View of the Roebling Bridge and the skyline in Cincinnati

Is Cincinnati Safe? (Honest Guide for 2022)

Is Cincinnati safe? It’s a legitimate question if you’re planning to visit Cincinnati, Ohio soon, and there are some things you should know before you go.

Statistically speaking, Cincinnati has a higher crime rate compared to other cities in the area. However, most of the crime is concentrated in certain neighborhoods.

But never fear – I grew up in Cincinnati, and I can assure you that your trip here can be safe. To help in your planning process, I’ve compiled this guide on everything you should know about safety in the third-largest city in Ohio.

Let’s dive in!

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Is Cincinnati Safe?

Even though statistics indicate that Cincinnati has a high crime rate, it can still be a safe travel destination. Visitors just need to be sure to avoid certain neighborhoods and stay vigilant about protecting their belongings; it’s a good idea to look at a crime map to know crime rates in different areas.

Crime data says that Cincinnati has an above-average level of crime. This means that the violent crime and property crime rates are higher than both the national average and that of other cities in Ohio.

However, these crimes are generally concentrated in certain neighborhoods within Cincinnati. If you visit this city and stay in low-crime rate neighborhoods, then you’re unlikely to become a crime victim.

It’s also important to note that the crime rates (in terms of property crime and violent crime) in Cincinnati are lower than in metro areas of similar size, such as the cities of Portland, Orlando, and Charlotte.

👉 Wondering how Cincinnati stacks up? Check out our safety guides to other USA destinations such as safety in Nashville, safety in Orlando, and safety in Minneapolis.

Safety by Neighborhood in Cincinnati

View of people outside the Findlay Market in Cincinnati
The extensively restored Over-the-Rhine area (photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock)

Safe Neighborhoods to Stay

  • Hyde Park – Hyde Park has been rated the safest neighborhood in Cincinnati and is great for families, residents, and tourists alike. Statistically, there are 13 crimes for every 100 people here and this neighborhood has a crime rate that is 60% below the Cincinnati average. It’s known for its shops, restaurants, and walkable layout.
  • Sayler Park – Sayler Park is also one of the safest Cincinnati neighborhoods, also with a rate of 13 crimes for every 100 people. Located along the north banks of the Ohio River, this neighborhood is known for its rich history and small-town charm. It’s great for retiree residents and families.
  • Mt. Lookout – Mt. Lookout is 10 to 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine. It’s one of Cincinnati’s safest neighborhoods, with 14 crimes for every 100 people. Great for families and young professionals, it has one of the most unique town squares in Cincinnati, with the historic Redmoor Building, boutiques, and restaurants.
  • Kennedy Heights – Nestled in the suburbs, Kennedy Heights is one of the safest neighborhoods in Cincinnati, with 21 crimes for every 100 people. Here, you’ll find Daniel Drake Park, which has an overlook and playgrounds. Sandwiched between Pleasant Ridge and Silverton, this is a great suburban area for families and is very affordable.
  • Mt. Adams – Mt. Adams is a great neighborhood for millennial residents and young professionals, and is very safe with only 654 reported crimes over the course of four years, mostly property crime. Home to Eden Park and the Cincinnati Art Museum, this is a truly hip and trendy neighborhood.

Dangerous Neighborhoods to Avoid

  • English Woods – English Woods is Cincinnati’s most dangerous neighborhood, with a violent crime rate of 1,351 per 100,000 people and a property crime rate of 6,884 per 100,000. It’s adjacent to North Fairmount, and the total crime rate in these neighborhoods is over 230% above the national average.
  • South Fairmount – South Fairmount is among the most dangerous neighborhoods, with a violent crime rate of 1,332 per 100,000 and a property crime rate of 6,787 per 100,000. There’s a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim, and the crime rate is 226% higher than the national average.
  • Sedamsville – Sedamsville is a small neighborhood on the west side with some of the highest crime rates in Cincinnati, 196% above the national average. The violent crime rate is 1,210 per 100,000 and the property crime rate is 6,158 per 100,000.
  • Over-the-Rhine – Over-the-Rhine is north of the Central Business District. The crime has decreased significantly because of the extensive revitalization that has taken place in this area, but it is still 89% higher than the national average, with a property crime rate of 3,933 per 100,000 and a violent crime rate of 772 per 100,000.
  • West End – West End, among the high crime neighborhoods of Cincinnati, was largely destroyed in the 1950s to build interstate 75 and hasn’t completely recovered. Northwest of downtown, this neighborhood has a violent crime rate of 1,245 per 100,000 and a property crime rate of 6,342 per 100,000.

👉 Pro Tip: If you’re concerned about petty theft while you’re out exploring, then I recommend a splashproof day bag, like the Pacsafe Metrosafe 15L Anti-theft Daypack.

Things to Know About Safety in Cincinnati

View of Cincinnati Downtown illuminated with lights at night

COVID-19 Safety in Cincinnati

As of spring 2022, masks are not universally required for anyone in Ohio, although there may be stricter rules in certain establishments and localities. Many music venues, restaurants, and other establishments in the city of Cincinnati are requiring either a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination to allow entry.

At this time, the community level of COVID-19 is considered to be low – this means there is a low number of new reported cases per week and hospital admissions due to the coronavirus. Over 65% of Cincinnati residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

In Hamilton County, of which Cincinnati, OH is the largest city and county seat, reported case numbers and hospitalizations reached a peak in mid-January 2022 and are at a relatively low as of spring 2022.

Crime in Cincinnati

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In 2020, there were 2,725 violent crime instances in Cincinnati.

The murder rate is 18.9 per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 5. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a dramatic increase in violent crime – police believe the 10 p.m. alcohol curfew increased gun violence.

Half of the serious crime in this city is concentrated in only ten of the 53 neighborhoods.

Property Crimes

Property crimes include other crime types that don’t involve violence, such as theft, larceny, and burglary. In Cincinnati, there were 11,224 property crimes in 2020.

In Cincinnati, the average person has a 1 in 22 chance of being a victim of some sort of property crime; burglary and theft are the most common.

Many thefts tend to happen around university campuses and the Central Business District where most cars are broken into and stolen.

Common Scams in Cincinnati

There aren’t many common scams in Cincinnati. It is an issue, but if you compare Cincinnati to other cities, it isn’t any worse than the average. Just make sure that you do not pay anything upfront without receiving the good or service, that you double-check your change, and that you negotiate all financial deals before you make them.

When in bars, entertainment venues, and clubs, make sure that you do not ever leave your drink unattended or accept any drinks from strangers.

Petty crime is the most common class of crime in this area, particularly pickpocketing. Make sure that if you carry a wallet or other valuables, you keep them in your front pocket to minimize the pickpocketing risk.

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters in Cincinnati

View of the Roebling Bridge and the frozen water in Cincinnati

Cincinnati, as well as other areas in Ohio, has some vulnerability to natural disasters of many kinds. It is located in a temperate climate and is just north of the Ohio River, meaning that residents of Cincinnati see vastly different types of weather throughout the seasons of the year.

The landscape of Southern Ohio also varies quite a bit throughout – there are some dry areas and some wetlands. Both floods and wildfires have happened in this area.

In addition, Cincinnati has seen tsunamis, tornadoes, and heavy snowstorms. Some of these natural disasters have been so severe that they have cost people their homes and even their lives.

However, this is not something that you need to worry about when you are visiting this city. Even though there is always a risk, it is very low because these events are uncommon in Cincinnati. 

Drinking-Water Safety in Cincinnati

The tap water in Cincinnati is considered safe to drink. There are currently no known active health violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

However, factors such as pollutant levels and lead piping in a building may cause water conditions to vary.

There were zero violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act within the Cincinnati Public Water System between October 31, 2018 and December 31, 2021, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ECHO database.

👉 Pro Tip: Though the water in Cincinnati is safe to drink, if you’re a regular hiker or international traveler, then the Grayl Geopress is a great water filtration system for travel – check out this Grayl review for more info.

6 Safety Tips for Cincinnati

Tip #1 – Be vigilant about your belongings

Cars parked in a parking area in Cincinnati
(photo: Rosamar / Shutterstock)

Car thefts are somewhat common in areas such as the Central Business Districts, Riverfront, and Over-the-Rhine. If possible, try to park your car in a secure parking garage, rather than using street parking.

If you have a bicycle, then don’t leave it unsupervised, and make sure to watch your valuables.

Tip #2 – Be careful while walking around at night

People roaming around in Cincinnati at night
Crowds in downtown Cincinnati (photo: Amphay / Shutterstock)

Most areas are safe at night, including downtown. However, there can be high crime rates in areas such as Over-the-Rhine, where there are many bars.

If you have to walk at night, try to do so in a group of people rather than alone.

Tip #3 – Try not to engage with strangers

If anyone tries to sell you something on the street, don’t engage with them. Politely say no and continue on your way.

This applies to homeless people as well; do not unnecessarily engage with them. You’re more likely to become a victim of crime when you talk to strangers.

Tip #4 – Plan before traveling

View of the Cincinnati area on a map

If you’re going to be exploring Cincinnati, then plan out your route before you do. This will help ensure that you do not end up in one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Cincinnati and help you be less likely to become a victim of crime.

Also, try to avoid going to unfamiliar places at night.

Tip #5 – Look confident

Even though most crime in Cincinnati is relatively minor, you don’t want to become a victim unnecessarily.

If you walk around looking like you don’t know where you’re going, you’re more likely to become a target. Always try to appear confident and knowledgeable about your surroundings.

Tip #6 – Be aware of the property crime rate and violent crime rate for your destinations

How safe is Cincinnati? The answer depends entirely on where you are in the city.

Try to spend time in safer neighborhoods in Cincinnati, but if you must go somewhere else, be aware of the crime index at your destination, and look at the crime map.

FAQs About Safety in Cincinnati

Is Cincinnati a safe city?

Cincinnati is a somewhat unsafe city. It’s 29th among the 100 most populous American cities in terms of violent crime rates. The murder rate is the 14th highest in the nation. However, most crime in Cincinnati is property crime. Also, the majority of crime is concentrated in the most dangerous neighborhoods.

Is it safe to walk in downtown Cincinnati at night?

Most residents would consider downtown Cincinnati safe overall. Even at night, people can feel safe walking around in this area. Most of the crime here is non-violent, with a high number of car break-ins. However, you shouldn’t walk around here at night unnecessarily, especially not alone.

What is the safest part of Cincinnati?

Hyde Park and Sayler Park are the two safest Cincinnati, OH neighborhoods. Both of these neighborhoods have a rate of 13 crimes per 100 people, which is significantly lower than the city average. Typically, crime in each of these safe neighborhood options involves property crime rather than violent crime.

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I hope you found my guide on staying safe in Cincinnati, Ohio to be helpful!

If you are planning a visit, don’t let the crime statistics intimidate you. Cincinnati is a far cry from being one of the most dangerous cities in the country. As long as you avoid the most dangerous neighborhoods, you’ll be fine.

Enjoy the Queen City!

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