Be very weary of Hastings Street (and most of Gastown). It's an extremely dangerous place even during the day. News reports litter the news papers and TV news stations with cases of people being intentionally stuck with hypodermic needles containing Hepatitis C, HIV and other STDs.
If you are walking from Gastown to Chinatown you need to pass a few blocks where it is not very safe.During the day it still should be okay. But you can also take bus 22 north on Burrard street to Pender and Carall.
Avoid Main Street, and East Hatsings at Night, both a bit dodgey. The Pacific Bus station is on Main, so if you're arriving at night, make sure you know what you're doing when you arrive. (get on Skytrain into city centre is your best bet.)
If you have read other warnings about Vancouver, you've probably read about the severe area of town known as the Downtown Eastside. The area around Main and Hastings Street is notorious for drugs, crime, and unsavoury characters. In fact, the neighbourhood is certifiably the poorest is ALL of Canada, has a high rate (sometimes estimated at about 50%) of people living with AIDS, HIV, and/or hepatitis. Yes, it is a bad area, but know that the majority of people involved in crime down there are the criminals themselves (ie: stabbings during a drug-related fight). Please don't go walking down dark alleys at night, but there is no need to panic if you find yourself there. I have a friend who lived right in the heart of the neighbourhood for well over a year--she left her jeep out at night unlocked and without a hood, walked the streets alone, and nothing ever happened to her. There is a real sense of community there--the people are friendly, and there is no need to be paranoid. Just be careful. Bottom line: you'll probably only find trouble if you look for it. There is also no need to go down there and look at the people as if they are sideshows. They deserve respect like everyone else, and have enough problems with having people going down there to gawk at them. By the way--a few weeks after my friend moved to a more 'civilised' neighbourhood, her jeep was stolen....
Well the only dangers we were told about was the area between Chinatown and downtown. It is supposed to be ridden with drug addicts and unsavory types. To be honest we did walk through there in daylight but not at night. Also be carful when on Granville Island as one of our group had her bag snatched and she didn't even know :-(.
Stay away from East Hastings Street and that area at night and day. This is the worst area in Canada for drug use and has also the highest ratio of people infected with HIV. It is not a fun place to be and only go down there if you are in an extremely large group. It is pretty close to Gastown and those touristy areas so be sure of where you are going.
Vancouver is a really safe place, you can walk downtown late at night. But you should always be careful not to walk into north-east Vancouver by yourself, especially East Hastings. Anything West of Richards Street and south of Pender Street is safe.
Vancouver is a very safe city. Of course there are drug problems, but unless you run with that crowd, or hang out at Main & Hastings, you should not be too concerned about personal safety, most people are harmless.
We've got these two areas which are highly touted for tourism: Gastown and Chinatown. Unfortunately, Skid Row lies right in between the two. It looks worse than it is but you'll definitely want to keep an eye on what's going on around you.
Tourist be careful not to go to Downtown Eastside along Main and East Hasting Street. There are many drug addicts and drug dealers along that area.
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