5 Ways to Stay Safe During Your New York Business Trip

visiting new york

If you’re headed to New York City on business, you’ll want to take time to see the sights and explore a little. Since it’s the second largest city in the world, it has thousands of things to do on any given day.

But such a large city comes with risks as well. It shouldn’t be surprising that New York should also arouse a few safety concerns. If you’re not accustomed to this kind of turf, you should be prepared for the different atmosphere and potential crime before you head out.

Beware of Pickpockets

In most parts of the world, picking the pockets of out-of-towners has become a lost art. But it’s still alive and well in big European cities and New York. When so many people bustle all around you on sidewalks and subways, you might not notice if someone bumps into you and grabs your wallet at the same time.

To protect against this form of theft, SmarterTravel offers the following tips:

  • Don’t put your wallet in your back pocket
  • Don’t keep all your cash in one place
  • Watch out for street vendors and beggars with no regard for your personal space
  • Keep a hand on your wallet when you walk through a crowd
  • Carry your valuables in a bag with a cross-body strap or a drawstring backpack

Watch the Sidewalks

New York is a busy place, and there’s always lots of activity on the sidewalks. Try to avoid stopping in the middle of a sidewalk to answer a text, take photos, or consult a map.

You may often encounter construction pits and obstructions that tripping present tripping hazards. David Resnick, a New York attorney, warns about the frequent liabilities associated with sidewalks and parking lots throughout the city.

“Every resident and visitor in New York should be able to use the city’s sidewalks and parking lots without fear of having sidewalk & parking lot accidents because of an unreasonably dangerous condition…. If a hazardous condition is the cause of a slip and fall accident, the property owner could be deemed liable for any resulting injuries.”

Although you might well win a personal injury case, it’s much less hassle simply to be careful where you step.

Ignore Panhandlers

It’s nice to be charitable, but don’t give too much attention to panhandlers during your visit. They’re all over New York City; you could go broke giving something to everyone.

Not all beggars you’ll encounter will be legitimate, either. Some dress up in rags, make a sign, and beg for money. “Studies on homeless income find that the typical ‘career panhandler’ who dedicates his time overwhelmingly to begging can make between $600 and $1,500 a month,” says an article from the Atlantic.

This isn’t to say that giving a few dollars to people who really need it would be a terrible choice. You’ll feel great about yourself, and you might help someone. But if you want to guarantee your money helps someone, give your cash to a reputable organization instead.

Don’t Ride in Unmarked Taxis

Not every yellow car is a licensed NYC taxi. Many cars, called “gypsy cabs,” are unmarked NYC taxis that charge tourists exorbitant rates. What’s more, they’re usually non-metered, non-licensed, and lack adequate insurance.

By riding in such taxis, you put yourself at risk and support this semi-illegal line of business. It’s good to support the taxi economy of New York City, given that it maintains more than 13,000 jobs for New York residents.

But with ride sharing, gypsy taxis, and tourists opting for alternate forms of transportation, the economy for taxis is down. Your support for this staple of New York transportation will be much appreciated.

Be Wary of Hotel Safes

Booking a hotel room with a safe seems like a sharp move. Hotel-room safes might seem like a great place to place money, passports and other valuables to secure them from light-fingered maids and bellhops.

However, they’re not nearly as safe as you think. “Some hotels don’t change the default unlock code, which exists to helps you out when you’ve accidentally forgotten your self-created passcode,” explains Meredith Carey of Conde Nast. “The default code for most hotel safe models is 000000, not exactly a thief-proof passcode.”

Carey recommends that after you set your passcode, double check that you can’t unlock the safe with an all-zeros combination. You can also talk to the hotel management about your security concerns and ask for a safe deposit box or other option to secure your valuables.