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How to Stay Safe During Your Miami Vacation

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How to Stay Safe During Your Miami Vacation
Photo courtesy GMCVB
You may have heard stories about tourists being murdered in Miami, or seen the crazy schemes on shows like CSI: Miami, Dexter, and Miami Vice. It is true that Miami has a history of crimes related to mob activity, drug activity, and simply a high rate of poverty. Miami still has one of the highest crime rates in the country, but thankfully the crime rate has been dropping in recent years.

The key to staying safe in Miami is to stay out of unsafe neighborhoods, and to always be aware of your surroundings. The areas that tourists frequent are often much safer than the neighborhoods with the highest levels of crime. When visiting Miami, you should know which areas to avoid. And make sure to always be aware and street-smart, even in the safer neighborhoods.

A Look at Miami Neighborhoods

The safer areas where you may be spending most of your time are Miami Beach, Coconut Grove (but be aware of pockets of blighted areas nearby), Coral Gables, and Key Biscayne. Downtown Miami is fairly safe during the day, but be careful at night when traveling to one of the popular clubs, bars or restaurants in Brickell or the Design District.

Miami Beach is very safe during the day, but you may well run across a few vagrants. Most are harmless, but be on guard nevertheless. Miami Beach is full of people out at night, but try to travel with a companion or two. And be ready for that person who has had a few too many drinks and is looking for a fight.

If you are staying in Miami Beach, it may be best to go without a rental car and take a cab wherever you go. You won't have to worry about finding a parking spot, or having to walk through an unsafe alleyway or street to get to your destination.

Avoid central residential areas like Liberty City, Carol City, Overtown, and Opa Locka. These blighted areas have the highest levels of crime, and you don't want to get lost there.

Even in the most well-to-do neighborhoods, you should always be on guard. Saavy criminals target these areas for unlocked cars, valuables left in cars, carjacking, and even home invasions.

Safety Tips

  • Be careful with your luggage at all times - when you check-in and check-out at the airport and at your hotel.
  • Keep your hotel door locked, and don’t leave any valuables in an easy-to-find place in your room.
  • When driving or sightseeing, have your route planned in advance. Be very careful about opening a map in an obvious way – declaring your status as a lost tourist who probably has money in your pocket.
  • Avoid arguments with other drivers - Miami drivers officially have the worst road rage in the country.
  • Keep your car windows rolled up and doors locked at all times.
  • Don’t wear flashy or expensive jewelry.
  • If approached by someone, simply move away quickly. If followed, go into a store or well-populated place.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, call 911.
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