From Subway to Street Safety — 3 Must-Know Tips for First-Time NYC Visitors

subway safety in nyc
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New York City ranked 12th on the list of the world’s safest cities for travelers, according to the Safe Cities Index 2021 report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by NEC Corporation. For those who are planning an upcoming trip to the Big Apple for the very first time, however, staying safe should still be a top priority, from navigating the streets to the subway and beyond.

Navigating city streets

Staying safe while navigating the city’s streets should be a priority for everyone — especially when considering that approximately 300 pedestrians are killed and 15,000 are injured by motor vehicles each year on the state’s roadways, and more than 3,000 pedestrians are admitted to the hospital annually.
The New York Department of Health website offers a variety of general road safety tips for pedestrians, from using marked crosswalks and pushbuttons to waiting for signals before crossing. “Before crossing, look left, right, then left again, and over your shoulder for turning vehicles,” notes the site, which also recommends watching out for vehicles backing out of parking spaces and driveways, to highlight just a few of many tips. 
Taking recommended safety precautions is a great way to stay safe while navigating the city as a pedestrian, though there is still a risk when it comes to the motorists themselves, in which an accident could result in life-changing consequences. For those who do happen to get in a pedestrian accident, personal injury attorneys can be a valuable asset. Personal injury attorneys can not only help ensure that one obtains compensation for all past, present and future damages in several ways.
To highlight a few, this includes conducting their own investigation of the accident (to establish fault and liability for injuries), estimating the real value of your losses, and negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance provider of the liable party.

Public transportation safety precautions

For visitors who are unfamiliar with the NYC subway system, being aware of the potential for crimes such as theft is imperative when aiming to stay safe. It’s worth noting, however, that city subway crime has dropped in 2023, with police figures showing major crime on the subways is down 21.5% year to date compared to the same period in 2022, “with every category of serious felonies but one in the underground system showing a decrease,” states the NY Post article. While this is good news for those currently planning a trip, taking safety precautions is still imperative.
According to’s subway crime prevention tips, the safest place to wait on the subway platform is behind the yellow line (away from the platform edge). The site further notes that remaining alert and avoiding falling asleep when on the subway can help reduce the opportunity for criminals.
Being mindful of your belongings at all times is another tip, while it’s further advised that travelers hold onto pocketbooks and keep wallets out of sight (and out of a rear pocket while standing), to name just a few tips.

Being aware of your surroundings

When visiting NYC for the first time, simply being aware of your surroundings can go a long way in regard to safety. In addition to staying aware of your personal belongings and taking care to pay attention when it comes to crossing the streets, minding your surroundings in other ways can also serve you well when in the city.
One Trivago article highlights a variety of tips — for example, avoiding unmarked cabs and instead opting for the well-known yellow taxi fleet (which have a light on the roof that displays the driver’s medallion number) can make for a safer experience. Being aware in other situations — such as by reading hotel reviews beforehand, and sticking to main streets and pathways (and always crossing at the intersection) are additional tips offered by the post that can help ensure that safety is a priority when traveling.
Visiting New York City — especially for the first time — can be an exhilarating experience. While the city isn’t overrun with crime, keeping safety at the forefront of your trip in ways such as being aware of your surroundings can ensure a safer trip.