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minnie19's avatar

Is it dangerous to live alone in NYC as a woman?

Asked by minnie19 (435 points ) June 10th, 2012 from iPhone

I will move to NYC soon, and I’m a 21 year old female. To be honest, I was very excited before, but now I am scared to death. Do you think it is a good idea?

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14 Answers

janbb's avatar

You just have to have street smarts and be cautious and you should be fine.

Aster's avatar

If I were you, and I wish I were, I’d find a neighborhood with a reputation to be ‘safe’ and not walk alone after dark. Go for it !!

cookieman's avatar

My niece moved from San Diego to Brooklyn when she was 21 (for college). The two places could not be more different and she was not what you would call “street smart”.

My wife and I drove to New York to meet her on moving day. After moving her in (to a fifth floor walk-up, I might add), we sat around her new living room to catch our breath. Excitement and adrenalin began to fade from her as the enormity of the situation sank in. “What have I done?” she said and broke into sobs. Needless to say, we stuck around a little longer to calm her down.

After a couple weeks, and numerous pep-talks, she began to settle in. She made a couple friends too.

Now, seven years later, she’s completely at home in Brooklyn and has become quite the New Yorker. She loves it.

If she can do it, so can you.

Be cautios, not paranoid. Hit the streets only during the day for a while, until you’re comfortable with the neighborhood. Get to know the local shop keepers and some folks in your building. Carry little cash, a little flashlight, and a whistle. Maybe take a self-defense class if it makes you feel better. Get to know the train system. Get a train pass. Most folks in New York, like everywhere, are good people. Don’t let movies and the news scare you, but don’t be naive either. Common sense helps a lot.

Good luck on your adventure.

wundayatta's avatar

This seems a little ridiculous to me. NY is really no more unfriendly than any other place, and a good deal friendlier than many. Like any town, you have to learn its ways. That takes time. So you should always be cautious wherever you go when you are new to the area. You don’t need any extra caution in NY.

Learn the layout of the town. Learn the subway system. Get a sense of the neighborhoods. Walk around a lot at first. The most important neighborhood is the one where you will be working/learning/living. Find the stores. Find the cafes.

Of course, the first thing you need is a place to live. Hopefully you can live in a nice neighborhood near where you will work or go to school. If you can’t afford to live near where you work, you can find the closest place you can afford that is nice enough.

I moved to NYC from a small New England town in 1979. It was supposedly a particularly scary time to move there, but it ended up just find. I had the biggest adventures in the first few days, staying at the YMCA. Don’t do that. Otherwise, you should be fine. People are the same all over and New Yorkers are as nice as anyone. Though some of them have funny accents.

Their major failing, of course, is that they are Yankees fans. But what do you expect? The Yankees are right in their back yard. Most of the time proximity wins out over good sense.

wildpotato's avatar

Most neighborhoods are fine; some are not. I have walked through Harlem alone at night, but I didn’t like it. Same with For example, I won’t go to my friend’s place up at 157th and Broadway without my dog. But it’s not like I’d expect to get robbed or raped at any moment or anything, I just get creeped out by stuff like a guy getting patted down and then walking into a basement. Most of Manhattan is fine, though. If you go for the Bronx, I think Riverdale is the safest area. Would not recommend East Bronx. I’m not as familiar with Queens or Brooklyn, but I know that Astoria in Queens is a great place to live, and much of Brooklyn is very safe. Less gentrified areas include Bushwick (aka East Williamsburg), Flatbush, and East Flatbush.

Don’t be scared of NYC. It’s really a very safe city, overall.

minnie19's avatar

Thank you everyone! Phew I feel better now. I guess I have this picture in my mind that I am going in my aparment, its a bit dark, and I freak out trying to sleep and someone knocks or simply manages to come in my apartment… Haha, i dont know why but that thought scared me.

wildpotato's avatar

@minnie19 My place had the knob lock, deadbolt, security chain, and peephole. This is common in the city. Many places now also have cameras in the building vestibule so you can see who is ringing you. And there are heavy duty grates over the outside-accessible windows. You’ll feel safe in your apartment.

JLeslie's avatar

New York is not anywhere near the top when they run statistics on crime in US cities.
NYC is not very dangerous, and of course crimes tend to be concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Just be prudent. Stay on the beaten path, know your surroundings, if someone seems suspicious or following you cross the street, turn a corner go in a store. I think in the 40 years I have been going to NYC I have had a weird feeling about someone on the street twice. It happens to me all the time in Memphis. Don’t dilly dally if you are on a street without many people on it, walk with purpose. Carry a purse that zips close or has a flap. This is advice for all cities.

You will feel safe in your apartment and neighborhood because you will be so familiar with it. I use the subway, walk everywhere, the only time I was robbed was when I was staying ina hotel with a friend and she left her purse and luggage against the window while she went to another part of the hotel and I still with the luggage. I had no idea she had left her purse in plain sight like that. A guy came in and asked me for directions amd the other guy took off with her purse. Sooooo, don’t be a tourist, and don’t be clumsy about leaving your things lying around. I never would put my purse down like that, not in NY, not anywhere.

It’s exciting to live in NYC! Don’t be nervous.

MarcoDemarco's avatar

I’m a New Yorker and I can tell you that NYC is as awesome as Hollywood makes it out to be. On behalf of everyone whose lived here for more than 5 years, I’d like to ask you to please try your best not to become snotty or a hipster. Thanks.

skfinkel's avatar

NY is a wonderful city. It seems like lots of people are moving to Brooklyn, which is maybe more affordable. Thank your lucky stars that you will get to live in such an exciting place. Don’t worry, be happy.

minnie19's avatar

Haha thanks guys! Much relief. Marco, truth is I am into hipster looking guys, and I don’t quite enjoy mainstream anything… :P

JLeslie's avatar

@minnie19 Have you ever been to NYC? Where do you live now?

bolwerk's avatar

As a general rule, you’re safer in a big city period. Crime in cities is probably less likely to kill you than a car accident in the suburbs. The only reason the former gets more attention than the latter is the crime seems more sinister. People who get in trouble in big cities are often looking for drugs or prostitutes, which is like wearing a sign saying “I have money and don’t want police attention.”

Anyway, NYC is more safe than most cities on both counts.

cookieman's avatar

Hey @minnie19 – be sure to check back in and let us know how your move goes. We’d love to hear.
if she can make it there, she’ll make it anywhere…

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