Is Sao Paulo Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 56 / 100 based on 36 user reviews.

São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil has a city population of 11 million and even more than 20 million in the metropolitan region.

Many immigrants used to be attracted to this incredible city, so it is one of the most diverse cities in the world.

Sao Paulo is the capital of rich people, nightlife and culture.

Although tourists who visit Brazil often prefer the beaches of Salvador de Bahia or Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo is surely a great tourist destination with its museums, restaurants or jovial nightlife.

Some of the must-see sights of Sao Paulo are the Neo-Byzantine Catedral de Sé, the Municipal Market and São Paulo Museum of Art.

Warnings & Dangers in Sao Paulo

Overall Risk


If you take into consideration all the possible dangers in Sao Paulo, it is an averagely safe city. As in any other city, some unsafe parts should be avoided, particularly at night.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Public transport in Sao Paulo can be considered unsafe. While the metro and buses are believed to be generally safe, buses and bus stops are risky, mainly at night.

Pickpockets Risk


Areas around Praca de Sé, the metro and bus, and train stations, as well as crowded zones, are the main locations of the pickpockets. Thieves also operate in markets and hotels. Caution is compulsory when traveling at night through rural areas since a few precautions will minimize the chance of being pickpocketed.

Natural Disasters Risk


Some natural disasters, like the flooding caused by the heavy rainfall, which affects the mud to rush down the mountains and destroy the towns by knocking down houses are possible in Sao Paulo.

Mugging Risk


Mugging and kidnapping are very common in Sao Paulo particularly in urban areas where tourists are forced to take their money from ATMs and give it to the kidnappers to be released. The best solution to avoid the risk of being kidnapped during the night is to travel in a private car.

Terrorism Risk


When the terrorism risk is concerned, Sao Paulo is believed to be a very safe city and it is marked as a low-threat location for terrorist activity.

Scams Risk


Tourist places are locations where lawbreakers will try to scam you. In Sao Paulo, tourists should be extremely cautious around ATMs and avoid being surrounded by groups of teenagers with strange behavior or people who want to help them.

Women Travelers Risk


Women are generally safe in Sao Paulo and can walk alone through the city, but still, nights are extremely dangerous, so it is not always advisable for a female to find herself alone on empty and dark streets.

So... How Safe Is Sao Paulo Really?

Brazil is the country that has some unsolved issues with crime and that continues to be the principal danger to its visitors.

Fortunately, the crime rates are decreasing especially in Sao Paulo being a great tourist destination.

The Westside of Sao Paulo is a center of business, nightlife, and education, and it is safer than other parts, being the city’s richest area.

The police presence around Praça de Sé in the old city center makes this area safe, unlike the Crackland area near the Parque de la Luz that needs to be completely avoided by tourists due to the appearance of the drug addicts, prostitutes, and criminals.

Some areas are very dangerous for travelers as well as the citizens of Sao Paulo since robbery, assault, burglary, and theft happens at all times of the day.

Violent crimes like murder, rape, and kidnappings are attributed to street gangs and organized groups and they are not very frequent.

Regardless of all these dangers, Sao Paulo should not be taken as a city to be avoided.

Quite contrary, it is a great city to explore, with its world-class restaurants and major cultural and historical attractions, as long as you remain vigilant while touring the city.

How Does Sao Paulo Compare?

CitySafety Index
Sao Paulo45
Rio de Janeiro43
Porto Alegre21
Belo Horizonte48
Melbourne (Australia)80
Hong Kong (China)70
Sydney (Australia)80
Tianjin (China)67
Vienna (Austria)88
Shanghai (China)66

Useful Information



Tourists from the US who want to visit Brazil have to pay a 160$ fee to get the visa. However, some other countries do not need visas if it is less than 90 days visit. Travelers can check the official Brazil tourism website to get information about visas.



Brazil’s official currency is the Brazilian Real (R$). Even though Brazil is one of the most expensive countries in South America, it is considered a relatively cheap tourist destination.



Sao Paulo is the city that can be visited throughout the whole year because winter temperatures range between 8 and 21 °C. The record high temperature was 37.8 °C and the lowest −2 ° C. Because of its elevation, Sao Paulo has a temperate climate.



There are two main airports in Sao Paulo, São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport and Congonhas-São Paulo Airport for domestic flights. The number of air passenger movements makes Sao Paulo one of the top 15 busiest airports in the world. Other alternative airports are Viracopos-Campinas International Airport, São José dos Campos Airport and Jundiaí Airport which can be used to avoid the crowds.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

When traveling anywhere in the world, accidents and illnesses cannot be predicted. So when traveling to Sao Paulo, it is suggested to have international travel health insurance as well as the insurance in case of theft and loss of personal items.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Sao Paulo Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 24° C
Feb 25° C
Mar 24° C
Apr 22° C
May 19° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 18° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 22° C
Dec 24° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Brazil - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Belo Horizonte48
Porto Alegre21
Rio de Janeiro43
Sao Paulo45

Where to Next?

36 Reviews on Sao Paulo

  1. I am from middle east. will they think i am a tourist when im there? cus my skin color is likely the same as brazilian people

    1. You will love Brasil

      Once you speak, they will know you are a tourist. I have been to Sao Paulo and trust me, the people are great. They are friendly and very helpful. They look upon it as an honour you are visiting their country and they are proud of their country. There was no racism or anti colour feeling there that I saw. You will love the place.

      1. People are not helpful if your skin is brown or darker, just don’t go. This review is simply not true.

        1. T
          Tourist says:

          São Paulo is a great city

          I spent a year in São Paulo in the Jardin neighborhood. Walked all hours of the night and never had an issue. In other areas of the city, of course, there are problems.

          Stay at the Renaissance off Paulista it’s a great safe neighborhood as much as a big city can be safe.

    2. UWu

      Many places such as rio de janeiro and sao paulo are majority white so no

      1. Brazilians minimize everything

        They are not. Brazilians love to say that but it’s simply not true. I’d say in SP people are around 30-35% fully white. Then you get around 40% who are mixed and brazilians call them(selves) white but they wouldn’t be classified as white in North America (or even in Australia). Finally, the rest are simply not white and not mixed.

    3. R
      Ross Sinclair says:

      Yes, we will, plus you’re not welcome.

    4. Nice

      Nice brudda. How interesting. thanks for sharing bro. Thanks for letting me know. Thanks for sharing info. I got knifed in the back of the head bro. Rip bro.

      1. Agreed

        Some guy shot at but I dodged the bullet so you’ll probs die

    5. My opinion about São Paulo

      As a Brazilian I would say that São Paulo is a melting pot (I myself am descendant of Japanese) and you may be mistaken at first for a local. However, racism is present and if you come to São Paulo you’ll notice that if you go to nice and rich neighborhoods the majority of people you will find there will be white. Sadly, it’s true that if your skin color is brighter you will be treated better than someone with darker skin. It’s not always, but it happens a lot.
      Last but not least, just to align expectations, let me tell you that São Paulo is just a very large city, good for business, qirh nice restaurants, but not full of nature as some foreigners would expect of any Brazilian city.

  2. It really depends

    It’s alright, São Paulo is safe is certain areas but if you’re in a sketchy looking place, then trust your gut.

  3. J
    John Doe says:

    It's a great city

    I was born in São Paulo and still live here. I am 30 years old and have never been mugged, stolen or suffered any kind of violence. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen here, but it changes a lot from one place to another. If you are going to tourist places, just be aware of your surroundings and don’t be too naive. Streetwise is a differential.

    1. Beware brazilians opinions

      Stop lying mate, you know your city is only safe compared to Rio which is one of the most violent places in the western hemisphere.

      1. S
        Simon Robson says:

        Kidnapped, tortured, made homeless and robbed

        He is lying: when I was in Sao Paulo I was kidnapped in a fake hotel by people that either were or were linked to terrorists, tortured by the police who used pharmocological torture. I had my computer stolen, bought another had this one stolen, had my phone stolen: when kidnapped. I also had my passport stolen at knife point in GRU airport, and had to go effectively homeless because I could not discern how to make sure any hotel was real and not for kidnapping. When I got back to the airport the people that I had my flights with would not let me use their phone to call my embassy. Instead they said they would call but would not because obviously as a white British westerner I somehow am at fault that their country is not a first world country. I ended up in the airport for almost a month. Its an extremely dangerous country which In say people should avoid at all cost.

        1. A
          Alex Cardozo says:

          Well, if it's true it wasn't your day!

          I’m Brazilian although the country isn’t safe at all your story sounds phony. Sorry, it’s too “fantastic”, almost a psychological thriller by David Lynch.

  4. Golden rule

    The golden rule is to exercise caution when walking on streets or other public places. Even during the day. Do not stop to talk with strangers who come with some persuasive talk or some ordinary question. By night, avoid nearly any street walking, with the exception of crowded restaurant and bar streets such as those from Vila Madalena neighborhood. Said that, everything else tend to be pretty safe.

  5. K
    Kibet Ruto says:

    Be keen.

    The rule is be cautious. If you ever lose direction, don’t show it out, read ch out for map and get yours ass fixed. Teens are equally malicious in the city.

  6. S
    SaoPauloIsSafeNowEh? says:

    Don't go

    How is São Paulo mediumly safe? Muggers can smell turists in 10miles. There is a 0% chance that you will not be mugged if you come from outside south America and if you stay here long enough. Locals saying “I have never been mugged” OF COURSE! YOU ARE BRAZILIAN!! Brazilian come out of their houses with no wallet, no purse and dressed like they are entering a favela. Of course they don’t get mugged. If they are rich they simply never leave their safe places, they never take a walk, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT. I dare you going out for drinks in ANY fancy neighborhood (NOT SKETCHY ONES, it would be too easy to get mugged there) and walking there without getting mugged. I also dare you to put your phone in your bag in ANY form of public transportation. Let’s see how many seconds it lasts. Especially if you are from Europe.
    Now I will go down the rabbit hole that this website is to find out which city has earned a worse classification of São Paulo, asking myself how is that even possible, unless you count Rio or those states in Brazil with saints names in it.
    (Also ref: I am from Southern Europe and I have been working and living in pinherios, São Paulo for 5 years)

    1. 10000000% accurate!! don’t trusth brazilians specially in this kind of websites!

    2. I worked in Brookling Paulista and I agree with you, city is big and that’s why it has big companies but is simply… TRASH.

  7. Ugliest largest city in South America

    It’s extemely misleading about getting scam… in real life brazilians deal with scammers everyday, they call them ‘golpistas’. If you are a gringo your chances or getting scammed are VERY HIGH.

    City is extremely unsafe near downtown, and very unsafe and dangerous around Avenida Paulista and somewhat in the rest of the neighborhoods. Don’t trust brazilians about it being ‘safer than Rio’. Río has war-like statistics, so maybe even Bagdad is safer than Rio!

    They say São Paulo is richer state in Brazil but city is very poor… you will see some rich people living in bunker-like towers and using helicopters but 90% of the city is ugly and quite poor. Graffities and homeless everywhere, small streets of 40cm wide with no threes and ugly houses or buildings (usually you only will see a fence in decay). I suggest you to check on google street view how people live there before you dare to go.

    Also, avoid it all cost if you african american. People are racist and hate crime is rampant trough whole city.

  8. Odds

    It wasn’t worth my time and they tried to scam me several times. At least Rio is ugly and dangerous but has Pao de Acucar; São Paulo it’s just ugly and dangerous.

  9. H
    Hello my name is Bryan says:

    Didn't enjoy it but i was in a cruiser

    Agree with most of reviews here

  10. S
    Sugar Daddy says:

    Agree with the negative reviews, seems than most of the ones who gave positive comments are brazilians or in love with one…

  11. HORRID

    Extremely dangerous for woman, been there and regret it.

  12. I had one of my worst times down there.

  13. Brazil not worth it

    I visited Brazil once and that is the only South-American country I will never visit again for sure. People are not helpfull and not friendly. I did not experience any robberies or crime activities but damn, it just is not a nice place to be. I suggest going to Colombia or central-american countries like Panama and Costa Rica, much much better and people there are sincerely friendly unlike to Brazil. Sad because it could be a top destination, but that country is just fkd up due to corruption and crime

  14. Not hot water

    They don’t have hot water and sanitation is bad

  15. A
    Anonymous says:

    got stabbed went to hospital got bad disease

  16. Safe if you aren't easy target

    Shame to see all the negative reviews. I spent 3 months in SP. I am a tall, white male that is clearly a foreigner.

    I stayed in the nicer parts of the city (think Jardins/Itaim) and never had an issues except losing my phone at a nightclub (I ended up recovering it).

    There were a few times where I walked alone at night, and while I was definitely on-guard, never had any problems. I carried myself with confidence. Never made myself an easy target.

    I went out / partied a lot. There were plenty of times where I was sauced af, but still, no issues. Those 3 months in SP were amazing.

    What made my experience safer and better was I had local brazilian friends who live there, and I also spoke conversational Portuguese.

    I hope to return soon!

    1. H
      Happy SP visitor says:

      I know you were there because I can tell by your story which is the exact same story as mine except I was there for a year in the same location.

      I would leave O’Malley’s all hours of the night and walk back to the Renaissance with no issues. Ali the owner of O’Malley‘s told me it was safe but be aware.

      1. Felt safe, but you can’t be naive

        I’ve had a similar experience during my time in Brazil. Many travelers are arrogant, naive and don’t plan ahead. If you don’t speak any portuguese or know anyone you’re more likely to have issues. I’ve been here for a month and go out constantly. Never had an isse and I find Brazilians helpful if you try and apeak portuguese

  17. I felt safe

    I personally been to both. São Paulo and Rio and at no point did I ever feel scared for my life or unsafe. I was however accompanied by a local Brazilian. Mostly traveled in a group of 3 but did walk alone a night a few times to grab food. I however am a black man . I did experience colorism though. If you’re dark skin they will automatically assume you don’t have any money which honestly is fine by me. They weren’t Harassing me on the beach to buy sunglasses like they did my white counterpart. Nice how far the dollar stretches down there. You can easily ball out for a few hundred dollars out there.

  18. I loved brazil very nice place welcoming people hardworking and friendly

    I have been to brazil and found it a very nice respectful safe place I’m a tourist there and just loved the culture people and the food and drink. Like any where just take precautions when out and about especially at night. It’s not safe to travel on your own at night especially as a woman and I do agree on what others have said. I was alone female travelling to brazil on my own and went throughout brazil caught buses trains went on cable cars etc never had a problem I made sure I had little money on me I made sure when I took taxis they was from booked from airport or hotel and I didnt walk alone in any streets I wasnt confident about. Its using your common sense and just having caution and taking responsibility. Respect the locals they are lovely very welcoming friendly hardworking people yes they are dangers about but you can minimised the risk by taking advice from locals and taking responsibility too using common sense dressing down not showing off valuables money and using licenced taxis

Sao Paulo Rated 2.78 / 5 based on 36 user reviews.

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