Is Columbus, OH Safe?

With over 850,000 residents, Columbus is the third-largest city in the Midwest. It’s definitely a boomtown. It’s also a popular destination for millions of travelers each year.

When people either live in or visit cities as large as Columbus, questions about safety are just as widespread as interest in the Buckeyes football team.

Why Do So Many People Visit Columbus?

As the largest city in the state of Ohio, it’s not surprising to find plenty going on. In addition to serving as the home city for The Ohio State University, Columbus is also the site for the legendary state fair, an expanding culinary scene, and growing museums.

What’s The Crime Rate in Columbus?

Like many cities its size, there are legitimate safety concerns in Columbus. While there is a 1-in-25 chance of being a crime victim in Columbus, the city is still 14 percent safer than other cities in the U.S.

Of the 35,928 crimes reported in the Arch City during 2018, 12 percent (4,416) were considered violent crimes. The remaining 88 percent (31,512) were property crimes.

What Is a Property Crime?

Usually involving the theft of private property, a property crime classification includes motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, burglary, and larceny.

The number of property crimes in Columbus during 2018 included:

  • Burglary: 19%
  • Theft: 68%
  • Vehicle theft:   13%

Statistically speaking, you have a 1-in-28 chance of being the victim of a property crime in Columbus.

What Is a Violent Crime?

If the offender uses force or threatens to use force, it’s considered a violent crime. The number of violent crimes reported in Columbus in 2018 included:

  • Murder: 2%
  • Rape: 19%
  • Robbery: 43%
  • Assault: 36%

The violent crime rate in Columbus is 30 percent higher than the national average.

It’s also worth noting that Columbus has 41 percent fewer registered sex offenders than the national average.

Are Crime Trends in Columbus Going Up?

Although it may be concerning to see such high crime rates when compared to the rest of the country, it’s important to keep in mind that crime here is on the decline.

For example, property crimes have decreased by 13 percent from 2017, and violent crimes have gone down by 5 percent over the same timeframe.

The overall crime rate has decreased by 12 percent.

How Many Police Officers Does Columbus Have?

With a police force of just over 2,100 personnel, Columbus has 17 percent fewer law enforcement personnel than the national average.

Because of the population growth in Columbus in recent years, the number of police officers per capita has not been able to keep up. In 2018, Columbus had about 2.23 officers per 1000 people–lower than other Ohio cities.

What Are the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Columbus?

Columbus is an incredibly diverse area with many individual communities and neighborhoods. Here’s a brief overhead look at the crime rate in neighborhoods within Columbus.

The neighborhood with the most reported crimes was Lincoln Village:

  • Total number of crimes reported in 2018: 2,736
  • Violent crimes: 312
  • Property crimes: 2,424

On the other hand, the safest neighborhood, statistically, was Grandview Heights:

  • Total number of crimes reported in 2018: 115
  • Violent crimes: 3
  • Property crimes: 112

Although Columbus may have a crime rate that’s higher than the national average, there’s no denying that its crime rate is on the decline.

How to Stay Safe in Any City

Whenever you’re in a city that’s unfamiliar to you, it’s best to be watchful and cautious as you move around. Also, keep in mind the following:

  1. Do as much research as you can about your destination before venturing out. Write down your directions and carry them with you. Select streets that are well lit.
  2. Use common sense and trust your sense of judgment.
  3. Try to stay in public places as much as possible.
  4. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking with your cellphone in your hand.
  5. If you’re carrying a shoulder bag or backpack, position it in front of your body.
  6. Secure your valuables in your room before going out into the city.
  7. If possible, travel with a group.
  8. Don’t carry large amounts of money. Rather, keep a small amount of cash and a few credit cards that can be easily canceled if they’re stolen.

Taking the necessary precautions does not equal “living in fear.” Instead, taking steps to keep yourself safe gives you a sense of security and lets you enjoy your trip to its fullest. Visiting large cities like Columbus should be exciting because of the things you’ll see and the culture you’ll experience.

 

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