Travellers Worldwide is reader-supported. If you buy a product we link to, we may earn a commission.
Skip to Content

Is New Orleans Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Is New Orleans Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

From world-class restaurants to its numerous festivals and celebrations, such as Mardi Gras, it’s impossible to find a reason not to visit New Orleans. The city’s lively music scene and a blend of cultures will make anyone feel at home.

Visiting New Orleans offers you and your loved ones a chance to engage in many family activities. For instance, you can see the New Orleans City Park and let your kids enjoy exploring the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Solo travelers can enjoy New Orleans’ active nightlife by trying out the city’s cocktails by taking a stroll at the Sazerac House. But despite its popularity as a tourist destination, what visitors want to know is whether New Orleans is safe to visit.

Researching New Orleans before your visit can help you understand what parts of the city are safe. Luckily, we have explored some safety concerns and have come up with a few travel tips to help you have a great time if you visit New Orleans.

Is New Orleans Safe to Visit?

Bars and neon lights in the French Quarter district for a piece titled Is New Orleans Safe

f11photo/Shutterstock

Yes, it’s safe to visit New Orleans. But certain parts of the city have a higher crime rate than others. The Wall Street Journal reported that New Orleans had the highest homicide rate of any major city in 2022.

The recent spike in violent crime in the city was primarily due to the economic effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. There is currently no travel advisory against visiting New Orleans.

The majority of criminal activity occurs away from popular tourist attractions. The absence of a travel advisory against New Orleans doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions when visiting the city.

For instance, don’t showcase your wealth openly, as this might make you a target. As restrictions eased, New Orleans became safer, and it’s now better for visitors. But some of the areas that remain unsafe include desire and Central City.

You can still travel to these locations but do so during the day or in the company of other people. Tourists are often targets of crimes such as muggings and pickpocketing.

According to the UK’s travel advisory for the United States, major or violent crimes rarely affect tourists. But crime rates have continued to decrease as New Orleans recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and more visitors flow into the city.

By being vigilant, you can optimize your chances of safety while in New Orleans. Here’s everything you need to know about the safety of New Orleans.

Crime in New Orleans

2022 saw New Orleans earn the nickname the murder capital of the United States. The city recorded about 277 homicides, according to Fox News. Such statistics will likely deter visitors and investors from planning a trip to New Orleans.

But the city is relatively safe, and criminal activities are usually concentrated in a few areas. According to Neighborhood Scout, the crime rate in New Orleans is 54.97 per 100,000 residents.

The New Orleans police department has ramped up efforts to fight violent crime. The Metro Crime Organization reported that the city agreed to spend more than $80 million to recruit and retain police officers.

Some of the most common crimes in New Orleans are:

Theft

Tourists visiting New Orleans will likely get targeted by thieves and con artists. The stealing of personal property, such as cars, is relatively high in New Orleans. The New Orleans Crime dashboard reports that 461 vehicles have been stolen this year.

The report identified that thieves like targeting car brands like Kias and Hyundais. Carjacking may occur when the thieves violently take the car and force the occupants out.

The New Orleans Police Department reported approximately 333 car burglaries occurred in 2023. Tourists are likely to get robbed in taxis and ridesharing vehicles. Such crimes occur in specific areas of New Orleans, such as the French Quarter.

Thieves likely want cell phones and money. Theft cases in New Orleans are likely to get violent if the victim doesn’t comply. Robberies in hotel rooms aren’t that common unless you stay in a high-risk area.

Theft cases usually occur at night, and thieves will often target people who have been drinking. Property crimes are rampant in New Orleans. It’s not uncommon for tourists to report the theft of their bicycles or car parts when they visit the city.

Criminals will target persons who are careless with their property. Pickpockets are always busy at work during peak seasons when visitors flood the streets of New Orleans.

The theft of valuables in residential properties also occurs in certain parts of the city. You need to take extra measures, such as taking out insurance if you want to buy property in New Orleans.

Assault

There are approximately 811 cases of assault per 100,000 residents in New Orleans annually. Criminals will often target women and children, especially if they are not residents of New Orleans.

Sexual assault cases often go unreported due to the stigma associated with the crime. Excessive alcohol intake and drug abuse are risk factors that make one susceptible to sexual assault. Being aware of your surroundings is the best way to protect yourself.

Anyone can commit assault, including the hotel staff. It’s also important to remain indoors when it’s too late or if you have drunk too much. Aggravated physical assault is not uncommon.

Visitors to New Orleans should be careful about who they travel with when in the city, especially at night. Learn the contact information of the police and try to avoid areas with a high crime rate.

Homicides

As a popular tourist destination, New Orleans has one of the highest homicide cases in the United States. The city has a considerable income gap between the different socioeconomic classes.

This has created an environment where violent crime has become a popular trend exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Gang-related crimes and drug activity have also contributed to the high homicide rates.

Louisiana has a high gun ownership rate, and criminals use guns to commit other crimes, such as carjacking. Tourists are unlikely to be targets of homicide crimes as most occur in localized areas. But you should avoid high-risk crime areas.

Avoiding Bad Areas

People attending a parade in the street for a piece titled Is New Orleans Safe

Roberto Michel/Shutterstock

The key to a safe and successful trip anywhere is to know what areas to avoid. These include:

  • Saint Roch
  • Central City
  • Seventh Ward
  • Florida Area

Saint Roch

Located north of the French Quarter, Saint Roch has a long history of criminal activity. But the recent spike in illegal activity in the area is attributable to the ravages of hurricane Katrina.

Robbery is the most common crime in Saint Roch, and the risk of being a victim increases if you travel alone. Many visitors often report having a pleasant experience in Saint Roch. But you have to be vigilant when staying in the area.

For instance, research the hotels or bed and breakfast facilities before your visit to find out if it’s safe. Nevertheless, avoid Saint Roch if you can afford to stay anywhere else in New Orleans. Use a map to have a clear picture of where you are.

This will help you stay vigilant and avoid areas with high crime rates. Find out the contact information of emergency services, including the local police. Such information can help you report a crime or seek help if you fall victim to criminal activity.

Central City

It’s one of the most dangerous areas in New Orleans due to the presence of gangs and drug traffickers. Homicide cases have risen steadily in Central City over the past five years.

Tourists are not explicitly targeted in shootouts, but there is a risk that they may fall victim to a shootout between gangs. It’s safe to walk around Central City during the day. But avoid going out at night, especially if it’s not necessary.

Central City is between the Central Business District and the Garden District. Although certain parts of Central City are safe, it’s better to avoid spending time in this part of New Orleans.

For your safety, avoid using public transportation. Instead, use Uber or taxis to get around if you are in Central City. Also, don’t travel alone, especially at night.

Seventh Ward

The Seventh Ward sits in the north part of New Orleans, neighboring Saint Roch. The property crime rates in this area are among the highest in the entire city. Car theft and burglary cases have been on the rise, as well as gun violence.

But greater police presence has made the Seventh Ward passable during the day. Going to the Seventh Ward is a great way to explore the off-beat areas of New Orleans.

But be careful and avoid being out at night in this neighborhood. Criminals often target tourists, so try to blend in as much as possible.

For instance, follow the same dress code as the people in the area and don’t wear your valuable accessories openly. Avoid drinking too much, as impaired judgment will increase the likelihood of getting targeted by thieves or other criminals.

Florida Area

Visitors might mistake the name for the Sunshine State, but the Florida Area is one of the most dangerous places in New Orleans. The area has approximately 1,500 residents and has gained a reputation for petty theft and pickpocketing.

It’s okay to stroll through the streets during the day but avoid walking unaccompanied at night. You can use public transportation in Florida but keep a keen eye on your money and wallet.

Things to Consider When Visiting New Orleans

Classic double-decker bus in New Orleans

Dr. Victor Wong/Shutterstock

Visiting New Orleans is one of the items on the bucket list of any adventure enthusiast. But a trip to this lively city in Louisiana requires some planning and research.

Some of the things you should consider before your trip are:

  • The cost of accommodation
  • Carry cash in hand, as many businesses operate on a cash-only basis
  • Don’t try to drive in the French Quarter, especially in the evening, as it gets very crowded
  • Make use of public transportation
  • Save time and money when touring places by getting a New Orleans Pass
  • Engage in responsible drinking, and don’t leave your valuables in the car

Frequently Asked Questions

Riverboat steamer on the Mississippi River for a piece titled Is New Orleans Safe

f11photo/Shutterstock

Here are answer to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting New Orleans.

Is it safe to walk in New Orleans at night?

It depends on what part of New Orleans you are in, as some places aren’t safe. But popular tourist attractions, like the French Quarter, are safe at night. Be aware of your surroundings to understand if it’s safe to be alone at night.

What is the safest part of New Orleans?

The Garden District is the safest place in New Orleans. As a tourist, you can comfortably stay or walk in this part of the city even at night.

How can I blend in as a new traveler in New Orleans?

Buy clothes from the local New Orleans stores and follow the residents’ dress code. Blending in helps you feel at home and is vital to avoid making yourself a target for crooks.

Is the French Quarter a safe place for tourists?

Yes, the French Quarter has a very low crime rate making it ideal for tourists. It’s also located near other tourist attractions. But staying at hotels in the French Quarter is expensive due to high demand.

What is the biggest safety concern while in New Orleans?

The biggest safety concern is being alone in certain parts of the city at night. Regardless of gender, avoid walking alone at night, even if you are not a first-time visitor.

Is the tap water in New Orleans safe for drinking?

New Orleans’ tap water is generally safe for drinking, According to the Tapsafe Organization. The Environmental Working Group also found that the city’s tap water complies with health-based drinking water standards.

So, Is New Orleans Safe to Visit?

Very few cities have the appeal that New Orleans does, especially if you want to have new experiences. The city is a perfect vacation spot if you want to unwind, go on parades, and celebrate different cultures simultaneously.

But the question most visitors have is “Is New Orleans safe to visit?” Some parts of the city are safer than others. Be vigilant and exercise caution wherever you go while in New Orleans. Happy travels, and enjoy your time in this beautiful city.