Is Philadelphia safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide

Published by: BouncePosted Updated

Philadelphia was America’s capital until the capital moved to its permanent home in Washington, D.C., in 1800. This modern, vigorous city is home to some of the country’s most important historical sites, including the Liberty Bell Pavilion and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Today, high-end buildings stand side-by-side with museums, ancient structures, and narrow cobblestone streets.

Though still recovering from the impact of COVID-19, the Greater Philadelphia region received over 36.2 million visitors in 2022, who witnessed its iconic sights and enjoyed incredible events and activities throughout the city. If you want to go with the crowd, Philadelphia’s peak season is from June through August. It’s when the temperature is warm for outdoor concerts, festivals, and theme parks, welcoming those who want to have fun and be entertained.

For a city with over 1.6 million people, exploring Philadelphia may seem overwhelming, especially for first-time travelers. Once you’ve stored your bags safely at a Bounce luggage location in Philadelphia, you have one less thing to worry about during your trip. And if you’re concerned about your well-being, our comprehensive Philadelphia safety guide has got you covered.

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Is Philadelphia safe to visit right now?

Yes! Philadelphia is a relatively safe city, especially in the tourist-friendly part of town. There are certain areas you should avoid due to their high crime rate, but most Philadelphia neighborhoods and tourist areas can be toured without experiencing danger. After all, it won’t draw in more than 36.3 million visitors if it’s too risky to visit.

Since it’s the largest city in Pennsylvania, it isn’t surprising that Philadelphia has a higher crime rate than many communities in the state. However, compared to other areas of similar population size, its crime rate is noticeably lower than the average. According to Neighborhood Scout statistics, your chance of being a victim of violent crime is one in 123, making it safer than most large cities in the United States.

No matter which part of Philly you go to, you can never be too safe to take extra precautions. Often, it’s not those violent crimes you should be worried about but the petty offenses like purse snatching or pickpocketing. You can avoid being vulnerable to these crimes by staying alert and mindful of your surroundings.

While this guide will outline essential safety travel tips, it’s still up to you to prepare for the issues you might encounter adjusting to a different place, especially if you’re an inexperienced traveler. Whether it’s your first time or you have been traveling for a while, we recommend checking your government’s official travel guidelines for the country or city before heading off on an adventure.

Top petty crimes and scams in Philadelphia affecting tourists

Don’t be the next victim of scams and petty crimes. Always consider your well-being and security as part of your overall travel preparations, which often includes being aware of the common safety issues at your destination. For your guide, here are the typical crimes and fraudulent activities that happen in Philadelphia and ways to protect yourself and your belongings.

Pickpocketing

Pickpockets often work together to steal your wallet and phone. Avoid wandering around areas at night. It is a great idea to carry a bag across your body instead of behind you or at your side, so you can keep an eye on your belongings.

Is Philadelphia safe to travel alone

Traveling alone can be an exciting experience. Thankfully, lone travelers can have peace of mind exploring Philly on their own. Even solo female travelers can walk around Center City—a primary tourist destination—dine at a world-class restaurant, and see the prestigious Temple University without issue. The Bounce Women Travel Safety Index rates the United States at 32, so Philadelphia naturally fits the bill for safety.

There’s no shortage of places to visit in this historic city, and many top attractions are a stone’s throw from each other. It’s walkable and easy to get around. It also has increased security in famous tourist areas, making you feel safe throughout your journey.

Of course, no place is completely safe. If someone or something makes you uneasy, leave. Trust your instincts.

Safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

There’s no such thing as a good or bad neighborhood. Every neighborhood has its unique set of challenges and strengths. But if you’re looking for the safest place to stay during your trip, we have a list of ideal locations worth considering. We’ve also included a few dangerous areas you should avoid when visiting Philadelphia.

Bella Vista

A Philadelphia neighborhood that translates to “beautiful sight,” Bella Vista is indeed a stunning area, just a short walk from Old City hotels. It is close to Center City and multiple SEPTA lines, making it an accessible community for residents and visitors. It is home to the 9th Street Italian Market, the country’s oldest operational open-air market of its kind. It has a population of over 5,000, offering them a dense urban experience.

Bustleton

Bustleton was rated B based on property crime and violent crime rates, making it one of the safest Philly neighborhoods. It’s a quiet, family-friendly residential area in northeast Philadelphia, offering an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It features lots of green spaces from nearby Lackman Playground, Benjamin Rush State Park, and Pennypack Park.

Whitman

Whitman is another family-oriented neighborhood located in south Philadelphia. People prefer to live here due to its affordable home costs and laid-back atmosphere. It has excellent green areas and local school systems, making it an ideal spot for young families and those with children.

Is Philadelphia public transportation safe?

Public transportation in Philadelphia doesn’t have the best reputation, but it’s actually safe and convenient. You wouldn’t want to hang out at SEPTA stops or some metro stations like MacArthur Park, but public transit has a low safety risk.

The Philadelphia PHLASH is the way to go for tourists, as this bus service does to some of the city’s popular spots. You can also rent a car and take your safety into your hands during your tour.

As always, use caution when taking any form of transportation to ensure your safe arrival at the right destination. Be mindful of where your belongings are and who is around you.

Important emergency numbers in Philadelphia

Take a few minutes to save important Philadelphia emergency numbers in your phone. That way, you can call and get help quickly should the need arise. Also, don’t forget to add your embassy number to your emergency contact list when you travel.

  • US Country code: +1
  • Philadelphia area codes: 215, 267, 445
  • Police/Fire/Ambulance: 911
  • Non-emergency number: 311
  • Transit police: 1776
  • Homeless Outreach Line: (215) 232-1984
  • HELP line: 215-898-HELP (4357)

Prioritize your safety in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is undoubtedly an excellent choice for a trip, especially if you want to delve deeper into the nation’s rich history. It boasts fascinating museums, national historic sites, and endless sightseeing and entertainment opportunities. It’s also a safe city to visit as long as you stay vigilant and exercise extreme caution.

If you need help navigating Philly and ensuring you don’t end up at less desirable areas in the city, get tips on How to Get Around Philadelphia. Also, feel free to check out our guide on Where to Stay in Philadelphia: The Ultimate Guide before booking a hotel.

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