How Safe Is San Francisco for Travel?

San Francisco, United States
Safety Index:

A melting pot of California, San Francisco, is a major city of the Bay Area, well known for its vibrant life, ethnic diversity, summer fog and many, many educational, historical and cultural venues and facilities – to name just a few of its virtues.

It’s no wonder that the city of San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the world.

There’s so much to see here that you won’t be able to cover everything for just one trip.

Your best bet, if you want to see as much as this unique city has to offer, is to save money and buy a relatively cheap San Francisco CityPASS.

You’ll get to see the California Academy of Sciences, a Blue and Gold Fleet bay cruise, the Aquarium of the Bay.

Don’t forget the Exploratorium or the Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum (both must be visited on the same day).

And don’t forget the cable cars – this city’s most popular feature: the pass also includes three consecutive days of Cable Car and MUNI fares.

Warnings & Dangers in San Francisco

Overall Risk


San Francisco is overall very safe to travel to. Even though it's sometimes dangerous, and the number of homeless people and junkies on the streets may make you feel uneasy, the criminal activities that occur only apply to dangerous parts of the city, which are rarely frequented by tourists.

Transport & Taxis Risk


San Francisco has safe and convenient public transport, though you shouldn't let your guard down. Be extremely vigilant while on public transport and don't linger around the bus, railway and metro stations.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpockets and purse snatching can be an issue along Fisherman’s Wharf, the F-Market Streetcar line, on public transport and in crowded places. It is wise to watch your belongings while on public transport or in crowded places.

Natural Disasters Risk


Occasional natural threats exist in the form of earthquakes that have been known to happen in California. They aren't that common, though. The last major one was in 1994.

Mugging Risk


When it comes to mugging, you're not in danger in San Francisco, as long as you stay away from the dangerous parts of the city. Violent street crime is not a common occurrence here.

Terrorism Risk


Excluding isolated shootings, San Francisco hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but the attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


Just like in other tourist destinations, there will be people trying to scam you in San Francisco, too. Homeless people can turn aggressive if you refuse to give them money. Be wary of anyone trying to distract you, flashing large signs in front of you or ATMs that look like they've been tampered with.

Women Travelers Risk


San Francisco is very safe for female solo travelers. Following basic precaution measures should completely minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

So... How Safe Is San Francisco Really?

As expected, San Francisco does have problems when it comes to safety on its streets.

However, the good news is that a tourist is unlikely to be a witness to any crime or, worse, become a victim of one.

This is because the crime that goes on in San Francisco, is usually confined to certain dangerous neighborhoods and individuals that know each other from the streets.

All tourists should take the usual precaution measures, just as they would in any other city or their hometown.

This means avoiding dark alleyways any communication with unknown people.

You should, by all means, stay informed on which neighborhoods should be avoided due to heightened criminal activities and avoid those neighborhoods.

In San Francisco’s case, these are downtown districts like the Tenderloin, Mid Market, 6th Street, Soma, and the Western Addition.

This also applies to the south-eastern part of the city that also has issues with violent crime.

In general, San Francisco has the largest homeless population per capita in America because of its pleasant climate that enables them to not freeze to death like they would in Chicago or New York.

This may cause you to feel a bit uneasy, but they usually aren’t dangerous and will leave you alone if you avoid contact with them.

The main homeless areas are around 6th and Market, as well as the Tenderloin, while the area near Golden Gate Park is infamous for being a gathering spot for junkies.

Another thing to bear in mind is that San Francisco has a high rate of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, so you have to be very careful when on the streets, especially while crossing one.

How Does San Francisco Compare?

CitySafety Index
San Francisco61
St Louis58
Los Angeles56
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in San Francisco. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - San Francisco has a mild climate characterized by cool, wet winters and dry summers. The nights can become chilly so locals usually carry around a light jacket because the temperatures are known to drop or rise significantly within an hour.
  • Airports - San Francisco International Airport is an international airport serving San Francisco. It is located 21 km south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States,
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to San Francisco, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

San Francisco Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 11° C
Feb 13° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 14° C
May 15° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 16° C
Aug 17° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 17° C
Nov 15° C
Dec 11° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

48 Reviews on San Francisco

  1. False rating

    Walked from one bar to the next on Lombard st and got mugged at gunpoint so completely disagree with the safety level, also homeless is very bad and drug use is horrific on the streets

    1. J
      Jerry Smithcamp says:

      San Francisco Mayor London Breed has defunded the Police! San Francisco is unsafe unless you carry a weapon to protect you and family!

  2. Misleading...when was this last updated?

    “This is because the crime that goes on in San Francisco, is usually confined to certain dangerous neighborhoods and individuals that know each other from the streets.”

    When was this site last updated? How about disclosing the danger and recent violent incidents on BART and Muni, not to mention the criminal activity in and around the subways and bus stops?

    You didn’t mention that some of the popular theatres, museums and the Main library is located in these neighborhoods.

    The sidewalks are filthy and there is rampant drug activity in MANY of the popular downtown tourist areas including Powell Street and Union Square. And yes, word is getting out with the awful SF experience as some conventions have been cancelled.

    You also need to update the earthquake data in the Bay Area (2014 Napa Valley) and the out of control wildfires that have lasted for weeks that have impacted the air quality in SF for two years straight.

    I came to this site to get crime information for a few French cities but if you’re as off with them as you are with San Francisco (and LA) I’ll have to look elsewhere.

    1. This site doesn’t intend to update anything, it is propaganda for the tourism industry. Everyone knows SF isn’t a safe place. Walk down the street for more than 15 minutes I guarantee you will witness a car break in or other crime.

  3. High Crime, don't visit

    Our car got smashed into and our valuables got stolen. Drug dealers and really weird people are hanging out everywhere in SF. Don’t visit unless you have personal protection and if you’re willing to be in danger.

    1. I have been to San Francisco. I haven’t been mugged once.

    2. M
      Marc Coulton says:

      Dump City

      I went 3 years ago, would not recommend.
      Police need to be on the beat, most unsafe city i ve been to.
      Far better to visit San Diego.

    3. 5
      5th Gen. Californian says:

      My wife and I lived in the City since 1993 and moved Summer of 2021. Steady decline past five years that seriously increased during the pandemic to present. We lived in the West Portal neighborhood that had widespread car and garage break-ins, Safeway and Walgreens shoplifting…. Quality of life clearly going straight down. As a resident your mind is pre-occupied about how not to become a victim. Is anything visible on the car seats?Are your packages going to be stolen? Is someone going to vandalize my car tonight? General lawlessness now throughout the City. Then there are the filthy littered streets and the encroaching homeless. If you feel shame at all, I ran out of excuses many years ago when my relatives and friends came to visit. Then there is more of the same around City Hall, Market Street, Golden Gate Park, Legion of Honor. Sure, there is a high likelihood nothing will happen if you visit as a visitor and follow some rules but if you can’t live with peace of mind at home than why would you consider inviting tourists?

  4. Exciting city!

    We stayed in Francisco for a whole week while visiting my niece and I didn’t witness a single bad incident. I’m very cautious by nature so I always pay attention to my bag and whatever else I’m carrying so this is no issue for me. The cable cars were a very exciting experience for me, glad I made time for it.

  5. M
    Melissa says:

    Gotta see more

    Great experience but we definitely have to come back for more! My fiance had to attend a business meeting so we didn’t have time to explore the city. Small tip: if you’re vegan you’ll find a ton of cool places to eat.

  6. M
    Marcelo says:

    Lots of crazy people and muggers

    The BART train stations don’t feel safe, homeless and mentally ill people are everywhere on the streets, specially Downtown but also in touristy areas like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate park.

    When I went to Golden Gate park, I was followed by this big guy offering me cocaine.
    Once I stopped to take a picture of the gardens, one crazy guy aggressively shouted “What the f*ck are you taking pictures of? Get out of here!”

    I’ve seen lots of people selling and buying drugs on Market Street, I’ve seen people fighting.
    Once… I was about to enter a Convention Center with a friend and he was suddenly pushed by a crazy man who was kicking everything on the street and shouting like crazy.

    In Fisherman’s Wharf, I stopped to watch a supposedly group of singers and they told me they were selling an album. I said I would like to help but I had no money, the 3 of them put me against the wall saying they “knew I had money”, I showed them my empty wallet and started an argument since I’m probably poorer than them (since I’m a Brazilian who got a free flight to San Francisco on a lottery).

    I didn’t fell safe in San Francisco at all and I wouldn’t like to come back, it’s also ridiculously expensive (and maybe that’s why it’s dangerous).

    1. Expensive Cities are Safe.

      1. Are they though? Chicago, NYC and Seattle are pretty dangerous and all very expensive.

  7. Many unsafe areas

    Not what it used to be. Dirty, congested and a lot of under reported crime. Police seem to be over whelmed and limited response to small property crimes and homeless problems. Excrement even in best neighborhoods.

  8. A
    Anonymous says:

    San Francisco is unsafe!

    This website is providing 100% inaccurate information!
    I have lived in San Francisco for over 30 years. In 2020, violent crime has increased by over 30%! Use your head, and avoid traveling to this dangerous city AT ALL COSTS!!!

  9. A
    Anonymous says:

    Feels unsafe, but okay

    Outside of places like the Financial DIstrict and rich neighbourhoods up in the hills, you will probably see many homeless people, along with crazy people. Generally, they don’t pose a serious threat unless you try to confront them, so just avoid approaching them. There’s been reports of knife crime on BART trains, but I haven’t been witness to any violent incidents in San Francisco, apart from a pair of people arguing in the street in front of a supermarket (mostly shoving and yelling, and being disruptive to traffic). Overall, I’d say you should be careful. Personally, I’m more frightened by the local police than I am of general persons on the street.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Frightened by the police?

      You are part of the problem.

      I don’t have much sympathy for San Francisco residents, as they voted for this mess of a city.
      (I live just outside the city.)

      1. T
        Terry Jenkins says:

        Lies being spread on Fox News

        Why do you care what others vote for? They can vote for whoever they want, this is a democracy! You have no right to criticize others for their political views!

        1. M
          Mark Marks says:

          Its people like this that are the problem

          It’s called the first amendment and it’s a right in this country. We can criticize anyone we want including you. I live in SF for work and I can say first-hand EVERYONE is looking over their shoulder at all times. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood crime is everywhere.

  10. Vehicle robbery is very common

    I live in a nearby city so my info is based on 15 years of news reports, not just a random visit. Its a world-class, must-see destination and its fairly safe. But car break-ins are really bad right now, and have been for a while. Certain highly-visited tourist areas like the famous zig-zag part of Lombard Street have multiple thefts every day. If you visit, do not leave valuables in your vehicle, especially not in sight.

  11. San Francisco is actually quite dangerous.

    Since Covid, San Francisco has grown extremely dangerous in all areas including residential. Many folks we know have actually left the city sold their condos apartments, etc. because crime is gotten so bad. Some sections seem like a ghost town and only people left or criminals or the main problem and mental issues with a lot of the citizens on the streets. Unfortunately many of the streets smell of urine from people relieving themselves. There are some parts of the city that are still nice but not many right now. A neighborhood that looks really nice will have a very bad one a few blocks away and the criminal element just walks from the bad area to the good area. Unfortunately there are challenges in every city for San Francisco this last year has increased 70% in crime. No I can’t prove those numbers but I just know from living in California.

  12. P
    Paul_travel says:

    criminal city

    Very dangerous. don’t visit now wait till get better. Read the news San Francisco became a criminal city

    1. San Francisco Slum like Districts

      Unfortunately clean streets are not a SF Mayor priority these days i.e. Mission district, Downtown Market, junkies, mentally ill every corner, urine smell, sidewalks are filthy littered with trash not to mention graffiti is rampant even on new store fronts.

  13. High Crime Rate

    Although the violent crime rate is down compared to decades past(especially the murder rate), the San Francisco feels more dangerous than ever for the average resident. Having worked downtown for several years, there are times where the situation simply seems terrible. The amount of homeless, mentally ill, drug addicts and dealers have made a situation where property crime is out of control. Brazen robberies in broad daylight and crowded places are very common. I have personally witnessed stores getting robbed right in front of my eyes. The Walgreens down the street from my work would get robbed so much that they had to close down- and this was before covid. Everything has become worse since. I’ve witnessed cars get broken into in person. I’ve had my car broken into twice in two years- both times in parking garages. Most stores have security or police officers by the door to try to prevent theft but they don’t seem capable of stopping the criminals.

    San Francisco is arguably the most beautiful city in the United States. It is one of the best cities to eat in, if not the best. It has some of the best weather in the country. There is so much to do and see. But the situation downtown and around tourist areas make it where I can’t recommend the city to tourists anymore. As a life long resident, it’s hard for me to be so harsh on a city that I love. The situation before covid was bad. The situation now is on another level.

  14. Don’t come to SF or California

    Riots, theft, and car break-ins. Please believe what you hear on the news. Carry pepper spray and don’t come to California!! I don’t feel safe

  15. W
    William says:

    Unsafe DO NOT GO

    Got robbed, almost ran over by thieves. This is Gotham City. Don’t go. Police is helpless. DA lets thieves out same day.

  16. Beautiful areas but unsafe in general

    As someone who had lived here for my whole life until a year ago, I’d say this is very misleading. There is a huge homeless and drug problem throughout the entire city which means many mentally ill and addicts desperate. I’ve been grabbed but I’m armed and my phone has been stolen, which is nothing in comparison to so many people I know who have had their cars broken into, tires stolen and assaults leaving some in the hospital. Very beautiful if you are away from people which is hard if you don’t know the city. I’d say unsafe but if you have someone with you from the city then it’s a different story.

  17. N
    NorCalLifer says:

    Avoid This Dump At All Costs!

    I grew up in the Bay Area (about 30 minutes from San Francisco). Before I would go several times a year to visit Pier 39, watch off Broadway shows, see museums, etc. There are so many great things to see and do. However, now San Francisco has become such an unsafe, filthy dump that I will not go near it. You can’t go anywhere in the city without seeing a MAJOR homeless problem. They have taken over the streets and poop everywhere. Last time I went to my favorite museum a couple of years ago there was poop on the sidewalk every couple of yards. You can even look up the worst areas by going online and seeing their poop map (no joke). The crime is horrendous because they have passed laws that let criminals go free. Police arrest people just to have them released by the jail that day! No one is prosecuting criminals over there. If you bring a car, expect it to get broken into. It happens all of the time. There have been YouTube videos on this. To anyone who is planning on coming to Northern California I would recommend going a little south of SF to Monterey or east to Napa. Stay clear of SF until they clean up their city!

  18. M
    Mara Barretts says:

    I wish I lived here.

    I don’t know why people are leaving bad reviews. I spent a week in San Francisco while staying in Daly City and everything was absolutely amazing. The weather was stunning, the people were exceptionally friendly, the food was amazing, and even the “trash” and “homeless” problem was very negligable. The city is well worth a visit and all I can think of now is returning.

  19. B
    Bills428 says:

    San Fran tourism is dead

    I have been a regular tourist here since 94. Both alone and brought both medium size conferences (300+ ppl) and corp team meetings (30-50). After our team meeting in 2018 I was so embarrassed having brought people there, I vowed ‘never again’.

    Union Sq was an open sewer. Feces and urine everywhere. Junkies shooting up in the square but I was told I had to leave because I was smoking a cigar. We had attendees experience a bold daytime store ‘lightening of inventory’ by locals with no attempt by security to stop them. And that was before covid, BLM, and Breed.

    I can’t imagine how scary it is now.

  20. We stopped in San Francisco at noon on a weekday and parked by Ghiradelli on a busy city street at a meter. Returned to our car one hour later and found the windows smashed in and our luggage stolen. At high noon! Cops who came and did the report told me “we have lost control of the city”. Not exactly what I would call safe. They say leave nothing of value in your car if you park. Kind of hard to drag all of your luggage around while sight-seeing!

  21. S
    Susanne. Visit exciting Cosmopolitan City San Francisco. says:

    Be aware just as you would be in your own Country.

    I love San Francisco and have visited four times .I didn’t experience crime or see or hear of any during my visit but I am very aware of my surroundings wherever I travel in the world.
    San Francisco Is such a vibrant , exciting city with wonderful restaurants and interesting place to visit all within easy reach.
    My daughter met a homeless man near the Castro cinema , apparently he told her he was veteran . Alex judged the man to be down on his luck so she bought a book he had written and took him to an Indian restaurant to eat. I think he added interest to her holiday.
    Visit San Francisco , stay safe! and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

  22. R
    Rumpelstiltskin says:

    Stay Away

    I grew up in the Bay Area and used to enjoy coming to visit the city. No more; now I avoid this dump. For all the reasons mentioned by others. NEVER park your car on the street for any length of time at night. And I don’t just mean the Tenderloin. Street vagrants will smash your window just to see if there is anything of value even if it is not in plain sight.
    Yes, it’s filled with diversity, and wonderful if you like the odor of stale urine, getting harassed by street people, and dodging piles of excrement on the sidewalk. Just lovely…

  23. I
    If you go to San Francisco... says:

    You will meet some gentle ppl there.

    Full of homeless people, trash and tents with needles, syringes and human feces all over the sidewalk. Sh*thole city. Trump was right.

  24. Avoid SF

    I would avoid going to San Francisco. It is a lawless city. So sad to see. I have been many times and it is not the same. Crime rate is very high. The police have no authority.

    1. S
      Sad city says:

      Spot on in your description! It has turned into a big pile of dog dodo!!!! This is why my native SF husband and I a resident moved a year ago. San Francisco is being ruined and defunding the police among other things is just so pitiful and downright sad!!!! I used to love SF but it’s definitely not safe and filthy beyond!!!!!

    2. A
      Anonymous says:

      So true!!!! It’s 100% lawless and filthy dirty!!! It’s such a shame as it wasn’t always like this:-(

  25. Not safe in downtown

    The Bay Area is large and mostly safe. Stay away from downtown San Francisco and Downtown Oakland if you’re driving. Parking is not safe and your car has a very likelihood of getting broken into.

  26. l
    lee Mitch says:

    Good-bye San Fran

    We have visited several times from Atl. Sadly, we wont go back until and unless they get handle on these crime issues.

    As for this website and comments saying that crime is isolated to specific neighborhoods…. did you see the stunning robberies on Nov. 19 th and 21st at Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom…. It seems the crime is rampant and that police are outnumbered and overwhelmed.

    Actually, we have our hands full juggling the increased crime and violence in our own city so we definitely don’t need more and worse on our vacation.

    Sadly, Good-bye San Fran.

  27. On my top 10 places to visit worldwide

    San Francisco is a very special, different city. I don’t know if you’ll find anything like it in the world. From the way the streets are, to its ethnic diversity, the summer fog which is amazing, to its Aquarium of the Bay or Legion of Honor. It’s clear why this is one of the most visited city in the world. A place that you need to visit at least a few times to really feel you’ve seen most of it.

  28. Very unsafe city

    Do not travel here. I was shocked at how sketchy this city has become: then my car was broken into in a paki g lit lot with security present. Had difficulty getting it fixed because there is a glass shortage from all the car break ins. Wish I never came.

  29. Listen to the locals commenting here. I am living in San Francisco for work and can attest that it is unsafe. Unless you have experience navigating unsafe cities I would not recommend traveling here for pleasure. The areas to avoid mentioned in this article are accurate; however, the crime is in all neighborhoods. Definitely avoid public transportation.

  30. A shadow of its former self

    San Francisco was such a nice city, once. I remember when people used to feel pretty safe here and the city was much cleaner, without so many drugs. It was a great place to visit, with so many attractions and a nice vibe. I’m sure it can once again become that great place it was and feel like a wonderful destination once more.

    Today, it’s a shadow of its former self, with crime rising each year and getting to the point where it’s unbearable; Police not being able to keep up and people having to constantly think about how to stay safe and avoid trouble. Not a great place to visit because of these reasons. And it’s too bad because there are so many great things about this beautiful city. And the people are great, besides criminals and weirdos of course. Every big city has its share of criminals and weirdos but their numbers are just too big in SF.

    The Police need a much bigger presence on the street and they need to address drugs that seem to be present everywhere, not just in bad areas. I visited San Francisco a few times in the past 5 years and I can easily see that things have gotten worse with time and that criminals are getting bolder and can attack at any time, anywhere. It feels unsafe from the moment you step in town.

    There’s also a lot of angry people walking around just like others have mentioned already. They will just harass you without a reason and you will feel in danger. Even if nothing bad happens to you physically (which can sometimes happen as well), you’ll still feel unsafe. Until these problems are fixed, I wouldn’t intentionally visit SF. It’s probably one of the most dangerous places in the US right now.

  31. F
    Former part-time SF resident says:

    Beautiful but Troubled, slightly dangerous

    I absolutely love SF, but it has become a bit of a dump in certain areas and even the nice areas are starting to smell like urine. To put it plainly, there is a massive issue with the homeless population. These are not just normal homeless people who ask for money, they are ones who are addicted to some form of opioids, they *will* poop in the BART metro stations, and they have a tendency to… just behave very strange and harass people in broad daylight. I mentioned this before, but the urine smell is a major issue. I haven’t seen many public restrooms and I would be afraid to enter one anyway. There have been break-ins at the luxury boutiques near Union Square recently too, which is concerning because that is one of the most high security areas of the city.

    However, it is pertinent that you do NOT visit, accidentally walk through, or drive through the Tenderloin neighborhood. It is extremely unsafe at all hours of the day and night. I have personally witnessed a group of men throw what looked like human feces or muddy clumps at each other, people passed out in front of garbage cans, obvious addicts who appear unhinged, etc. My friend somehow had a homeless person sneak into her building with security and found said person shouting into the corner of her elevator, talking to nobody.

    Not really sure what is causing/allowing all of this, but I personally think these problems are way too challenging for any city administration to solve in short term, and they should focus on cleaning up the streets and removing homeless people from public areas & metro before actually attempting to tackle the issue of homelessness. That will take decades to fix, but power-washing sidewalks and removing people will only take a few days. Police presence is common, but it seems like they aren’t doing anything.

  32. D
    David O says:

    It's a Dump

    San Francisco has always had sketchy parts of town. There has always been aggressive homeless panhandlers. However, crime has exploded in the last three years and it is now in all parts of the city. Car break-ins are very frequent. Human excrement and needless all over the sidewalks. Homeless drug addicts living on the streets. It’s a dump now. And, it’s getting worse not better. You almost never see the police on the streets. I think they are afraid to even respond to crime anymore. There are much better, cleaner and safer places to visit in CA.

  33. C
    Carolyn says:

    One of my favourite US cities until now. Visited lasted year after many visits, and seriously cannot take the risk advising anyone I know visiting there. I feel so sad that beautiful places like this are run by useless politicians. Drugs and mental illness don’t help. I sent this article to a relative as I’m sure people doubt what you’re telling them. I assured them it’s true unfortunately. One night might be enough next time IF there is a next time but even that worries me a bit to be honest. Let’s hope it gets a different mayor really soon!

  34. V
    Viviana says:

    No different from other metropolitan areas.

    Looking over your shoulder it’s what you have to do everywhere, I’ve been to San Fran many times, and I always want to come back.

Rated 2.35 / 5 based on 48 user reviews.

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