Every place (big or small) has its own risks, so does a place like New York. Staying safe in New York (and virtually anywhere else in the world) only requires two things: vigilance and common sense.
Most areas in New York are practically safe especially if you go about them during daytime. Always walk like you know where you’re going. Be wary of conmen who will try to bump you and pick your pocket or pose as taxi driver agents in terminals. Before leaving your hotel, be sure that you’ve planned your trip and know what train or bus to take. Never walk the streets with your map out because that will instantly give you away as a tourist.
It is not a good idea to have all your money kept in just one place. Have a belt bag for your extra money, cellphone and ID just in case someone takes your bag; preferably, don’t wear a back pack and always wear comfortable shoes. Don’t wear ostentatious jewelry as they might attract thieves. If ever you are out late at night, for instance after watching a Broadway performance, go with other tourists who are also returning to their hotels. Chances are you’ll find someone billeted in the same hotel as you. The same goes for when you are riding a public transport. Avoid empty subway cars and wait for another train if necessary. Remember, there is safety in numbers.
It is also good to know the culture of New York. If you are a sports fan, avoid going into a sports bar on game days wearing the cap or jersey of a rival team. Don’t drink excessively and if you notice the crowd going rowdy, leave immediately. Also, dress as a local. The goal is to blend in and not stand out.
Certain places in New York have higher crime rates and it is better that you avoid going to these places like the Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, Bedford Stuyvesanttown, Jamaica Oueens and Harlem Bronx unless you personally know somebody there. Brooklyn has a lot of good buys and bargain deals but be sure you are with somebody knowledgeable of the place.
If you ever find yourself lost in New York, don’t panic. Call 411 on your cellphone and let them know where you think you are and where you want to go. If ever you are robbed, don’t fight back as this might result to injury or death. Instead, focus on getting a good description of your assailant. If ever you’re attacked, scream, fight back and try to free yourself from your assailant’s grip, and then run.
Just remember to always be vigilant in protecting yourself and use your common sense when confronted with a potentially dangerous situation. Cops are all around in New York so help is always near you.
Happy trip to New York and stay safe.