I often get questions from you about how safe New York is and whether you are putting yourself in danger when you visit the Big Apple.
First of all, since Covid, the crime rate has increased, but nowhere near to the extent that it might if you followed social and traditional media. New York remains one of the safest cities in the world.
Below I have written down a few tips for your safe stay, corners you should avoid, tips on the subway and instructions on how to behave in certain situations.
Areas in New York you should avoid
New York is a huge city and most crimes occur in areas where there are no tourists. In most cases you won't come to these areas, at least not at night, but I'll write them down for you nonetheless. What's interesting is that 30% of shootings occur on 3% streets. Main Street in Flushing, Queens; Fordham Road in the Bronx; and Church Avenue in Brooklyn. According to the NYPD, most occur between 5:30 p.m. and 4 a.m.
You should avoid these places in New York City:
- The South Bronx is statistically the most dangerous district of New York City. You can find out how this came about and why the gangs are raging there on our Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn tour
- East Harlem, Manhattan or the so-called Spanish Harlem, here too there are occasional shootings because there is a large public housing property here and drugs are often trafficked
- ABC Town, Manhattan Avenue A, B and C at the southeastern tip of Manhattan, is home to the largest public housing property in the entire United States and you should avoid this area, especially at night
- The Financial District, Manhattan at night tends to become deserted after business hours. The fewer people there are in an area, the less safe it is for tourists
- Central Park at Night, Manhattan It may seem tempting to walk in Central Park after dark, but it's safer to wait for sunrise. In general: stay away from deserted parts of the city
- Woodside, Queens along Northern Blvd , is home to several clubs and strip joints where New York's bad boys often hang out at night
- Jamaica, Queens rapper 50 Cent was once gunned down here. Jamaica is big and not everywhere is dangerous but anything near JFK can quickly become a no-go zone. The only place I personally avoid and, as someone who knows New York, I never stop at a red light
- Marcy Projects Brooklyn , public housing property where the police often have to come
- Brownsville and East Flatbush, Brooklyn is where Mike Tyson grew up and describes in his book how he roamed around with a gun at the age of 5. The neighborhood remains an area that should be avoided today
- East New York, Brooklyn - Some of the most dangerous public housing projects in the country were in East New York. It's better than it was 20 years ago, but it's still very dangerous and shootings are commonplace.
- Flushing, Queens - Main Street in Flushing is one of the most interesting places in Queens, predominantly inhabited by Asians, but one of the poorest areas of Queens is here and where there is poverty, gun violence is usually no exception.
Areas where you should keep your eyes open
- Everything around the large bus station Port Authority 40th - 42nd Street 8th and 9th Avenue, as well as within the station itself. Homeless people and junkies often stay here to warm up, since they are a little on guard
- Pennsylvania Station , here, also like in Port Authority, homeless people and junkies warm themselves, especially at night
- Chelsea is big and some side streets on 7th Ave and in the Meatpacking area are sometimes overrun with shady characters, especially since COVID with the two major train stations nearby. Because it's busy, it's relatively safe, but you'll have to keep your eyes open a little more at night than usual
Tips for a safe subway ride
- Avoid the two furthest cars at either end, as the homeless and confused people often get in there. Get on the subway about in the middle, it's a little more crowded but safer
- If one car is empty and the two next to it are full, there is a reason why you don't get in there. Usually someone has relieved themselves or something like that is going on
- When you wait for the subway, stand with your back against the wall and away from the tracks so that none of the “confused” people get the idea to push you onto the tracks
- Never stare or make eye contact with conspicuous figures
- Change cars at the next station if you are worried in one way or another
How to behave in certain situations
Personally, I have lived here for a total of 15 years and have never been robbed in the traditional way. I once had my wallet stolen on the subway when I fell asleep drunk, and another time a homeless alcoholic stole $20 from me by accusing me of cheating on him and breaking his six-pack of beer. Both are due to my own stupidity. To prevent this from happening to you, here are a few tips.
- If someone puts something in your hand in Times Square , e.g. a CD or the dressed-up cartoon characters force you to take a photo, you are not obligated to pay or keep what you have put in your hand. Politely say no or give it back if they continue to aggressively ask for money, point to a cop standing on just about every corner, and say "Let's call the cops and let them decide." decide). This should solve your problem in 99% of cases.
- If one of the homeless people shouts or speaks to you, do not make eye contact and keep walking. Unfortunately, most of you have mental difficulties but there is a severe lack of help for such people in the States. The same applies in the subway.