Travel, Teach, Live in the USA and Canada
New York City is one of the busiest and most populated cities in the world. Naturally, more populated areas tend to require additional safety precautions that small towns do not. Because of this, it's wise to plan ahead when it comes to safety in New York City.
Avoid subway cars that are empty or have only a few people inside. It is better to surround yourself with lots of people to avoid a vulnerable situation. If subway traffic is slow, sit in or near the conductor's car, which is usually in the middle car of the train.
Refuse any invitations at the airport. It's common for people to ask if you need to make transportation arrangements once you have your luggage and are headed out of the airport. If someone offers an invitation to drive you to your destination, politely decline. Arange ground transportation beforehand, wait in the taxi line for a cab, use the subway system or ask airport personnel for directions.
Closely inspect taxi cabs before getting in. It is common for New York City citizens to offer unsuspecting passengers a "taxi ride" to their location. These unmarked cars do not display NYC taxi numbers or signs. Although these "Gypsy Cab" drivers may not be committing a crime, the vehicles are often uninsured and un-metered, which makes payment difficult.
Conceal your cash. You never know who is watching, and it is better to keep your money away out of sight to prevent theft. If you need to count your money, do so in a private place such as a restroom or your hotel room. When paying for expensive items with cash, do so discreetly.
Watch your belongings at all times. Never leave them unattended, even for a few seconds, because people can and will move quickly and claim them as their own. If you must leave an area even for a moment, either entrust your belongings to someone you know or take your things with you.
Walk in crowded areas and avoid quiet alleys at all costs. Although an alley may provide a shortcut to your destination, you are much safer in open, well-traveled areas. This is especially true in business areas when the businesses are closed.