Why Is the Bronx So Dangerous?

New York City is rich in history and high in population, with over eight million people across five distinct boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.

The Bronx is home to nearly 1.5 million residents and is a popular place to live and work, although it also has a reputation for being dangerous due to past and present crime waves, generational poverty, and violent crime trends.

The Bronx is certainly more dangerous than many other U.S. cities, and the situation is complex in this bustling borough of America’s largest city.

Let’s see the main reasons why the Bronx is so dangerous and how to stay safe there.

Table of Contents

Where is the Bronx?

northeast of Manhattan and north of Queens

As the second-biggest city in North America, New York is split into the five boroughs, which are like smaller cities within a huge metropolis.

The Bronx is northeast of Manhattan and north of Queens, with the Harlem River separating it from the other boroughs.

The Bronx is technically part of mainland New York and bordered to the north by Yonkers, Mt Vernon, and Eastchester.

Much of the Bronx is working-class and industrial, with smaller buildings and numerous factories and warehouses compared to sections of the city located farther south.

The lower central and south parts of the Bronx are more dangerous than northern neighborhoods, as this part of the city is considered a bit seedy with higher crime rates and security concerns.

How much crime is in the Bronx?

The Bronx is known for the Yankees, hip-hop, and gritty gangster crime, a reputation that developed after a noticeable downturn in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

The current crime rate of 28.94 per 1,000 residents, combined with local history, paints a picture of a tough, dangerous city borough of New York.

However, it’s actually on par with Las Vegas, Long Beach, Pittsburgh, and Seattle in terms of violent crime.

Bronx crime

The Bronx ranks 46th for violent crime out of the 100 most populous U.S. cities, with more crime in the lower central and south neighborhoods.

The 40th Precinct is the worst for crime, as the Bronx neighborhoods of Port Morris, Mott Haven, and Melrose have a crime rate of 26.16 per 1,000 residents.

Violent crimes in the Bronx include aggravated assault, robbery, forcible rape, non-negligent manslaughter, and murder.

However, some precincts have fewer of these dangerous crimes than others, with City Island in the 45th Precinct having a much lower crime rate of 8.7 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

Is the Bronx more dangerous than Manhattan?

While Manhattan is known as a celebrity hotspot with awe-inspiring skyscrapers and some of the Big Apple’s biggest attractions, the Bronx is recognized for its rough history and crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Some Bronx residents find the reputation hard to shake and a bit unfair, considering there are moderately safe neighborhoods that have improved in recent years.

However, the Bronx remains more dangerous than Manhattan, with 663.15 violent crimes per 100,000 people, compared to 417.94 in Manhattan.


That being said, both the Bronx and Manhattan are more dangerous than other parts of NYC, with Brooklyn, Queen, and Staten Island all having violent crime rates of less than 400 per 100,000 people.

Of course, it depends on what neighborhood you’re in, as crime rates and safety vary across all boroughs due to generational poverty, low incomes, illegal activities, and more.

When did the Bronx become dangerous?

In the Bronx, the 1900s were filled with ups and downs, from the booming 20s to the Great Depression and an eventual decline during the middle of the century.

Many residents lost everything in the depression or went off to war, which set the area up for challenges in later decades.

At the turn of the century, the Bronx was considered a moderate-income area, but from the 1950s to the 80s, it shifted into a lower-income location with worrying poverty and violent crime rates.

The South Bronx stands out for its past of urban decay and arson attacks in the 70s, which gave way to the phrase “the Bronx is burning.”

Unfortunately, this reputation has stuck by the Bronx, even with the borough experiencing economic uptown and a rise in development over the last 40 years.

Like the rest of NYC, the Bronx can be hit or miss with certain neighborhoods safer than others.

South Bronx

How many cops are in the Bronx?

There are thousands of cops serving the Bronx, and there is always backup with 36,000 NYPD police officers in total.

The 40th–52nd Precincts are within the Bronx boundaries, and police are assigned to patrol a precinct for around-the-clock coverage.

However, residents and city officials alike say one of the main reasons why the Bronx is so dangerous is that there aren’t enough resources to appropriately combat crime, which is sadly more common in low-income and single-parent family neighborhoods.

This is especially true as the gun crime trend continues, with the Bronx hardest hit, accounting for 32% of shootings in NYC last year.

As a city with decades of crime problems, the Bronx has a complicated history with police, as law enforcement can’t do too much to curb violent crime rates, particularly in the most dangerous Bronx neighborhoods like Hunts Point, Claremont, and Longwood.

How to prevent crime in the Bronx?


Memphis, Detroit, Baltimore, and St. Louis are all more dangerous than the Bronx, although steady crime rates leave many Bronx residents and visitors alike wondering how to protect themselves against crime.

One of the top recommendations from law enforcement is to watch where you’re walking, as Bronx neighborhoods are close together and it doesn’t take much to accidentally stumble into a more unsafe part of town.

While the area around Yankee Stadium in South Bronx is notorious for thefts and assaults, the Riverdale and Kingsbridge neighborhoods are much safer, with less crime even at night.

To best protect yourself in the Bronx, you should stay in these safe neighborhoods and avoid venturing out into more crime-ridden areas.

Keep in mind the most dangerous Bronx neighborhoods include Port Morris, Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Melrose, Crotona Park, and East Tremont.

You’re much better off in the safer Bronx neighborhoods with crime rates near the national average, such as Fieldston, Spuyten Duyvil, Co-op City, Marble Hill, Van Nest, Morris Park, Allerton, and Pelham Gardens.

Is it safe to visit the Bronx?

Overall, the Bronx is comparable to many other major cities when it comes to violent crime, although it is the most dangerous borough in New York City.

the Bronx

Violent crime rates range from 8% to 27% depending on the neighborhood, with thefts and shootings not uncommon, although there is a strong police presence across all 12 precincts in the Bronx.

There are a few things you can do to make your visit to the Bronx safer, such as going out during the day rather than late at night and paying attention to your surroundings by not wearing headphones or looking down too long at your phone.

It’s also a good idea to avoid the subway at night, and whenever you are waiting for the train, stand far back from the platform.

If you haven’t been to the Bronx before, make sure you research your destinations and understand which neighborhood you’re going to.

This way, you can avoid the seedy parts of town and stay in safer, well-lit areas, which is a smart idea not just in the Bronx but throughout all of NYC and similar large cities.