how safe is san francisco

San Francisco offers a lot to everyone who appreciates fine cuisine, fine wine, and culture. The city is renowned for its fine dining, with world-class restaurants serving everything from fresh seafood to traditional ethnic cuisines.

Additionally, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without trying some of the regional wines. The Napa and Sonoma valleys are just a short drive from the city, and there are plenty of wine bars and tasting rooms in San Francisco itself.

The city has a long, rich history in terms of culture. From its rowdy early days as a hub for the Gold Rush to its present-day status as a significant financial and technological center, the city has always been a melting pot of different cultures.

But is San Francisco safe?

People ask this question often, and depending on how you look at it, there are several answers. There are certain areas of San Francisco known to be more dangerous than others, but there are also many relatively safe parts.

In this article, we’ll warn you about potential dangers and provide advice on how to be safe while visiting San Francisco.

Is San Francisco Safe to Visit?

Cable cars being pulled up a steep hill on California Street for a piece titled Is San Francisco Safe


Yes, to answer briefly. San Francisco is generally safe for tourists , and the majority of visitors usually experience no issues while there.

Property crime, or the stealing of private property without the use of force or violence, is the main safety issue. This often takes the form of auto break-ins, car theft, and shoplifting, so it’s crucial to pay attention and never leave your belongings unguarded.

Other potential risks are muggings and being pickpocketed, which are higher in some areas. Therefore, if you want to wander about, pay attention to your surroundings and only carry what is absolutely required in terms of cash and valuables.

Finally, natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfire smoke are things that need to be considered. Even though these occurrences are relatively infrequent, it never hurts to be prepared for an emergency.

Crime in San Francisco

San Francisco has seen a rise in property crime in recent years. In 2021, the city  recorded 7,311 burglaries, 6,070 auto thefts, and 31,915 robberies were reported.

Between 2020 and 2021, a 24.1% increase in recorded property crimes overall was seen. At the time, the San Francisco Police Department attributed the increase to the city’s growing homeless population and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2017, there has also been an increase in homelessness. Indeed, up to 2021, the homeless population grew by almost 7,000 people to number 35,118, according to the Bay Area Economic Institute

Many of the city’s homeless people battle addiction and mental illness, which encourages more crime. In addition, the pandemic has led to an increase in poverty and unemployment, which can also contribute to crime.

Avoiding Crimes in San Francisco

Even though it’s hard to predict when or even if you’ll become a victim of crime, there are steps you may do to lower your chances:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Although this is sound advice for any city, it is crucial in San Francisco. Due to the city’s high density of people, it is simple to become sidetracked and lose awareness of your surroundings. Keep your eyes alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid sketchy areas. It is well recognized that certain areas are riskier than others. It is advised to stay away from these places entirely if you are unfamiliar with the city. For example, some of the more dangerous areas include the Tenderloin, the Mission District, and sections of Market Street.
  • Don’t flash your valuables. This is yet another wise principle to abide by in any city. Keep your valuables concealed and out of sight if you’re carrying a lot of cash or other items of value with you. If not, you can be seen as a convenient target for robbers.
  • Use common sense. Although it can seem like common sense, this advice is nonetheless important. It’s important to use caution and common sense while visiting any new place. If something doesn’t seem right, go with your gut and go on.
  • Know where to go for help. Find the location of the closest hospital and police station before you visit the area. That way, if you find yourself in any trouble, you’ll know exactly where to go for help.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods

For a post titled Is San Francisco Safe, a bunch of tents in teh Tenderloin District at dawn

Myra Thompson/Shutterstock

The  Tenderloin District  in San Francisco  has a reputation for being the most dangerous neighborhood in the city, and several factors contribute to this reputation. First off, drug selling, shootings, and killings are all common in the Tenderloin.

Furthermore, the area is home to strip clubs and pubs, which may draw rowdy and inebriated clientele who are more prone to use violence. Prostitution is also widespread in Tenderloin, and it’s not uncommon for people to be robbed after being lured into a secluded area.

Finally, the area is home to a large number of homeless people, many of whom are struggling with mental health issues or addiction. This leads to an unstable climate where minor offenses like panhandling and public urinating are frequent.

Market Street San Francisco’s busiest street is. It’s filled with people rushing to and from work, to appointments, and to catch a bus or train. But beneath the busy surface, some parts can be dangerous. This is due to two factors.

First of all, compared to other streets in San Francisco, this one is the most crowded and has the highest per-mile collision rate. This means there are a lot of opportunities for accidents to happen, as people are often distracted or preoccupied.

Second, many homeless people live on the street, and some may target unsuspecting pedestrians. On certain streets, drug use and sales are on the rise, and begging and harassment are commonplace.

The  Mission District  is a dynamic, distinctive neighborhood with a lengthy history. But there are certain risks in this area. The Mission District has its fair share of gang-related issues and violent crime, as does any big area.

According to  The San Francisco Standard criminal activity in the area has significantly increased, especially when it comes to violence and the targeting of property.

Additionally, the area is home to a sizable homeless population with individuals who may resort to theft or aggression if they feel desperate. Finally, the Mission Zone is renowned for being a party district, where accidents caused by alcohol are frequent.

Things to Consider

US park police officers showing that San Francisco is safe in the most public spaces


What you need to know while making travel plans to San Francisco is as follows:

  • Transportation. San Francisco is best navigated on foot or via public transit. When walking, make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to climb hills. Buy a Muni Passport in advance if you’d like to use public transit. This will give you unlimited rides on all San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) vehicles, including buses, streetcars, and cable cars.
  • Weather. San Francisco’s known for its chilly temperatures and thick fog, but it can get pretty warm once the sun starts shining. As the weather may change suddenly, be ready for everything and carry layers.
  • Open culture. San Francisco is a very open and accepting city,   as shown by one of the largest Pride Parades in the world. You shouldn’t be shocked if you witness some nudity during parades, festivals, or in parks that permit it because of this openness.
  • Tolerance for drugs. In San Francisco, where marijuana is accepted both medically and recreationally, there is a high tolerance for narcotics. In addition, the city has approved the use of Safe Consumption Sites, where people can use illegal drugs under medical supervision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beautiful Pier 39 with the sea lions in full view of the camera for a piece on Is San Francisco Safe


Continue reading to get the answers to a few frequently asked questions about San Francisco if you have any further inquiries about this famous city.

What should I avoid in San Francisco?

Keep an eye out for tourist traps. Sure, visiting locations like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge could be enjoyable, but you’ll discover that they’re often crowded and might be expensive. Instead, try to discover some of the city’s lesser-known attractions; you’ll be pleased you did!

Furthermore, just because you’re traveling during the summer doesn’t mean you may visit with just a summer clothing. Flip-flops and shorts won’t do. Pack a jacket since San Francisco is known for being chilly and foggy.

Last but not least, if you can, try to avoid rush hour. Traffic is often a headache, and parking spots may be very hard to come by (and costly!). So it’s best to plan your outings around the busiest times of the day.

Is San Francisco dangerous at night?

San Francisco has an active, thriving nightlife. After dark, however, there is some criminality there as well. So, if you intend to be out and about at night, be aware of your surroundings and take safety measures.

Follow the masses while you’re out on foot, remain on well-lit streets, and steer clear of any suspicious-looking locations. Just in case, think about investing in pepper spray or another kind of self-defense. Always keep your stuff close to you while using public transit.

Is San Francisco safer than New York City?

San Francisco is statistically safer than New York City. According to FBI data, in 2019, there were 5,933 violent crimes and 48,780 property crimes committed in San Francisco, while  New York City had 47,821 and 122,299, respectively.

These figures, however, don’t fully convey the tale. San Francisco may have a lower crime rate, but it also has a much smaller population than New York City and a smaller police force.

In fact, the Hoover Institution claims The United States’ most violent city is San Francisco, while New York has almost twice as many police officers per person as San Francisco.

Does San Francisco have a lot of homeless people?

Yes. In 2019, it was projected that there were over 8,000 homeless persons residing in San Francisco. The city has started to take steps to address the issue, but it’s a complex problem with no easy solutions.

Families, veterans, and those suffering from mental illness or drug abuse issues are among the homeless population’s different groups. Many are working hard to get back on their feet, but the high cost of living in the Bay Area makes it challenging to find affordable housing.

Given that, San Francisco has introduced initiatives to provide more support for the homeless population. It will probably continue to be a city with a sizable homeless population in the meantime.

Is San Francisco a dirty city?

One of the most beautiful cities in the United States, San Francisco, is often praised. Unfortunately, even while that assertion has some merit, it is also one of the dirtiest. Waste, uneaten food, and abandoned goods fill the streets.

The issue is exacerbated by the city’s sizable homeless population, who often sleep on the streets and are forced to disperse their things. In addition, San Francisco’s tourist attractions—such as Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown—attract large crowds and create a mess.

survey  by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit demonstrates that there are more greater problems plaguing San Francisco’s streets than trashed cups. It found roughly 100 dirty needles and other pieces of trash for every block in the city, along with more than 300 piles of feces.

So, Is San Francisco Safe?

San Francisco is a lovely place to visit, but like any large city, it has certain safety issues. So stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, take precautions when walking around bad neighborhoods or at night, and keep a close eye on your personal belongings when you’re out in public.

Avoid areas where there are a lot of homeless individuals, and be aware of the city’s drug usage issues. With a bit of extra caution, you can enjoy your time in San Francisco without any unwelcome surprises.

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