I was born in Syracuse and lived there for almost 18 years. It's a pretty safe city, however caution should be used in certain areas. The South/Southwest side of the city is pretty sketchy at night, especially in Onondaga Park...there have been murders there at night...most if not all related to drugs or something of the sort...not just random innocent bystanders. Over toward the West side there is crime and the area around Fowler High School is especially seedy. Parts of the North side have fallen to crime as well, but the area is still heavily populated with Southeast Asian and African immigrants...most of whom will not bother you.
Chances are you will not run into problems during the day no matter where you are...but take caution at night and try to avoid areas with few people around on the South side. Compared to a lot of cities though, overall Syracuse is pretty secure.
While I was at SU as a grad student I was shocked, but a bit releaved to see that the University would send out "Alerts" to crime which had occurred near or on the campus. Invariably, crimes will occur anywhere, but the close locale of SU to some of the seedier areas, combined with just bad judgment and sheer stupidity of the victims makes a few things very clear:
First, most of the crimial activity occurs late at night (12-2 am), when students who have been imbibing at the local watering holes on Marshall Street decide to call it a night and stagger home. There are once a month warnings on the hotmail alerts, telling of a student who decided to walk alone... It's just a bad idea in general. Walk in groups, don't take short cuts and know where the blue-light (emergency call buttons) are located throughout the University.
Second, don't be a target. Staggering home through the streets is like having a neon sign attached around your neck: "Here I am, vuneralble!" Spend the two dollars on a taxi and arrive home safe!
Third, be aware of your surroundings. Don't walk around with a cell phone to your ear, or with ear phones from your ipod covering up what maybe a sense you need--your hearing.
Last, read those hotmail alerts if you're a student. You can learn descriptions of perpetrators, learn what happened to others and maybe learn from other people's mistakes. And if you do become a victim--REPORT IT TO THE AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Like any metropolis, Syracuse has good sections of town and bad sections. Some places are fine during the day, and deadly (literally) during the late night.
The best thing to do is to check with the motel staff and ask them if there are any sections of town that should be avoided. In any case, please practice good safety procedures while in the city: lock car doors; lock and chain the motel room at night; stay away from unfamiliar areas when you are alone or late at night.
Get as much information as you can before you venture out. Be smart; be safe.
The photo shows our plane wing with ice and our being "de-iced" as we sat on the runway at Syracuse Airport waiting to take off. Weather is often a major factor in traveling in and out of Central NY State.
This place is windy! One time I went to a fraternity formal in Syracuse and I had on a flared red gown. Unfortunately, I don't weigh very much, and in the winds that ensued, the gown acted much like a sail would. Believe me when I say that I was actually flying up in the air and my date had to catch me and hold on to me. What a mess!
Don't swim in Onondaga Lake. It's the third-most polluted lake of its size in the world, thanks to years of illegal chemical waste dumping by Allied Chemical. Also FYI, Carousel Mall was built on a toxic waste dump, next to Onondaga Lake.
When in Syracuse, try to avoid most inner city neighborhoods or hoods on the outskirts, they can get rough sometimes and to be honest, there is really no need to go there. Some say Burnet can be bad. But all in all, I wouldn't really worry about saftey a ton.
Road Construction can really back up traffic along Interstate 81 and 690 during the summer months. Be ready to wait or take detours.
Don't Swim in Onondaga Lake at least for another few years. The Lake is under going a $350 million clean up project.
They hold fishing derby's on the Lake now, so it's starting to improve.
The snow in winter.We get tons of lake effect snow from Lake Ontario! My cat Mooshu hates the snow! He isn't very happy here!