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    San Francisco's Most Dangerous Neighborhoods: Safety Tips for a Peaceful Stay

    Who I am
    Martí Micolau

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    I am often asked this question: Is San Francisco dangerous? While on the one hand I cannot deny it 100%, on the other I would immediately like to say that there is no need to be overly alarmed, because staying in the tourist districts should not take any risks, especially during the day. I can bring my personal experience about it: I walked around the most interesting districts of the city on foot without anything happening to me.

    Around you can see many homeless people and "eccentric characters" (even the inhabitants of San Francisco say that theirs is a city full of crazy!), But for the most part they are not violent: I can not say that I felt in danger , and like me many other people with whom I have confronted. There will be a reason why 95% of people returning from San Francisco (myself included) refer to it as one unforgettable city!

    Clearly the city ​​hazard rate it is not just a legend or a rumor: that some neighborhoods of San Francisco are not safe is confirmed by statistical studies applied to numerous news events, and by an important amount of testimonies from tourists and inhabitants of the city. Also, just read the comments to our article on where to sleep in San Francisco: a high percentage of your questions are about the security of the neighborhoods in which you have found accommodation, rather!

    In addition to asking us for advice on neighborhoods where not to sleep in San Francisco, you often also provide us with a precise address (for example: "I found a hotel at the intersection of Bush St and Larkin St: is it a safe area? Helpoo!"), in the hope that we can confirm that you have chosen the safest place possible.

    Indeed, San Francisco hotels and accommodations they are among the most expensive in all of the United States: during the searches on Booking or similar sites, frightened by the rates we find for hotels located in the best neighborhoods, we understandably go to look for cheaper solutions in the suburbs. Prices go down, of course, but at what cost? Is the area you have chosen safe, both day and night? Obviously, this concern isn't just about those looking for accommodation in San Francisco: let's say you've found a restaurant or side attraction in a neighborhood you don't know well. Are we sure it's a good idea to go alone, maybe in the late evening?

    Homeless emergency Often the insecurity or danger of a neighborhood are linked to a personal perception: you feel insecure "on the skin", although there may be no obvious reasons to fear anything. This feeling in San Francisco is amplified by the delicate social situation linked to the homeless: it can happen that you have to witness violent fights between homeless people (our intrepid Lorenzo sedated one in broad daylight, at the Ferry Building), drug dealing scenes in the sunlight, not to mention the very low levels of hygiene of certain streets.

    According to recent statistics, in 2019 the homeless a San Francisco were 8,011. The numbers are on the rise compared to 2017 (the date in which there was a decline compared to previous years), and the emergency is still real: there are many people who, unfortunately, still live without a roof over their heads, with everything the resulting social degradation and human hardship.

    For all these reasons, we thought we'd do an overview of the San Francisco neighborhoods to avoid, the most dangerous, those in which the greatest number of crimes is recorded: theft, drug dealing or, worse still, shootings and murders.


    • The districts of the center
      • Tenderloin
      • Mission
      • SoMa
      • Golden Gate Park
    • The neighborhoods outside the center
    • Map of San Francisco areas to avoid
    • So… where to sleep?

    The districts of the center


    Have you seen Muccino's film "The Quest for Happiness"? Tenderloin is the neighborhood where, before becoming an established entrepreneur, the homeless Chris Gardner (Will Smith) lives by wits with his son. This is not just a story born in Hollywood: the Tenderloin District, especially south of the Civic Center, it is known for being the most infamous neighborhood in the center.

    The proximity to very busy squares and neighborhoods such as Union Square, Nob Hill or Market Street could lead you to touch it in passing but - although some areas of this neighborhood are subject to urban redevelopment (gentrification) - I advise you to avoid it as much as possible if not you want to risk unnecessarily. The most dangerous areas are around Turk Street, Olive Street, and Taylor Street, but locals generally recommend not wandering around the south of California Avenue too much.


    Mission and the Latin American Quarter of San Francisco. There are some reasons of interest that can push you to reach it, such as i famous murals which represent scenes and images mostly attributable to Mexican culture, very present here. If you want to stay in Mission, I recommend that you put your radar on the West Side, towards the gay district of Castro: as you go east, the streets become less and less safe.

    The areas north of the neighborhood towards SoMa are also not very recommendable. You need to be extremely careful around Valencia Street and Guerrero Street: if it is true that there are some very beautiful murals that would be worth reaching in the central hours of the day, it is also true that crimes, thefts and robberies are not rare in these parts. This area is to be avoided absolutely after 21pm.


    Market Street it is a long road that cuts downtown San Francisco in two from Embarcadero to Castro: you will most likely find yourself crossing it, especially if you arrive at Powell Street Station from the airport, as happened to me. We are literally a stone's throw from Union Square, at the gates of the Downtown: the cable cars depart from the 5th and Powell Street is always lively and crowded. In short, apparently nothing to worry about.

    However, south of Market Street an old industrial district extends which, despite the appreciable redevelopment attempts, remains quite dangerous. We advise you to pay particular attention to the network of roads that go south of the stretch between the 4th and 10th. The roads from 4th to the Embarcadero are safer, but otherwise it remains one of the neighborhoods to avoid in San Francisco.

    Golden Gate Park

    As fascinating by day as it is dangerous at night. If you have read our article dedicated to the Golden Gate Park you will have understood that under the sunlight there are many beautiful things to see. My advice though is to carefully avoid taking a night walk in the park, because with the help of darkness the paths and gardens become the "home" of many homeless people and the ideal place to sell or rob isolated couples.

    The neighborhoods outside the center

    I'll make it short: we must definitely avoid looking for accommodation or venturing recklessly to discover the suburbs south of San Francisco. Even if I have never gone into these neighborhoods (there is no reason) the statistics speak for themselves: the crime rate that takes place in the neighborhoods of Bayview, Hunters Point, Outer Mission, Western Addition, Crocker-Amazon, is very high. Excelsior, Visitation Valley, Oceanview.

    Map of San Francisco areas to avoid

    So… where to sleep?

    If these are the areas to avoid for the stay and for walking itineraries, then which are the recommended neighborhoods in San Francisco? To answer this question, we have published an article with our recommendations.

    Advice on where to sleep in San Francisco

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