Skip to Content

Is Philadelphia Safe to Visit in 2024? (Our Opinion)

Is Philadelphia Safe to Visit in 2024? (Our Opinion)

Philadelphia is a popular tourist destination, mostly for Americans but also for some international visitors that are curious about the founding of the United States. In 2022, Philadelphia received about 40 million visitors. 

Philadelphia’s historic sites are the biggest draw for many visitors. You can explore many important buildings relevant to the founding of the United States, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed).

The city is also home to amazing museums, such as The Franklin Institute. To give your brain a break, fuel up with some Philly cheesesteaks and run up the famous Rocky steps, from the pivotal Rocky movie.

But while this storied city has an important place in United States history, is Philadelphia safe to visit? Here’s our take.

Is Philadelphia Safe to Visit in 2024?

Neat view of traffic whizzing by the camera in a low frame photo at dusk with the clocktower in full view, framed by skyscrapers

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Yes. While Philadelphia has a fairly high crime rate, this crime rarely affects tourists as it is concentrated in more residential parts of the city.

Make sure that you avoid dangerous parts of the city and use your street smarts when walking around, and you should be safe. Most Americans perceive Philadelphia as an unsafe destination.

Only 47% of Americans responding to a Gallup poll believe that Philadelphia is a safe place to live. However, this data tells us more about the perception of the city than about the reality of people who live there.

Many people surveyed had never been to Philadelphia and based their perception on what they heard on their news, which obviously reports more on dangerous incidents than on positive ones.

Ready to Book?

Unlock Exclusive Discounts on!

Got Travel Insurance?

Protect yourself for unexpected interruptions.

Compare Plans We may be compensated when you book after clicking on one of our links.

It is true that Philadelphia suffers from crime, including violent crime. The controller’s office even has serious resources dedicated to the city’s gun violence crisis. Common crimes in Philadelphia include:

  • Theft
  • Vehicle theft
  • Robbery
  • Mugging
  • Assault
  • Homicide

However, crime rarely affects visitors to the city, and violent crime almost never affects visitors. People that use basic common sense when moving around the city, such as not exploring new areas at night, are usually spared violent criminal experiences.

As long as you do your research, you shouldn’t let fear of crime deter you from visiting. One thing that tourists tend to not prepare for enough when visiting Philadelphia is the climate.

The weather is bitterly cold in the winter with heavy snowstorms, and hot and humid in the summer. Make sure you pack appropriate clothing for the weather.

In the winter, snowstorms can dump lots of snow at once in the city, so be very careful if there is a storm predicted. If you are planning on visiting Philadelphia with a car, avoid doing so during the winter, as driving and parking with snow on the ground is difficult.

Crime in Philadelphia

People crowding the Reading Terminal Market in the middle of the day below neon signs and shelves of stuff for a guide titled Is Philadelphia Safe to Visit

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – NOVEMBER 18, 2016: Vendors and customers in Reading Terminal Market. The historic market is a popular attraction for culinary treats./Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Crime is the most common problem people worry about when visiting Philadelphia as the city has a reputation for having a high crime rate. The city does have one of the highest crime rates in Pennsylvania.

The FBI offers a detailed breakdown of crime data for Philadelphia. Most concerning is the high rate of violent crime, which makes up about 24% of total crimes committed in the city.

The most common violent crime is assault, which makes up about 50.2% of total violent crimes committed. It is followed by robbery, which makes up about 40% of violent crimes committed.

Property crimes make up about 76% of total crimes. The most common property crime is theft, which makes up about 74% of total property crimes committed in the city. Theft is a broad category that includes everything from bag snatching to shoplifting.

Another common crime in Philadelphia is vehicle theft, which is actually the fastest growing crime in the city. In 2023, over 17,000 cars were stolen in the city, an increase of 40% compared to the previous year.

It is true that the city has a higher crime rate than the national average. For certain crimes, such as vehicle theft or homicide, it ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation. In 2021, it had the highest murder rate per capita out of the top 10 biggest cities in the United States.

However, a lot of the perceptions of Philadelphia as a uniquely unsafe city are unfair. The city and locals are putting in enormous efforts to fight crime. In 2023, many crimes have decreased in the city.

Homicides have decreased by 30% compared to the previous year. Overall, violent crime decreased by 7% in 2023. Property crime did increase in 2023 compared to previous years.

However, the increase was driven by spikes in two types of crimes that rarely affect visitors — vehicle theft and theft from stores. A lot of that perception of Philadelphia as crime-ridden is also based on stereotypes.

People tend to perceive big cities as dangerous, especially due to media coverage, even when the perception doesn’t match the reality. The downtown area is one of the safest in the nation, although some of its residential areas are dangerous.

The increase in crime after COVID-19 lockdowns also led many people to feel unsafe. It is true that Philadelphia struggles with crime, but this problem doesn’t often affect tourists. You should do some research ahead of time to ensure that your vacation goes smoothly, but you don’t have to cancel your trip.


Most visitors to Philadelphia are worried about being the victims of a violent crime. Violent crime doesn’t tend to affect visitors because it is concentrated in residential neighborhoods where tourists rarely venture, and often the result of interpersonal disputes.

However, tourists have been victims of robberies and muggings. Most robberies in Philadelphia happen at night, so the best way to prevent being the victim of a robbery is to be careful with your movements after dark.

Avoid walking around unfamiliar areas. If you are alone, avoid walking around as even normally safe areas, such as Center City, can get fairly desolate after nightfall. Don’t take public transportation very late (it doesn’t run all night anyway) — opt for taxis or rideshares instead.

Another common-sense precaution against robbery that you can take is to avoid flashing valuables. Most locals dress casually, without wearing expensive jewelry or designer clothing. Flashing expensive items or lots of cash can make you stand out to potential robbers.

Leave irreplaceable heirloom items in your hotel safe, or better yet, at home. Robberies against tourists are still fairly rare because areas popular with tourists tend to have the best security. Still, it’s always good to take common-sense precautions.

Non-violent theft and scams are more common forms of crime against tourists.

Be careful of common scams, such as people coming up to you asking you for money, attempting to give you CDs of their music then aggressively demanding payment, or helping you with the SEPTA (public transportation) machines then demanding a tip.

Vehicle Theft

The crime that is rising the fastest in Philadelphia is vehicle theft. Thousands of vehicles are stolen every year. Although many are recovered later on, you still don’t want to deal with the headache of having your car stolen.

A good way to prevent vehicle theft is not to bring your car to Philadelphia. The city has excellent public transportation and a compact city center, meaning that it is easy to get around without a vehicle.

Driving is more of a hassle than it is worth even when you don’t consider theft, due to the traffic and the difficulty of finding parking. If you can’t avoid bringing your car into Philadelphia, take precautions to keep it safe.

Certain makes tend to be targeted for thefts, usually Kia and Hyundai vehicles, so if you don’t have one of these cars you are a bit safer. The most important thing to do to keep your car safe is to park it in a secure location.

Most hotels offer garages and parking lots for guests that are secure, with cameras and other security precautions. If your accommodation doesn’t offer a garage, research public garages with secure parking around you.

Avoiding Bad Areas

People lying on the ground during protests in North Philly, one of the parts of the city to avoid

PHILADELPHIA, USA – MAY 30, 2020: A scene from a protest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25 2020/Shantanu Saha/Shutterstock

The most important thing you can do in Philadelphia to stay safe is to avoid bad areas. Certain neighborhoods in the city have very high crime rates and aren’t advisable to visit.

Neighborhoods to avoid include:

  • North Philly
  • Kensington
  • Tioga-Nicetown
  • Hunting Park
  • Allegheny West

Areas where tourists tend to go, such as Center City, are fairly safe. However, some stretches of downtown can get pretty desolate at night.

The Philadelphia police have a crime map breaking down crime rates by neighborhood. You can plug in the address of your accommodation and see which areas around where you are staying you should avoid.

Things to Consider

Photo of truckloads on Phillies fans making their way through the crowd of rowdy fans on Broad Street for a guide titled Is Philadelphia Safe to Visit

Buses filled with Philadelphia Phillies, Mayor Michael Nutter while celebrating Phillies World Series victory October 31, 2008 with parade down Broad Street Philadelphia, PA/Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Here are a few additional safety tips for visiting Philadelphia:

  • Sports games can get very rowdy, especially football championships. It’s a unique atmosphere but be prepared with an exit plan if it gets too overwhelming.
  • Philadelphians are not rude, but they are direct. Make sure you follow local norms about how to behave. Walk quickly on the sidewalk and move to the side if you are planning to slow down or stop and take photos. At busy counters, know what you want to order before it’s your turn to avoid slowing down the line.
  • Be careful at night. Crime increases after dark, and even areas that are safe during the day can feel sketchy. Stick to well-populated areas with other people around that can help you if you need it. Be careful around popular nightlife areas, such as South Street, which can get a bit rowdy.
  • Ask locals for advice about where to go. They can tell you which neighborhoods to avoid. However, avoid spending too much time talking about how Philadelphia is dangerous, because many locals are sick of this stereotype of their city.

Frequently Asked Questions

To show that Philadelphia is safe to visit, a photo of Broad Street at night with cars flying by and blue lights on the outside of the buildings

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Here are some common questions people ask about safety in Philadelphia:

Is it safe to walk around Philadelphia at night?

At night, stick to areas of Philadelphia that you know are safe, such as downtown. Any place where there are lots of other people walking around is safe to walk around at night. Avoid the more remote areas with fewer people.

Is Philly safer than NYC?

Philadelphia does have a higher crime rate per capita right now than New York City. However, New York City’s size means that the overall number of crimes is higher, and random people are more likely to be victims of a crime.

Is Philadelphia a good tourist destination?

Philadelphia is a great tourist destination for history buffs thanks to its importance in the founding of the United States. It is easy to navigate and has plenty of sights.

Is Philadelphia a friendly city?

Philadelphia is a friendly city, but people have different standards of friendliness here than in other places. The locals tend to be more direct rather than smiling, but they will be willing to help if you need it.

Is Philadelphia safe for solo travelers?

Philadelphia is a great place for solo travelers and as long as people traveling alone take the right precautions, such as not walking down any dark alleyways at night, they will be safe. It is a better destination for solo travelers than some other American cities because it is smaller and less overwhelming.

So, Should You Visit Philadelphia?

You shouldn’t let negative stereotypes put you off of visiting Philadelphia. The city is actually fairly safe, and the central areas where tourists tend to visit are very safe. You will just need to be very careful about which areas you visit as some neighborhoods have very high crime rates. Happy travels!