Connecticut : Safety by City
- East Hartford
- New Haven
- New London
- Old Saybrook
- West Hartford
- Windsor Locks
Wethersfield, Connecticut has a lot of this country’s “firsts”.
It was among the first cities in Connecticut and it has the largest historic district in the state.
The stories of fact and folklore are intriguing in this small town of just 27,000.
It was founded in 1634 but still carries the motto “Ye Most Ancient Towne.”
It sits just south of Hartford and the east side rests on the banks of the Connecticut River.
In its 13 square miles, it holds more than 150 historic buildings, still preserved with the charm and elegance of the 1600s.
Wethersfield has a sordid past as well, being the home of witch trials long before Salem, Mass., even got around to suspecting people of witchcraft.
It’s also home to the country’s first mass suicide murder, a tragic story, but true-crime lovers will be intrigued by the story that leads to the massacre.
It makes for a perfect Connecticut getaway because it’s a quiet bedroom community but close to a big city, offering excitement when you need it and a good night’s rest when you’re done.
It’s also much safer than several communities in the Hartford area.
Warnings & Dangers in Wethersfield
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here, especially compared to nearby Hartford and East Hartford. This is a small community rooted in history and pride. While there's not a lot to do here, there are also not a lot of risks.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
CT Transit is the bus service that goes through Wethersfield and many other nearby communities. To get around town, a taxi or rideshare is available. Having a car here would be a benefit, however. All options come with low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
You can rest assured there's a low risk of a pickpocket or purse snatching here. None were reported in 2020. While you should never let your guard down, there just aren't enough busy places in Wethersfield to feel like you need a death grip on your purse.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The two biggest concerns are also just part of life in Connecticut. One is hurricanes or the remnants of tropical storms that come inland from June through November. The other is winter, where more than three feet of snowfalls throughout the season on average each year. There's a low risk of a serious disaster, however, because these storms are predicted well ahead of time and there are incredible emergency management plans to keep people safe.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
With just 17 robberies and only one of them in a public place, there's a low risk for tourists. What's more? The place you are normally most likely to get robbed in any city isn't the most likely place here. We'll go through that in detail a little later on.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
While Wethersfield itself wouldn't be a hard target for terrorists, this high population area in the New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts area is medium risk. Terrorists just love to find places that would have a large population impact.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are some phone and email scams here, and one was reported at the DMV, but no scams that would impact tourists. There's a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women shouldn't feel unsafe here. There's a low risk of anything happening, but there are definitely some spooky sites after dark just due to all the historic buildings and streets that aren't lit as bright as other cities.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water here is safe to drink and there's a low risk that comes with using it. No violations were found in the 2020 Annual Water Quality report and any elements in the water met required standards at state and federal levels.
Safest Places to Visit in Wethersfield
This is a town that loves to talk about its history.
Throughout the warmer months, you can get guided tours around the historic district or wander it solo.
The Keeney Cultural Center hosts plays and discussions about the history and it’s worth checking the schedule during your visit.
You can even take a bus tour if you’d rather avoid walking a lot.
For another slice of history, visit the Webb-Sean-Steves Museum.
One ticket gets you into the museum and three historical houses from the 1600s.
You can also get a look at the amazing gardens of years gone by.
There are 15 gardens at historic homes in the area, and the historical society has a list on its website.
A farmer’s market takes over the historic district every Thursday in the summer.
Cove Park is the place for boating enthusiasts to see the yachts coming in and out of the harbor.
There’s also a “beach” along the river for some sunning with the Hartford skyline in the distance.
Cedar Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for famed actress Katharine Hepburn, but it’s not a big monument – just a simple plaque on the ground.
More than 35,000 people are buried in this massive cemetery.
Places to Avoid in Wethersfield
What’s really interesting about the crime statistics here is that the lowest crime rates are reported in the historic part of the city.
You’d think, with it being the busiest area, there would be more crime there, right?
The highest crime area is along the Wilbur Cross Highway on the north side of town where it meets with the Hartford city line.
It’s worth noting that while there are higher crime numbers in the northwest, this is still a city with relatively low crime numbers overall.
You don’t need to avoid that area, but honestly, there’s not a lot to do in that part of town anyway, unless you want to see the cemetery.
There are some tragic stories in Wethersfield.
For example, John Beadle was once a prominent businessman in this area during the 1770s.
He even donated a large amount of money to Boston after the infamous Tea Party shut down the port.
He tried to financially do the right thing when a currency change happened and ended up going mad when he went broke because of it.
Feeling like he couldn’t provide for his family and didn’t want them to suffer the pain of being poor, he slit all their throats and then shot himself.
If you have kiddos who might not want to hear this kind of story on the historical tours, please let your guide know.
The first confession of witchcraft was made in Wethersfield, starting a witchhunt that led to the executions of 16 people.
The stories of witchcraft aren’t documented well, so some of the stories are fables and others are just a few pieces of information that exist.
This could be scary for little ones too.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Wethersfield
- It’s easy to become immersed in the history of this community, but driving on one of the highways will bring you back to modern-day road rage frustrations. The Wethersfield Police Department has a warning on its website about how to stay calm in the chaos that can be Connecticut freeways.
- You can sign up for the weather and civil alerts through CT Alerts. This is a statewide program and you can choose hyper-local alerts if you’d like. It’s simple to unsubscribe after you leave.
- In Wethersfield and throughout Connecticut, bike riders are considered to be a vehicle and must obey all the laws of cars on the road. You should ride as far to the right of the road as possible and use appropriate hand signals when turning. Children under 16 are required to wear a helmet.
- Please review the crime numbers in surrounding communities before you venture outside of Wethersfield. West Hartford has a much lower crime rate and risk than East Hartford and Hartford itself has some high crime and downright dangerous areas.
- If you are driving here in winter, be sure to have an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle as the snow can pile up quickly. There are a lot of snowplows to clean up the snow, but it might take hours to clear a roadway.
- For anyone who plans to hunt or fish in Connecticut, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection requires a license. You can purchase those online ahead of time.
- The Wethersfield Police and Fire Departments are great at updating their Facebook pages. Follow them both before your visit to see some of the most common crimes and community events to better help plan a safe visit.
- Even though this is a small town, there is still a risk of cars getting broken into. Nearly 40% of the thefts reported were from vehicles. Lock the doors and roll up the windows before you leave and don’t let any personal items stay in the car. The unfortunate part for car owners and renters is that the average take from a car thief in 2020 was just $10, but it’s going to take you a day to get a broken window fixed or several hours to file a police report.
- If you hear people talking about Kevin, it’s not a person. Kevin was a friendly turkey who wandered around the city for a while and his presence went viral. You can look up videos to see how fascinated people were by Kevin and how others traveled hundreds of miles just to see a turkey. He was so popular that local stores sold out of “Kevin” souvenirs.
- When considering a place to stay in Wethersfield, maybe ditch the traditional hotel and opt for one of the amazing Beds & Breakfasts. Just make sure you book through the B&B itself instead of trying to find a deal online. Rental scams are common online and if you book right through the vendor it will be a safe transaction. Also, never wire money to someone to book a home rental. That’s the first sign of fraud.
So... How Safe Is Wethersfield Really?
The violent crime rate is well below the Connecticut average and just a third of the national average.
33 violent crimes were reported in 2020 and eight of those were against strangers.
There were no homicides in the city and there have only been two since 2010.
Just 17 robberies were reported.
The 392 larcenies seem like a large number and are actually above the national average, but almost half the thefts were shoplifting and another 150 were thefts from cars.
When you take those out of the equation, there’s just one in 392 risks of being a theft victim.
When the biggest risk in a town is your car getting broken into, that town is doing a pretty good job of protecting its people.
Many of the car thefts come from people leaving doors unlocked, windows down, keys inside, or leaving the car alone to warm up on a cold winter’s day.
I can’t emphasize this enough – the crime statistics change when you go into Hartford.
It’s a whole different world with much bigger dangers.
Please research that city before visiting.
How Does Wethersfield Compare?
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- Visas - The Visa process is handled at the airport and you can freely travel through Connecticut and Wethersfield without having to constantly show proof of ID.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar here. Most of the tours can be paid for with credit card and there's no reason to carry around a lot of cash.
- Weather - You need good, thick, warm winter clothing from November through March here, and the summers get warm but the nights cool down a lot. You'll want a jacket, hoodie, or shawl throughout the year.
- Airports - Bradley International Airport is less than 30 minutes north. The New Haven airport is about 45 minutes south.
- Travel Insurance - Having travel insurance is a great idea here. When storms roll through this area, even hundreds of miles away, it can cause a ripple effect in delays. You also want to make sure you've got good travel insurance if you'll be driving in winter weather.
Wethersfield Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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