Most people think that New York City is a really scary or dangerous city. This is not actually the case. Jonah Engler says that this is basically because of the way in which the city was presented in various movies, ranging from the seventies till now. The city has a population of millions of people but if you look at safety statistics, you quickly learn that this is one of the safest cities in the country.
The problem is that every single city in the world does have some sort of crime. This means there are scammers and fraud specialists that actively prowl New York City in search of victims. The common target is almost always the tourist since he/she does not know much about the actual life in the city.
If you want to stay safe, remember the following.
Dealing With Panhandlers
The best thing you can do with panhandlers is to simply avoid eye contact. The persistent requests are usually deterred by simply saying NO in a firm way. The really common scam is to have strangers approach tourists with sob stories about how they cannot get back home or a claim that an attack just happened. When people look like there is a legitimate problem, remember that police officers can help them. It is not your responsibility to do so.
Swindlers and pickpockets in New York City often work in teams. There is one person that is causing a commotion and someone else works the pockets. The crowd street performers are also a great opportunity for thieves. What you need to do is to be aware of what happens around you. Also, you need to know where all your valuables are at all times. Also, never participate in shell games or card games since they are always scams.
General Safety Tips For Tourists
- One of the best things you can do is to avoid drawing attention by simply not acting like a tourist. Avoid standing on the street corners to look at maps and always walk confidently since this actively deters criminals.
- Always be aware of surroundings.
- When on the subway, the wallet should be kept in the front pocket. The purse needs to be held in front of you.
- Never flaunt cameras, cash, the smartphone or jewelry when in public. Go into a store when organizing the wallet.
- Be cautious when you use ATMs. Try to avoid carrying a lot of cash on you. Fortunately, in most places in New York credit cards are accepted.
- If you travel during the night, avoid side streets.
- Whenever you are lost or feel uncomfortable, talk to a store owner or a police officer.
- Take the cab if you are not sure about the safety of the location you are in.
With all this in mind, in the event you are the victim of a crime, the best thing you can do is not react and call 911. A police officer is going to assist you as soon as possible.