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Is Philadelphia Dangerous?

is philadelphia dangerous

Are you planning a trip to the City of Brotherly Love? 

Philadelphia is a pedestrian-friendly city, and most attractions are located within a couple of kilometers from City Hall. The city boasts a rich blend of architecture, ranging from Colonial to Victorian to Bauhaus. Strolling along the city’s wide, tree-lined streets can be a very pleasant experience. While the heart of the city is the perfect place for tourists to explore, certain neighborhoods are best avoided. 

So, let’s find out, is Philadelphia dangerous? and tips for staying safe during your trip. 

Crime In Philadelphia 

In terms of the crime rate, Philadelphia ranks slightly above the average for the United States. However, this is perfectly normal for a large city and nothing to be alarmed about. Violent crime is very low in tourist areas, and the main risks are pickpocketing and purse snatching.

Crime In Philadelphia 

People who appear to be lost or uncertain about where they want to go are more likely to be targeted. It is best to plan your route in advance and avoid looking at a map too frequently. Generally speaking. Most visitors to the city are sure to have a safe, interesting, and memorable trip. 

Neighborhoods To Avoid

Most of Philadelphia’s crime tends to take place in the neighborhoods to the west, north, and south. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to stay away from these parts of the city if you are just visiting. Here are the main neighborhoods that should be avoided by tourists, especially after dark. 

Kensington 

The neighborhood of Kensington is notorious for drugs and general crime and should be avoided when possible. There are no major tourist attractions in the heart of Kensington, and the neighborhood is easy to skip. Commonly referred to as Kenzo, it has a large population of homeless people. 

Kensington 

Fairhill 

Although this neighborhood boasts some interesting attractions, it should be avoided after dark. El Centro de Oro can be found here, which is a great area for dining and shopping. There are several notorious drug corners, such as the intersection of 3rd Street and Indiana Avenue. The Philadelphia Badlands can also be found in this area, which is a notorious recreational drug market. 

Nicetown

If you accidentally venture into this area, you will soon realize that the name Nicetown is somewhat ironic. This is one of the most dangerous parts of the city, and it is best to avoid it altogether. The lack of landmarks and amenities means that there is no real reason to venture into Nicetown. 

South Street 

This vibrant neighborhood is famous for its punk and bohemian cafes and bars. Although families should probably avoid South Street, groups of adults can have a lot of fun here. However, using public transportation can be a little dicey, and it’s best to stick to taxis after dark. 

Scams To Avoid

The desire to make a quick buck is human nature, and a number of common scams are operated in the city. Being aware makes them easier to identify and steer clear of. Here are some of the most common scams that are operated in Philadelphia.

Not using the meter

Most visitors to the city are likely to feel a little disorientated after touching down at the airport. Some taxi drivers take advantage of this by avoiding using the taxi meter and overcharging for rides. Make sure you keep an eye on the meter and the journey to avoid being taken on a detour.

Instead of taking a traditional taxi from the airport, it’s best to use Lyft or Uber. The drivers of these services are more accountable and easier to track. If anything goes wrong, resolving the issue is usually fairly quick and easy. 

Friendship bracelets

Exploring an unfamiliar city alone can be a bit daunting, and many people welcome tokens of friendship. Be wary of strangers who seem too friendly or offer you gifts. Some people use any opportunity to tie friendship bracelets around the wrists of unsuspecting tourists. These bracelets and other ‘gifts’ come at a high price, and it is best to avoid getting sucked in. 

Friendship bracelets

The broken phone scam

It’s not unusual for someone to ask you to take their photo in a touristy area like Center City. A common scam involves the person dropping their phone when you hand it back and accusing you of breaking it. This can result in quite a scene as well as a hefty bill if you back down and agree to pay for the damage. 

Health Risk

There are few health concerns when visiting this vibrant city. Generally speaking, street food is safe to eat. Allergy sufferers should note that the pollen count can be high in the spring and fall. 

You may see people jumping in fountains to cool off in the summertime, especially at Logan Circle and JFK Plaza. Although these fountains are heavily chlorinated, they often become bathhouses for the homeless at night. It is best to stay out of them because they could pose a risk of infection.

Getting Around The City

Most parts of the city are covered by an extensive public transportation network. Traveling by public transportation is usually fairly safe and easy. However, pickpocketing can happen, especially on crowded trains and buses. 

By metro

Philadelphia has an efficient but rather limited subway and elevated train system. The Broad Street subway runs north to south, with the stadium complexes situated at the southernmost station. The Market-Frankford line runs underground and above the street from east to west, then stretches north along the Delaware River. 

The public transit system is managed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and is commonly referred to as SEPTA. There is a base far, while weekly unlimited passes are available as well as day passes. Traveling by metro is generally safe, although it is best to avoid empty carriages late at night. 

By train

Both SEPTA and Amtrak operate other train services throughout the city. Train travel is easy and particularly useful for trips to visit nearby cities. The main terminal can be found at 30th Street Station, which is usually very crowded. Trains are usually well-lit, and this is a fairly safe way to travel. 

By train

By bus

SEPTA buses run throughout the city around the clock, and this is the easiest way to travel after midnight. In the early hours of the morning, you may have to wait up to an hour for a bus to arrive. Make sure the bus stop you wait at is well-lit and in a busy area of the city. 

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful around the city and easily flagged on the streets citywide, especially in major tourist and nightlife areas. Telephone numbers are also emblazoned on most cabs, although requesting a cab by phone may take longer than flagging one. The city’s taxi cabs are licensed under a medallion system, and official cabs prominently display driver and rate information inside.

Exploring The City After Dark

Philadelphia comes alive at night, with people flocking to Center City to eat, drink, and take in a show. Although entertainment options can be found all over, it is best to stick to Center City, well-lit streets, and avoid exploring unfamiliar areas of the city alone. 

Dining

The city has dining options to meet all tastes and diets, and many restaurants are reasonably priced. However, prices can vary widely, and it is best to check carefully before ordering. Center City is also fairly small and very walkable, and it’s possible to wander from a restaurant to the next venue. 

Dining

Clubbing

The nightlife in Center City is varied, from uptown clubbing in Old City to South Street’s bars. If you are unfamiliar with the city, it is best to stick to the clubs in City Center and other tourist areas. After leaving in the early hours of the morning, avoid walking whenever possible, especially on fairly deserted streets. 

Live music

The city is famous for its jazz, soul, and hip-hop, and finding a live music venue is pretty easy. Some of the busiest venues in the city come with a drink minimum, which should be confirmed before ordering. Aside from this, the live music scene is fairly relaxed, and visitors are safe to let their hair down. 

When To Visit 

The Mid-Atlantic states are known for their temperate climate, experiencing all four seasons, sometimes to uncomfortable extremes. Spring and fall are fantastic times to visit the city. However, the weather can become uncomfortable in the peaks of winter and summer.

Late July and August tend to be hot and rather muggy. Temperatures in July average out at a low of 69ºF with a high of 86ºF. However, regular heat waves can cause temperatures and humidity levels to soar. The fall is a great time to visit the city as temperatures tend to be much lower without being too cold.

Find The Perfect Place To Call Home!

If you haven’t got your heart set on where yore relocating yet, then take a look at our guides to the Safest Neighborhoods In Philadelphia, the Best Neighborhoods In Long Island, the Safest Neighborhoods In Atlanta, and the Best Places To Live In Florida For Families to help you decide.

We’ve also included the areas to avoid in the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Los Angeles to ensure the safety of your family.

If you’re going to be job hunting in your new state, then check out our resume writing guides starting with How To List References On A Resume, which Achievements To List On Your ResumeHow To List Education On A Resume, and the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume in 2023.

Final Thoughts 

Like any big city, there are certain hazards to be aware of when visiting Philadelphia. Although the city has a crime rate above the national average, it tends to be focused on certain neighborhoods. The areas that are commonly visited by tourists tend to be safe, well-lit, and packed with interesting attractions.

While the city boasts an excellent transportation network, walking is also a great way to get around. Make sure you keep your belongings secure and out of sight while exploring the city. As long as you keep an eye out for scams and use common sense, you should be perfectly safe.

Enjoy your trip to Philadelphia, stay safe, and have fun!

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