Generally, NYC is a safe place to travel (believe us—it's nothing like Taxi Driver). With some local input, we created this guide to staying safe in New York City. It covers everything from the coronavirus to tips for solo travelers.
Whether you're visiting NYC or planning a staycation, work with a local to build your trip. Our New York locals can plan a safe trip away from the crowds—and offer up-to-date info you may not find online. Learn more.
New York City recently rated amongst the top 25 safest cities in the world. NYC came out ahead of Paris, Rome, Washington D.C., and Dallas. So if you’re comfortable picking out baguettes in Paris, you’ll be fine purchasing hot dogs in Manhattan.
NYC keeps getting safer and safer. As of March 2019, New York City’s crime rate fell to an all-time low. The overall crime rate dropped a whopping 6.2%—giving New York the lowest crime rate since March 1994. In recent years, the New York City crime rate has reached low levels not seen since the 1950s.
Translation: These days, New York City is more “Friends” than “Jessica Jones”.
With a strong safety record and a million things to do, see, and experience, New York City is a favorite destination for solo female travelers. Locals in NYC rave about all the wonderful solo activities in NYC (browse the books at The Strand! Take a stroll in Central Park! Check out an incredible museum!). They tell us that catcalling is no worse than in any other major metropolitan area. And just like anywhere else, ignoring it is your best bet.
Plus, locals in NYC tell us that it's surprisingly easy to keep a New York trip under budget when traveling alone—table for one, please!
One of the most frequently asked questions about travel to NYC concerns the subway: is it safe? Absolutely! Subway crime has fallen drastically since the nineties. In 1990 the subway saw more than 17K crimes per year—today, that number is closer 2k (and pickpocketing accounts for much of today’s transit crime).
Four million people use the subway every day, which means that there are almost always other people around (even late at night). Plus, with so many places to visit in New York, the subway is the best (and cheapest) form of New York transportation.
Taking the subway for the first time can be intimidating—but our NYC locals say it's easy once you get the hang of it.
Avoid empty subway cars. Seeing an empty car approach a crowded station may seem like a stroke of good luck, but New Yorkers are skipping that car for a reason.
Serious and violent crimes—murder, robbery, etc.—largely take place far on the outskirts of the city. NYC crime rates in the past year are highest in remote neighborhoods in outlying boroughs (e.g. the north Bronx and southeast Brooklyn). Manhattan, most of Brooklyn, and Queens have much lower rates of violent crimes.
When it comes to New York City travel prices, it’s actually really easy to find great deals on accommodations outside of Manhattan—especially in charming and safe Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope and Williamsburg that provide easy access to Manhattan.
Given its size (eight million people!!) New York doesn’t do too badly when it comes to clean streets. In 2017, the Department of Sanitation recorded that 95% of the streets in NYC were “acceptably clean.” Still, the city has an *interesting* way of gathering trash—i.e. leaving it out in front of buildings in bags.
But hey—the water quality is world-renowned for its quality. It comes from the fresh, cool springs of upstate New York. So you don’t have to worry about the tap water at all; in fact, it’s better than the bottled stuff.
Heads up: you will probably see a rat or two. Maybe it’ll be dragging some pizza. If that’s the case, congratulations—you’ve become internet famous!
New York City is safer than ever. But it’s still one of the biggest cities in the world. And as James Madison once noted, men are not angels—which means normal precautions are still important. Locals recommend following these common-sense safety tips:
As most New Yorkers will tell you, living in a city this big means dealing with some wild stuff. Yes, there will be buskers on the subway, aggressive performers in Times Square, and some out-of-this-world fashion. It’s all part of the magic NYC experience. Take it in stride!