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Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

The vivacious clam shacks, summer resorts, white sandy beaches, and homey cottages are a sight to behold. Cape Cod has so much to offer. It’s not hard to see why hundreds of thousands of people visit this magnificent location monthly.

This lovely area is best bet when craving a break in a laid-back part of the world without the pressure of keeping up with daily demands. But just how safe is Cape Cod to visit? Read on to find out.

Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit?

Located in Barnstable County in Massachusetts, Cape Cod is ideal for work retreats, solo vacations, or family holidays. Better yet, you could make this your base and move here permanently!

Famous for its unwavering abundance of Cod fish, Cape Cod has a historic charm and uniqueness that you’ll experience nowhere else in the world.

Here, you find the perfect balance of beachside living where humans and nature coexist peacefully. But Cape Cod also has a surprising level of civilization, giving you access to different conveniences you’d find back home.

Cape Cod is a very safe place for locals and visitors to live at a slower pace. However, as with any city, there are a few crime cases and isolated dangers you should watch out for during your visit.

Crime on Cape Cod

Old row boat on the sand at sunset in Chatham for a piece titled Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit

Krista Gazzola/Shutterstock

Since the 1800s, Cape Cod has been the summer destination of choice for athletes, celebrities, wealthy business people, and more. And this makes Cape Cod very safe!

The average violent crime rate on Cape Cod is significantly lower than the national average, which is 219 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

The safest neighborhoods in this area, like Sandwich, have about 1,110 reported crimes per 100,000 people. Most of these crimes are petty offenses like muggings, pickpocketing, scams, etc.  

Warnings & Dangers on Cape Cod

Below is a closer look at some of the risks you should be aware of on your visit to Cape Cod.

Transport and Taxis Risk – Medium

The streets and cross bridges can get super crowded during peak hours. Whether you’re taking a taxi, self-driving, cycling, or walking, you’ll endure delays because of the slow pace of traffic.

This creates the perfect stage for pickpockets and thieves to have a field day, stealing from people and cars. Plan your trip early to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Keep a close eye on your belongings and watch out for suspicious people trying to get too close to you.

Natural Disasters Risk – Medium

Strong winds and high waves can cause concern during the rainy seasons. As a visitor not well versed with the area, avoid venturing too far into the ocean to fish, snorkel, or swim.

There are emergency response teams to handle such emergencies, but reception tends to be terrible during harsh weather, making it hard to communicate.

Mugging Risk – Low

The security measures in place in public and restricted areas across Cape Cod are top-notch. Purse snatching and pickpocketing offenses happen but are rare. Avoid crowded places or venturing alone too late at night to avoid falling victim to muggings.

Scam Risk – Low

Some people will try to scam you to make a quick buck. New to Cape Cod? If yes, you probably stick out like a sore thumb. If you’re not vigilant enough, you’re the low-hanging fruit that scammers target. Avoid talking to strangers, and don’t give anyone your personal information.

Women Travelers Risk – Low

Women can feel safe on Cape Cod. Thanks to the warm weather here, you can wear loose or short summer-friendly clothes without worrying about glaring stares from people. Stay out of dark-lit alleys if you go out at night and take a taxi home. Don’t accept lifts from strangers.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods on Cape Cod

Image of a big billboard that says be aware of sharks pictured with a blue sky in the background

Shark warning sign on cape cod near Chatham Mass. August 2019/AubreyKathleen/Shutterstock

With a total population of slightly over 220,000 people, it’s no surprise that an individual or two will want to disrupt the peace by causing trouble in various neighborhoods.

With the beautiful homes, grand resorts, high-spirited people, and serene vibe, it’s hard to believe there’s a drop of negativity anywhere on Cape Cod. Exclusive areas enjoy less crime and are far safer than some neighborhoods on Cape cod. Here’s a closer look.

Dangerous Neighborhoods on Cape Cod

Cape Cod isn’t entirely void of dangerous places despite a higher-than-usual collection of elites, celebrities, and billionaires. There are places you should tread carefully or altogether avoid during your visit here.

Note that most of the dangers you may encounter in most dangerous areas are crime related, but, as you’ll see, some risks/hazards could be environmental or circumstantial. Dangerous Neighborhoods on Cape Cod include:

Shangri-La, Wareham

Shangri-La, Wareham is essentially a town on the outskirts of Cape Cod. Owing to how many people visit this area from Cape Cod to find some adventure, it’s understandable how and why unscrupulous people would want to set up base here.

Shangri-La is a dangerous neighborhood with unusually high drug dealing, stabbing, and shootings.

South Beach, Chatham

South Beach has a massive seal population which attracts many sharks. The Great White Sharks that frequent South Beach can measure as long as 10 to 20 feet long, enough to swallow baby seals whole and cut adult humans in half effortlessly. Watch out for the warning signs.

The Wedge, Hyannis

Also known as the Triangle, the wedge is a small area near Cape Cod Mall where low-income earners reside. Reports of shootings, drug dealing, and muggings are common in these areas.

There are many homeless people, drunkards, and addicts who frequent The Wedge and will not hesitate to take from you should you appear lost or flashy.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

Many places across Cape Cod are attractive, with rich greenery and few people. It seems like the ideal hideout for two love birds who want to spend some time alone.

Be careful, though, because the Pilgrim Nuclear Power plant is a relatively beautiful section of the coast hidden in the pines. The area, now dormant, has tons of nuclear waste, making it a risky site to venture into. You risk radiation exposure if you enter this restricted area.

Pave Paws, Bourne

Formerly a military playground, Pave Paws remains a no-go zone because of alarmingly high radiation levels due to increasing cases of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer common among male teens that affect the hips, arms, ribs, and legs.

The Jury is still out on whether or not the area is a risk to humans. Consider carrying a metal detector anytime you venture here or avoid this area altogether.

Pollock Rip Channel, Off Chatham

This channel was built to shorten the distance between New York and Boston. Sailors no longer had to wait days traversing around Cape Cod waters to get home. But the only mishap was that the Pollock Rip Channel became a graveyard for ships and boats.

Due to the unpredictability of the sea waters causing strong tidal currents and constant sand shifting, many people and their boats capsized or sunk. Today, Captains prefer the safer alternative, Cape Cod Canal, to go to New York from Boston and vice versa.

Suicide Alley

The title alone runs cold shivers down your spine. The infamous Suicide Alley is a 13-mile stretch where many gruesome car accidents have been recorded. If you happen to be driving across Cape Cod, drive carefully and exercise caution when approaching this area.

Safe Places to Visit on Cape Cod

Boats moored in the harbor in Chatham, one of the safest places in Cape Cod

Lynne Albright/Shutterstock

With many beaches and such breathtaking places to hang out, there’s no doubt that Cape Cod isn’t short of safe places. The safest neighborhoods on Cape Cod include:


Chatham is a massive golf course with everything you’d find in a town. From bars, private beaches, restaurants, shopping centers, and swimming pools, you’ll feel right at home in Chatham.

You must have exclusive membership to gain access to the course with strict security protocols.

Chatham’s Eastward Country Club first opened its doors in the 1920s and continues to maintain a sense of luxury and prestige thanks to strict codes of conduct for its members.

West Yarmouth

Cape Cod has many ultra-exclusive spots with restricted access where few ill-willed people are likely to venture. West Yarmouth stands out as the safest private island, with a gated community and endless miles of private beaches.

It’s a safe neighborhood with 36 high-profile homes and several cottages.

West Yarmouth also boasts a ten-hole golf course, a protected marina, and a beach club. Due to how controlled movement is in West Yarmouth, it becomes difficult for anyone to commit a crime or attack anyone.


The level of luxury and privacy in Osterville is unparalleled! Osterville has the best dining and accommodation options because they’re safe and top-tier. This neighborhood is located in a part of Barnstable county many consider Cape Cod.

This charming area enjoys a lot of privacy. There are shopping centers, a country club, and a yachting community for endless, worry-free fun.


It boasts the top spot as the safest area on Cape Cod. Sandwich has the lowest crime rate on Cape Cod and Barnstable County. This neighborhood is home to the Ridge Club, a private 18-hole golf course with a softer stance on membership.

Unlike other clubs that only accept a particular cadre of members, this golf course has several member levels to accommodate everyone.


If you’re looking to stay in a luxury resort where it’s safe and full of fun adventures, Harwich has more than enough options. This neighborhood has many upscale accommodations, bars, and restaurants open to the public.

Your security and overall well-being are guaranteed if you plan to spend time in Harwich.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Cape Cod

The Euphoria that comes with going on holiday may cloud your judgment and need to stay safe. Cape Cod is safe for people of different age groups, with no shortage of places to visit and activities to enjoy. But amid all the fun, here are some safety tips you should keep in mind.

Use Sunscreen and Hydrate

Cape Cod is generally sunny. The perfect excuse to put on less clothing leaving your skin out to tan. The only issue with this is exposing your delicate skin to sunburns and UV exposure.

ou may also risk a heatstroke if you spend too much time in the sun. Consider carrying and applying sunscreen whenever you plan to spend time outside. Carry plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Practice Water Safety  

Cape Cod is a beach town. Everywhere you go, you can see the water. For this reason, avoid getting carried away by all the fun and consider staying safe as you merry make.

Drinking alcohol and swimming simultaneously is against the rules and will get you kicked out. Avoid operating machinery like boats or watercraft if you’re intoxicated or inexperienced.

Watch Out for Heavy Traffic

Some routes can get pretty slow due to traffic snarl-ups on Cape Cod. The most notorious route is route 28 between Yarmouth and Falmouth, which experiences slow traffic late in the evenings or early rush hour mornings.

Consider boarding the buses or taking a cab to your destinations because they know the fastest route to get around the traffic.

Abide by Strict Driving Rules

Cape Cod has strict laws you must follow as a foreigner or a local. One of the most important laws to avoid breaking is driving while operating electronics simultaneously. This Massachusetts law took effect on February 23rd, 2020.

Things to Consider When Visiting Cape Cod

On Your Visit to Cape Cod, remember these top tips to get the most out of your trip:

  • Pack for weather fluctuations. It can be hot during the day, but the nights can get chilly.
  • People on Cape Cod have a distinct accent. Local pronunciations of places and everyday things may sound different.
  • There’s plenty of seafood for you to indulge in. Come prepared with an antidote if you’re allergic to some foods.
  • Leave a tip. It’s an unwritten rule to leave a tip before leaving the dinner or restaurant.
  • Beware of the shark warnings. The signs are spread across the beaches where sharks hang out.
  • Smoking is allowed. If you’re 21 and above, you can smoke and possess tobacco or Marijuana, provided you follow the consumption restrictions.
  • Reservations are not required. No need to make restaurant reservations, walk in and order what you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

Neat view of the downtown shops in Falmouth for a piece on Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit

Cape Cod, USA – CIRCA 2010: Cape Cod views. A tour across one of the most desirible vacation destinations/Solepsizm/Shutterstock

Here are the commonly asked questions regarding visiting Cape Cod:

Where is the best place to live on Cape Cod?

It’s a tie between Sandwich and Falmouth. These prime locations conveniently connect to other areas in Barnstable County and Boston.

What is the wealthiest part of Cape Cod?

Harwich, Chatham, Sandwich, Osterville, and West Yarmouth are a few of the wealthy neighborhoods on Cape Cod. These places have the most luxurious resorts and golf courses accessible only if you’re a member.

Is Cape Cod an excellent place to retire?

The average age of the population living permanently on Cape Cod is 56. It’s the number one place in the USA where people move to when they’re ready to retire. The mild weather and laid-back vibe are excellent for retirees.

What is Cape Cod most known for?

Cape Cod is a revered hideout for the elites drawn from different countries across the globe. It’s the epitome of coastal life. Cape Cod is famous for its beautiful beaches, mature fun, secluded islands, and rewarding seaside life.

How cold does Cape Cod get?

The winters on Cape Cod record temperatures between 20 and 50 degrees. Strong winds and snowstorms are expected during the cold seasons.

So, Is Cape Cod Safe to Visit?

A trip to Cape Cod is all the fun you need to reboot and enjoy the best vacation. The sun, sandy beaches, beautiful resorts, and delicious seafood are the ideal combination for an unforgettable trip. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to Cape Cod today!