Is Brooklyn safe? How expensive is it and where do you eat? Find out answers to these questions and more.
New York City is in New York state, and it consists of five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. Brooklyn was consolidated into New York City in 1898. Prior to this, Brooklyn was an independent city and authorized town. Its original name was Breuckelen, a Dutch colonial term.
A Brief History Of Brooklyn
Brooklyn has around ten distinct neighborhoods with their own charms. It has multiple water borders, including the Narrows, Atlantic Ocean, and Jamaica Bay. In 1883, the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge strengthened Brooklyn’s connection to the City of New York. Before that, you could only reach Manhattan by water. Today, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge also connects Brooklyn to Staten Island.
Brooklyn was often overshadowed by the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets of Manhattan, has emerged from the shadows to claim its rightful place as one of New York City’s most vibrant boroughs. Historically, tourists have been drawn to the iconic landmarks of Manhattan, leaving Brooklyn as uncharted territory for many. However, the winds of change have been blowing steadily over the past few years. With the gentrification of areas along the East River Waterfront, neighborhoods that were once deemed unsafe, like Williamsburg, have transformed into bustling hubs of culture and activity.
Today, Brooklyn not only offers a unique blend of history and modernity but also presents a plethora of amenities that can rival, if not surpass, those of Manhattan. From the thriving nightlife of Bushwick to the tranquil skyline views of Brooklyn Heights and the world-class parks of Park Slope, Brooklyn promises an experience rich in diversity. And let’s not forget the culinary delights that await in every corner, making it a gastronomic paradise for food enthusiasts. As Brooklyn continues to evolve, it beckons travelers to explore its streets and discover the treasures hidden within.
Is Brooklyn Safe to Visit in 2024?
Brooklyn’s safety profile has seen considerable improvements over the past few decades, and by 2024, the borough has established itself as a generally safe destination for both residents and visitors. Here’s a breakdown of Brooklyn’s safety in 2024:
- Crime Rates: In comparison to the early 2000s, Brooklyn’s overall crime rate has decreased significantly by 2024. The borough has witnessed a decline in both violent and property crimes.
- Neighborhood Safety: While Brooklyn as a whole is considered safe, safety can vary by neighborhood. Areas such as Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, and Carroll Gardens consistently rank as some of the safest neighborhoods. However, neighborhoods like Brownsville and East New York, although improving, still report higher crime rates compared to other parts of Brooklyn.
- Tourist Areas: Popular tourist destinations in Brooklyn, such as Coney Island, DUMBO, and Williamsburg, have seen increased police presence and security measures, ensuring a safer environment for visitors.
- Public Transportation: The subway stations and bus stops in Brooklyn are equipped with surveillance cameras, and there’s a noticeable police presence, especially during peak hours. This has contributed to a decline in transit-related crimes.
- Community Initiatives: Local community initiatives, such as neighborhood watch programs and community policing, have played a pivotal role in enhancing safety across various Brooklyn neighborhoods.
- Data Points:
- Homicide Rate: By 2024, Brooklyn’s homicide rate has seen a decline of approximately 15% compared to the previous decade.
- Robbery and Assault: Incidents of robbery and assault have decreased by around 20% in the same timeframe.
- Property Crimes: Burglaries and car thefts have seen a reduction of about 18% over the past ten years.
In conclusion, based on the data and trends, Brooklyn in 2024 is largely safe for visitors. However, like any urban area, it’s always advisable for tourists to stay informed, be aware of their surroundings, and take standard safety precautions.
Crime in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs of New York City, has undergone significant transformations over the years. Once overshadowed by Manhattan’s allure, Brooklyn has seen areas that were historically considered dangerous, like Williamsburg, become as safe as some suburbs. However, like any urban area, it’s essential to be aware of prevalent crimes and take necessary precautions.
Common Crimes In Brooklyn
- Petty Theft: The most frequent crime tourists might encounter is petty theft. Areas around popular tourist destinations, such as Prospect Park and the Williamsburg Waterfront, are common grounds for pickpockets and bag snatchers. It’s advisable to keep a close watch on personal belongings and be alert in densely populated areas.
- Scams: Tourists, easily identifiable by locals, are potential targets for various scams. Common scams include inflated prices, charges for supposedly free services, fake cabs at the airport, ATM skimmers, and subway scammers. Tourists should always inquire about prices beforehand, be cautious of stores with unlisted product prices, and avoid purchasing metro cards or tickets from unauthorized sellers.
- Violent Crime: While violent crimes in Brooklyn often arise from personal disputes among residents, tourists can occasionally become victims, especially during property theft incidents. It’s essential to comply with any demands during such situations and report the incident to the police. Random acts of violence, such as stabbings or incidents involving subways, have made headlines, emphasizing the need for vigilance.
- Brownsville: Recognized as the most dangerous part of Brooklyn and New York City at large, Brownsville has approximately 1,300 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Many of these violent incidents are homicides. Tourists are advised to avoid this area.
- East New York: This area’s violent crime rate is 184% above the national average. Tourists should be cautious and avoid straying into this neighborhood.
- Bushwick: While Bushwick has seen significant gentrification, its crime rate is still 7% higher than the national average. The further east you venture, the more dangerous it becomes. Tourists are advised to stay west of Dekalb Avenue for safety.
- Vinegar Hill: Adjacent to the popular tourist spot Dumbo, Vinegar Hill is more industrial and less frequented. While not overtly dangerous, its remote nature can attract criminal activity, especially during nighttime.
- Preventing Petit Larceny: Secure valuables with straps, avoid distractions while walking, and keep bags in front of you on public transport.
- Avoiding Scams: Be wary of overly friendly individuals or those offering services for free. Always ask for prices upfront and be cautious of unlisted product prices.
- Avoiding Random Violence: Maintain awareness of surroundings, make eye contact, and stand away from subway platforms.
- Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods: Tourists should be cautious of areas with high crime rates and lack of notable attractions. It’s essential to familiarize oneself with neighborhoods and subway stops to avoid inadvertently entering high-risk areas.
In conclusion, while Brooklyn offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from its vibrant nightlife to serene parks, safety remains paramount. By staying informed and taking standard precautions, tourists can enjoy all that Brooklyn has to offer while ensuring their well-being.
Crime Statistics In Brooklyn
Based on our data, here’s a detailed breakdown of the common crimes in Brooklyn:
Violent Crime Statistics (Calculated annually per 100,000 residents)
- Assault: 378.4 (National Average: 282.7)
- Murder: 4 (National Average: 6.1)
- Rape: 13.2 (National Average: 40.7)
- Robbery: 228.3 (National Average: 135.5)
Property Crime Statistics (Calculated annually per 100,000 residents)
- Burglary: 197.8 (National Average: 500.1)
- Theft: 1,404.6 (National Average: 2,042.8)
Total Crime Index
- Brooklyn is safer than 26% of U.S. neighborhoods, with an index of 26 (where 100 is the safest).
Annual Crimes in Brooklyn
- Violent Crimes: 12,213
- Property Crimes: 36,760
- Total Crimes: 48,973
- Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents): 17.90
- Violent: 4.46
- Property: 13.44
Violent Crime Comparison (per 1,000 residents)
- Chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Brooklyn: 1 in 224
- Chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in New York State: 1 in 319
Property Crime Comparison (per 1,000 residents)
- Chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in Brooklyn: 1 in 74
- Chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in New York State: 1 in 74
In conclusion, while Brooklyn has seen improvements in its safety profile over the years, it’s essential for residents and visitors to remain vigilant and take standard safety precautions. The data suggests that property crimes are more prevalent than violent crimes, but the rates for both are lower than the national average for several categories.
Brooklyn attracts many up-and-coming professionals, writers, artists, and young entrepreneurs. It is one of the most populated boroughs in New York City, with a melting pot of races. The population is estimated at 2.6 million and includes the following racial breakdown according to the 2010 census:
- 49.5% White
- 35.8% Black or African American
- 19.8% Hispanic or Latino
- 11.3% Asian
- 1% Native American
- 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander
- 2.2% Two or more races
- 8.9% Other races
While Brooklyn represents a diverse mix of cultures, it does have some segregated neighborhoods. Overall, the northeast areas are mostly Hispanic and Black. The southwest area is more racially mixed, including Muslim and Arab American communities in Bay Ridge as well as Chinese Americans in Sunset Park, known as Chinatown.
Brooklyn’s Real Estate
Brooklyn is expansive with options of properties to call home for everyone. You can find multi-family homes, brownstones, lofts, apartments, and houses with backyards. Property prices in Brooklyn are lower when compared to Manhattan, and you are likely to find something within your budget.
Brooklyn’s housing market trend is $960 thousand to buy. The average rent for an apartment is $2,810. Some of the more affordable neighborhoods are Gerritsen Beach, Madison, and Marine Park, with rent of $1,720 per month. One of the most expensive is Greenpoint, with $4223 rent.
The architectural style of homes in Brooklyn closely represents those in Great Britain and European cities. There are row house neighborhoods in the styles of Greek Revival brick, Gothic Revival, and brownstone-faced Italianates.
Brooklyn is well known for its education, with high-rated elementary, middle, and high schools. There are multiple A+ rated public schools, including Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science, Achievement First – Bushwick School, and KIPP AMP Charter School. As of 2019, 86.9% of Brooklyn’s residents ages 18 to 24 are high school graduates.
For higher education, Brooklyn has most of New York City’s colleges, including Brooklyn College, ranked twice in the top 10 of Princeton Review’s guidebook. Brooklyn is also home to the largest public college of technology in the state, CUNY’s New York City College of Technology. 37.5% of adults ages 25 or older living in Brooklyn have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Brooklyn’s Public Library is separate from the New York and Queens system. There are 58 library branches in Brooklyn, allowing plenty of opportunities for self-education. Overall, the median earnings of people 25 years and over in Brooklyn is $43,455.
Brooklyn has a strong mayor-council system, and the New York City Charter has governed the borough since 1898. Brooklyn residents are mostly Democrats and haven’t voted Republican in a national presidential election since 1924. In 2020, Brooklyn had one Republican and four Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Within the borough, there is one Congressional district. There are also 18 community districts. Brooklyn has the most City Council members compared to the other boroughs, with 16 members.
How is Brooklyn Security
While Brooklyn used to have a reputation for being a dangerous borough, safety in Brooklyn has improved significantly in the past decade. 23 police precincts patrol Brooklyn. Most of these precincts have experienced a decrease of over 80% in crime rates between 1990 and 2020.
Each borough in New York City has its own District Attorney and criminal court system. Brooklyn also has 66 fire stations and over one hundred hospitals.
Today, Brooklyn has diverse neighborhoods with multiple close-knit communities. Resident reviews mostly indicate it is mostly safe, an underrated neighborhood to live in, and a place people of different backgrounds can live comfortably together.
Dining And Nightlife Options
There are countless ethnic cuisines in Brooklyn and new restaurants are always popping up. Most of the institutions have been around for decades, serving up time-tested recipes. Of course, they are known for Italian food, especially pizza. You can find thin crust, pillowy Sicilian, and oven-brick varieties. On Saturdays, there is also Smorgasburg in Williamsburg that features over 100 local vendors.
Explore these neighborhoods for delicious meals:
- Dim sum in Sunset Park’s Little Fuzhou
- Sticky-sweet baklava in Sheepshead Bay
- Jamaican jerk chicken in Crown Heights
- Falafel and Middle Eastern Food in Bay Ridge
Some popular restaurants in Brooklyn include:
- Junior’s Restaurant for cheesecakes and Jewish deli classics
- Bamonte’s, one of the oldest restaurants established in 1900
- Xilonen, an upscale Mexican restaurant with tacos and tostadas
- Tong for thai beer and drinking snacks, such as spicy beef tartare
Brooklyn Public Transportation
Brooklyn, being an integral part of New York City, is well-served by a comprehensive public transportation system. This system not only connects Brooklyn to other boroughs but also ensures that moving within Brooklyn is convenient and efficient. Here’s an overview of Brooklyn’s public transportation:
- MTA New York City Subway: Brooklyn is crisscrossed by numerous subway lines that connect it to Manhattan, Queens, and other parts of the borough. Key lines include the A, C, F, L, N, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains.
- Stations: Major subway hubs in Brooklyn include Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, Jay Street-MetroTech, and DeKalb Avenue.
- Accessibility: Many subway stations have been upgraded to be ADA-compliant, offering elevators and ramps for those with mobility challenges.
- MTA Buses: Brooklyn is served by an extensive bus network that covers areas not easily accessible by subway. Buses are especially useful for cross-borough travel without going through Manhattan.
- BRT (Bus Rapid Transit): The B44 SBS (Select Bus Service) is a faster bus service running along Nostrand Avenue, providing limited-stop service and quicker travel times.
- NYC Ferry: The NYC Ferry service connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, Queens, and other destinations. Popular stops in Brooklyn include DUMBO, Red Hook, and Williamsburg. Ferries offer a scenic way to travel, especially during warmer months.
- Citi Bike:
- Bike Sharing: Citi Bike, New York City’s official bike-sharing system, has numerous docking stations in Brooklyn. It’s a convenient option for short trips or exploring neighborhoods at a leisurely pace.
- Taxis and Rideshares:
- Yellow and Green Cabs: While Manhattan is known for its iconic yellow taxis, Brooklyn has both yellow and green cabs. Green cabs, or Boro Taxis, serve areas less frequented by yellow taxis.
- Rideshare Services: Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Via operate extensively in Brooklyn, offering another option for getting around.
- Safety and Etiquette:
- Safety: While Brooklyn’s public transportation is generally safe, it’s advisable to stay aware of your surroundings, especially during off-peak hours. If traveling late at night, consider waiting in designated “off-hours waiting areas” in subway stations.
- Etiquette: When using public transportation, it’s courteous to offer seats to the elderly, pregnant women, or those with disabilities. On escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left. Avoid blocking subway or bus doors.
- Future Developments:
- Brooklyn’s public transportation system is continually evolving. Plans for future expansions and improvements, such as the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar, aim to further enhance connectivity and reduce travel times.
The subway system in New York City is world-famous. It’s a reliable and fast way to get around and connects to all the boroughs. For just $2.75 a ride, you can go anywhere you want. Brooklyn also has 55 bus routes, most running on former streetcar lines. If you need a temporary vehicle, you can use a car-sharing business, such as Zipcar.
Where To Visit In Brooklyn?
The cultural diversity and vibrancy of Brooklyn offer various activities to enjoy. Take in the numerous preserved low-rise architecture in Brooklyn Heights. Here you can find properties representing Victorian Gothic, Classical Revival, Greek Revival, Neo-Grec, Second Empire, and Romanesque styles. You can also experience the diverse nightlife and hipster culture in Williamsburg or enjoy live music festivals in Dumbo. Other must-visit attractions in Brooklyn include:
- Brooklyn Museum
- Brooklyn Arts Gallery
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- Games at Barclays Center
- New York Transit Museum
- The seasonal Brooklyn Flea Market
The abundance of parks in Brooklyn allows you to get fresh air without feeling crowded. Popular parks in Brooklyn include:
- The 526-acre Prospect Park with an Audubon Center and ice rink
- Brooklyn Bridge Park with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline
- McCarren Park that’s great for sport lovers
Is Brooklyn Family-Friendly?
There are neighborhoods in Brooklyn that are known for being safe and suitable for young families with kids. These include Park Slope at the west of Prospect Park, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Williamsburg, and Dumbo. Regardless of where you live, the walkable sidewalks, tree-lined streets, and various green spaces with playgrounds make Brooklyn neighborhoods ideal for children.
There are also plenty of attractions for kids to enjoy, including:
- Prospect Park zoo and carousel
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum
- Sakura Matsuri Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- Luna Park in Coney Island
- Pier 6 Playgrounds
Frequently Asked Questions
Brownsville is often recognized as the most dangerous part of Brooklyn, with a higher rate of violent crimes than other neighborhoods in the borough.
Both Brooklyn and Manhattan have neighborhoods that are very safe and others that are less so. On average, Manhattan tends to have a lower crime rate than some parts of Brooklyn, but this can vary widely depending on the specific neighborhoods being compared. It’s essential to look at individual neighborhoods rather than making broad comparisons.
Safety in Brooklyn at night varies by neighborhood. Areas like Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, and DUMBO are generally safe at night. However, neighborhoods with higher crime rates, such as Brownsville or East New York, might be riskier after dark. As always, it’s advisable to stay aware of your surroundings, stick to well-lit areas, and avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods at night.
Brooklyn is not a city; it’s one of the five boroughs of New York City. While it has areas with higher crime rates, it also has many neighborhoods that are considered safe and have seen significant improvements in safety over the years. Overall, Brooklyn is generally safe, especially when compared to many other urban areas, but like any large metropolitan area, it has pockets of higher crime.
While many parts of Brooklyn are safe and welcoming to visitors, some areas are considered riskier due to higher crime rates. It’s often advised to exercise caution or avoid areas like Brownsville, East New York, and certain parts of Bushwick, especially late at night or if unfamiliar with the area.
What Else is There to Know?
With most of Brooklyn bordering water, there is a flood risk for approximately 15% of homes. FEMA recommends residents consider flood insurance. However, fire risk and drought risk are very low.
Parking in Brooklyn is limited, even though most streets offer free parking. It can be expensive to park your car in garages.
Despite the reputation Brooklyn used to have, most residents in Brooklyn say they feel safe walking the streets in the morning and at night. Staying proactive is still best as some areas or high touristy locations can attract scammers.
To make the most of your Brooklyn adventure and ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, here are some essential considerations:
- Seasonal Visits:
- Weather: Brooklyn experiences a wide range of weather conditions, from chilly winters to humid summers. For a comfortable exploration on foot, consider visiting during the milder seasons of spring and fall.
- Cash Over Card:
- Payment Methods: While many tourist destinations in Brooklyn accept major credit cards, it’s still very much a cash-centric borough. Numerous small corner stores and local eateries operate on a cash-only basis.
- ATMs: If you find yourself in need of cash, Chinese take-out restaurants or McDonald’s often have ATMs with relatively low service fees.
- Transportation Options:
- Backup Plans: Brooklyn’s public transportation system is robust, but it’s always good to have a backup plan. Rideshares, cabs, Citi-bikes, and rentable e-scooters are available options if you find yourself stranded or in a hurry.
- Subway Etiquette: While it’s technically prohibited, moving between subway cars can be a way to escape uncomfortable situations. However, it’s risky and should only be done if there’s an immediate threat to personal safety.
- Local Interactions:
- Brooklynites: Known for their vocal nature, Brooklyn residents might come off as brash, but they’re often more bark than bite. Engaging in friendly banter or asking for directions can lead to genuine interactions and local tips.
- Panhandlers: It’s common to encounter individuals seeking financial assistance on the streets or subways. While many genuinely need help, it’s up to individual discretion whether to donate.
- Safety Precautions:
- Awareness: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar areas or during nighttime. If you’re in a situation that feels unsafe, trust your instincts and seek a safer location.
- Subway Safety: When waiting for a train, avoid standing too close to the platform edge. While many locals do this to secure a seat, it’s an unnecessary risk for visitors.
- Neighborhood Navigation:
- Research: Before venturing out, research the neighborhoods you plan to visit. Some areas might have higher crime rates or fewer attractions, making them less suitable for tourists.
- Getting Lost: The subway system, while efficient, can be confusing for first-time visitors. Familiarize yourself with key stops and routes to avoid ending up in unintended areas.
- Cultural Experiences:
- Diverse Offerings: Brooklyn is a melting pot of cultures, and each neighborhood offers a distinct vibe. From the artsy streets of Bushwick to the serene parks of Park Slope, there’s something for everyone. Embrace the diversity and explore different areas to get a holistic Brooklyn experience.
In conclusion, Brooklyn is a vibrant borough teeming with experiences waiting to be discovered. By keeping these considerations in mind, visitors can navigate Brooklyn with confidence, making the most of their trip while staying safe and informed.
(article was updated on August 10, 2023)
Born and raised amidst the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, I’ve witnessed the city’s many exciting phases. When I’m not exploring the city or penning down my thoughts, you can find me sipping on a cup of coffee at my favorite local café, playing chess or planning my next trip. For the last twelve years, I’ve been living in South Williamsburg with my partner Berenike.