10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in NYC

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Written By Alina Sokirko

New York City is one of the wealthiest metropolises in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its rough areas. So, it’s important to know the bad parts of New York if you are thinking of moving there or even just visiting. Here is a look at some of the worst neighborhoods in New York in terms of crime

10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in NYC (2022)

  • Midtown
  • East Harlem
  • East New York
  • Bed-Stuy
  • Mott Haven
  • Fordham
  • Hunts Point
  • Fordham
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Brownsville

Midtown

Total Crime: 319% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 262% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 330% higher than the national average

Surprisingly, one of the most dangerous areas in Manhattan is also one of the wealthiest – Midtown. This has to do with the sheer volume of foot traffic in and out of the city per day. Roughly 125,000 people come in and out of Times Square daily, increasing to nearly 450,000 in the busier months.

Many of these pedestrians are tourists who may not be familiar with the area, increasing the potential dangers. As a result, the neighborhood has a violent crime and property crime rate nearly triple the national average.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a trip to see Times Square if you’ve never been. But pedestrians should always be on alert, even in crowded tourist areas.  

East Harlem

Total Crime: 94% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 317% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 50% higher than the national average

Uptown Manhattan is also one of the roughest areas in the city, with East Harlem being particularly dangerous. While parts of West and Central Harlem have gotten safer over the past few decades, East Harlem remains plagued by social problems such as poverty, drug addiction, and homelessness.

East Harlem, also known as El Barrio, has a rich history and some of the city’s best Latin American and Italian restaurants. But residents and visitors should be careful when frequenting the neighborhood, especially after dark, as violent crime continues to be an issue, especially since the onset of the pandemic.

East New York

Total Crime: 39% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 182% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 11% higher than the national average

One of the easternmost neighborhoods in the borough of Brooklyn, East New York, has had one of the highest crime rates in the city since the 1950s.

While primarily a residential neighborhood without much tourist traffic, East New York has suffered from poverty and crime for decades. While the neighborhood is much safer today than it was at the height of the heroin and crack epidemics of the late 20th Century, the area continues to struggle with violent crime.

There has been a push toward urban renewal, and the crime rate has decreased significantly since the 1990s. But it’s still considered one of the areas to avoid in NYC. 

Bed-Stuy

Total Crime: 24% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 175% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 6% lower than the national average

Bedford Stuyvesant is one of Brooklyn’s most historic neighborhoods and has a rich culture that has inspired iconic music and films. But it also has a history of violence that should not be discounted by those who frequent the area.

In the 1960s and ’70s, it was one of the worst neighborhoods in America. The area has suffered from a myriad of social problems that were only worsened by the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

Over the past few decades, there have been consistent efforts to improve the safety standards of the neighborhood. Overall, it’s much quieter than it once was. But it still has one of the highest violent crime rates in Brooklyn, and there are certain areas of the neighborhood that residents are wise to avoid.

Mott Haven

Total Crime: 121% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 426% higher than the national average

Property crime: 60% higher than the national average

Mott Haven is a neighborhood in the southwestern section of the Bronx that has a storied history of crime and violence. Mott Haven and the nearby area of Melrose together have a violent crime and incarceration rate that is higher than the entire city as a whole.

The neighborhood is dominated by low-income, tenement-style apartment buildings and massive public housing projects. It was one of the first neighborhoods known as the South Bronx, which experienced a serious crime problem in the 1960s and ’70s.

The overall crime has decreased significantly since the ’90s. But it continues to be one of the worst neighborhoods in New York in terms of crime.

Fordham

Total Crime: 52% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 219% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 19% higher than the national average

Fordham is a neighborhood in the western section of the Bronx, known for being the location of the original campus of Fordham University. But the surrounding area is one of the bad parts of New York.

The neighborhood experienced a violent crime rate of 7.5 per 1000 people in 2020, which is higher than the boroughwide average and nearly double the city’s rate as a whole.

There are a lot of attractions close to Fordham, including the Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium, and the New York Botanical Garden. But visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times because the neighborhood has some rough areas.

Hunts Point

Total Crime: 94% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 400% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 33% higher than the national average

Hunts Point is a neighborhood located on a peninsula along the East River in the South Bronx. At one point, Hunt’s Point was the poorest congressional district in the US, and almost half the neighborhood residents lived below the poverty line.

The Hunts Point area has also been a known hotbed for drug dealing and prostitution, which was chronicled in the HBO documentary series Hookers at the Point.

The crime rate in the area has decreased significantly since the ’90s, but it’s still one of the areas to avoid in NYC.  

Chinatown

Total Crime: 135% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 303% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 64% higher than the national average

Chinatown is one of lower Manhattan’s most iconic neighborhoods, but it’s also an area with a surprisingly high crime rate. In the ’70s and ’80s, the neighborhood was plagued by bloody gang wars over the local opiate trade.

Today, the murder rate is not nearly as alarming, but muggings and property crimes are still a major problem. Tourists and residents should feel safe walking through the area but should be aware of their surroundings, especially after dark.

Hell’s Kitchen

Total Crime: 78% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 76% higher than the national average

Property Crime: 79% lower than the national average

Hell’s Kitchen is often considered one of New York’s most up-and-coming and in-demand neighborhoods. But it also have a long history of crime that continues to this day.

Hell’s Kitchen was once the headquarters of the Irish mob. In the ’70s and ’80s, Chelsea was a hotbed for drugs and prostitution. But the neighborhood has undergone a revitalization that has decreased the rate of serious crime.

The neighborhood still experiences a problem with property crime and is among the most dangerous areas in Manhattan. Plus, it often attracts tourists who are frequently the victims of muggings and theft.

Brownsville

Total Crime: 20% higher than the national average

Violent Crime: 226% higher than the national average

Property crime: 21% lower than the national average

Brownsville is a residential neighborhood in the eastern section of Brooklyn. For many years, Brownville has held some of the highest poverty and crime rates in the entire city.

In 2009, the 79th precinct of the NYPD, which patrols the area, was ranked the least safe of any precinct in the city. The neighborhood also has an incarceration rate that is three times the city.

Although crime in the community has declined significantly since the 1990s, it’s still one of the worst areas in New York in terms of crime.