Areas to Avoid / Crime, Houston
I do not know all the areas that could be dangerous in Houston because of crime (assault, burglary, drug...). Here are the ones I know of:
- I certainly would not walk around at night alone in the neighbourhoods surrounding the University of Houston campus although it is getting better now and will probably improve with the new tramway line being built.
- Eastern Houston, especially some areas near the Houston ship channel
- Southwest side: gang related activity at night at appartment complex on South Gessner below Bissonnet ( police district 17)
- 4th ward also called Freedmen's Town used to be dicey, but last time I went, there are so many new condos, townhouses (destroying the quaint houses) that it looks very gentrified!
For more precise info, you can check district by district in the following websites:
- Houston police crime monthly statistics
- Sex offenders database
For some reason many people have this impression that Houston is crime-infested... perhaps from an era gone by.
The fact is that many other large cities, including Dallas and Atlanta, have much higher crime rates than present-day Houston. In a recent list of the top 25 most dangerous cities, Houston didn't make it -- being beat out by places like Dallas, Tampa, Memphis and Orlando, as well as all the obvious like Detroit, New Orleans and Miami.
In fact, Houston recently tied with San Francisco, Honolulu, and Winston-Salem on a recent list of cities for best personal safety. This even while Houston is a very large city, in fact the country's fourth largest. So for a city of its size, Houston's crime rate is actually below average compared to the rest of the country.
However, this hardly means that Houston is immune to crime -- some areas are quite bad. Avoid the areas immediately east of I-45 in the Houston city limits, and around I-45 and the 610 Loop on the southeast side. The area surrounding Hobby Airport is also not very good. There are several other pockets of unsafe areas, but most of these are not near any areas of interest to tourists anyway. Finally, keep in mind that if the area looks bad, it probably is.
Welcome to Houston , I'm a 36yro native . I grew in north and northwest houston . The Northside is low income/middle class . The worst parts of it are Northeast and Northwest .Some of the reviews are correct and some are based on opinion . I'm going to explain the inner suburbs in this region .
1. Acres Homes
A. State Marker
B. Metro Rt.44, 79, 64 , 40 ,45
C. Most Dangerous Streets
I. West Montgomery -Metro Rt. 44 State Highway 149 or Tomball Parkway . This street runs north/northwest to south/southeast between State Highway 249 West Mount Houston and North Shepard which is a spur rt. from I- 45 north to Allen Parkway south . Be careful driving on this street at night and day
II. West Little York - Metro Rt. 79 , This runs east to Mesa/N.Wayside streets and west to Beltway 8 .Sections of this street is also dangerous , becareful driving down this street day and night . It intersects West Montgomery which are main arteries and the heart of Acres Homes .
III. South Victory -Metro Rt 79, Merges with Little York to the west and the east . Also intersects with West Montgomery and North Shepard . The eastern portion of the street has side streets that are dangerous at night that are located near North Shepard .
IV. Tidwell - Metro Rt.45 Tidwell Crosstown , This street runs east to Mesa / North Wayside and west to Hempstead to the south of Acres Homes and north of Garden Oaks/ Oak Forest . Several areas of this are wooded lots and have low income projects along the western stretch and some other apt properties to the west is extremely deadly to venture in and to the east is very dangerous . Be extremely careful on any portion of this street
V. Gulf Bank - Metro Rt. 64 , This runs street east to West Montgomery and west to Albonson ,an extended eastern portion between 249 to Airline . Both eastern and western portions are dangerous . The western portion has apts that are crime ridden . The eastern portion is a low income subdivision that is somewhat crime ridden because of a neighboring apt complex . That area is called Heather Glen which is on the northeastern corner of Acres Homes .
VI. Ella Blvd.- Metro Rt 40 Pecore/86 F.M.1960 , Ella , like Gulf Bank , has a northern and southern portion . The northern portion is dangerous , it located near Beltway 8 and 1960 in the western portion of the City View / Greenspoint area and has high timber wooded lots and apts that are crime ridden . The southern portion that has another street name of Wheatley which runs south to West Montgomery and dead ends north to Heather Glen . Be very watchful of this street . The main portion of Ella begins at West Little York runs south where it merges with West 11th and TC Jester near White Oak Bayou . The southern portion is safe to drive .
2.Garden Oaks/ Oak Forest
A. Middle Class
B. Metro Rt. 8 North Main , 40 Pecore , 23 Crosstimbers Crosstown , 44 Acres Homes , 50 Heights , 45 Tidwell , 85 Antoine
C. Parallels BNSF , I-610 , US 290 Northwest Fwy to Austin ( Presidential Rt )
Most Dangerous Streets
I.34th St. - Metro Rt. 23 Crosstimbers Crosstown, 8 North Main , This street runs east to North Shepard , parallels BNSF Gulf Division Line to the north of the street and west to Hempstead. It intersects Ella , TC Jester , Mangum , US 290 , Antoine , Bingle . The eastern portion near North Shepard , BNSF and I-610 , be very watchful of this stretch .
II . TC Jester -This street runs south to Washington Ave. and ends north at the intersection of South Victory . It runs the western border of Acres Homes and through the western portion of Oak Forest . It parallels White Oak Bayou Which runs northwest to Albonson St.and southeast to Buffalo Bayou north of Downtown . The Intesections of Tidwell and West Little York are risky because of crime . The northern portion is crime ridden between West Little York and South Victory .
III. Crosstimbers/43rdSt.- Metro Rt 23 ,44, 50 , This street is two portions and runs east to Mesa and west to Hempstead . Crosstimbers runs east to Mesa / N Wayside and west to North Shepard . It continues on at the intersection of North Shepard west to Hempsteated as 43rd St. The eastern portion is very crime ridden west and east of I-45 .
IV. Pinemont - Metro Rt. 45, This street runs east to North Shepard and west to Hempstead . Be watchful of the western portion iwest of the intersection of Antoine and east of the 290 flyover . It is extremely dangerous at night .
VI. Watonga St.-This street runs north across White Oak Bayou and merges with TC Jester and runs south and merges with Mangum It also runs across BNSF, at this point , listen for trains approaching from around the bend to the south because there are trees and bush that cover the curve of tracks It also merges with Mangum and a street that runs west to 290 behind shopping centers . Be watchful of trains and this portion because of apt crime on this street .
VII .Mangum - Metro Rt 40 Pecore / Northwest Mall , This street is also two segments . the southern segment which is 43rd to W11th and Hempstead , the northern segment which parallels BNSF is called Acorn St. that runs north from 43rd curves west to Antoine . like Watonga be watchful of this vacinity near the intersection of 34th and Mangum both north and south .
VIII. Sherwood Lane - This street runs east to TC Jester and west to 290 . Pay very close attention when driving down this street both day and night .It Intersects Mangum . This is a deadly street to be on whatever you do do not stop for anything at all . Get off this street asap. Do not play with this street at all .
3. White Oak Terrace *
* denotes seriously deadly area
A. White Oak Bayou
B. Metro Rt 85 , 45 , 79
Most Dangerous Streets
Before I mention the streets , They will have * denoting very high crime and deaths . Some info will be mentioned .
I. Antoine *- Metro Rt 85, This street is very busy around the clock . It junctions with two major rail lines BNSF to the north and UP to the south . It intersects with streets listed above . It runs north to Veterans Memorial and south to Memorial Dr. . It runs through the western portion of Oak Forest near 290 in White Oak Terrace . From Pinemont intersection to intersection of South Victory across White Oak Bayou to the north is White Oak Terrace . This is very high crime area normally at night especially on the side streets . Antoine is safe . Do not get on the side streets . There are many apt clusters on this stretch that are riddled with drug trafficking , prostitution , and murder .
IA . * Desoto St. - This street is to be avoided at all costs day and night . This street is two segments . It runs west from White Oak Bayou to Antoine and from White Oak Bayou east to Ella in Acres Homes both segments are deadly to be driving on especially at night . This street is known as the most deadliest street in the city namely the western portion . It got its name and reputation from the Hurricane Katrina / Rita period when the evacs were here and the crime was high then . There would be two or three murders in a day or a week . Every night I would hear sirens going and coming . Today ,it is now drug trafficking in and out of there because of a recently rebuilt property by the city and drugs have taken it over .It got so bad that it poured into the complex I'm currently residing in . But we kicked it out before it got started . Sadly it ended up at a property across the street . Stay off Desoto St period . If you are moving do not move there .
IB ** Antoine/Tidwell to Tidwell/Bingle - This stretch is to be extremely advoided at anytime day or night .Walking , biking or driving. If you don't live there or know someone who lives there, you don't have no business around there period . There have been many murders take place there . Summer 2012 , two people man and woman have been shot to death and there have been death by stabbing . Gangs are known to hide out there . Go on though and don't stop for anything .It is best to go through there during the day and not at night . This stretch is a cluster of apts from one intersection to another . Pay close attention to this vacinity .
IC. * Hollyview- This street is located to the north of the property I'm currently residing in . It is a dead end street like Desoto but it curves southeast from Antoine . The last major incident that took place on this street is a police officer was gunned down in his cruiser. Over the years that have been major drug busts . It has toned down but never take it lightly that it has the potential of increased crime . The area is somewhat dark at night but there is plenty of lighting due to any old complex that was demolished by the city as an eyesore . Don't chance it with Hollyview St. Keep going .
This is some parts of Northwest Houston that should be avoided when in town visiting . There is more . Welcome to Houston . Enjoy your visit . If you're moving here good luck making Houston your new home . I will post more .
I have read all posted reviews here, and the main thing I've noticed is a lot of seriously outdated information and silly suburban paranoia. I grew up in Houston in the 70's and 80's, when it was the murder capitol for a few years, and when it wasn't it was usually in the top 5 most violent/dangerous cities in the nation from the early 70's to the early 90's. Those days are long over. Ever since serious gentrification began in the 90's, Houston's violent crime rate has steadily gone down in the last 20 years, and much of what used to be abandoned and decaying inner-city neighborhoods are now trendy, upscale urban zip codes. Today Houston ranks something like 35 or 36 in the list of most violent cities in America. Funny enough, I remember how Dallasites used to look down their noses at Houston because we were supposedly one big violent filthy ghetto, yet today Dallas has a significantly higher rate of violent crime than Houston. So take that, big D.
However, this isn't to say that there aren't still some areas you wouldn't want to be walking around alone, day or night. Due to Houston's notorious lack of zoning, you can be strolling through tree-lined, mansion-dotted, high-income neighborhoods one minute, then cross a street and be in the middle of gangland. There are pockets of high-crime zones interspersed all throughout the urban landscape, and they aren't confined to just one side of town.
I would agree with some of the other reviews here that the near North side (the area just North of I-10, East of I-45, and West of 59) is still pretty rough, but unless you live in this area you really have no reason to go there. A few reviews I read mentioned the 2nd ward, which I very much disagree with. The area is currently seeing the beginnings of gentrification, and becoming safer every day. I grew up eating at Ninfa's on Navigation, and I remember the days when you were rolling the dice if you chose to drive there, since there was a good chance your car wouldn't be there anymore when you left the restaurant. Today, it's a whole different story. The streets are much more well-lit at night, and you can see a few new high-rise apartments starting to go up. Always a sign that a neighborhood is rising from the ashes.
The 3rd ward and the neighborhoods near UofH seem to be a safer place these days as well, even if it still looks a bit run-down. Now, whoever said "avoid the 4th ward" earlier must be living in a time warp. The 4th ward of today has been completely revitalized and gentrified. High-end condos now stand where the seedy Allen Parkway Projects used to be, and most of the 4th's inhabitants work in offices downtown. The 4th ward is probably safer than most of Houston's suburbs these days. In the SE part of the inner-loop, it's probably still a good idea not to take any midnight strolls through the Gulfgate or Wayside neighborhoods. Gangs still have a pretty tight grip on that area.
Outside loop 610 is where you're most likely to find the TRULY dangerous 'hoods. Sharpstown is still pretty nasty and not showing any signs of getting better any time soon. Also a good idea to stay away from Northside/Northline (really, anywhere in the area bordered by N. loop 610 to the South, Tidwell to the North, Yale to the West, and Hirsch Rd. to the East). Not much to do in that part of town anyway except get into trouble. Also, just outside the loop on the SE side of town (Sunnyside, Park Place, Broadway) is still pretty scary, and covers a pretty large area. If you're flying into Hobby and renting a car, don't make any stops until you've reached your destination.
So that's pretty much it. All in all, a much gentler and kinder H-town than in days of yore. As long as you have some street smarts you should be ok anywhere in the city, and contrary to what somebody laughably said in another review, you won't need to pack any heat. One of the biggest myths about Houstonians is that we're all gun-crazy. Like I said, I grew up during a time when Houston was the murder capitol, and never once owned a gun (though I did keep a butterfly knife on me most of the time). Whoever thinks we all carry guns has seen too many movies. If you're visiting Houston to do the tourist thing then it's highly doubtful you'll have any reason to be in any of these neighborhoods. The biggest danger you'll have to face is the Summer heat and humidity.
For short visits to Houston: Galleria is like going to Macys- but has ice skating and can be a big place to kill some time. Galleria area is okay & plenty of eateries within a 1-2 mile radius. Inside 610 loop- stay just around Westheimer/surrounding blocks from Fountainview all the way to Kirby almost downtown. If in downtown, stay in the midst of Main Street from Congress to Rusk. *see map link below- shows map pic of theatre/shows, parking, cafe's, bars downtown. Don't go East of Fannin & do check out Bayou Place: texas@smith. Stay away from the football stadium unless going to a game/event. If going to a baseball game, okay for the parking lots, follow others and park....but do not head N, NE, or SE from the stadium, but SW to Main St okay. Rice University is ok, but U of Houston area is not safe at night. Galleria side, just do not drive south of 59 freeway at all & you will avoid weirdness. Stay away from North of i-10 anywhere unless you are visiting the Heights area for shopping/antiques-- that is mainly 19th Street, North if i-10 on Shepherd or Yale exit going North. Do not vere too much away from that immediate area at night but during the day is fine.. mapquest yourself before you head out. Out Westward from the Galleria area near the Beltway 8 toll Westheimer/ Beltway 8 is ok for some eateries or visiting friends near some suburbs, otherwise, nothing out there for you to see. The museums are South of downtown & are not open late, so you are fine. There is a movie cinema downtown that validates parking (texas@smith st) and on Weslayan@ Richmond off of 59. * Hotels to stay at....stay in areas of Galleria, downtown, but no 2 stars....too seedy...do 3 star or above on www.priceline.com & you'll be fine. There are a few 'Courtyards' of Hotels near Galleria/610 that are safe.
Lots of homeless in Houston and you will see panhandling a lot, avoid eye contact and they, for the most part, leave you alone. You may also find yourself being approached at a gas station by someone asking for assistance (a dollar for fuel or phone or trying to sell soemthing it is a scam to see if you have cash to rob). Again try to avoid contact and if you do speak just be polite and excuse yourself from the situation.
Unlike most cities, Houston's dangerous neighborhoods aren't corralled into one part of the city. It is very common to have a very nice neighborhood with $500,000 houses right next to a really rough part of town.
Generally, most places that tourists end up going won't take you through the really bad parts of town -- or if they do, you'll be on a freeway and will have nothing to worry about. The one shady area that you may come into contact with is the area around Reliant Park. Don't hang out around the stadium if there isn't an event. If there is an event, be careful if you have parked offsite. The train is pretty safe if there is an event.
As for other public transportation, a lot of Houstonians don't take the bus. Here, if you can afford a car, you generally drive as the city is so spread out. If you decide to take the bus, be aware and know the entire route before boarding. A lot of the buses do run through bad parts of town. The exception is the park and ride buses that take the suburb commuters.
I would avoid Sharpstown, Greenspoint (affectionately known as "Gunspoint"), and Alief at night, but you should be okay driving through them during the day.
Areas to avoid at all costs: Second Ward, Third Ward, Fifth Ward, Acres Homes, Independence Heights, Northside Village, and Sunnyside.
First of all, I-610 and Beltway 8 are two loops that circle the city (I-610 is the interior loop, Beltway 8 generally sits not too far from most of the suburbs). Stay away from the area just southeast of downtown in that pocket between I-45S and 288 (yes, right around Texas Southern and U of H). That's Third Ward. If you go there at all, stick to the universities without straying. TSU is more dangerous than U of H. Likewise, avoid the area just northeast of downtown in the pocket between US-59N and I-10E. That's Fifth Ward. If you're taking I-45N just past I-610, stay away from the left (west) side of the freeway. Crosstimbers will take you directly into Independence Heights, and Little York will lead you right into Acres Homes. Also, be extra careful if you are driving along Shepherd from I-610 in that area. There is a historical area known as the Heights just south of I-610 which is a very popular area (and relatively safe). Just north of the freeway is Garden Oaks. Both of these areas have a lot of nice and expensive houses. However, if you take Shepherd or Ella (runs parallel to Shepherd) too far, you'll run right into Acres Homes. Just an example of how easy it is to end up in the wrong part of town.
Sunnyside is just east of 288 and south of I-610. South Wayside is along I-45S just north of the freeway centered around Wayside Drive. Greenspoint is just north of Beltway 8 and east of I-45N. Sharpstown is located between the Westpark Tollway, Beltway 8, and US-59S, although it does spill over a little south of 59S. Again, I wouldn't worry about this one too much unless you're driving through it at night. There are actually some nicer businesses located right along Beltway 8. You also have a very mixed ethnic group here. Honestly, they have some great Vietnamese food and Asian markets, so you might want to hit it up for lunch.
Where Sharpstown ends right outside of the Beltway, Alief begins. This goes between Westpark and 59S up until roughly West Bellfort and Eldridge. I've seen some people complain about Meadows Place, but I've never had any problem with it. I grew up in Sugar Land, and Meadows Place was zoned to my high school. I was in the Meadows all the time with my friends, and there was nothing that ever appeared dangerous.
Also, watch out just east of downtown (east of US-59). This might trick you since the baseball stadium is JUST on the west side of the freeway. But you'll notice that nearly all of the parking lots are on the west side of 59. There's a reason for this -- it's the start of Second Ward. Second Ward follows the bayou to the north until roughly around Wayside. Also, be careful on the southeast side of downtown by the Toyota Center. It can get a little shady down there at night. Downtown has a great nightlife and a terrific theater district, but try to stay as close to the bars and theaters as possible.
Driving I-45N, just don't go off to the right side of the freeway. Just north of downtown is Northside Village. Bad news, bad news, bad news. You can go down North Main on the opposite side of the freeway (GREAT Mexican restaurant down there called Spanish Flowers), but heading east makes me really nervous.
It used to be that all of the Wards were bad news, but don't be fooled by other reviews. There has been some serious gentrification going on. First, Fourth, and Sixth Ward have really been on the rise. They're all really small areas, they're just west of downtown (which is quickly being developed), and they're all close to high traffic areas. I wouldn't worry about them.
Also, some people have warned to stay away from the areas outside of town that have state pens. Don't worry about that at all. This isn't Hollywood. I've had multiple legal visits with clients in there, and trust me -- there is no getting out. They are very tightly secured. And the surrounding neighborhoods are fine. Plus, I've gotten the inside tips from these inmates about the really bad parts of the city. So my info is straight from the source!
Most importantly, just be aware. Just because you're not in one of the listed areas doesn't mean you're in a safe area. Remember that you're in a major city. Crime occurs everywhere. Your actions can greatly decrease your chances of becoming a victim. Keep your car doors locked at all times, roll up your windows if things look rundown, and don't leave anything of value in sight in your car. Take the target off of your back, and you're less likely to be hit.
I am a missionary from London UK and on a Saturday evening my friend
invited me to go jogging as I did not know the area I thought it was ok but we ended up on
a park at Desoto st called Highland Park in Acres Homes I only found out later
where I was as I don't know the area and we live in some houses complex nearby
I was attacked by about 8 black youths ( I am black) my friend is white
And I was seriously assaulted I could have died, when we saw them coming
We tried walking away but 3 followed and hit me from behind.
I was shocked, so Stay Away At All Cost.
I work and leave near so I have to get the 45,40 and 44 bus but as others have
Said if you have no business here stay away.
Not even when I was on the streets of Rio I suffered an assault like here.
Thanks and God Save America
If you are traveling down to Houston stay away from The Westchase district which consists of Westheimer past Hillcroft all the way to Westheimer and Dairy Ashford. Mission Bend is ok, just use caution. The West Oaks area hwy 6 and Richmond to hwy 6/1960 cy fair all the way to 1960 and 1 Stebner Airline are generally safe.
Stay at Williowbrook area Hotels, Cy-Fair, Tomball, Spring and the like. They are less panhandlers in these areas compared to the Galleria. At least since the last time I was there. West University and Bellaire are good areas too, just don't go past Chimney Rock or Beechnut and 610.
Avoid the Wards, Fondren Southwest, Gulfton, Sharpstown (at night) use caution during the day, Alief, Westchase, Stafford (like Gulfton a lot of Latin American Gangs conregate there), Meadows Place, Hiram Clarke, Airline Drive, Crosstimbers (except for the heights), 45n/West Rd ditto, and avoid all of Beltway 8 with the exception of the stretch between Briar Forest and SH 249 (the only nice area of the Sam Houston Toll Road)
Also avoid country towns around Houston like Brookshire (a lot of crackheads there) nothing to see unless you are a trucker, also avoid 529 and Angleton (a state prision is housed there)
passing through there is fine.
I will keep this short but simple. I am from Houston, born and raised for 35 years. I have traveled all over the United States and been to the "worst" neighborhoods in America and I will tell you that Houston is the type of place that will fool you. There ARE large sections of town that are run down and blighted...but these areas haven't been the most dangerous areas of town since the 80's.......THEY ARE STILL DANGEROUS THOUGH!! Simply put, DO NOT let your guard down anywhere you go in the entire Houston area. People are crazy down here and we all carry guns....legally and illegally. Anyone can be a victim or be killed anywhere at any time of day. You must stay on your toes and if you are from another city.....stay in your hotel at night unless you are going out on Washington Ave......but even then DO NOT venture off the main street. Another word of advice.....the most dangerous people in Houston are the houston police department. They kill several people every week.....seemingly for invalid reasons half the time. Bottom line.....if you have no BUSINESS or FAMILY here then you probably have no business being down here.....this is NOT a tourist destination. You have been warned......travel safely and heed my warnings.
Much of the information here is outdated (at best) -- the Downtown area and 3rd Ward (east of 59) is just fine for cycling anytime of day or night. For the most part, this is true of anywhere inside the Loop. I would personally avoid 5th Ward (the near northeast) even though that is where I live.
You make your own dangers of you simply fear a non-suburban culture. It's been 35 years since I moved to Houston and although many of the perceptions voiced here were voiced way back when, many should be left in the past.
The downtown revitalization that started with the Ball Park has drastically changed the character of surrounding neighborhoods and the city needs revisiting.
In Houston within our major outer highway Beltway 8 if you are traveling to the various neighborhoods you may want to use caution as harassment does tend to occur within area outlining our Interstate Highway 45 from the North Beltway highway to the Southern Beltway highway. Crimes can include shootings, robberies, and muggings. A lot of Houstonians do tend to bluff their threats but be advised that some do carry out their threats.
Don't forget most of the east and northeast sides of town inside the beltway are pretty rough from I-10E to US-59N over to Hardy Road areas, but the rest of Houston is pretty much a chessboard of good parts to bad parts of town, so you may sometimes think you are in a good part of town and be in a bad part, and vice versa...outside the belt, it's a mish-mash of good and bad, hoods are less than 2 miles from millionaires' places, even more entertwined than the innerbelt...but if you want to see Houston in it's best Glory from the past, check out the Heights about 3-5 miles west of downtown inside the loop, great old places to eat and shop that are still around...
As any major city, Houston has its depressed and crime-ridden areas. Generally, they hold few if any attractions, and are of no interest to a tourist, unless you have friends or family to visit. Generally, areas south of I-10, east and north of downtown, some areas of northwest. Houston is definitely though one of the safer large cities in the US. The city does have a carjacking and car theft problem.
I have never been accosted by more panhandlers in my entire life than the 2 days I spent in and around the Galleria in Houston. I felt sorry for most of them, but some were outright scumbags just looking for an easy ride. From my Motel 6 room, I watched this young man walk around outside a gas station panhandling for money. Each time getting at least 1 dollar I counted well over 30 people giving him money in a span of 4 hours, that's $7.50 an hour. He was there each day, nearly all day long, even asked me three times as I was going in and out of my hotel room. Finally on the last day, as I was leaving, I stopped and said, "you must do really good for yourself out here." He said, "yup, beats McDonalds."