Some parts of the Big Apple can leave a bad taste in your mouth. The bright lights dazzle, but danger lurks in some parts of this big city – particularly the most dangerous places to live in New York City.

We’ve focused on violent crimes in this report, with up-to-date statistics straight from the precincts.  And then, once you know where you don’t want to live, we’ve included some recommendations for safer alternatives, as well.

Mott Haven and 40th Precinct

The 40th Precinct includes Port Morris, Mott Haven, and Melrose; Mott Haven has the worst reputation.  The Precinct averaged 26.1648 crimes per 1000 residents in 2020, so this is not a safe place to walk alone at night (or maybe ever). 

However, since 2013, the Seven Major Felonies have fallen by more than 64% in the Precinct.

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Felony assault
  • Burglary
  • Grand larceny and
  • Grand theft auto

For instance, comparing 1990 to 2020, murder in the 40th Precinct has fallen nearly 82%, from 72 people killed in 1990 to 13 last year.

With a total of 685 major felonies in 2020, though, try to choose someplace safer to live than Mott Haven and the 40th Precinct. 

Hunts Point and 41st Precinct

This Precinct serves Hunts Point and Longwood, located just to the east of the 40th Precinct, and has also seen a dramatic turn-around in crime during the last few decades.   Since 2013, the Seven Major Felonies have fallen nearly 70%, thanks to improvements in policing and increased police presence.

Still, the 41st doesn’t feel exactly safe.  With a population of about 52,238 people, the most common major crimes are grand larceny and assault. The odds work out to about 20.1355 crimes per 1000 residents, and nobody wants to take those chances.

East Harlem and Manhattan Precincts 23 and 25

The 23rd Precinct serves East Harlem, north of East 96th Street, while the 25th Precinct encompasses the northern portion. Both precincts consist mostly of residential areas, with some small commercial districts, plus Marcus Garvey Park and Harlem Art Park.

A lot of people live in East Harlem, with a total population of 118,861, more than many small to medium-sized towns. 

Again, these neighborhoods have seen major improvements since the 1990s, each of them down more than 60% in their Seven Major Felony numbers.  In 1990, the two precincts totaled sixty-six murders and more than 2100 robberies – about six robberies a day, every day of the year. 

Even with improvements, though, averaging a robbery a day in 2020 and a murder every two and a half days, East Harlem doesn’t score high as a desirable address.

Midtown and Manhattan North and South Precincts

Between them, the Midtown South Precinct and Midtown North Precinct cover the part of New York that tourists think of as The City.  They include the commercial offices and hotels that spring to mind with the word, “Manhattan.”

  • Times Square
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Penn Station
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Koreatown
  • Manhattan Mall Plaza 

They also include the area just south of Central Park.

  • Diamond District
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Theatre District
  • Restaurant Row
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Rockefeller Plaza 

All those tourists, though, can seem like easy marks for New York’s seasoned criminals.  Midtown South saw 96.3634 crimes per 1000 residents last year, more than any of the other “bad” neighborhoods that tourists think of as dangerous. Likewise, Midtown North reported 31.4615 crimes per 1000, that’s more than any of the more residential precincts. 

Bedford Stuyvesant, Stuyvesant Heights and the 81st Precinct

The 81st Precinct and its neighborhoods have received a lot of press in recent years for their law enforcement improvements, decreased crime and the gentrification that has happened there.  They deserve the accolades, of course, along with a healthy dose of realism and caution.

With 62,722 residents, the 81st Precinct’s 884 major felonies in 2020 mean that out of every 1000 residents, about 14 were involved in a

  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Rape
  • Other violent crime

When we add in fewer major crimes, the NYPD estimates that crime affected 19.6422 out of every 1000 residents.

Even with the accomplishments of the last thirty years, Bed-Stuy remains dangerous enough to inspire people who grew up here – from Chris Rock to Jay Z to Lil’ Kim – to live someplace else.

Safe Places to Live in New York

Now you know where you don’t want to move to New York.  Want some safer alternatives? 

  • Staten Island and Chelsea epitomize safety and family life, close to the rest of The City. 
  • With Breezy Point, Neponsit and Rockaway Beach, the Rockaway Peninsula offer a suburban feel with convenience and great schools. 
  • Seagate, west of Coney Island, feels like a safe, family beach neighborhood with friendly neighbors.

New York offers more than any city in the world – of both the bad and the good. So enjoy all the opportunities and pick a safe place to live in New York City!