New York : Safety by City
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Often called “The Queen City of the Hudson Valley,” Poughkeepsie offers visitors a unique blend of small-town charm and exciting attractions.
Settled in the 1700s and incorporated as a village in 1799, Poughkeepsie has a rich history shaped by its location along the Hudson River.
Today, historic sites like the Smith Brothers House and the 1920s Eveready Diner recall Poughkeepsie’s past, while the Walkway Over the Hudson, a pedestrian bridge transformed from a former railroad bridge, symbolizes the city’s revitalization.
Just outside the city, attractions like the Culinary Institute of America and the FDR Presidential Library immerse visitors in local culture and history.
With seasonal festivals, farm-to-table dining, and beautiful Hudson River views, Poughkeepsie offers plenty for any traveler.
All that, and it’s just 90 minutes to New York City!
Warnings & Dangers in Poughkeepsie
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in the town of Poughkeepsie, but the risk is a bit higher in the city. While it's not a level of crime that should concern someone used to big city concerns, the town is definitely a safer place to visit. It's also more suburban and rural.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Dutchess County Public Transit has routes through Poughkeepsie and the county, while Metro-North is the train system that can take you to New York. Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are widely available.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Theft rates in the city are 70% higher than the national average, but exact pickpocket data isn't released. I can tell you that eight pickpockets and purse snatchings happen on average in the town each year. The risk is low, but it's definitely a place where you should exercise caution and standard safety steps to protect your purse and wallet.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The medium risk runs throughout the year but can be lowered by simply paying attention to the weather forecast. Winter storms, severe thunderstorms, tropical storms that move onshore, and flash flooding are the biggest risks. Dutchess County has an emergency management plan you can review online.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The town's robbery rate is half the national average, and just 18% of those are highway robberies. The city has a robbery rate is 30% higher than the national average, but no breakdown is offered of what is business vs individual robberies. The risk is low, but not low enough to let your guard down.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
When you hear that the CIA is near Poughkeepsie, that's not the Central Intelligence Agency. That's the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. The risk of terrorism is low here.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scams are mostly residential. Several have also targeted homeless people and those on government assistance for food. There's a low risk of a tourist scam, but you can check the Better Business Bureau and local police department social media sites for the latest scams before you visit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is another low risk but with a strong reminder to use extra caution in the city of Poughkeepsie and stick to tourist areas or entertainment districts.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. Even when contaminants were detected, they were below the acceptable level, and efforts have been made to reduce the numbers further. You should be aware of any tap water issues during your stay by checking the city's social media sites or the front desk at your hotel.
Safest Places to Visit in Poughkeepsie
The tourism website for the region is “Dutchess Tourism” (not Duchess), and you can find information about Poughkeepsie and other county cities there.
I simply love when tourism websites do more than just post one tourist guide, and Duchess County does that in spades.
From arts to brew trails to motorcycle routes to heritage, you can choose separate brochures for your preferred activity.
Downtown Poughkeepsie is on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, with the Walkway Over the Hudson being one of the longest elevated pedestrian bridges in the world.
Stretching 1.28 miles over the Hudson River, the Walkway provides breathtaking views.
On summer weekends, join locals at the Poughkeepsie waterfront for concerts, festivals, and street fairs that celebrate the community’s history and culture.
The Poughkeepsie Trolley Museum showcases vintage trolleys and transit vehicles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Visitors can take a ride on restored trolleys along the old rails.
The museum’s collection of over 60 vehicles provides an educational look at public transportation’s evolution in New York.
For art lovers, the Barrett Art Center is a must-see.
This art gallery and cultural center located in an old Methodist church hosts rotating exhibits by Dutchess County artists.
Mediums on display include painting, photography, sculpture, and more.
Include the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center on the Vassar College campus on your art itinerary as well.
This impressive art gallery houses over 20,000 works spanning 3,000 years of art history.
The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is a highlight for families with younger kids.
This interactive museum designed for ages 1-7 invites children to learn through hands-on play.
Exhibits like a simulated ambulance, grocery store, construction site, and art studio engage imaginations and young minds.
History buffs will appreciate tours of the Glebe House Museum.
Built-in 1730, the former home of Reverend John Beardsley is filled with furnishings and artifacts from the colonial era.
Costumed guides provide educational tours showcasing what life was like in 18th-century Poughkeepsie.
The museum grounds also include heritage gardens, a barn, and an ice house.
For those seeking entertainment, the Bardavon Opera House has provided top-quality programming for over 150 years.
From live music to theater, dance, and more, the Bardavon calendar is always filled with something fun.
Local wineries are also popular attractions, with Clinton Vineyards and Millbrook Vineyards and Winery offering tours and tastings just a short drive from downtown.
Duchess County farms have various you-pick-em seasons, which you can mix with a hike on one of the many trail systems throughout the county.
Walking, bicycle, plane, and paddling guided tours are also available.
Places to Avoid in Poughkeepsie
I’ve researched a lot of the “most dangerous streets” some safety websites post, and there’s little context or reliability in that information.
Poughkeepsie, the city, is definitely a place when you’re in a rough neighborhood; you’ll know it.
The smartest thing to do is stay on major roadways and only go between tourist attractions.
Walking around at night is never a good idea unless you’re in a well-lit area.
Use rideshares or taxis if you are unsure about the safety of particular neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, the city’s police department doesn’t offer crime mapping data, but you can always call the police department and ask about recent crime trends.
Avoid walking the pedestrian bridge until you’ve checked the weather conditions and open/close status.
Find updates on Facebook @walkwayoverthehudson.
For all you Jersey Shore fans, Snooki was not from Poughkeepsie.
She lied to protect her family from paparazzi and fans.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Poughkeepsie
- The town and city of Poughkeepsie have their own police departments. Follow the town on Facebook @TownofPoughkeepsiePolice and the city @CPPDNY. The town’s phone number is (845) 485-3666, and the city is (845) 451-4000.
- Download the Ready Dutchess mobile app, which is free. It will send emergency notifications to your mobile device in case of public safety threats and severe weather. You’ll get a wealth of safety information too.
- Sign up for the Dutchess Delivery email updates to get information about route alerts for Dutchess County Public Transit.
- If you want to swim in the Hudson River, please do so only at a designated beach and after checking the latest water quality report from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Some parts of the river are far too toxic even to touch.
- Anglers need to check out a few things before taking part in the activity. First, you need a license from the DEC. Second, be sure to check the health advisories through the New York State Department of Health to see if the fish are safe to eat from your chosen fishing hole.
- Use NY 511 to set traffic routes, see real-time traffic, check traffic cameras, and look for construction zones before you drive in the city, town, or region. This helpful tool can keep your travels on time and out of traffic jams.
- If you’ll be using Metro-North to get around the region and into the city, buy a MetroCard in advance to avoid pulling your wallet out for each ride. Poughkeepsie is the last city on the route.
- Poughkeepsie doesn’t have an app to pay for parking, so be sure to bring a stack of quarters to feed the meters downtown. Most parking has a two-hour limit with 25 cents charged for each 15 minutes. Some parking lots and streets are by permit only.
- The city of Poughkeepsie has a Citizen Observer Alert system, which is a great way to get immediate information about crimes in the city. You can sign up on the police department’s section of the city website.
- Parts of Poughkeepsie near the water are prone to flooding. Never drive through floodwaters, no matter how shallow you think they might be. A simple Google search will show you how bad flooding can be here.
So... How Safe Is Poughkeepsie Really?
Even though the somewhat blurred lines of town vs city might not be distinguishable to the average tourist, the town is leaps and bounds the safer place to stay and visit.
The city of Poughkeepsie police chief stated in 2022 that violent crimes have seen a “marked decrease” in the past decade, which is true.
The crime rate has gone from being 258% higher than the national average to 158% higher.
In the same time span, the town of Poughkeepsie has seen an increase in violent crime that went from being 68% lower than the national average to 58% lower than the national average in 2022.
The town’s police department also provides transparent crime data with context, like how many robberies were highway robberies vs. business robberies.
The city doesn’t provide that information to the FBI.
Overall, the city is going to have more crime, but most of it is tucked away in neighborhoods in parts of town you’d be unlikely to be in as a tourist.
While it ranks among the most dangerous cities in New York, it’s not as dangerous as the worst part of New York City.
It’s as simple as using common sense and staying away from trouble.
There’s plenty to see in safe places through the Poughkeepsies.
How Does Poughkeepsie Compare?
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A visa or visa waiver is required for international tourists, and a valid passport will be necessary. Just be sure that your passport isn't within six months of expiring.
All American cities will only accept the U.S. Dollar (USD) as currency. Avoid using ATMs to exchange currency, especially in the city. Any bank where you are a member will be able to do currency exchange for the lowest fees.
The city and town get four robust seasons. Pack accordingly, with special attention to cold-weather accessories in winter, bug spray and sunscreen in warm months, and waterproof layers throughout the year.
The closest major airport is Stewart International Airport, located 27 miles south of Poughkeepsie in Newburgh, NY. Other nearby options include Albany International Airport, 63 miles north; Westchester County Airport, 44 miles south; and LaGuardia and JFK airports in New York City, about 100 miles south.
Comprehensive travel insurance takes the risk anxiety away and coves any delays, cancelations or accidents along the way.
Poughkeepsie Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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