Is York safe? A complete safety guide for York

Is York safe? Yes. The city is exciting enough to be a great night out and a busy weekend shopping experience. But York also has a sleepy, laidback town feel that challenges its city status.

Unlike major cities like Manchester, York is an excellent spot to relax a little. Nowhere is completely safe, of course. However, York is as safe as it gets in Yorkshire, receiving the lowest crime level across the county. The 2020 police report found just 61 crimes per 1,000 population – making York one of the best places to live and visit.

Of course, there are always precautions that you can take and extra details you should know. This guide will cover whether York is safe for students, safe to visit, and safe at night (amongst much more). Here is a complete safety guide to York.

Is York safe to visit?

Tourist via Unsplash.

Yes! York is safe to visit. The streets of York are always busy with tourists and residents, and the city is a brilliant UK holiday destination.

Since tourists will most likely stick to visiting York City Centre, you don’t need to worry as much about neighbourhoods on York’s outskirts. The crime rate in York City Centre is mainly limited to shoplifting and (bizarrely specifically) bike theft. There are odd cases of sexual assault and alcohol-fuelled violence, so it pays to stay alert, especially at night. However, the rate of these incidents is nothing compared to the rate of similar crimes in nearby cities. Basically, avoid walking alone on quiet streets at night and bring a bike lock, and you’ll be fine.

The answer to ‘is York safe to visit’ is a resounding yes. Take standard safety precautions, and you’ll have a fantastic time.

Is York a good place to live?

York buildings via Keja Ogden.

York is a great place to live. The cost of living isn’t sky-high, the crime rate is low, and there is always plenty going on. Aside from being safe, York is a beautiful place to live. You are surrounded by medieval architecture and market squares, which contribute massively to the city’s town atmosphere.

The only thing to be wary of when living in York is burglary and theft from vehicle crimes. There are just a handful of incidents a year, but it is wise to research which area has the lowest crime rate when house shopping. By choosing a property in a low-crime area and then investing in adequate security, you can quickly reduce that tiny risk even further.

So, is York safe to live in? Absolutely. The overall crime rate is low, and the city has many safe neighbourhoods to choose from. You can almost eliminate any safety concerns with just a bit of extra research and security investment.

Is York safe for students?

Students via Unsplash.

The answer to ‘is York safe’ is slightly different for students. However, this is more due to the student lifestyle and housing than any fault of York’s own.

Students should be warier than most others in York. The student lifestyle encourages drinking and often means renting cheap housing. When drinking, you should be mindful of risks like spiking and becoming separated from friends. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption does put you at a higher risk of becoming a victim of crime and makes you less likely to make wise decisions about your safety. In terms of housing, students should research the area carefully and ensure security is up to scratch. Don’t be afraid to approach your landlord or letting agency if security standards aren’t high enough.

York is still very, very safe for students. The city is a million times safer than London, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, or Manchester. The main concerns are general ones, and you won’t find it difficult to manage risks at all in York. With just a sprinkle of common sense and a pinch of luck, you’ll have an amazing university experience in York.

Is York safe for solo women?

Solo female in York via Keja Ogden.

Yes. York is safe for solo women. Like anywhere, there is always a risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, on the whole, York is one of the safest places in the UK to travel alone as a woman.

Based on personal experience, I’d regard York as 99.9% safe for women during the day. You might experience some catcalling, and it is best to remain alert with valuables securely stowed out of sight. But, compared to what most women are accustomed to dealing with, York is a breeze for solo women.

At night, I’d drop that to 80% safe. I’ve never had a bad experience, but the narrow snickelways that are so charming in the day become dimly lit at night. There are lots of quiet sections and roads that I’d feel uncomfortable walking down alone. The street-lit main streets feel welcoming for solo females at night, though, and York’s low crime rate speaks for itself. Follow your gut and stick to areas with a crowd and where you feel comfortable.

Is York safe at night?

York at night via Keja Ogden.

As covered above, York’s snickelways and quieter roads can be more daunting at night – especially if you are a solo female. The snickelways are narrow and dark, often unilluminated by streetlights. If you are exploring York at night, it is best to stick to the busy main roads with lots of people.

But is York safe at night? Overall, yes. Be prepared for a slightly higher crime risk, mostly due to the quieter areas at night and the influence of alcohol and party drugs. Still, there are only 40 incidents of anti-social behaviour a year, so even when York gets ‘rowdy’ on weekends, the rowdiness is quite subdued.

Take care and stick with a group and you should have a great time. York has fun nightlife, so make sure you get the chance to enjoy it.

What are the good and bad areas of York?

York via Unsplash.

Most areas in York are good areas. If you are looking for a safe place for accommodation though, these neighbourhoods have the lowest crime rate.

– Parts of Acomb

– Holgate East

– Parts of Tang Hall

– Bootham

 

Bad areas are extremely limited in York. However, these spots have experienced crime, so it is wise to take caution or avoid them if possible.

– Cinder Lane

– Hob Moor

– Clarence Street

– Rougier Street

– Tennent Road

These neighbourhoods should also be avoided where possible, as they have a much higher crime rate than other areas in York.

– Westfield

– Ouse Acres

– Chapelfields & Foxwood

– Clifton North

Top tips for staying safe in York

York via Unsplash.

1. Stay in a group at night

York is mostly safe at night. However, staying in a group is the best way to minimise any risks. The saying is true: there is safety in numbers.

Where possible, explore York at night as part of a group. This is especially important when going on nights out, as alcohol can lower your inhibitions and make you more susceptible to crime and unwise decisions when alone. If you end up walking home alone (drunk or not), consider getting an Uber if you feel uncomfortable.

2. Keep belongings securely stowed away

York is safe, but it isn’t immune. Protect yourself from pickpocketing, muggings, and assault by keeping belongings stored securely and out of sight.

Internal, zipped pockets are the best options for preventing pickpocketing. Not being distracted on your phone can also help prevent crime – as would-be assaulters and muggers can’t use your distraction to their advantage.

In short, keep belongings securely stowed and stay alert to your surroundings.

3. Invest in security

Security is important, whether that is reinforced locks on your home, a brand-new car alarm, or a personal alarm that you can carry around with you.

The best way to stay safe in York is to invest in security. And the best part is that most of these security features are useful in every destination, not just York – think of it as a general investment in your safety.

Overall, York is a fantastic destination if you are looking for a safe place in Yorkshire. While not exempt from everyday dangers, the city is 99.9% safe – whether you want to visit, relocate, or study there. 

I’ve previously written a destination guide on visiting York that I’ll link here if you want further inspiration. Whitby, Leeds, and the Yorkshire Dales are also great day trips if you stay in York for a while. You can follow the hyperlinks for more information on each destination. 

Have you visited York before? Drop your impression and thoughts in the comments below to help other readers prepare for their trips.

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