Ohio : Safety by City
- Cuyahoga Falls
- Port Clinton
- Yellow Springs
Youngstown, Ohio, is a city of 60,000 people in the northeast part of the state, once known for its robust industrial workforce.
Founded in the late 18th century, Youngstown’s roots are deeply entwined with the rise of the steel and manufacturing industries, a history that’s on full display in its museums and historical sites.
The city has seen its share of highs and lows, but it’s a testament to resilience and reinvention.
Travelers are drawn to Youngstown for a multitude of reasons.
The city offers cultural experiences, including the iconic Butler Institute of American Art, a testament to the nation’s artistic heritage.
Nature enthusiasts can explore the vast Mill Creek Park, where scenic landscapes, serene lakes, and historic landmarks await.
Downtown Youngstown pulses with life, offering diverse culinary options and entertainment venues.
Youngstown has produced notable figures like boxing legend Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and distinguished jurist Nathaniel R. Jones, adding to its historical significance.
It’s also a gateway to the breathtaking landscapes of the Mahoning Valley.
In just a short drive, visitors can discover the natural beauty of Ohio’s rolling hills and forests.
Youngstown, with its industrial legacy and vibrant present, invites travelers to explore its captivating blend of history, culture, and natural wonders, making it a unique and rewarding destination for all types of visitors.
Beyond the brilliance of activities, there’s an underbelly of crime and safety concerns.
We’ll go through those here to help you plan your trip to Youngstown, Ohio.
Warnings & Dangers in Youngstown
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Youngstown based on crime rates that are well above state and national averages. While there are some really cool things to see and do here, it's important to avoid certain neighborhoods. We'll go through those shortly.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
WRTA is the bus system here, and all rides are free. It's a great option for those who want public transportation but avoid the neighborhoods we discuss below for the safest ride. Taxis, rideshares and rental cars are available, but treat all options with a medium risk based on the concerns we discuss in this article.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
The city averages five pickpockets or purse snatchings per year, which doesn't sound like a lot, but figuring in the above-average theft rate, treat this as a medium risk when it comes to all your personal belongings and valuables.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Severe or disruptive weather happens year-round in Youngstown, so this is another medium risk. The positive element here is that all weather conditions come with plenty of warning if you are paying attention. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible from spring through fall. Winter can bring major storms and shut down travel.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
The robbery rate here is 30% higher than the national average, and 30% of those crimes are highway robberies. It's another medium risk that you can lower by using common sense and not walking around unfamiliar areas at night alone. Stick to well-lit, secure areas.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is a low risk, but there's enough concern about domestic terrorism or gun crimes that you should always be aware of your surroundings. The police department and emergency management agencies offer plenty of information online about public safety and preparing for the worst.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are a lot of scam reports in Youngstown, but most target residents. Read the police department's social media pages to find out about trending scams. Always be aware of pressurized sales tactics or panhandlers, as this is a poor community.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
Women should proceed with the same medium risk as everyone else. There's just a lot of crime in this region, and staying in the safer parts and near tourist attractions is important.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows passing grades across all standards and no risks to the tap water. You can read the annual report on the city's website.
Safest Places to Visit in Youngstown
Youngstown Live is the name of the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website.
You can trust that the activities offered here are in safe spaces.
One of the things I particularly like about this tourism website is that the downloadable guides cover different genres.
If you want to golf, explore outdoors, get tours, or explore wineries/breweries, there’s a separate guide for each one in addition to the main travel guide.
The Butler Institute of American Art is a cultural gem in Youngstown.
This museum houses an extensive and diverse collection of American artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts, offering a deep dive into American artistic heritage.
Beyond the Butler Institute, Youngstown has a vibrant art scene.
Explore local galleries and studios to discover the work of talented artists.
The city often hosts art events and exhibitions that showcase the creativity of the community.
If you’re interested in the industrial history of the region, the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor is a fascinating destination.
This museum provides an immersive experience featuring interactive exhibits, artifacts, and stories that detail the rise and fall of the steel and manufacturing industries in Youngstown.
Mill Creek Park is a sprawling oasis within the city limits, spanning over 2,800 acres.
It’s a haven for nature lovers, offering scenic landscapes, serene lakes, and an extensive network of hiking and biking trails.
Don’t miss Lanterman’s Mill and the picturesque Covered Bridge within the park, which add to the charm.
Fellows Riverside Gardens is a serene escape located within Mill Creek Park; these gardens showcase a stunning variety of flowers, plants, and beautifully landscaped areas.
It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or photography.
The heart of Youngstown’s urban life can be found in its downtown area.
This vibrant district boasts a blend of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Explore the local culture, sample diverse cuisines, and enjoy live music in this bustling downtown.
For those with a thirst for local history, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society is an excellent stop.
It houses archives, exhibits, and educational programs that offer a comprehensive look into the history and culture of the Mahoning Valley.
Sports and entertainment enthusiasts can check out the Covelli Centre.
This modern arena hosts concerts, sporting events, and shows.
Be sure to see if any events align with your visit.
Other performance venues include the DeYor Performing Arts Center and the Youngstown Playhouse.
The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology is ideal for those traveling with children.
This science and technology center is a fantastic educational experience.
It features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that make learning fun for kids of all ages.
Youngstown offers a network of scenic bike trails, perfect for cycling enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, you can explore the city and its surroundings on two wheels.
Youngstown provides a shopping haven, with malls and unique boutiques offering a wide range of goods, from fashion to local crafts.
Take a stroll and indulge in some retail therapy.
Places to Avoid in Youngstown
Within the city of Youngstown, you’ll find the most dangerous area south of downtown.
Police said in 2023, that’s where the majority of the shootings and homicides happened.
However, the east side and west side have crime issues as well.
The best advice is to stay north of Youngstown or in one of the suburbs.
This is the kind of city where you want to map out an itinerary of the places to visit and not cut any corners to get there.
Stay out of the Southside neighborhoods.
While it’s not “too dangerous to be there,” there’s definitely a risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you need to stop for gas or groceries, pick the north side of town.
Travel as much as possible during the daytime and avoid the west, east, and south neighborhoods at night.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Youngstown
- Youngstown does have its own police department. You can follow them on Facebook @YoungstownPD or call (330) 742-8929 to ask specific safety questions.
- Youngstown State University has its own police department as well. For campus crime questions, call (330)941-1987. You can also sign up for the Penguin Alert System to get emergency information about campus issues.
- Sign up for countywide emergency alerts on the Mahoning County Emergency Management website. You need to be aware of approaching weather, road closures, or public safety issues, and this is the fastest way to stay informed.
- Avoid renting a Kia or Hyundai vehicle in Youngstown. If you own one and are driving here, consider renting a different car. I’ve seen this report in almost every Ohio city I’ve researched – the vehicles are being stolen at a much higher rate than other cars.
- You can report any suspicious activity or crime information to Crime Stoppers by calling (330)746-CLUE (2583). Your information can be anonymous while still possibly getting you a reward if your information leads to an arrest. This is NOT a substitute for calling 911.
- Youngstown Police use the LexisNexis Crime Mapping service to track crimes that are more recent than the official data we can give you in this article. While it’s always a great tool in any community, it’s especially important here since crime rates can fluctuate quickly. One of the top uses for tourists could be to check for robberies, car break-ins, or thefts within a mile of a hotel in the past month or past six months.
- The city has a Yo! app that is designed to introduce visitors to local businesses and earn points for patronizing these locations. It’s also a great way to stay updated on the newest businesses in town.
- If more than four inches of snow falls in a 24-hour period, a snow emergency will be declared. This means parking will be banned on all city streets to allow snow plows to get through. Cars not moved during a snow emergency could be ticketed, towed, or sideswiped by a snow plow (accidentally).
- The city uses “See Click Fix” to allow residents and visitors to report problems, like graffiti or potholes. Use this tool if you have time to help keep the streets safe for everyone. Especially in spring, potholes can pop up quickly.
- If you use Waze, that’s one option to check for road closures and construction during your visit. You can also use Ohgo, a website and app that gives real-time traffic information across the state.
So... How Safe Is Youngstown Really?
I really don’t envy anyone who is trying to research this question because there’s a lot of confusing information out there.
Some studies rank Youngstown as one of the best places to live in America.
Another, just a year earlier, says it’s one of the worst places to live in Ohio.
Then there’s the crime data, which shows a 72% increase since 2019 but a 15% drop from 2021 to 2022.
In my opinion, Youngstown isn’t really that safe overall, with a homicide rate that averages four times higher than national homicide rates over the past 10 years.
Violence crime is 144% higher than the Ohio average and 80% higher than the national average.
On top of that, the studies that claim a “low cost of living” is a reason to move here seem to miss the systemically disenfranchised communities.
The city has a 35% poverty rate.
That means one in three people live in poverty.
The average household income is $31,000, which isn’t far from the poverty benchmark.
To give a little more context, it doesn’t mean that Youngstown isn’t safe to visit.
Just 13% of violent crimes happened against strangers over the past five years.
Most of the shootings and homicides were related to drug activity.
A majority of the vehicles stolen or broken into were left unlocked, with the keys inside or with valuables in plain sight.
If you follow the safety steps we’ve talked about here and stick to the places designed for tourists and to showcase the town’s amenities, you’ll likely not even realize the crime troubles facing the community.
How Does Youngstown Compare?
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International visitors need a visa designated for the purpose of the trip (work, school, tourism) or a visa waiver, which requires additional background information. A valid passport that doesn't expire for at least six months is also required.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Cash won't be required for most activities, and credit cards offer better fraud protection, anyway. However, if you prefer cash, look for currency exchange options at a local bank or your home bank, which will have the lowest fees.
You can pack casual, comfortable clothing here. With four distinct seasons, checking the week-long forecast is your best resource. Winters will be cold, so bring plenty of layers. Summers will require bug spray for outdoor activities.
Youngstown Warren Regional Airport is just 11 miles north, but if you want a larger airport, Cleveland Hopkins International is just 75 miles away, and that drive could take only an hour.
When traveling somewhere with unpredictable weather that could disrupt travel plans, purchasing travel insurance is always a good idea. Consider travel health insurance if your existing policy doesn't cover you in the U.S. Review your rental car insurance for coverage in the event of an accident or roadside assistance need.
Youngstown Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Ohio - Safety by City