The Empire State is a diverse state.
It ranges from the Big Apple in the eastern section across the Adirondack, the Catskill Mountains, and hundreds of lakes and rivers – to the Canadian Border, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo in its westernmost reaches.
- The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in New York
- 5 Safety Tips for Traveling to New York
- 1. Try to keep your cell phone charged at all times, as it may be a lifeline in an emergency when traveling.
- 2. Upstate New York winters can be brutal.
- 3. Write down emergency contact information, so you have it without much stress and effort.
- 4. Consider travel insurance as it offers peace of mind and allows for relaxation.
- 5. Send your itinerary to a few friends or family members so someone has an idea of where you will be on a given day.
- New York City Safety Overview
- Frequently Asked Questions
The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in New York
While downstate New York – NYC, the lower Hudson Valley, and Long Island are urbanized, most of upstate New York is a canvas of farms, mountains, lakes, and charming little towns and state university campuses.
1. Buffalo (Erie County)
- Population – 276,807 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 8.65 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate -28.02 per 1,000 residents.
Buffalo, which is also known as Nickel City, is one of the largest and most dangerous cities in western New York state.
Violent crime in Buffalo is three times the state average and the highest in New York, with property crimes more than twice the average of the Empire State.
Some of the more dangerous sections of the city include Emerson, Babcock, Black Rock, and more.
2. Binghamton (Broome County)
- Population – 47,566 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 7.25 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 31.16 per 1,000 residents.
Binghamton is home to one of the state universities but has its violent and property crime statistics above state and national averages.
If traveling after dark in unknown or dilapidated areas, try not to travel alone and stay focused and aware.
3. Niagara Falls (Niagara County)
- Population – 48,360 (2021).
- Violent Crime Rate – 7.57 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 28.29 per 1,000 residents.
Niagara Falls is a famous destination for tourists and was once the preferred honeymoon capital of the world.
However, the crime rates for violence or property significantly exceed both state and national rates for similar crimes.
The downtown Niagara Falls area tends to be the most crime-ridden.
4. Albany (Albany County)
- Population – 98,617 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 7.48 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 25.94 per 1,000 residents.
Albany, the Empire State’s capital, is located about 120 miles north of the Big Apple, along the Hudson River.
Crime rates in the capital city far exceed national and state averages, where those who reside in Albany have a 1 in 39 chance of becoming a property crime victim.
It is noted that crime rates have been falling in the Empire State’s capital region.
5. Syracuse (Onondaga County)
- Population – 146,103 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 7.00 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 26.89 per 1,000 residents.
Syracuse is a large city in the northern tier of upstate New York.
Like several New York cities, Syracuse has seen a recent uptick in various types of crime.
In 2022, residents of Syracuse faced crime rates that were more than two times the state and national crime rate averages.
The crime per square mile for the Syracuse area is about five times the state and national crime averages.
6. Rochester (Monroe County)
- Population – 210,606 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 6.70 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 30.84 per 1,000 residents.
Rochester, which is located along the Genesee River, is a large city in upstate New York.
Rochester, which is nicknamed Flower City, has violent and property crime rates that are more than twice the state and national crime averages for these categories.
To stay safe, avoid these neighborhoods within city limits – Marketview Heights, JOSANA, Dutchtown, Bulls Head, and Mayer Heights.
7. Schenectady (Schenectady County)
- Population – 66,990 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 5.40 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 25.66 per 1,000 residents.
Schenectady is small to a medium-sized city in upstate New York.
Those in and around the greater Schenectady area will find that the violent and property crime rates exceed New York’s average and the national medians for these types of crimes.
Because the population is small and property crime rates are exceptionally high, those in Schenectady have a 1 in 39 chance of being property crime victims.
8. Johnson City Village (Broome County)
- Population – 15,203 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 3.55 per 1,000 residents
- Property Crime Rate – 44.07 per 1,000 residents
Johnson City is a small city near the southern New York Border in Broome County.
While violent crime in Johnson City is about equal to the state average, property crime is about 3.5 times the state average.
With 156 crimes per square mile, Johnson City’s rate per square mile is more than four times the Empire State average.
9. Watertown (Jefferson County)
- Population – 24,575 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 4.44 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 36.26 per 1,000 residents.
Watertown, among the smallest dangerous cities in the Empire State, is located in the northern part of New York near Lake Ontario.
Crimes, particularly property crime, are nearly three times the state average and twice the national median.
The more dangerous sections of this small upstate location tend to be located in and around the center of the city and parts due north.
10. Utica (Oneida County)
- Population – 64,501 (2021)
- Violent Crime Rate – 4.91 per 1,000 residents.
- Property Crime Rate – 32.37 per 1,000 residents.
Utica is a city in central-upstate New York that is located in the Mohawk Valley of Oneida County – about 100 miles north and west of the capital.
Property and violent crime appear to be on the rise, with rates that exceed state levels for both types of crime.
Currently, residents of Utica have a 1 in 31 chance of being a victim of a property crime.
5 Safety Tips for Traveling to New York
1. Try to keep your cell phone charged at all times, as it may be a lifeline in an emergency when traveling.
Technology creates a great tool for use in emergencies.
Cell phones, with built-in GPS technology, are a great way to keep you heading in the right direction.
Most larger cities have interactive and current interactive crime maps to help steer clear of dangerous neighborhoods.
2. Upstate New York winters can be brutal.
Over 60% of New York has an average snowfall that exceeds 70 inches.
The heaviest snowfall, which averages 100 to 120 inches, happens in several counties Onondaga, Ostego, Herkimer, Ulster, Sullivan, and Delaware.
The heaviest lake-effect snow happens around the greater Buffalo area.
3. Write down emergency contact information, so you have it without much stress and effort.
When traveling, it is always important to be prepared for emergencies.
Keep several copies of emergency contact numbers in case you lose your wallet.
4. Consider travel insurance as it offers peace of mind and allows for relaxation.
While most people think of insurance after the fact, if you really are concerned about yourself and your belongings while traveling in New York, consider obtaining travel insurance.
Travel insurance options vary but include reimbursement for cancellations, illnesses, or loss of expensive gear, like cameras or computers.
5. Send your itinerary to a few friends or family members so someone has an idea of where you will be on a given day.
When your schedule is planned and set, be sure you share the details of your New York trip with a few friends or family members.
Before you leave, confirm that the itinerary you forwarded has been received and didn’t get thrown away by mistake or land in the recipient’s ‘spam folder.’
Depending on the length of your New York vacation, it may be worth the effort to check in with them every so often so they know you are okay.
New York City Safety Overview
READ THE FULL REPORT: New York City Safety ReviewSafety Index:
- OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
- TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
- PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
- NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
- MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
- TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
- SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
- WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Frequently Asked Questions
When traveling to the greater New York City area, how many airports are located near the city?
There are three major airports that service the greater metro New York City area.
These include JFK in south Queens, LaGuardia in northern Queens, and Newark Airport – across the Hudson River in nearby New Jersey.
What is considered the most dangerous part of New York City's five boroughs?
The most dangerous neighborhood in all of New York City is Hunts Point, located in the South Bronx – just north of the island of Manhattan.
Hunts Point has been facing large crime and drug problems for many years.
How far a distance is New York City from Buffalo, New York?
The Empire State is often larger than one thinks.
From New York City on the state’s eastern parts that meet the Atlantic Ocean to Buffalo – clear across the state is a total distance of 292 miles as the crow flies.
The driving distance from New York City to Buffalo is nearly 400 miles.