everal Barn & Homestead.
A self-guided walking tour of the property is available, with many historical buildings along the way.
Temperance Row Historic District is a great stop for those fascinated by the history of Prohibition.
The goal of this neighborhood at the time was to make it an ideal wholesome neighborhood in architecture and actions.
You can get maps for this area at the Westerville History Center & Museum.
Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking, and bird-watching around the scenic Hoover Reservoir.
The park’s lake provides opportunities for fishing and boating, making it a fantastic spot for nature enthusiasts.
Discover the natural beauty of Blendon Woods through its winding trails and observation decks.
The park is a haven for birdwatchers, especially during migratory seasons.
Westerville really likes its trails and tours, including beer trails, pizza trails, coffee trails, mural tours, and the board game Clue come to life in Uptown.
The city also has a selection of art galleries, including the Frank Museum of Art at Otterbein University.
The university also has a symphony and summer theater for those looking to enjoy performance art.
Westerville also has a strong community with local events every season and holiday, like the farmer’s market in the summer and an annual Christmas parade.
Places to Avoid in Westerville
The highest crime rates are south of County Line Road, but you won’t find places here that are too dangerous to visit.
It’s just worth knowing that the greater chances for theft are in that area, but the shopping and entertainment districts come with fair warning that there could be petty thefts or other types of criminal activities, more likely due to the larger crowds.
This is also a growing area, meaning there could be a lot of construction underway during your visit.
It’s helpful to check the city’s website or social media pages for road activity that could change your GPS travel routes.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Westerville
- Westerville does have its own police department. You should follow the city’s Facebook page to get updates. That handle is @cityofwesterville. You can call (614) 901-6400 for specific safety questions.
- Look up the emergency alert portal on the city’s website to see all the options to get public safety and weather alerts. You’ll have a few options. It’s important to get weather alerts while you’re here.
- You can review the most recent crime statistics on the police department’s website. There’s a dashboard that displays the latest information, which is more updated than the official crime data we can provide from the previous year.
- The Citizens Online Police Reporting System is an easy way to file police reports for minor incidents like traffic accidents that don’t involve injuries, major damage or drugs/alcohol. You can also file a report about petty theft here. You’ll need a copy of that report for insurance, so don’t delay filling out the form.
- If more than three inches of snow is in the forecast, a snow emergency might be declared, which bans street parking. It’s yet another reason to sign up for those emergency alerts. The parking ban allows snow plows to clear the streets fully.
- This area is close to many water attractions, which means mosquitos will be active. Review the Franklin Public Health website to see when spraying is done for mosquitos and what steps you can take to reduce exposure.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Ohio Department of Fish & Game. Options range from one day to a full year. You’ll need a non-resident or out-of-state license. Hunting licenses require more safety training and are hard to get if you don’t have any experience or proof of certification.
- Review the Westerville TV website to see videos about the city. Skip past city council meetings and such to get to Parks & Recreation, Public Safety, and Community playlists to see the most relevant to a tourist.
- Use the Ohgo website and app to track road conditions in the region and statewide. Real-time traffic, live cameras, and construction zones are displayed. When severe weather is happening, you’ll also see road conditions and storm damage.
- Use Westerville’s Parking app, which is available for free in the app stores, to find parking and pay through your mobile device. This is especially important in the popular Uptown community.
So... How Safe Is Westerville Really?
Westerville is one of the safer communities in the Columbus area.
Violent crime rates are 51% lower than the state average and 64% lower than the national average.
Over the past five years, 14% of those crimes involved strangers.
Most victims of violent crime were known to their attackers.
Thefts are 16% higher than the national average, with shoplifting and car break-ins/accessory thefts making up nearly 60% of all thefts.
Robberies are 63% lower than the national average.
Most people who move here do so to get away from the crime of Columbus and for the excellent schools in this area.
With an average household income of $96,000, it’s also one of the more upscale parts of the community.
That income level is 64% higher than the average income in Columbus.
There are groups of hotels on the west and south sides of Westerville, but most are outside the city limits.
That’s the thing about Westerville – it’s safe, but there’s not a lot to do here without going to Columbus, which brings additional safety risks.
How Does Westerville Compare?
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
International travelers are required to obtain a visa or visa waiver to enter the country. To determine your eligibility for a visa waiver, consult the U.S. State Department website.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. With theft rates higher than average, it's wise to use a credit card that offers the best fraud and theft help of any other option. John Glenn Columbus International Airport no longer offers currency exchange services. You'll need to do that in a bank where you are a member or use an ATM that offers that service.
You'll get four distinct seasons here, but spring and fall can have varying temperatures from day to day. Winters will be cold. Stock up on winter accessories and bring a thick coat. Summer will be hot and humid. Bring bug spray for outdoor activities. You'll need it.
John Glenn Columbus International Airport is 10 miles from Westerville, making it the largest, closest, and most convenient option. If you're flying out of Cleveland or Cincinnati, plan for two hours on the road to get to either one.
When weather could disrupt the travel experience, purchasing protection is prudent. Seek coverage for medical expenses if uninsured in the United States. Ensure rental car insurance safeguards like accident coverage and roadside assistance.
Westerville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Ohio - Safety by City