As great of a city as New York
is, it's no secret that it's not the safest place in the world. On the contrary, many would argue that it's among the most dangerous destinations out there. The crime rate in New York isn't exactly low, after all, and many areas are a cause for concern. But beyond just relying on “New York's finest,” it pays to stay careful when you're in the city yourself. Thus, you'd do well to follow a few safety tips like blending in with locals, hiding your valuables, or staying in crowded areas. They'll save you more than you probably know!
Try to Blend In
It's important to remember that tourists are often the primary targets of pickpockets, muggers, and other criminals in New York City. Since you're not from there—and there's a good chance you're not an American citizen—you're the easiest and most suitable victim. So how can you avoid their attention? Blend in! It's fairly easy considering that New York is a diverse city. Just don't wear the corny “I ♡ NYC” shirts and you're good. Taking too many photos of the attractions is also a dead giveaway that you're a tourist.
Hide Your Valuables
You probably don't need anyone to tell you that you ought to keep your stuff safe and secure. Whether you're a New Yorker or not, any pickpocket will target you the moment they see that you're easy to steal from. The most experienced ones are so quick and smooth with their hands, you'd hardly know that your things got stolen. As such, always go for a bag with a zipper. And it's probably better to separate your cash into various parts of your person.
Know Which Neighborhoods to Avoid
As great a place as many New York neighborhoods
are, not all of them are safe. East Harlem, Fordham, Hunts Point, Brownsville, and Tremont are just some you'd do well to avoid. Most of them are known for being dangerous, especially at night. And even a handful are infamous for being places where you can get mugged in broad daylight. Whether you're a tourist or you just moved to New York City
, it's better to avoid these places as much as possible.
Stay in Crowded Areas
If you do, however, have no choice but to go to some of these places, stick to where the crowds are. Think crowded restaurants, well-lit bodegas
, or even small parks where people are waiting or hanging out. Not all those in the crowd might be good people, but you're far less at risk of falling victim to crimes if there are many people around you. You'll even stand out less, which goes back to the first tip on this list about blending in!
Avoid Dark Areas at Night
It's a no-brainer that you should avoid dark areas in any city at night. But rings truer in New York than anywhere else. Even though the city's crime rate
is generally high, it's comparatively lower during the day. But come nightfall, it's anyone's guess where you can stay safe. One thing is clear though—dark areas are where the crimes are at! If you see a street with little to no street lights, you're better off going in another direction!
Take a Taxi at Night
In terms of public transport in New York City
, taking a taxi is arguably the safest. The subway may be the cheapest and the most accessible, but it's not exactly the safest at certain hours. There are all sorts of characters who linger in both the trains and the stations. And not all of them have the best of intentions. So when it's late at night and you're still out, you're better off taking a yellow cab
Don't Look People in The Eye
A stereotype among New Yorkers
is that they're rude and mean. They're always in a rush and they won't care if they bump into you on the street. And one funny look is a one-way ticket to a black eye! Are all these true though? Well, some are. New Yorkers can't deny that many of them have a certain aggressive nature to them. As such, you'd do well to avoid eye contact with people you're not talking to. This is especially true when you ride the subway!
Mind Your Business in The Subway
Speaking of the New York subway
, you're also better off just minding your own business when you're inside. From standing in the station waiting for the train to riding it off to your next destination, just keep to yourself. Read a book, listen to music, or stayed glued to your phone. The subway is always full of all sorts of characters; unfortunately, not all are good. And just as mentioned, one funny look is enough to make you a victim.
Wear Comfy Shoes As Often as You Can
If you don't need to dress to the nines, always stick to comfy footwear when you walk around New York. Not only will this help you avoid getting blisters on your feet, but it also keeps you safe. How so, you ask:? Let's set the scene: you're walking in a fairly quiet street in the middle of the afternoon. You see someone nefarious approach you, possibly planning to mug you. What do you do? Run, of course! And can you run as fast as you can when you're wearing heels or leather dress shoes?
Keep Off The Street
And finally, always keep off the street. You've probably seen movies set in New York wherein the characters go all the way to practically the middle of the street to hail a cab. It looks cool on screen, sure, but doing that in real life isn't safe at all. At most, you're at risk of getting hit by a car and getting seriously injured (or worse!). Another possibility is that you'd be in the way of someone driving and it's not above many New Yorkers to stop, get out of their car, and beat you up.
Traveling to New York City soon? You'll benefit from following these safety tips when you get there! As great of a city as New York is, it's not exactly the safest place out there. These safety tips will save you more than you know!