Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
10 Worst Neighborhoods In NYC: 2021’s Ultimate List
New York is a city that’s deeply understood, and I say this as someone who’s squatted in a BedStuy warehouse before. While we are known for being rude, snobby, and aggressive, we’re also known for fine restaurants. That’s pretty constant. You know what isn’t constant, though? The neighborhoods that need to be avoided. I mean, look at BedStuy. It used to be pretty bad in terms of crime, but it’s now a major hipster place. So, which neighborhoods are the ones to avoid?
The many neighborhoods of New York by the way of crime include:
- Mott Haven
- Fort Greene
The city has a lot to offer the right person, but choosing the right neighborhood. This guide will help you figure out which ‘hoods are the ones you want to avoid.
Table of Contents
- An Important Note About The Ranking And Stats We Found
- The Worst Neighborhoods In New York
- Related Questions
An Important Note About The Ranking And Stats We Found
As someone who has spent a lot of time in New York City, I want to point something out. Bad is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to areas where you want to live. Some people will find a place like Coney Island to be great. Others, not so much. While I might rag on these neighborhoods a lot, the truth is that New York City is one of the safest large cities in America.
Everyone is going to have their own opinion about these places, and yes, some might even get offended. That’s okay. Sometimes, a little discussion can help people see a lot of the issues plaguing our communities. No matter how much I bemoan these places, please take it with a grain of salt. I love New York, and if you visit my city, you will too.
Oh, and yes, we all know that a lot of the crime that happens doesn’t go reported. So the stats we got aren’t always going to be accurate, okay? Some neighborhoods look a lot better (or worse) on paper than they really are. Disclaimer over.
The Worst Neighborhoods In New York
We’re going to put our own opinion piece on the New York City ‘hoods based on facts. Here’s what we found…
Based in the South Bronx, Soundview is mostly known for being the site of the first housing projects in New York City. Most people know it as one of the most low-income parts of the city. Due to the heavy control of gangs in the area, many of the parts of the neighborhood are not safe at night. If you go here, avoid the project area since this is the most commonly gang-infested part of the neighborhood.
With that said, there are far worse places that you could live aside from Soundview. While the area has a serious issue with assaults, it still not the worst on this list in terms of violent crime or property crime.
- Violent Crime: 2048 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 1705.3 per 100,000
- Average Income: $35,677
Say that you live in Brownsville, and you’ll see people wince. Much like Soundview, this area is pretty well known for gang activity and shootouts. While it’s not as bad as it once was, it’s still not the kind of area you go through at night. The area is also known for a small influx of higher earners compared to most others.
Brownsville has a serious gang problem and there’s not much indicating that it’ll go away anytime soon. Due to the heavy drug trade here, it’s going to be a while.
- Violent Crime: 2366.9 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 1458 per 100,000
- Average Income: $43,390
Oof, just oof. Bad income opportunities within the neighborhood means that this area has a very low income. With low incomes tend to come the other big issue: crime. The average home price is the lowest in New York City here, which tells you something. While there are a lot of opportunities in the neighborhoods nearby, the truth is that most people don’t want to be near here. It’s that rough a place to live.
There have been several groups trying to give Highbridge a facelift in recent years. Not many of them have been successful.
- Violent Crime: 1651 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 1218.1 per 100,000
- Average Income: $28,626
Fordham’s issues are many. Bad buildings that have bedbug problems? Check. Bad landlords? Check. Low income jobs and high difficulties making rent? Double check. Gang activity? Yep, you betcha. Fordham has a crime rate that’s so high, you have a 1 in 33 chance of being a victim of property crime or violent crime. Sadly, NYPD has been struggling with this area for ages. It’s not looking good.
While Fordham is pretty bad as far as crime goes, there has been talk of gentrification. With a little work, this might be the next BedStuy. However, it still has a long way to go.
- Violent Crime: 1778.6 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 1891.7 per 100,000
- Average Income: $29,604
If you hear any rap songs talking about Tremont, you already probably know that something’s up with this neighborhood. Tremont is what many people would consider a “war zone,” 24/7. There is a very strong gang presence, but the NYPD isn’t always fast enough to stop them in their tracks. To make matters worse, trying to find a decent job here is like pulling teeth.
Though the NYPD has been doing their best trying to tamp down on crime, there’s a lot to be done here. It’s not a good place to be.
- Violent Crime: 1967.7 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 1738.5 per 100,000
- Average Income: $26,821
5. Mott Haven
What can we say about Mott Haven? In a lot of ways, it’s the literal stereotype of what the projects in the hood are supposed to be like. It has a lot of people who struggle to find decent jobs. Housing is bad, if not downright awful. And, it also happens to have a high murder rate when compared to most parts of the Big Apple. If you have any chance to avoid this area, please do.
What’s really fascinating about Mott Haven is that it’s a New York City neighborhood that doesn’t really have much entertainment. It also doesn’t host many jobs. So like, why are people here?
- Violent Crime: 2774.5 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 2380.7 per100,000
- Average Income: $24,839
4. Fort Greene/Clinton Hill
I’ll be honest. I might be a bit unfair with this one simply because I remember the way it was back in the day. These two neighborhoods, which are tied, have seen a serious amount of gentrification. With all the new people moving in, people are starting to get priced out of their apartments. To a point, this is a good thing. There’s way less violent crime going on. However, with property crime, you still have to watch your back.
Also, I realized I offended a bunch of New Yorkers. My bad, guys. The pickpocketing here is out of control and it needs to be said.
- Violent Crime: 1491.5 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 2648.9 per 100,000
- Average Income: $91,985
Don’t get me wrong. I love Midtown and so does everyone else who ever goes to New York City. It’s literally what people think of when they think of New York City. It’s where Times Square, Madison Square Garden, and all the other goodies people love to see are. However, don’t be fooled by all the glitz and glamour. As nice as Midtown is, it’s not really as safe as it looks. Technically, it’s the place you’re most likely to have a crime committed against you.
And the rent? Don’t get me started. The one thing that Midtown has going for it, aside from the fact that it has a lot of upscale working areas, is the entertainment. Even then, do you really want to pay thousands upon thousands for that?
- Violent Crime: 1375.7 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 8464.7 per 100,000
- Average Income: $102,750
2. Coney Island
Coney Island is a great place if you want to go have some fun on a boardwalk or if you want to have a place that you can do crazy stuff with. However, among locals, it’s known as a pretty scary place. There is a fairly strong gang presence here, not to mention a lot of drug use. A lot of the crimes in this area go unreported, too. As a result, most people wouldn’t want to live here if they have the chance to avoid it.
If you want to move here, it’s important to avoid going out in winter during the night. The type of people who are on the streets then are the ones you don’t want to meet.
- Violent Crime: 2068.7 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 1278.8 per 100,000
- Average Income: $56,700
1. East New York
Okay, okay. Everyone should have seen this coming right? Please tell me I’m right. With an assault rate that is literally eight times the national average and a property crime rate that’s famously underreported, East New York is just awful. In mass media, it’s regularly touted as one of the most dangerous parts of New York City.
There are a lot of factors that make this a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad place to be at night. The number one issue this area has? Gangs. And lots of them.
- Violent Crime: 2046 per 100,000
- Property Crime: 2049 per 100,000
- Average Income: $54,688
(Dis)Honorable Mention: BedStuy
Yes, we all know that Biggie lived here and that there is a lot of clout as far as the rap scene here goes. The Bedford projects are no joke, either. This area is currently one of Brooklyn’s largest neighborhoods. While BedStuy has seen serious gentrification when compared to others on this list, most people still believe it to be a dangerous neighborhood as a whole.
Honestly, they’re not wrong. Bedford-Stuyvesant has a long way to go in terms of decreasing its crime. There is still heavy gang activity in the area, and if you go close to the C train stop at night, it can still be pretty scary.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Hunts Point
Looking back, this entry probably should have made the top ten, but there are reasons to drop it in recent years. Hunts Point still gives you a 1 in 26 chance of being a crime victim. But, police have been stepping up their work there. The area is currently rattled with blight, but the truth is that there’s a lot of development there.
Is New York City Safe?
Yes! It actually ranks as one of the safest large cities in America. The police are very responsive and crimes are at a 20-year low.
Is cannabis legal in New York City?
For the most part, cannabis is now legal in New York City. Or rather, it’s legal to consume and possess.
Can you drink outside in New York City?
Not really. It’ll get you a ticket.
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