Houston is a vibrant, diverse metropolis with much to offer, but unfortunately, it has its share of dangerous, high-crime areas. In this city, there's a genuine crime surge, where most residents say they think of street crime and violence as a severe or significant problem. Houston may be a great place to live, but here are the top 10 most dangerous neighborhoods based on the levels of violent and property crimes.
Current Crime Situation in Houston, TX
In 2023, according to NIBRS, violent crimes were down by 8.5% overall in the first half of the year. There were 14,769 incidents of violent crime in total against 16,140 incidents during the first seven months of 2022 in Houston. There were 210 murders, representing a 22.5% decrease compared to the same period in 2022, with 271 homicides. There were also decreases in robberies (10.3%), aggravated assaults (8.7%), and human trafficking (7.1%). However, there have been increases in kidnappings (8.9%) and sexual assaults (5.5%).
For non-violent crimes, in 2023, Houston saw a 2.2% decrease in the total number - 61,269 - compared to 62,613 during the same period in 2022, meanwhile auto thefts saw a 16.2% rise, where almost 12,000 vehicles were stolen through the first half of 2023, compared to 10,235 in 2022. When you combine non-violent crime and violent incidents, the result is a year-over-year 3.5% decrease in Houston.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Houston, TX
MacGregor has a great 42 acres park, with a hike and bicycle trail of 1.25 miles where visitors enjoy hiking, and biking. However, a lot of violent crime and theft happen there. There have been a lot of work into cleaning up this area of Houston, but not a lot of success rate. This neighborhood of 18,604 residents in southeast Houston's Third Ward sees crimes ranging from robberies and assaults to theft and burglaries.
MacGregor is so violent that it's been found on significant lists of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Houston. Even though the police patrol frequently, crime is one of its significant issues, with the violent crime rate being 76 per 1,000 residents.
With this, visitors in this neighborhood are warned against exploring at night, especially women traveling alone. A resident once had a conversation about having to grip her purse at all times for fear of being mugged, especially when moving with cash. Nevertheless, public transportation seems like it could be safer.
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This neighborhood is a hazardous part of Houston, with four times the national average of violent crimes. It has a population of 138,832 and also a reputation for high crime activity.
In 2022, the total property crimes in this neighborhood reached 4,380 incidents per 100,000 people, 6.6% higher than the citywide figures and more than double the national rate. Here, your chance of being a crime victim is 1 in 17.
There is no denying that the police are almost stationed in this neighborhood, yet in 2022, there were 5,991 reported incidents. Violent crime was an estimate of 1,611, 315% greater than the national average. Property crimes were 4,380 incidents.
Visitors in this city are reminded to be alert while walking through or biking at day/ night times. Though not very safe, violent crimes are primarily targeted. Females would be better accompanied, but caution should be taken when solo. Public transit systems are relatively safe, but valuable items and cash should be out of view for peace of mind.
3. Far North
Found on the outskirts of Houston, this neighborhood has been listed as the most dangerous in the city for a while. And Far North is not just considered treacherous; it is lethal. With a population of 59,742, this neighborhood has some striking violent crime and homicide statistics.
Between mid 2021 and 2022, the total reported crimes were 8,153 incidents per 100,000 residents, with violent crime and property crime at 2,455 and 5,698 incidents, respectively, regardless of police patrols in the neighborhood. Far North's crime rates grew to 248% higher than the national average.
Right now, the neighborhood is seeing some of the worst violent crime, 533% greater than the national average. The majority of the incidents being assaults and robberies. Biking or walking or across communities is safe, but apply caution at night, for women traveling solo.
The bus transit has no public unsafe record, and the city is clear of pickpocketing or mugging, so cash handling is pretty safe. In Far North, you have a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a crime victim.
The crime rate in Sunnyside gradually rose through the years. This area in the South of downtown Houston with 22,089 residents, sadly tops the list of worst areas in Houston. Its famous crimes include robbery, assaults, and murder. For burglaries, drug-related, and homicidal crimes, one of the highest rates comes from Sunnyside in comparison to other areas in the city.
The police presence in this neighborhood appears overwhelming, but they seem to try. Crime isn't as rampant during the day, but caution is still highly advised, and the safest feel is when walking or biking in the daytime. But exploring the streets at night is not recommended, especially for solo female travelers.
Few hotels are recommended if you must stay the night and explore the next day. In Sunnyside, residents have a 1 in 11 chance of being the victim of a crime.
While the Northeast maintains a majority of violent crime, property crimes make it worse - although, there has been a consistent and calm drop in car thefts totally. It has a population of 129,659.
The crime rate of this area is 26% greater than the Houston average and 186% higher than the national average. Its violent crime rate is 436% higher than the national average, with incidents about 50% of property crime incidents. Its total crime in 2022 was 6,710 incidents per 100,000 people, almost triple the national average.
This neighborhood clearly witnesses police patrol, however, for females or visitors on the solo move, whether traveling on bike or foot, it is only relatively safe during the day. Residents' recommend keeping wallets and devices close to self to avoid getting mugged off cash or phones. You have a 1 in 11 chance of being a crime victim in this neighborhood.
Almost 12% of Houston's population resides in the Southeast. What was once considered one of the most dangerous cities in Houston, Southeast’s overall crime statistics in Houston have improved, but not by much.
It has a crime rate 13% greater than the national average, and in 2022, its violent crimes fell to 360% higher. The city has 6,022 crimes per 100,000 people, for which assault has 15% of the incidents and robbery 6.2%. Property crime sits at 4,237 crimes per 100,000 people, with theft at the topmost. On many occasions, there are patrolling officers all across, but with loads of criminal activities going on, they go unnoticed.
Walking in the city in the daytime has no safety risk, and the dangers at night could be averted while walking in groups, especially for women travelers. Transportation is safe, but once you get off, it is easy to get mugged of cash or valuables, as it is a big city. One in 17 people in the Southeast risk falling victim to a crime.
The Southwest neighborhood of 108,921 residents has a lot to offer, everything from bars and coffee houses to everything in between, which adds to the district's charm. However, there are a lot of different crimes in the area, with street crime being the center of many issues.
Crime rates are 23% lower than the Houston average and 74% higher than the national average. Violent crimes of 1,056 incidents are 172% greater than the national average, while property crimes of 3,023 are 54% greater.
Daytime is relatively safe for walking or biking despite the influx of people on the streets and the presence of pickpockets. Perhaps a reminder should be set at intervals to spot-check your cash and belongings. Nighttime, however, is a significant hit, and walks should be avoided. Lots of sketchy areas abound, and the cops are sparsely scattered. In the Southwest, you have a 1 in 25 chance of becoming a victim of crime.
8. East End
Besides the high number of drug-related discords, thefts, and burglaries, East End also suffers extreme violence, with many people at risk and drugs being used openly. 87,359 people occupy this city, where each person has a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a crime victim.
Violent crimes in this neighborhood are 249% greater than the national average, but property crimes still take the lead. This is honestly not the best place to gather much stuff in Houston; it will likely get wiped out, even with patrolling officers around the neighborhood. The total reported crimes per 100,000 residents is 6,134, with violent crime to property crime approximately a ratio of 1 to 4.
It is best to restrict movements to daytime only. Especially if traveling alone as a woman, the police presence in this area is not very visible. There are murmurs of muggers and pickpockets, so public transportation should be avoided. Better to switch to credit/ debit cards rather than carrying cash in purses and wallets.
Bellaire, a suburb of Houston in Harris County known for baseball, has a population of 186,971 and, according to data from AdvisorSmith, is one of the most affluent small cities in the US. In this neighborhood, although the downward trend in crime continues and the rates have been dropping since the early 2000s in Bellaire, regular crimes keep increasing month in and month out.
The two most common crimes are car break-ins and thefts. Statistically, these are typically the crimes in abundance in Bellaire (vehicle thefts, etc.) rather than violent crimes. Residents say it is a "lock-up all you own" type of neighborhood. Out of 4,391 reported incidents, property crime alone takes 3,096. In Bellaire, you have a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of crime.
While trying to keep safe, the advice is to never leave your electronics (cell phones, etc.) in the car to avoid smash and grabs. Especially in public transportation via buses, they should be closely guarded. The neighborhood, though, is coordinated by police officers.
In Sugarland, the population of 125,992 has even seen a decrease in organized crime as gangs leave the city. Although violent crimes have decreased, this neighborhood is not rid of property crime. From mid-2021 to mid-2022, data reads total offense reports as 4,472, violent crime as 1,228, and property crime as 3,244 - theft ranking above 50%.
Due to the majority of the crime incidences being property crimes, petty crimes are still in the mix, so traveling with cash is found to be unsafe. Public transportation has yet to give any historical red flags. Residents report feeling unsafe walking or biking across the neighborhood at late hours, especially for the females and tourists.
Crime rates in Sugarland are 91% greater than the national average, and each resident has a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of crime.
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The Safest Places in Houston, TX
Houston may be dangerous - certain streets are more notably dangerous, so you'll want to ensure you know where to avoid them. Others may have crime rates four to five times the national average.
However, when considering whether Houston is an excellent place to live, weighing the pros and cons, there are safer neighborhoods. Some are Westchase, Midtown, Friendswood, Kingwood, and Spring Branch North.
If you're ever planning to visit Houston, research the areas you want to see. Use common sense, such as not getting into a stranger's car and never walking alone after dark. A neighborhood is dangerous, but it does not mean you must avoid it. You only need to be extra cautious.