Is New York Safe to Visit? In-Depth Guide and Safety Tips

Is New York Safe?

In this article

One of the most famous places in the world, New York or the Big Apple is home to 8,467,513 inhabitants. Most people think of it as a city with countless options and for this reason, it attracts many tourists every year: 70 million people visit it annually. Empire State Building, a variety of shops, Broadway musicals, Bronx Zoo and the brilliant lights of Times Square are just a few of the most famous NY tourist attractions.
But is New York safe? In our article, we’ll cover the topic of NY safety in detail. you will find essential information related to NY’s safety and much more information that will help you prepare as well as possible for the trip to this wonderful city.

Is New York City Safe to Visit? The Overall Risk

There is a medium overall danger and certain high-risk places that you are unlikely to see as a tourist. In terms of large cities, New York is safer than Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit, but there is still plenty of danger in a population of over nine million people. You cannot take personal safety casually here, but you should also not be afraid to explore one of the most exciting places on the planet.

New York City Boroughs: Safest Areas in New York for Tourists

In New York City there are five boroughs, namely: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Most of these places are safe, especially for visitors who will spend most of their time in densely populated regions.
Below, all those planning a visit to New York can see which areas in New York are the safest.

Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Williamsburg, which is known for its bustling arts scene and exciting nightlife, is not only the coolest neighbourhood in New York City but consistently rates as one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the world.

Upper West Side (Manhattan)

This place is a traditional New York district. This is the New York that most people are familiar with from movies and television, with its recognizable architecture, tree-lined streets, and classic Brownstone townhouses.

Lower East Side (Manhattan)

The Lower East Side is an interesting and lively neighbourhood where history and the present coexist in perfect harmony. Now, this neighbourhood in southeast New York City is a centre for culture and the arts, as well as a place to find chic restaurants and trendy bars.
Other safe places include Greenwich Village, East Village, Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Upper East Side, and Financial District.

Places to Avoid in New York City

Brownsville

Brownsville in 2015 had the second-highest imprisonment rate (348 incarcerations per 100,000 people) and the second-highest rate of assault hospitalizations (180 per 100,000 people). Then, in 2020, there was an increase in murders of 72.7%.
In comparison to other neighbourhoods, this one has substantially higher rates of drug use, crime, and imprisonment.
Here are some tips to avoid this neighbourhood:
  • In Brownsville, don't enter or exit the subway.
  • All those who do not know this area well should avoid shortcuts because it can be dangerous both day and night.
  • Tourists should stick to tourist areas only and not wander around other parts of Brooklyn.

East Harlem

East Harlem is located in Manhattan and had an average of 18 to 33 crimes per 1,000 persons between May 2021 and May 2022. Several shelters and other institutions in East Harlem are accessible to anyone in need. However, it has to do with drug and alcohol use, as many people suffer from mental and physical illnesses.
To avoid this area, visitors to Central Park shouldn’t wander around the north end because the park borders East Harlem, and they are also not advised to enter or exit the subway in East Harlem.

Bedford-Stuyvesant

Located in Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy is another area with a high crime rate. According to data collected between May 2021 and May 2022, there were 16 to 22 crimes per 1,000 individuals.
This area does have a fascinating culture, a rich history, and stunning architecture. However, it isn't the ideal location for tourists owing to the high crime rate.
To avoid this neighbourhood, tourists should stick to the Prospect Park area, and if they want to visit Manhattan from Brooklyn, the best option for them is to take the freeway because otherwise, they would have to go through Bed-Stuy.

How Safe Is New York City? Crime Rate in New York

It is very common to hear that this huge city is a place full of crime. However, crime rates in New York are comparable to those in other major cities. Even violent crimes rarely occur in tourist areas, but non-violent crimes such as pickpocketing and theft are definitely something that should worry tourists because they happen here very often.
Although violent crime in New York has risen over the past year, the rates are down compared to the rest of the country.
Here are statistics showing how many violent crimes occur in New York City per 100,000 people:
  • Homicide - 5.5;
  • Rape - 16.4;
  • Robbery - 72;
  • Aggravated Assault - 448.1.
Additionally, here are the statistics for petty crime:
  • Burglary - 62.5;
  • Larceny theft - 362.2;
  • Motor Vehicle Theft - 28.9.

Public Transportation in New York

Getting around NY can be tricky for first-time visitors, but public transportation in New York is generally safe and well-organised.

The Subway

The subway system is world-class, connecting all boroughs, running practically all day and night, and is typically quite safe (it's best to avoid empty subway cars). However, people should know that a crowded subway car is an ideal place for petty thieves to operate. The metro area recorded 219 crimes in total in May 2022, the bulk of which were thefts.

The Taxis and Uber

It is safe to use New York’s famous yellow taxi cabs because they are heavily controlled by the city. Most taxi drivers are really friendly. Taxi users should avoid revealing that they are tourists since it is possible, if unusual, that a driver would take a longer route so they can work longer hours and charge more.
Although Uber is undoubtedly safe in New York City, it is advised that users compare the information in the app with the vehicle (and driver) that really arrives. It's risky to get into unknown vehicles, therefore it's always good to check the driver's photo, car type, registration, etc.

Is New York Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

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3. Hot and Humid Weather

Generally yes. New York is a pleasant and welcoming city that is usually safe for solo travellers, whether male or female. But, of course, there is still a slightly higher risk for women. For that reason, here are safety tips for all solo female travellers:
  • In New York, there has been an increase in drink spiking. We recommend women buy drinks themselves and not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Avoid going on a solo walk through dark alleys at night.
  • It is better for a woman to act and look more like a local instead of a lost tourist in order to avoid appearing to be an easy target.
  • Although any navigation software, including Google Maps, is beneficial, visitors shouldn't follow directions if they lead you down shadowy backstreets. They seek the shortest route, which may entail taking some dubious shortcuts.

Useful Information for NY Visitors

Essential Safety Tips

To stay safe, a person unfamiliar with New York City should not wander into unpopulated and unlit areas at night;
Police officers are widely dispersed in New York, particularly in congested tourist locations and outside big stadiums following concerts or athletic events. If a tourist fears for his safety, the best decision is always to seek the help of a police officer (In case tourists can't find a police officer, it's a good idea to ask someone where the nearest police station is, New Yorkers are usually friendly and will probably want to help).
Visitors should not show all their valuable possessions;
Due to the fact that the Staten Island Ferry is free, travellers should be careful of various scams, such as buying fake tickets.

New York Visa

To be able to experience all of New York's magnificent attractions, visitors must get some type of visa, since travel authorisation is required as part of the visa requirements to enter the United States.
If a person is ESTA eligible, applying for a New York travel authorisation is quick and easy. Filling out an ESTA for New York, including passport information, and answering a series of eligibility questions takes 10 minutes.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, is an online tool used to evaluate a visitor's ability to enter the United States. A traveller can apply for an ESTA for their trip to New York if they are from one of the 40 nations that are a member of the Visa Waiver Program. The journey must be for business or tourism and must not exceed 90 days.
ESTA has several advantages over Visa. For example, users can apply online and the procedure is quick and easy. Its fees are lower compared to visa fees, and it can be used for an unlimited number of US entries while valid.

The Weather and Natural Disasters

Christmas in New York can be magical, but visitors must be aware that winters in NY may be brutal with biting cold and a lot of snow. From June through November, hurricane season can be problematic. There is a chance for tropical storms and rare tornados. The warmest months are from June to September (July is the hottest), and the coldest are from December to March (January is the coldest).
If you’ve been thinking about exploring the Big Apple, keep in mind that the best time to visit New York is May through June and September through October.

Is New York Safe for Tourists? The Takeaway

It is common knowledge that New York City is full of crime. However, statistically speaking, its crime rate is very similar to that of other big cities.
Although this metropolis undoubtedly has problems with crime in some parts, overall it is a safe place to visit. To keep safe when visiting, tourists must use common sense and avoid dangerous neighbourhoods.
As long as you follow and stick to these tips, you will be safe and enjoy your trip to the Big Apple.

FAQ

The following boroughs are safe and recommended when looking for a place to stay in NY: Lower East Side - Manhattan, Williamsburg - Brooklyn, and Upper West Side - Manhattan.
The metro is generally safe, it's best to stay close to the conductor or driver. You should be especially careful at night.
New York can be dangerous at night, so tourists are advised to stick to well-lit streets and avoid wandering in unfamiliar areas.
Central Park is safe during the day. Visiting at night is not recommended.
It is safe, but the traffic is crowded, and also looking for a parking space can be an impossible mission. Much of the city now has bike lanes, so drivers have to be careful when turning.
New York’s tap water is generally considered safe, so yes, you can drink it.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.



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