How to Avoid Trouble in New York + My Real Experience


The COVID-19 vaccine is gradually widely taken, and I think that some people are thinking of traveling for the first time in a long time.

I would like to explain the New York safety to everyone who is thinking about New York as a travel destination. When you hear about New York, a lot of people might be worried about the safety because of recent news. Certainly, compared to Japan, which boasts one of the world safest countries, it is necessary to travel and live with a cautious mind, but if you know a few tips, you can enjoy your trip to New York with peace of mind without being involved in dangerous crimes.

Dangerous Areas in New York

First, New York has a service called NYC Crime Map that provides a visual look at the city’s crime areas.

NYC Crime Map

Places with a large number of tourists tend to have a high incidence of crime, but the possibility of being involved in serious crimes is not so high because police with guns are deployed everywhere and security is solid.

Some parts of East Harlem, less tourist areas of Brooklyn, and South Bronx are relatively dangerous areas, so it’s better to avoid these areas if you’re looking for hotels on a trip or choosing a place to stay on Airbnb.

I needed to go to East Harlem for a tennis match the other day, but there were a lot of drug addicts around 125th Street Station, and they were screaming something out of the way and it was just like the end of the world. From there, I took a bus to the tennis venue, but unfortunately, one of the drug addicts got on the bus and the inside of the car became chaotic. What’s worse, one of the passengers who personally received the rant uttered by the drug addict punched the drug addict in the face, and my life was shortened a little at the moment. Eventually, the passenger was immediately dropped off the bus, but the drug addict refused to get off and ended up riding with me to my destination.

From this experience, I decided not to approach East Harlem in the future, but there was another tennis match at the same venue again, so I asked my teammate to take me by his car there.

Be careful not to approach areas that are dangerous to you as much as possible.

Places and Situations You Want to Avoid in New York

It can be said that, during the daytime, it is usually safe to walk in parks including Central Park, but it is not safe to approach there at night and early in the morning because it is dark and less people.

In addition, it is better to avoid the use of streets with few people in general and subways in the middle of the night.

Regardless of the time of day, there have been many crimes recently at the subway where people are suddenly pushed on their backs from behind and dropped on the tracks. The subway in New York does not have any home door, just like in Japan, so when you get on the train, wait far away from the tracks to avoid crashing crime.

Furthermore, there are an incredible number of drug addicts in New York. Stay away from people who are making strange noises or acting abnormally.

Travel Caution

You don’t have to worry all day as you can’t enjoy sightseeing in New York, but you have to be aware that you’re in a foreign country and pay some attentions.


Overall, keep an eye on your surroundings and keep an eye on your baggage.

In Japan, you don’t have to worry about leaving your bag on a seat to claim your place in the coffee shop, but in New York, you should definitely avoid using any valuable to leave on a seat.

Other basic notes are listed below.

  • Don’t show your wallet or inside of your bag on the road or subway. Keep your valuables, mobile phones, etc. Make them invisible from the outside.
  • Do not walk along the building when walking at night. Prevents being drawn between buildings.
  • Don’t spread maps and guidebooks in places where many tourists gather. Avoid being caught up in crimes targeting tourists.
  • If you are riding a sightseeing carriage in Central Park, ask the person directly. Don’t deal with intermediaries who call out around the park. You may get into financial trouble later.
  • If there is a person who is suspicious of behavior or making a strange noise, do not make eye contact, and if possible, leave the place immediately.
  • Don’t stand near the door of train. Prevent theft targeting people standing near the door just before the train door closes.
  • Avoid desolate train, platform, and walkways.
  • Be more careful than necessary when crossing signals. There are cars and bicycles that cross the traffic lights at high speed just before or after the red light.
  • Do not drink alcohol in public areas, such as parks or on the street. Unlike Japan, these acts are prohibited by law.

Beware of Ripping-off Taxis at the Airport

Basically, if you’re arriving at the airport and using a taxi, use an official Taxi (Yellow Cab) in New York, or a trusted app like Uber or Lyft.

For yellow cabs, there is a flat rate from the airport to the city.

The price from John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport to Manhattan is depending on the time of day, but a total of $60 to $70 is a good idea to keep in mind.

NYC Taxi Fares

Taxi Fare - TLC

I usually use Uber to get from the airport, but sadly I was hit by a rip-off the other day. When I arrived at the airport and picked up my checked-in luggage and went outside the door, there was an area where I had to check the NYS Traveler Health Form. After showing my form, when I tried to get an Uber reservation in that area, someone spoke to me. He said that Uber’s service system at the airport had changed due to the COVID-19 situation, so he would enter data directly into his Uber device and take me to the city.

Since there were security guards around us and I had been in Japan for a while which made me too used to peace, I believed him and went to Manhattan by his car. He was driving very rough and had a series of unpleasant words during the trip, but I thought it was common in New York, isn’t it?

However, when I got to my destination, I was charged more than four times the normal price. I started realizing that he wasn’t a formal Uber driver, so I told him to show his Uber ID and a breakdown of his bill. Since he did not show any legit information, I told him that I only pay the fair price, so I tried to resist as much as possible.

After some discussions, he unmasked and started talking fast and furious, so I began to be worried what if he had a gun or if he escaped with the trunk my luggage in it immediately after getting out of his car. Therefore, I reluctantly paid what he told.

Be careful when you take a taxi from the airport!

Beware of Cosplayer around Times Square

Times Square is one of New York’s most famous sightseeing places, but unfortunately it’s also famous for its many misdemeanors.

When you get to Times Square, you may find some cosplayers dressed as a famous mouse character or superhero everywhere. They approach to take a commemorative photo with the tourists, but after they take a picture together, they ask for money at the end.

If you are a person who don’t mind to pay to take a picture with a fake famous mouse character in Times Square, I do not say anything more, but if you aren’t, let’s firmly say “No” to them.

Beware of CD Distributer on Streets

There are people handing out CDs near tourist attractions such as Times Square and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If you are faced with this situation, be sure to refuse to receive it. When you receive it, you will be charged for the CD. Some scammers ask for your name and write your name on his CD to create situations that are hard to refuse. Even if you overcome the situation by not paying money, you will get various curses, so let’s not get involved as much as possible.

Prepare Before Your Trip to New York

In addition to traveling to New York, setting up the internet connection and getting overseas travel insurance are essential when traveling abroad.

Ensure the Internet Environment

During your stay in New York, if you can use the internet on your smartphone at all times, you can do research, use your app, and also it could be a mean of contact in case of unpleasant situation.

In New York, there are many free Wi-Fi spots, and the internet is available when necessary, but in order to avoid not being able to use the internet when necessary, it is recommended to secure a solid internet environment, such as setting up your phones for international uses and bringing a portable Wi-Fi.

Obtain Overseas Travel Insurance in Case of Emergency

Unlike Japan, medical expenses are very high in the United States. It is better to obtain overseas travel insurance in case you are involved in a crime or in case of an accident or illness while traveling.

Some people have overseas travel insurance on their credit cards. However, if you’re worried about your coverage, obtain international travel insurance additionally.

Emergency Contact

Seek help from nearby police immediately after you are involved in a crime.

The phone number for emergencies (police, ambulance, and fire) when there are no police nearby is “911”. When the phone is connected, you can tell “Japanese (or your language), please” and you will be able to connect to a Japanese interpreter.

In addition, if you get in a yellow cab related trouble, please consult the following website:

Home  · NYC311

Just in case, keep a copy of your passport before your travel and keep your credit card company contact details.

In addition, if you are involved in any trouble, please contact the Consulate General of Japan in New York.

Consulate-General of Japan in New York

Phone: (212)371-8222

Address: 299 Park Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10171
(Park Avenue, the 18,19th floor of the building on the east side between 48th and 49th street)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

However, in case of emergency, 24 hours a day
Access Denied


New York is one of the best tourist attractive places in the world.

If you’ve already lost your mind going to New York after reading this article, please do not forget that New York is full of appeals that outweigh its safety.

If you’re traveling to New York, be safe and have the most fun!