Is the US a Safe or Dangerous Country?The US is a safe country. It is ranked 51th on the ranking of world’s safest countries, which puts it in the top-third of the ranking. All the risks listed here have a small chance of happening, but prevention is better than cure. The US is often criticized for having one of the highest crime rate in the world due to gun violence (American movies and TV shows tend to exaggerate this); despite the fact that crime rankings only ranks it at the 114th place out of 218. Most violent crime is concentrated around inner urban areas of some cities, as well as some poor suburbs with drug and gang violence. Check the page associated to each city to see these areas on a map. We also discourage tourists to stay around the Mexico border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas as they have been reports of crime and car theft. Nonetheless travelers may face some minor dangers like petty crime, aggressive homeless people, dangerous traffic or natural hazards. Since 9/11, most touristic landmarks have seen an increase in police presence, and tourists can expect to be frisked and have their bags opened at museums or other monuments. Mass shootings and isolated terrorist attacks such as the Boston marathon bombing are on the rise : they were over 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015. Still, they mostly occur in cities and neighborhoods unfrequented by tourists. Cases of pickpocketing and bag-snatching are on a steep decline in the US, as can be read in this article; it is still wise to watch your valuables while in the subway or buses. Begging is not uncommon in some larger cities, but not to a greater extent than in most other major cities, and you will rarely experience aggressive beggars. Some beggars are organized in groups. Be aware that flashing any cardboard sign very near to your body could be a pickpocket trick. Civil unrest is prone to happen in some areas, such as the recent outbreaks in Ferguson, Missouri. Some protests can lead to fights between the demonstrators and police force, it is therefore unwise to join any of these protests. In case of emergency, dial 911 to get help. Dial 311 for all non-emergency situations. Protect your personal belongings at all times, especially your ID and passport. Petty crime, like targeting rental / tourist cars to steal their valuables, can be an issue in some areas. For more details, see city specific advice or take a look at our travel articles.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The US is a very safe country. It is ranked 51th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There is nearly no pickpocket risk in the US. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The US is an averagely safe country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in the US. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, shady wi-fi hotspots and ATMs that look to have been tampered with.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transports and taxis are generally very safe in the US.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There can be some occasional natural hazards (geological, meteorological) in some localized states of the US. For instance, Earthquakes can happen around the west coast and Hawaii; Hurricanes are an issue on coastal states and wildfires are common in some regions during summer.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The US has not recently been targeted by any major terrorist attack, but it is best to stay alert.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The US is generally very safe for women travelers.