One of the world’s most iconic cities—packed to the brim with artists, writers, titans of industry, and legendary skyscrapers—New York City is a metropolis to which strivers flock for its immense promise of opportunity. Travelers flock here, too, for the many experiences you can only have here, like strolling Central Park, taking in a Broadway show, staring up at the bright lights of Times Square, getting inspired by the Statue of Liberty, or riding the elevator all the way to the top of the Empire State Building.
But many of the people who come to experience the city do have a lingering question: Is New York safe to visit? The answer, generally, is yes. Given some of its neighborhoods’ rough-and-tumble reputations, travelers might be surprised to learn that as a whole, New York City actually is one of the safer large cities in the United States. Though its incidence of assault, violent crime, and robbery are indeed higher than the U.S. national average, its overall crime rate, including homicide, theft, rape and property crimes, is significantly lower than the national average.
That said, it’s always a good idea for travelers to read up on how to stay safe in NYC, including learning which are the safest neighborhoods in New York, as well as understanding which areas to avoid.
Tips for Staying Safe in New York City
Know where not to go in New York, including Brownsville, Soundview, and much of the Bronx. Instead, stick to some of the safest neighborhoods in NYC, such as Tudor City, Carnegie Hill, Battery Park City, Beekman, Sutton Place, and Roosevelt Island.
When riding New York City’s subways at night, board cars that have plenty of people in them—preferably the conductor’s car, if possible. Know, too, that many of New York City’s busiest stations have the highest crime rates.
Defend yourself against a recent spike in pickpocketing on the New York City subway system by staying alert, keeping valuables under wraps, stashing your wallet in your front (not your back) pocket, and investing in a slash-resistant purse or backpack.
Safe Neighborhoods—and Areas to Avoid—in New York City
Again, the answer to the question “How safe is New York City?” depends a lot on where you go. There are many lovely areas, some of which are near major tourist attractions, that are quite safe, both day and night. In Manhattan, these safer spots include Tudor City, Carnegie Hill, Battery Park City, Beekman, Sutton Place, and Roosevelt Island, according to a list from Address Report.
You might be surprised to see popular tourist areas such as Times Square/Theater District, the Meatpacking District, and the Garment District on the same list under “neighborhoods with the highest violent crime rates.” That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit these areas, but you should take common-sense precautions and keep in mind that where there are tourists, there are criminals who might want to prey on them.
Other neighborhoods to watch out for in Manhattan include Koreatown, Union Square, NoHo, Hudson Square, the Flatiron District, and Columbus Circle.
Many travelers question whether NYC’s Chinatown is safe. The answer is mostly yes, but do keep in mind that New York’s Chinatown does see a higher rate of assaults and robberies than the national average, though the neighborhood also enjoys lower rates of theft and homicide than much of the rest of the United States.