Safety First: Is Staten Island Safe in 2024?

Staten Island. The fifth borough. Also known as “The forgotten borough”. Or, “The ferry borough”. Staten Island is like New York’s red-headed stepchild. 

Staten Island is one of two islands that make up part of New York City. You can swim to New Jersey from Staten Island. But who wants to swim in New Jersey? Especially when there are so many great landfills right here on Staten Island. 

That’s a joke, of course. There are many more advantages to living in Staten Island beyond having somewhere to put your trash. One of those advantages is that Staten Island is probably the safest of all the five boroughs that make up the legendary New York City.

Borough? What? And there are five of them? What’s going on? Read ahead to find out what the heck the five boroughs are and answer the question: Is Staten Island safe?

The Five Boroughs

New York City is actually made up of five boroughs. Two of them are islands. They are connected by bridge, tunnel, train, bus and ferry. Staten Island is one of those boroughs and one of those islands.

FUN FACT! Manhattan is the other island. No man is an island, but Manhattan is. Manhattan is the stereotypical image of New York City that most have in their head from movies and television. 

Is Staten Island Safe?

Brooklyn is maybe the second-best-known of the boroughs, although that’s a subjective opinion.  Brooklyn is also the most populous borough.

Queens is the second most populous borough, with a population nearly equal to Brooklyn. It has a very residential and diverse vibe.

The Bronx is the only borough that is connected by land to Manhattan. The Bronx is the birthplace of hip-hop!

And then there is Staten Island.

The State Of Staten Island

Staten Island previously existed as roaming grounds for Native Americans, particularly the Lenape Tribe. It was settled by Dutch colonists in the seventeenth century. 

The island formerly known as Richmond Borough, Staten Island, got its present name when it was officially consolidated into New York City just recently, in 1898. 

Staten Island is the third-largest in land area of the five boroughs. It developed rapidly in the sixties and seventies and now has a very suburban vibe. 

You might recognize Staten Island when you see it, or maybe even be able to visualize it as you read this, because a great deal of films have been lensed on Staten island. They include ‘Donnie BrascoThe Godfather,’Goodfellas’ and ‘The Irishman’ – sensing a theme? 

Just kidding – other films include ‘The Astronauts Wife,’ ‘How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days,’ ‘Big Daddy,’ ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘Analyze This,’ ‘Splendor In The Grass,’ ‘Working Girl,’ ‘War Of The Worlds, and of course, ‘The King of Staten Island’! All great films you should see if you haven’t already. 

Staten Island Stats 

Although the third largest, Staten Island is the least populous of the five boroughs. In fact, it’s the only borough that clocks in with a population under one million. At least it’s over half a million. That’s actually more than Chicago and Cleveland!

Staten Island is the wealthiest borough, beating Manhattan by a smidge. Manhattan boasts an average annual income of seventy-two thousand dollars: Staten Island tops it with seventy-three.

Being the wealthiest borough, it certainly ain’t cheap. Staten Island has high taxes on property and food, among other necessities. It ends up being pretty expensive to live in Staten Island, though less than some of the other boroughs. 

Staten Island Real Estate Trends In 2024

Home values, on average, hit a half a million while rent is cheaper than the other island and the other boroughs: just $1300/month rent.

  • Median Sale Price: $620K (a decrease of 8.6% from the previous year)
  • Price Per Square Foot: $442 (an increase of 1.1% YoY)
  • Total Transactions: 176 (a significant drop of 66.2% YoY)
  • New York City’s Median Sale Price: $770K (no change from the previous year)

For April, Staten Island’s median home sale price stood at $620K, marking an 8.6% decline from the same period last year. The number of transactions totaled 176, showcasing a sharp 66.2% decrease compared to July of the previous year. The median price per square foot was recorded at $442, reflecting a 1.1% YoY increase. In comparison, New York City’s median home sale price for July was $770K.

Historical Data

The historical data for median sale prices, price per square foot, and real estate transactions in Staten Island from January 2019 to July 2023 is available in graphical and tabular formats. (Note: The data for many months is currently not available.)

Comparison with Other NYC Boroughs

When comparing Staten Island’s median price with other boroughs in New York City, the following figures emerge:

  • Bronx: $364,000
  • Queens: $598,703.75
  • Staten Island: $620,000
  • NYC Average: $770,000
  • Brooklyn: $832,500
  • Manhattan: $1,135,000

It’s evident that property values in Staten Island are somewhat lower than the overall NYC median.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods In Staten Island

Here’s the full list of the priciest neighborhoods in Staten Island based on the median sale prices:

  1. Woodrow: $1,152,537
  2. Pleasant Plains: $895,000
  3. Charleston: $847,000
  4. Tottenville: $826,250
  5. Arrochar: $820,000
  6. New Springville: $809,508
  7. Todt Hill: $775,000
  8. West Brighton: $718,750
  9. Prince’s Bay: $690,000
  10. Grasmere: $681,000
  11. Great Kills: $668,000
  12. Annadale: $640,000
  13. South Beach: $631,000
  14. Elm Park: $610,000
  15. Westerleigh: $605,000
  16. New Dorp: $590,000
  17. Manor Heights: $590,000
  18. St. George: $585,000
  19. Mariner’s Harbor: $573,000
  20. Clifton: $572,500

These neighborhoods represent the highest median sale prices in Staten Island, making them the most expensive areas in the borough.

Staten Island Education

Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, boasts a diverse and comprehensive educational landscape. From public schools to private institutions and higher education establishments, the island offers a range of options for students of all ages.

Public Schools

The New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States, oversees the non-charter public schools in Staten Island. The borough is home to several public middle schools, including Intermediate Schools 2, 7, 24, 27, 30, 34, 49, 51, 61, 72, and 75. Additionally, there’s the K–to–8 school, 861, and a segment of the Petrides School, which offers education from kindergarten through high school.

High Schools

  • College of Staten Island High School for International Studies
  • Curtis High School
  • Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School
  • New Dorp High School
  • Petrides High School
  • Port Richmond High School
  • Ralph R. McKee CTE High School
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Susan E. Wagner High School
  • Tottenville High School

Private Schools

Staten Island Academy stands out as the island’s sole independent private school that’s neither public nor religious, and it’s among the country’s oldest. For families seeking faith-based education, there are several options:

Nondenominational Christian

  • Gateway Academy

Catholic

  • Monsignor Farrell High School
  • Moore Catholic High School
  • Notre Dame Academy
  • St. Joseph by the Sea High School
  • St. Joseph Hill Academy
  • St. Peter’s Boys High School

Islamic

  • Miraj Islamic School

Jewish

  • Jewish Foundation School
  • Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem, Staten Island campus
  • Yeshiva Merkaz HaTorah

Colleges and Universities

Higher education is well-represented in Staten Island. The College of Staten Island, a member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, offers degrees ranging from associate’s to doctoral levels. Wagner College, a private liberal arts institution, serves around 2,000 undergraduates and 500 graduate students. Additionally, St. John’s University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, has a campus on the island, further enriching the borough’s academic offerings. In summary, Staten Island’s educational scene is both diverse and robust, catering to the varied needs of its residents.

Is Staten Island A Good Place To Live?

There are many great reasons to visit Staten Island and even more compelling reasons to live there. 

Despite the landfill jokes, it doesn’t get much fresher than Staten Island, ecologically. Much of Staten Island is protected wetlands. Most notable is an area known as ‘The Greenbelt’ where many residents enjoy hiking the trails and swimming in the freshwater pond. The Green Belt is notable because it was almost a highway until environmentalists stepped in. 

There are actually over 170 official parks, many with scenic lookout spots. And the beaches! It’s an island, so the ocean views are spectacular. 

Staten Island benefits from a rich culinary history, thanks to the diversity of the island’s population. Popular restaurants offer choices ranging from German to Italian, Mexican and even Sri Lankan!

But the pizza!!! Mmmm…A unique style of New York pizza, the best in the world by most measures. Sorry, Napoli! Staten Island pizza is the original cheesiest, sauciest, crustiest New York slice!

The three best pizza places on Staten Island, by most consensus, are Lee’s Tavern in Dongan Hills, Rustic Pizza, Denino’s Pizzeria, Joe and Pat’s…oh, that’s four, nevermind, the list could go on the whole rest of this article.

Moving on with a nice full tummy, The Bronx might be the birthplace of hip-hop, but Staten Island can boast that it is the birthplace of perhaps hip-hops most well-respected clan, the Wu-Tang Clan!

That’s another attraction of Staten Island – live music and many talented local musicians. Some more famous musicians you may know who have lived in Staten island include Cristina Aguilera, Gene Simmons and Rolling Stone Keith Richards!

Cons Of Living In Staten Island

The deer population is getting a bit out of control. They came from New Jersey! Maybe even swam here! Kidding, but they are a threat to the natural protected lands Staten Island cherishes. Could be the most dangerous thing you’ll find on Staten Island.

The landfill jokes aside, Staten Island was for a long time home to the biggest dump in the five boroughs. It’s currently being reenergized into ‘Fresh Kills Park’ – which will make for a whole new set of jokes – but still, it still smells sometimes. 

Traffic is almost always an issue on the island, winter or summer. Residents love their cars, and it can take a longer amount of time than anticipated to make it from one side of the island to the other. Which makes for a large helping of road rage, probably the most common ailment on the island. 

Best Neighborhoods In Staten Island

Check out these neighborhoods, considered the best.

  1. Huguenot, aka Woodrow, offers property with spacious land. This means less traffic plus it is on the south side, allowing easy access to beaches and the country club. It is generally perceived as quiet and peaceful.
  1. New Springville is considered ‘the heart of Staten Island’. It’s near the CUNY campus – City University of New York, so it makes a nice neighborhood for students and young families.
  1. Todt Hill is the highest point along the seaboard, a unique alternative to the low peaks and flat land of the island. Todt Hill is full of nice houses, swimming pools and lots of trees!
  1. New Dorp is densely populated and diverse. It’s also walkable, appealing among a sea of motor vehicles. It has a classic antique vibe; most of the homes are in colonial style. 
  1. St. George is a historic, lively neighborhood full of nightclubs and art galleries. And more is on the way: plans for a mall and a ferris wheel!

Staten Island Transportation

Most famously, Staten Island is accessible by the Staten Island Ferry. The fare is free, which you could say is a fair price. It’s a beautiful and very serene journey and worth a ride. Did you know it transports over twenty million passengers a year! No, you didn’t!

Of course, that’s not the only way! That would be medieval! There are buses and trains, of course. Limited bus service to Brooklyn and Manhattan, plus a Staten Island Railway.

That’s not all. Probably the most majestic way to travel – in close competition with the ferry – are all the bridges. Staten Island connects with four bridges.

The Staten Island Ferry offers a vital connection between lower Manhattan and the St. George Terminal in Staten Island.

Bridges

Staten Island boasts multiple bridges that link it to New Jersey. These include the Outerbridge Crossing to Perth Amboy, the Bayonne Bridge to Bayonne, and the Goethals Bridge that leads to Elizabeth. The Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge is a freight-only bridge connecting to Elizabeth. Additionally, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge provides a route to Brooklyn. Pedestrians can use pathways on both the Bayonne and Goethals Bridges. Historically, from 1964 to 1977, Staten Island was home to the world’s longest vertical lift, steel arch, and suspension bridges. Today, the Arthur Kill Bridge remains the longest vertical lift bridge, while the Bayonne and Verrazzano bridges rank 5th and 14th in their respective categories.

Road Infrastructure

Staten Island has a unique road layout, with 82% of households owning a car as of 2015. Unlike other NYC boroughs, it lacks a large, numbered grid system. However, it features several major roads, including Hylan Boulevard, the city’s longest street.

Public Transit

Public transportation options in Staten Island as of 2021 include:

  • The Staten Island Ferry managed by the New York City Department of Transportation
  • Local and express bus services by MTA Regional Bus Operations
  • The Staten Island Railway running from St. George to Tottenville

Ferry Services

The Staten Island Ferry is the primary direct transport link from Staten Island to Manhattan. The ferry operates 24/7, with frequent services during peak hours. An NYC Ferry route also connects St. George Terminal to Manhattan’s West Side.

Train Services

Staten Island Railway

The Staten Island Railway offers continuous service across the island. However, unlike other boroughs, Staten Island isn’t served by the New York City Subway. There have been past and present proposals to extend rail services, including reviving the North Shore Branch and introducing a West Shore Light Rail.

Bus Services

Over 30 local and limited bus lines serve Staten Island, primarily converging at the St. George Terminal. Express bus services also connect the island to Manhattan.

Freight Rail

Freight rail service in Staten Island is managed by Conrail Shared Assets Operations, serving customers of CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway. The rail line includes an intermodal on-dock rail facility and connects to the National Rail System via the Arthur Kill Rail Bridge.

So, Is Staten Island Safe?

Here’s a funny fact: Staten Island is actually the home of the safest neighborhood in New York City. Great Kills. Yes, that’s what it’s called. And it’s at the top of most lists of safest neighborhoods in New York City.

It doesn’t stop there. Staten Island is also home to Fresh Kills, Arthur Kill and Kill Van Cull. Why all the kill-ing? Because New York City was originally settled by Dutch colonists. It even used to be called New Amsterdam. It’s not because the Dutch like to kill. No, no, no. ‘Kill’ is the Dutch word for creek. However, that never stops being amusing.

While Manhattan and Brooklyn often steal the spotlight in NYC, Staten Island tends to remain in the shadows. It’s often overlooked and underappreciated by many New Yorkers. Yet, Staten Island offers a serene escape from the city’s relentless pace. Boasting over 170 parks, it stands out as one of the most verdant boroughs with 59% of its land covered in green spaces. If you’re contemplating a visit to Staten Island but are concerned about safety, fear not! We’ll delve into the data, examine maps, and gather insights from locals to provide a comprehensive view of the borough’s safety profile.

How Safe is Staten Island?

Based on crime data, Staten Island is a remarkably safe destination. It’s among the safest cities in the U.S. In 2020, the borough reported a violent crime rate of 184.16 per 100,000 residents. When compared to the top 100 most populous U.S. cities, Staten Island’s crime rate is impressively low, similar to cities like Santa Clara, Henderson, and Fremont.

Mapping Crime in Staten Island

The New York City Police Department has four precincts patrolling Staten Island. Below is a table detailing these precincts and their respective crime rates:

PrecinctRegionCrime Rate (Per 1000 Residents)
120th PrecinctIncludes areas like Castleton Corners, Westerleigh, and Fort Wadsworth among others.7.2119
121st PrecinctCovers places like Willowbrook, Westerleigh, and Elm Park.6.2506
122nd PrecinctEncompasses regions such as Eltingville, Great Kills, and Todt Hill.4.0725
123rd PrecinctAreas like Tottenville, Huguenot, and Annadale.3.4785

High-Risk Areas in Staten Island

Port Richmond – Situated on Staten Island’s north shore, this is one of the borough’s oldest neighborhoods. It has seen its share of criminal activities. Richmond Terrace – This public housing project, located on the north shore, is known for its challenges and is considered one of the less safe parts of Staten Island. Jersey Street – It’s generally advised to be cautious when traveling on Jersey Street, especially during nighttime.

When determining safety, it is important to understand how to interpret and break down crime maps. Factors such as proximity to airports and parks or recreational areas, where populations are lower, come into play. Along with other factors like time of day or proximity to retail districts. 

Statistically, a crime happens every one hour and forty-nine minutes on Staten island. Your chances of being a victim can be one in sixty-two in the northwest part or one in one hundred seventy-six in the southeast.

So it’s important to stay out of some areas to avoid crime and helpful to know which ones. Still, those chances are way more in your favor than the statistics for other boroughs of New York City. Staten Island is also statistically safer than ninety-five percent of cities. 

Is Staten Island Safe? What Do The Residents Have To Say?

Residents have a lot of nice things to say. They note how the island has a small-town vibe. They appreciate the seclusion from the rest of the big city. Some say growing up there was like something out of a movie.

More practical comments include convenient transportation. Residents call Staten island suburban, safe and affordable. Their only complaint is not enough dentists. 

Overall, both residents and safety reports note Staten Island as a calm, peaceful and safe place to live. 

And lest it be forgotten, don’t forget to check out the awesome zoo everyone raves about!

Staten Island shouldn’t be the forgotten borough, even though even people who live there say ‘Which island is the fifth borough again? Was it Long Island or Staten Island? I forgot.’ All jesting aside, after reading this article, you should never forget.