General Question

bluemukaki's avatar

Is New York really as dangerous as it's claimed to be?

Asked by bluemukaki (4327points) May 3rd, 2010

A lot of travel websites and books say that New York, particularly Manhattan, after dark is basically not an option for travellers, nor is the subway. Is this actually true?

Apart from common sense safety practices that you would employ anywhere you were travelling, is there anything or any place you should absolutely avoid in New York?

Followup question: how should 18 year olds dress so they don’t look like tourists?

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21 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

I don’t think that it is any more dangerous than any large city. Paris, London, Sydney etc., all can carry risk. Some Asian and Arabic cities are very safe, but not many.

janbb's avatar

Not particularly dangerous at all. Of course you take the usual city precautions; don’t walk alone down dark alleyways, carry your purse close to you. etc. I’ve been going to NYC all my life and not once have had a problem. The subway is fine.

As far as dress goes, I wouldn’t wear an “I <3 New York” T-Shirt and probably windbreakers and visors are a no-no; other than that, most things go. If you want to really look NY, all black or black t-shirt and khakis are a good look. Since lots of people in Manhattan at any given time are tourists anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

missingbite's avatar

It’s safer then Phoenix.

lillycoyote's avatar

What websites and books are you reading that say New York “after dark” is not an option? That silly. A pretty solid chunk of what’s fun and interesting and good about N.Y. or any city is what happens after dark. But @janbb is right, except about how you dress, maybe dress up a bit ‘cause you’re in the big city, but still comfortably because you’ll be doing a lot of walking, but wear what you want. If you look like a tourist, so be it. And a tourist trying to look like a seasoned New Yorker? That’s not going to work either. New Yorkers are actually pretty nice, except for the ones that aren’t and you can just blow them off. You just have to remember that you’re not in Kansas anymore, and act accordingly, take the kind of precautions you would take traveling to and in a major urban area. And yes, there are certainly parts of the city I wouldn’t wander around in day or night, but it’s safer than it’s ever been.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

I second the all-black look.

lillycoyote's avatar

@toomuchcoffee911 I first the non-poser look.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s not how you dress that will give away your tourist status.
It’s your unfamiliarity with New York which will make you stand out.

Ponderer983's avatar

If you don’t want to be a tourist, put away the camera and camcorder, especially in Times Square!

YARNLADY's avatar

OK – nobody left a car rigged to explode in my town square this week, but several people have been shot in broad daylight by unknown assailants around town.

chels's avatar

Nope! It’s so not that dangerous. I used to go there a few times a month from the time I was 16 ‘til I moved out out of my parents house at almost 18. It’s actually quite safer than some of little cities I’ve been to (*cough Newark *cough).

Try to stay away from small creepy alleyways, though that should be common knowledge already!

Oh, and! 18 year olds should dress like 18 year olds. Just be you because chances are even if you look a little bit like a tourist, it beats looking like those silly people in touristy clothes like “I <3 NY” shirts (like @janbb said!). Also there are so many people in New York that it’s more than likely you’ll just blend in!

aprilsimnel's avatar

New York is one of the safest megalopolises on Earth. I’m not saying go to East New York in Brooklyn and yell out, “Hey! I’m a dumb tourist with lots of money and expensive camera equipment that’s easy to grab!” but if you’re just hanging out in the usual parts of Manhattan, be alert to where you are and you’re going to be OK. Mugger and the like are looking for people who don’t pay attention.

I’ll tell you what New Yorkers don’t do. They don’t walk slowly, and they don’t look up, unless it’s to yell “Jump!”

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Nah – it’s fine here. There’s more crazy out at night, but mostly harmless crazy.

mass_pike4's avatar

I was in Manhattan a few weeks ago to spend a few nights with my girlfriend. We stayed at the Belevedere hotel a few blocks from Times Square. We stayed out both nights and no problems whatsoever. It is easy to tell if you don’t live in New York however. We stuck out like sore thumbs, but that was also because we actually paid attention to the street vendors and talked back to people….not a good idea because you’ll get hassled for even giving them the time of day. If you dress nice, look like you make money, and hold your s/o’s hand, you are going to get attention so be ware.

Luna's avatar

No, i started walking to school by myself if 2nd grade wheni lived there and i didn’t kidnapped once! LOL

mattbrowne's avatar

I always felt safe in Manhattan. Day and night.

janbb's avatar

My son’s girlfriend just moved from NYC to Washington, DC. She said she never felt unsafe waliking home in New York – day or night – because there were always people around. In DC, it’s often so quiet at night that she feels uncomfortable walking alone.

YARNLADY's avatar

@janbb It’s funny that you would relate an example of a person who moved from one of the worst reputation cities.

Wikipedia has a chart of the rates of the different crimes in cities in the U S. which might be useful.

lillycoyote's avatar

@toomuchcoffee911 Sorry! That was a little snarky. I apologize!

bolwerk's avatar

Your odds of dying in a large city are in fact lower than your odds of dying outside of one, and NYC is especially safe outside a few crappy neighborhoods. Most people who get into trouble in cities are looking for whores or drugs, which is like wearing a sign saying “I have money and I don’t want to hear from the police.”

yazmin86's avatar

any place that you go to is dangerous, its obvious if any other race goes into a place of another race theyll look at you differently, not saying thats the case, just an example.

any city is unsafe, anything is really, even walking down your own neighborhood might be at some point. what i like to do when i travel is go with friends, so at least im not alone and if something happens it happens to all of
being in a group is always safer, even if its 2 or 3 its much better than wondering around in an unknown city.

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