Is san francisco safe

San Francisco’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods and Parts to Avoid

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I am often asked this question: is San Francisco dangerous? On the one hand, it would be wrong to say that it is 100% safe, but on the other hand, I would like to say that there is no need to be overly alarmed, because if you stay in the tourist districts, you should not have any problems, especially during the day.

Is San Francisco Safe?

I can use my personal experience as an example: I have walked around the most interesting districts of the city and I was always perfectly safe.

You can see many homeless people and “eccentric characters” (even the inhabitants of San Francisco say that their city is full of crazy people!), but for the most part, they are not violent.

I can’t say that I ever felt in danger, and many other people who I have talked to have said the same thing. There must be a reason why 95% of people who come back from San Francisco (including myself) talk about it as an unforgettable city!

Crime in San Francisco

Clearly, the reputation of being dangerous is not just a legend or a rumor. The fact that some districts of San Francisco are not safe is confirmed by statistical studies, numerous news stories, and a significant amount of evidence from tourists and locals. Therefore, when you read the comments to our article on where to stay in San Francisco, it makes sense that a high percentage of your questions are about the safety of the neighborhoods and where you found accommodations.

Furthermore, besides asking for advice on where not to stay in San Francisco, people often give us a specific address (for example: “I found a hotel at the intersection of Bush St and Larkin St: is it a safe area? Help!”), in the hope that we can confirm whether or not the hotel selected is in the safest area possible.

It is true that hotels and accommodations in San Francisco are among the most expensive in the United States. When searching on or similar sites, you could easily be scared off by the rates for hotels located in the best neighborhoods, so understandably you would look for cheaper solutions in the suburbs. Prices are lower as you get farther from the city, of course, but at what cost? Is the area you have chosen safe, during the day and at night? This concern is relevant not only if you are looking for accommodations in San Francisco. Let’s say you found a restaurant or a point of interest in a neighborhood you don’t know well. Are you sure it’s a good idea to go there alone late in the evening?

Homeless situation
Often the insecurity or dangerousness of a neighborhood is linked to personal perception. You may have a bad feeling about a certain place even if maybe there are no obvious reasons to fear anything. The sense of insecurity in San Francisco is amplified by social problems that sometimes involve the homeless. You may have to witness violent fights between homeless people (our intrepid Lorenzo broke up a fight in broad daylight in the Ferry Building), drug deals during the day, not to mention the very low levels of hygiene on certain streets.

According to statistics, in 2019 there were 8,011 homeless people in San Francisco. The numbers have increased compared to 2017 (when it seemed that they had been declining compared to previous years), and the problem still exists. There are many people who, unfortunately, still live without a roof over their heads, with all the social degradation and human discomfort that comes with it.

For all these reasons, we thought we’d take an overview of the neighborhoods of San Francisco to avoid based on the amount of danger and crime, such as theft, drug dealing, or, even worse, shootings and murders.

San Francisco Crime Rate: is it safe to travel to San Francisco right now?

If you want to have an always up-to-date view with the latest data, you can check the table below which is compiled by the San Francisco Police Department. You can easily check all the updated crime data of the city, and even select individual neighborhoods to quickly get an idea of what’s going on in that area.

Safest Place in San Francisco

Certainly, the safest areas in San Francisco are those where the major tourist attractions are located and those most frequented by workers. Obviously, the advice to always stay alert in crowded areas remains unchanged, but this applies to all cities around the world.

So, here are the neighborhoods where there are no particular issues:

  • Nob Hill
  • Richmond District
  • Fisherman’s Wharf e Marina District
  • North Beach
  • Financial District

Unsafe Areas in San Francisco

In the following detailed analysis, we will examine the most dangerous neighborhoods of San Francisco, where it is better not to go directly, or where it is advisable to increase the level of caution.

  • Tenderloin
  • Mission
  • Soma
  • Golden Gate Park (at night)
  • South San Francisco Area


Most dangerous neighborhoods of san francisco

Have you seen Muccino’s movie The Pursuit of Happyness? Before becoming a successful entrepreneur, homeless Chris Gardner (Will Smith) lived with his son in Tenderloin and made a living as a salesman. This is not just a fictional place created by Hollywood. Tenderloin, especially south of the Civic Center, is known to be the most infamous neighborhood downtown.

Because Tenderloin is near busy squares and neighborhoods such as Union Square, Nob Hill, or Market Street, you may pass through it briefly. Some areas of this neighborhood are undergoing urban redevelopment (gentrification). Nevertheless, I advise you to avoid it at all costs if you don’t want to take unnecessary risks.

The most dangerous areas are around Turk Street, Olive Street, and Taylor Street, but locals generally advise you not to wander too far in the area south of California Avenue.

As if that were not enough, in Tenderloin there is also a larger presence of homeless people compared to other areas of the city. This is due to the fact that in this neighborhood there are places that provide food and assistance to people living on the streets. Particularly in the area around the intersection of Taylor and Ellis.

Tenderloin Crime Rate 2023

In the photo below, you will find the details of the crimes committed in the neighborhood throughout the year 2023 compared to the previous year. The table is provided by the San Francisco Police Department and you can check it directly on their official website.


bad neighborhoods San Francisco

Mission is the Latino neighborhood of San Francisco. There are some points of interest that may make you decide to visit this neighborhood, such as the famous murals that represent scenes and images mostly related to Mexican culture, which is very present here. If you want to stay in Mission, I suggest you find accommodations on the West Side, towards Castro. The further east you go into the Mission District, the less safe it becomes.

The areas north of the neighborhood towards SoMa are also unsafe. You have to be extremely careful around Valencia Street and Guerrero Street. While it is true that there are some very beautiful murals that would be worth seeing, perhaps in the middle of the day, it is also true that this area is overrun by crime, theft, and robberies. You should absolutely avoid this area after 9 pm.

Mission Crime Rate 2023

In the photo below, you will find the details of the crimes committed in the neighborhood throughout the year 2023 compared to the previous year. The table is provided by the San Francisco Police Department and you can check it directly on their official website.


Market Street is a long street that cuts through the heart of San Francisco and goes from Embarcadero to Castro. It is very likely that you will find yourself passing through it, especially if you arrive at Powell Street Station from the airport as I did. It is literally a stone’s throw from Union Square, right where downtown San Francisco begins. There are cable car stops at 5th Street and Powell Street that are always lively and crowded. It would seem that this area is pretty safe.

However, south of Market Street there is an old industrial district, but despite the well-intentioned attempts to rebuild the area, it remains quite dangerous. We recommend that you be especially careful on the streets that go south of the section between 4th and 10th. The streets from 4th to the Embarcadero are safer, but I would recommend that you avoid the rest of SoMa

Golden Gate Park

Although Golden Gate Park may be a very fascinating place to visit during the day, it is unsafe to go there at night. If you read our article dedicated to Golden Gate Park you will know that there are many spectacular things to see at this park during the daytime. My advice, however, is to not walk around the park at night, because under the cover of darkness, the paths and gardens become the “home” of many homeless people and the ideal place to sell or rob couples when no one else is around.

South San Francisco Dangerous Areas

I’ll try to be brief. You should definitely not look for accommodations or recklessly venture into the suburbs south of San Francisco. Although I’ve never been to these neighborhoods (there’s no reason to go), the statistics speak for themselves. The crime rate is very high in these neighborhoods: Bayview, Hunters Point, Outer Mission, Western Addition, Visitacion, and Valley.

Map of the zones of San Francisco to avoid

Safety tips for traveling to San Francisco

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Here are the best tips to help you visit San Francisco more safely:

  1. The first, and perhaps most obvious, piece of advice is to avoid the most dangerous areas of the city that we have discussed in this article. Many attractions in San Francisco can be visited with peace of mind.
  2. Keep your money, smartphone, and valuable items in pockets that are harder for a potential thief to reach. One idea is to use belts that allow for the insertion of cash inside them. At this link, you can find several options.
  3. Additionally, if you are using public transportation and have a backpack with you, take care to move it to the front of your body instead of on your back, so that you can always keep an eye on your belongings.
  4. If you are unsure of how to behave around the more eccentric homeless individuals, the advice is always to ignore them and continue on your way. If you feel in danger, consider entering a nearby store or hotel. The staff will always be ready to help you and, being accustomed to managing these types of situations, will be able to give you the best advice to handle the situation effectively
  5. Avoid walking in isolated areas of the city, especially when withdrawing money from ATMs during the night hours

How to keep your car safe in San Francisco

Although, as we have seen, a car is not the best means to visit San Francisco, if you are obliged to have one, here are some tips that will help you avoid unpleasant surprises:

  1. The first piece of advice is to never leave valuable items in your car in plain sight. You will indeed find dozens of warnings throughout the city cautioning against such behavior. If from the outside nothing is visible left inside the car, you will not run unnecessary risks. Even items of little value, or a few coins, can indeed lead to an attempted theft.
  2. If you must leave luggage or objects in the car, try to leave your car in a guarded parking lot. If that’s not possible, try to park on a street that is not isolated but is busy with people and well-lit at night
  3. If you are using a hotel, ask the staff if it is possible to leave your luggage inside it in case you want to visit the city even on the day of your departure, or if you have arrived before the check-in time.
  4. Do not leave work documents in the car from which your information can be traced, such as personal letters, bills, or bank statements.

Is San Francisco Safe to travel alone?

San Francisco is generally considered a safe city for solo travelers. Like in any urban area, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, especially in less crowded or unfamiliar neighborhoods. Many solo travelers enjoy exploring the city’s vibrant culture, diverse food scene, and iconic landmarks. Using common sense safety measures, such as not displaying valuables openly and staying in well-lit areas at night, can further ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Is San Francisco Safe for


Families can feel confident about their safety while visiting San Francisco. The city offers numerous family-friendly activities and attractions that are both safe and enjoyable. Popular tourist areas like Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, and the San Francisco Zoo are well-patrolled and typically very safe. As with any city, it’s recommended to keep an eye on your belongings and stay together as a group.


San Francisco is renowned for being one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in the United States. The city has a rich history of LGBTQ+ culture and activism, especially in neighborhoods like The Castro. While discrimination is not completely absent, the city is overwhelmingly welcoming and inclusive, making it a safe and affirming place for LGBTQ+ travelers.


As a diverse and multicultural city, San Francisco is generally a safe destination for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) travelers. The city prides itself on its inclusive and welcoming nature. However, as with any large city, experiences can vary, and it’s wise to be aware of your surroundings.


San Francisco is a popular tourist destination and is largely safe for visitors. The city’s major tourist attractions are well-maintained and secure. Tourists are advised to take standard travel precautions such as guarding personal belongings and being cautious in less familiar areas, especially at night.

Is San Francisco Safe at Night?

Like many major cities, the safety of San Francisco at night varies by neighborhood. Tourist areas and busy streets are generally safe, but it’s advisable to be cautious in areas that are less populated or poorly lit. Using reputable transportation services and avoiding isolated areas can contribute to a safer experience during nighttime.

So, um… Where Can You Stay Overnight in San Francisco?

So if these are the areas to avoid when you stay in and visit San Francisco, what are the recommended neighborhoods in San Francisco where you can look for a hotel? To answer this question, we have published an article with our recommendations.

Tips on where to stay in San Francisco

Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

bernardo pacini
Bernardo Pacini

I am an enthusiastic traveler. I have also published some poetry. Besides traveling, my interests include literature, prog music and good food,.

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27 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods and Parts to Avoid”

  1. I’ve noted the unsafe areas and will avoid. I know there is a large population of homeless that may not be avoidable. My question is what crimes are typical in the unsafe areas I.e. robbery, assault, murder, rape?

  2. Hi, thank your for your report. I have booked a long time ago the Best Western Red coach inn in Tnderlion in SF. After I read your article I am really scared, we are two German men in the 60th and I really checked for other hotels but everything is ridiculous expensive as there is a conference sep12th for 2 nights and that’s the dates where we are there. What do you think ? It’s affordable and we only walk around during the day and we take a shuttle form to airport directly there. Thanks for your reply . Joe

    • Hi. Honestly, as we said in this article, the area you’ve chosen isn’t one of the safest in San Francisco, and if you read the reviews for the Best Western, you’ll see that there have been some security issues reported (check Willow Street on Google Street View, and you will find out why). If you still want to go there and it’s the only choice you have, please act as safely as possible.

  3. I’ll be attending a tech conference at Moscone West, 800 Howard St, San Francisco. Looking for a hotel around that area. Is it a safe district? What do you recommend in that vicinity? Thanks in advance

    • Hello! The area you asked about is safe, while the adjacent neighborhood – as you can see from the map in this article – might be a bit less recommended. Avoid going there, if it’s possible. For accommodation, you can read this article.

  4. Hey im wanting to take a trip with my Daughter to go to Alcatraz and see golden gate bridge and go to pier 39 I just want to be at a safe place and good hotel. Which top 2/3 Hotels would u recommend ?

  5. We have reservations at palace hotel near union square: I booked this hotel assuming central location and access to multiple tourist locations?
    Is this safe foe solo female travelers

  6. We have reservations at the Marriott Marquis in the SoMa area for a couple of nights for a conference. While my boyfriend is in the conference during the daytime, would it be advisable to leave the hotel on my own and walk around a bit? Are there areas nearby to avoid? Any advice will be appreciated, thanks!

    • Hello! I invite you to look at the map in the article to understand where not to venture on foot. Of course, avoid the entire Soma area. Fortunately, your hotel is not far from a relatively safe section of Market St, so you can head towards the tourist areas without too much concern. San Francisco has some generally dangerous areas, so always remain vigilant and take all the precautions you would take in any unfamiliar city.

  7. Great article. Is the SoMa area around Hotel Zelos considered safe? Would we be better off taking an Uber than walking.

    • Hello! You are in a generally safe area of Market Street. The presence of homeless individuals is likely unavoidable, but in my opinion it’s not an area to be overly concerned about.

    • Nikko Hotel is very close to Union Square, there won’t be any problems. You just need to avoid going towards the adjacent Tenderloin neighborhood, if necessary.

  8. We have reservations at the 4 Seasons, on Market street for 2 nights – should we cancel? I didn’t realize we would be so close to so many bad areas with such a well-known named hotel.

    • Hello Mary, in my opinion, you don’t need to worry excessively, since you are on a safe stretch of Market Street.

  9. Hi! Love how real you are and tell the readers truth. I haven’t read anything like this – and I’ve been reading a lot about San Francisco. Can you tell me about Fort Point area and Roundhouse / Equator Coffee location?

    • Hi Kylene, generally speaking, the Golden Gate Bridge tourist area is safe for tourists. Of course, I do not recommend going at night.

  10. We are stopping in San Francisco for the night. Myself, husband and 3 daughters. We have reservations at 1234 Great Highway. It is very near Golden Gate Park. Should we cancel and look elsewhere? Please, any advice will be greatly appreciated!

    • As the author mentions, the interior of the park can be a little weird at night but almost everywhere around it is fine. Enjoy your trip!


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