Travelling Safe in New York City
It’s no secret that New York City can be quite intimidating for newcomers and others planning a holiday in the City That Never Sleeps. With endless TV police shows based in NYC, it is acceptable to be somewhat frightened when you visit NYC. You may not have known that NYC crime rates have actually dropped in the last decade—but this does not mean that crime has been completely eradicated. Here are some tips to help to try and avoid any trouble whilst staying in New York City.
New York airports are generally safe and well policed, but you would be surprised at how trusting some tourists can be. Whether it’s LaGuardia Airport, JFK Airport, or Newark International, you should always be alert and use common sense.
- Deny any ride invitations. They may be tempting seeing as how expensive NYC is, but it’s clear how things can go wrong here. Stick to the clearly marked taxi’s or airport shuttles.
- If you do have a driver waiting to collect you, never ever hand any bags over to the driver to carry i.e. never allow yourself to be detached from your bags. It has been known not just in NYC but in airports worldwide for people to look at the name signs (such as a cardboard sign for Jack Jones) and to copy the name and then to stand in front of the real sign. You then walk off with a fake driver who’s only intention is to part you with your bags.
Most NYC hotels are secure and you should not be too worried, but you’re better safe than sorry. With people constantly wandering inside hotels for enquiries and people checking out, it’s advised that you be cautious when you’re staying at a hotel in NYC.
- Use the safe. Most of the hotels in NYC have an in-room safe which you can put your belongings in and have peace of mind. Store any unneeded jewellery or electronics before you head out to explore the city.
- Watch out for the door. When someone knocks, it can be exciting at first, but take a look through the peep hole before you open it. People can wonder onto your floor and knock on your door and easily steal something valuable. It doesn’t take an expert criminal to pull off something that simple.
Using NYC Taxi Cabs
The yellow NYC taxis are an iconic part of the city and they provide a quick way to get around NYC. You can find them literally everywhere and this makes using the cabs a very convenient means of transportation. But you still have to be careful when you’re travelling.
- Stay away from unmarked cabs. These are usually called Gypsy Cabs, and taken that they may be cheaper, you never know what you’re getting yourself into.
- Don’t forget to tip. Unnecessary confrontation with cab drivers can ruin your holiday within seconds.
The NYC subway is the cheapest method of public transport in NYC and there is no reason to be intimidated by it. Tourists often avoid the subway and end up spending unnecessary money on transport. Try not to ride alone very late at night. Unlike the underground in London , the subway in NYC runs at night, too. Empty subway cars are always suspicious and no amount of security cameras can stop a crime from occurring.
Walking the Streets
Street safety in NYC is more common sense than anything else. Anything that you wouldn’t do in the streets of a city, you shouldn’t do in NYC.
- Lower your iPod volume. Walking down NYC blasting Jay-Z can be really tempting, but keeping your iPod volume down makes you aware of your surroundings and what’s going on. This includes who is around you.
- Hide your jewellery. Necklaces and bracelets flying from side to side makes you a moving target for NYC muggers. Either leave your jewellery back at home or tuck it into your clothing.
- Where do you put your purse? For women, I recommend keeping your purse over your shoulder, and men should keep wallets in their front pockets to avoid pickpockets.
- Stay away from alleys. You never really know what could be in an alley way, no matter how cliché it may be. It’s better to stick with other tourists and walk along the curb.
- Always know where you’re heading. Plan your destination beforehand to avoid ending up in shady neighbourhoods. Walking aimlessly is also easy to spot, and any mugger can make out that you have no direction—an easy target. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions, either. NYC citizens are probably used to it by now.
- Never jaywalk. You could get a ticket, but you could also be slapped flat by an angry NYC driver. Cross the street with caution and always use crosswalks.
As long as you use common sense and follow basic safety guidelines, NYC won’t cause a lot of problems. Nine times out of ten a safety concern won’t even cross your mind, but it can still happen. Above all, always remember to enjoy your trip—that’s the whole point of it!
Further Information: If you do plan on visiting any-time soon, you can also find flights to NYC from British Airways.