New York : Safety by City
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- White Plains
White Plains, New York, is a shopping and economic destination in Westchester County, New York.
It’s also known as the “Birthplace of New York,” hinting at its important role in history.
Here on the courthouse steps, the declaration was first read in New York.
That courthouse is long gone, but the new courthouse was used as a scene in the movie The Departed.
As White Plains needed to change with the times, it did, through ups and downs.
The vibrant city of White Plains offers both natural beauty and urban excitement.
Though only 25 miles from New York City, White Plains has maintained a small-town feel thanks to its rich history dating back to the 17th century.
The area was originally inhabited by the Wappinger Native Americans before being colonized by English settlers in the 1600s.
White Plains served as an important military headquarters after independence was declared and during the Revolutionary War.
Several key battles have happened here.
White Plains is home to nearly 60,000 residents and numerous attractions, making it an appealing destination for those who seek to escape the noise of the city without losing the amenities.
The modern downtown boasts fantastic shopping, dining, and entertainment, including the upscale Westchester Mall, a lively restaurant scene, and the acclaimed White Plains Performing Arts Center.
Nature lovers relish the hiking and biking trails at spots like Tibbetts Brook Park and the beautiful Bronx River Parkway Reservation.
White Plains truly offers something for everyone seeking a fun day trip or weekend getaway from New York City.
Warnings & Dangers in White Plains
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in White Plains with low crime rates and a large number of things to do.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Metro North train runs through Westchester County and to New York City. The Bee-Line is the bus system for the county. Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are easy to find. All options are low-risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
White Plains Police haven't released specific pickpocket crime data, but we do know that theft rates are 15% lower than the national average. With so many shopping and entertainment districts, keeping your personal items secured as you partake in activities is important. The risk is low, but the potential is there.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
White Plains can get severe or dangerous weather in any season, which is why it's so important to check the forecast daily. Winter storms might feel intense for those who don't come from a place with a lot of snow, but blizzards can shut down the city and transportation routes. Severe thunderstorms in warm weather can cause high winds, dangerous lightning, and flash flooding.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Robbery rates are 80% lower than the national average, so this is another low risk. Not all Westchester cities will have rates this low.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
New York City will always be considered a terror target, but White Plains is 30 miles away and has a low risk.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The most common scams here are residential, so there's a low risk for a tourist. The police department will post scam alerts on their social media pages. You can also check with the New York State Office of Information Technology Services for the latest scams reported statewide.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women should feel safe exploring this area, as it's geared toward family-friendly and group activities with enough options that traveling solo won't leave you bored. Of course, you should always use basic safety precautions and avoid drinking beyond your ability to make good decisions.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows passing marks for all categories, which means there's a low risk. More immediate concerns like hydrant flushing can be viewed on the city's social media pages.
Safest Places to Visit in White Plains
Several websites offer updated information on things to do in White Plains, New York.
“Visit Westchester County” covers all the nearby cities but has a special section for White Plains.
“Upstate New York” also has a White Plains section.
The city website includes a section for visitors as well!
You can use that more for community events.
White Plains is the shopping hub of Westchester County, so no trip is complete without a visit to The Westchester.
While it is a traditional upscale shopping mall, you’ll find luxury brands like Burberry and classic restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory.
You can use the express parking lot if you’re stopping at the mall for less than 30 minutes.
The downtown area is known as The City Center, with walkable streets and plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
White Plains Performing Arts Center showcases local and national talent.
You can catch a Broadway musical, a comedy show, a concert, or a dance performance at this state-of-the-art facility.
The White Plains Performing Arts Center also offers classes and workshops for aspiring artists of all ages.
It’s a great alternative to taking the 40-minute train ride into NYC.
Percy Grainger Home is a historical house museum that preserves the life and work of Percy Grainger, a famous composer and pianist who lived in White Plains from 1921 to 1961.
You can see his personal belongings, musical instruments, manuscripts, and artworks.
You can also listen to his recordings and watch his films.
The Battle of White Plains Park, formerly known as Battle Whitney Park, preserves part of the landscape where the Battle of White Plains was fought during the American Revolution.
The park was created in 1976 to commemorate the Bicentennial and features signs describing the historic battle.
It’s not a big park at less than two acres, but it’s a big part of history.
Local parks that are popular to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city include Saxon Woods Park and Silver Lake Preserve.
White Plains is going through some economic changes, so stores and businesses might be closing to make way for new locations.
Check the tourism websites before your visit to see what’s new.
Places to Avoid in White Plains
White Plains doesn’t have bad neighborhoods or rough parts of town.
You’ll find articles saying otherwise due to outdated data.
As recently as 2016, White Plains had twice as much violent crime.
A steady, consistent decrease in violent crime has been underway since.
Thefts spiked during the pandemic but have since returned to below the national average.
I’d also recommend you check the city’s website for road construction projects before booking a place to stay.
Safety Tips for Traveling to White Plains
- White Plains does have its own police department. You can find them on Facebook @whiteplainspublicsafety or call the main phone number by dialing (914) 422-6111. Emails are also welcome with specific safety questions. That email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign up for CodeRED alerts. It’s critical that you stay weather aware while you’re visiting here. These alerts will give weather watches, warnings, and guidance if you’re in the path of a storm. Other civil and safety concerns that impact the whole community will be included.
- White Plains Police Department has its own free app. You can download it for a list of contacts and the latest news releases and use the REPORT A CRIME section to share information should you witness illegal activity.
- Buy a Metro Card instead of paying per ride for Metro services. This will keep you from pulling your wallet out a lot in a crowded public space.
- White Plains is an eco-friendly community, and some businesses have taken a vow not to use plastic bags or straws. Carry a recyclable bag with you if you need to take leftovers or purchased items from a plastic-free business.
- Not all of the parking in White Plains is open to visitors. You should look for a public parking garage/lot or a metered space. Do not park in a permit-only section or else you could get a ticket. There’s a map of public parking on the city’s website. You can also use the Park White Plains app to pay on your mobile device.
- White Plains has red-light cameras at several major intersections. If you run a red light, you could get a ticket in the mail a few weeks later. They can track down rental cars.
- Check out the HAWK section of the city’s website to understand how this system works to keep pedestrians safe. You should also know this information as a driver, because it’s not like a traditional street crossing. You need to know the difference between flashing or steady yellow and red lights on the display.
- If there is snow in the forecast, do not park on the street. The plows need to get through to clear the road for everyone.
- Use 511NY to check road conditions, traffic, and construction zones. Westchester County has now topped one million residents, and the traffic delays can be arduous. Plan ahead so you can arrive at your destination on time.
So... How Safe Is White Plains Really?
White Plains is historically a safe city and still makes the list of safest cities in New York.
With a violent crime rate 70% lower than the national and state average, it’s a very safe place to visit.
Even theft rates are 15% lower than the national average.
The city has seen a trend of shoplifting and smash-and-grab robberies, which put the community on edge.
However, those suspects were captured; investigators now know it was part of a nationwide spree.
Since this is a wealthy community, thieves will always be looking for a crime of opportunity.
Basic safety steps like locking your car and keeping valuables out of plain sight will go a long way.
You still need to use situational awareness in the entertainment and shopping districts, even in a well-secured area.
If you’re doing a lot of shopping, don’t load up the trunk of your car and go back in.
Ask the concierge to hold your bags.
If you’re shopping alone or with kids, ask for a security escort to your car.
With one of the highest police-to-residents ratios in the country, there’s no reason to worry about safety in White Plains.
How Does White Plains Compare?
|New York City
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
International visitors will need a visa waiver or a visa with a valid passport to get through Customs and Border Patrol. You can find the fastest route through the visa process on the U.S. State Department website.
The U.S. Dollar will be the only currency used here. All major airports in the NYC area have currency exchange options. You'll get the lowest fees if you have a local branch of your own bank in this region.
Pack for the season in which you are visiting, but remember that the temperatures and weather patterns can fluctuate. Layers are always helpful, but winter will require all the cold-weather accessories. Bring comfortable walking shoes for the shopping districts. Sunscreen and bug spray are needed too.
The closest commercial airport is Westchester County Airport, located just 3 miles north of downtown White Plains. LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK airports are all within about 45 miles of White Plains and offer more flight options.
We recommend comprehensive travel insurance to cover the costs of your flight and accommodations while offering rental car insurance and health coverage in case of an accident or illness.
White Plains Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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