I am a Miami local- born and raised. Before any future visitors to our great city begin to panic from reading some of these posts, here are some tips.
1) If you don't want to get robbed, don't wear a rolex to the beach. Flashy jewelry- real or fake + bright red tan = easy target.
2) Don't rent a car, spend your money on cabs and save yourself the headache of driving. Miami has "pockets" of very unsafe neighborhoods close to some of the touristy areas, e.g. opa locka, liberty city, overtown, and parts of coconut grove and downtown. It is VERY easy to get lost in these areas and gps system might take you right through them. NEVER open a map anywhere at night, keep driving until you find a hotel where you can ask directions.
3) Cheap hotels are typically in bad neighborhoods. Stay on Miami beach proper or Coral Gables or Coconut Grove. Avoid hotels in downtown as they are typically not in nice areas.
4) There is more to Miami than South Beach clubs! On Miami Beach try: Lincoln Road, West Ave, hotel bars. In the "real" Miami: try Cocowalk in Coconut Grove, Downtown Coral Gables, Brickell, or Sunset Place in South Miami-- great shopping, some of the best food and nightlife in the city. Key Biscayne is a quiet, family oriented area. All are about a $20-$30 cab ride from South Beach, but well worth it.
5) Spanglish: English is the language of business in Miami, but there is a strong latin influence so yes you will hear a lot of Spanish. English is spoken at every nice restaurant, hotel, or bar in Miami. Even if you hear Spanish, the person probably speaks English. Some service workers at casual restaurants, stores, or bodegas may have a harder time, so be patient with them. If you are in bind, chances are someone around you is bilingual and can translate for you, just ask. The Latin influence is what makes Miami great and unique.
Miami is not Scarface or Miami Vice- so please do not panic. Be alert and aware, you are in a big city not a sleepy beach town. Be safe, have fun and Bienvenidos a Miami!
Miami is A city with tricks up her sleeve.Honestly There is no safe place in Miami.I came here at the age of five from Colombia.Living in Miami trust me Ive seen it all.With all the dangers of this city I am lucky to be alive.Still I have plenty of war scars to proove that I am a true Miami native.I grew up in the sections of goulds and allapattah.Any tourists that wanders off and gets lost in areas like those will most likely go back home in body bags.This is not a joke nor a game folks.I am an active voulenteer,stuggling to try and make Miami a safer place by going to the schools and preaching our youth about gang violence and anger management issues.Sadley i see so many of them dieing every day.I care for our residents as well as the visitors.Please if you deside to visit dont act like a tourist.If you are not black or hispanic you will stand out like a sore thumb.Just being white is a sure sign that you are a tourist.If you are white just make sure that you are extra carful.Here are some important safety tips.carry travelers check only.If you must carry cash,carry it in your shoe.Never I repeat never carry cash in your back pocket.It is a dead give away that you are a tourist.Remember the mentality in Miami is a freindly person is a weak person and a weak person in Miami is a dead person.So please people use commin sence and protect your selves and the image of our city.Help us save lives and try to prevent this ugly cycle of tourist murders in our city !!!!
With all the fun and energy, you still have to remember, South Beach is part of Miami, a city that has had its share of crime. In July 2003 I was walking back around 5AM from some girls hotel on 16th to mine on 5th and the police were roping off an area where 2 guys had just been shot. It made me think what if, and I've cabbed it ever since if I'm out that late. If you do run into trouble, there are two police stations, one on the beach and one a couple blocks in, help is just 3 digits away.
I have traveled to many places in the united states and around the world.By far Miami is the most dangerous city in the united states and among the most dangerous in the world.only comparing to bagdad cuba colombia and haiti.Miami makes new york seem like mister rogers neighboorhood.There are many reasons why Miami is so dangerous most people in Miami are from all kinds of different third world countries for example cuban colombia and hatie are just a few.As we know from the based on a true story movie scarface that in 1980 castro emptied out his cuban prisons to Miami.Another fact is Miami is the poorest big city in the nation as far as the income of people that live there yet at the same time it is one of the most expensive cities to live in the nation.most of the areas and cities of the Miami area are down right ugly violent and scary. one example of many cities in Miami is opa locka it has the highest violent crime rate in the united states.use the webl these are facts.There are many police on the streets of south beach you would think there is a riot going on. that alone tells you something about the out of control crime.But those police officers are there to protect tourists.Sure south beach is sketchy prostitution drugs gangs homless all over but its not nearly as bad as the rest of Miami.I would strongly recomend staying in the touristy area of south beach and not wounder off in the rest of Miami if you value your life.I am not trying to talk bad about Miami but lets face it Miami has had a bad reputation for crime and violence from day one.Still its all worth the visit.no city in the world has such much energy excitement and multi culture not to mention the cuban coffee. never carry cash or jewelry,watch your surroundings at all times if you get bumped from behind in your car dont stop until you find a police station or officer,and never go outside of the touristy areas you dont want to see the real Miami neighborhoods unless you have a gun.
I was born and raised in Miami, so maybe I can be a little rough, seeing I'm a Miami Native I'm a little tough...that's so ridiculous, I work and live in Miami, I've lived here 37 yrs, have 2 kids and 1 on the way, I work in the tourist industry and have traveled termendously in that past 20 years, it's all the same, even in the not so big cities, don't expect to go on vacation, get drunk and wonder out on your own, that's a rule of thumb...2nd don't wear flashy jewelery and go around renting Mercedez Benz and BMW's, your going to get rubbed and most likely stabbed to death...that again is anywhere!, be smart travel in groups and never drive anywhere your not familiar with, again I have traveled to many places and there's crime and violence every where, I don't rent a car in places I'm not familiar with, I ask for help from cab drivers and hotel operators, ask the experts people!, if you travel to Mexico don't drink the water, if you travel to Columbia drink the agua diente, if you travel to Miami wake up and smell the coffee!
My Husband was in Miami on business.I was told by authorities that He was in Miami for not even an hour when he was robbed and shot to death.Parts of his body were found two weeks later behind an abandoned warehouse in a dufflebag.The rest is still missing.I heard Miami was bad through the media and freinds, but I never imagined how brutal the locals can be.No one should visit that awful city but if you have to please take extra percautions.His killers are still on the streets.Judging by the crime rates down there.they are not the only killers loose on the streets in Miami.
Like some of the other locals who have commented, when I first saw this thread I was shocked at some of the negativity, until I looked at the dates on such posts. I have heard stories that this city was once dangerous, but with the luxury development of Brickell, Biscayne, the Design District, and Midtown Miami, in addition to the Beach, I rarely feel the least bit unnerved living here, which is saying a lot for a city this large. Many people have made race the focus of their posts, so I think it's important I disclose that I am as blonde, blue, and caucasian as they come; I'm a woman who doesn't speak of lick of Spanish, but have had no trouble living, working, and enjoying life in Miami for two and a half years. I have lived downtown and on Miami Beach. I run at night, walk my dogs alone, and enjoy all that Miami has to offer without fear. That's not to say there aren't bad parts, like any major city, and even most small towns, there are bad parts of Miami, but they are easily avoidable. In 2013, the parts of Miami any tourist should care to visit are extraordinarily beautiful and generally safe.
South Beach is pretty safe. You can walk around alone, even at night and nothing happens to you. I have to warn you girls and women out there though: stay in the main crowded streets at night if you are walking by yourself and it is late, as there have been a few women who have disappeared in the last year. If you have to leave the main streets to go to your hotel, jump in a cab.... a few bucks well spent!
Like I said, it is safe so don't freak out, but do take a few precautions and realize that these things happen, just as anywhere else I guess.
Wow. I am just shocked and amazed at the terrible and rude comments I've been reading. I've lived in Miami for 25 years, in the same house and the same neighborhood. I have never been robbed, raped, stabed, shot, etc., and I don't know anyone who has either. Like every other major city, you have to be careful and use your common since here. Miami is not a war zone nor a third world country. I would much rather live here than some scarier places I've been to such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, L.A., and New York. If your scared to come here, I suggest you go to Ft. Lauderdale with the rest of the old retired people.
As with any place, you should just be careful. I've read many of the comments regarding how dangerous Miami is. I've been several times (having stayed on South Beach and in Liberty City ....which I didn't know at the time but later learned is an extremely bad area). I never once felt unsafe but I was cautious as well (as with any place you visit). I think for the most part if you're aware of your surrounding and try to blend in rather than looking like a tourist, you'll be fine. I guess my experiences with the city have been slightly different because all the times I've visited I've been around locals...so I was seen as such rather than a tourist.....not sure...but just remain alert!
Just came back from Miami with a wallet, car keys, phones, and a lot of other stolen in a bag on the beach.
There also were reports of 3 or 4 laptops stolen overnight in my hotel room (Collins Ave and 15th Ave) (shared with 6 people) two nights before that incident. Door was locked. Thief climbed in through the window.
This is not a safe place. If you check here (http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/miami-beach/collins-14th/#crime)
the chances of you being a victim of violent crime is 1/100, and of property crime is 1/9.
Stay away if possible.
When I was looking at this beautiful harbor and listening the music, a man, behind me, was searching in the pocket of my trousers.
What did he want to steal me : my portofolio or the brochure of my camera I had really in my pocket.
When I am abroad, my cash and my visa are in the internal pocket of a vest.
Ciao, as I read the other comments, I was actually shocked. I am from Detroit, Michigan. I lived on Miami Beach from 2009 to 2011 and I am moving back in 2013. Even though I stayed on South Beach and Golden Beach, I traveled on the mainland plenty of times. I driven luxury cars, a Benz, a BMW and my friend let me drive his Porsche Panamera as well and nothing happened. I know a lot of locals, some considered gangsters and they never harmed me and I met them all on my own accord as a tourist before I even moved there. I have been to some bad areas, day and night and witnessed nothing that made me feel unsafe or in imminent danger. My suggestion would be the same as other, 1) don’t be careless or carefree, always pay attention to your surroundings as in any city, there are usually clues and signs to when something bad is about to happen
2) When in bad areas, do not be flashy
3) Your attitude should always be down to earth, do not be arrogant or act as if you are better than anyone
4) Don’t get drunk and wonder any where alone, especially as a female, there are sexual predators in every city
5) be cautious but not scary, some criminals prey on the weak
Other than that, just enjoy yourself and also avoid weekends that pertain to hip hop or “black” festivities unless you are into the rowdiness and raunchiness, your race doesn’t matter but if that is your cup of tea, go for it. By the way, I am black and in my younger years, my trips to Miami began with Memorial Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, Black Beach Week, etc, and when I was 19 to 22, it was fun and I enjoyed it but as I matured, it wasn’t my scene anymore, it was too hype and I prefer the calm, relax vibe oppose to all the crazy partying. I found that New Years is decent due to the diversity but it is still party, party, party, let’s all get wasted.
Ive been to miami a few times when i was younger now that im 23 i went last yr for memorial day weakend and had a ball chilled with guys that were locals and enjoyed myself i went this yr and had a terrible time i decided to take my 2 friends witch was there first time in miami to the flea market in liberty city we met some guys thinking that they was cool they set us up to be robbed in back blues alley in a apartment complex the cops said we was lucky to be alive lesson learned for me i will go back but im not trusting nobody at all
My parents where shot and killed in Miami. I will never walk again. I thought I'd pop in here and add this comment. The nightmare for me never ends.I saved up for years to take my parents on a vacation.I took them to Miami for the beaches and sun.It was nothing we dreamed it to be.It was a huge urban metropolis with worse traffic than id ever seen.The city was very dirty all over, including the beaches.People where either rude and aggressive or they begged for money. We had no idea we needed to learn spanish or haitian to get some respect. My advise would be to stay out of Miami.You should'nt have to give up your life to go on vacation.