Taking a vacation to another city, particularly one in another state can be a perilous journey, especially when you do not know the city very well. There are lots of bad neighborhoods in any town which can cause problems for tourists. When visiting Miami, be advised that you will be in a city known for its fun and excitement. Unfortunately it is also known for its crime. While the city is relatively safe overall, keep in mind that a criminal can strike anywhere. There are things that you can do to protect yourself and keep your vacation in Miami fun and safe.
The first tip to staying safe in Miami is to avoid sparsely populated areas, especially at night. Regardless of where you are, travel in groups, especially if you are a woman. On average, women are more commonly victimized in than men. Also, do not draw attention to yourself, if at all possible. A common rule of thumb when visiting a strange city is act like you live there, but not like you own the city. If you need directions to a specific place, stop in a store and ask the person behind the counter.
Leave all of your expensive jewelry at home and carry only credit cards and travelers checks. This makes it more difficult for a mugger or purse thief to actually steal anything of value. As soon as you realize that you have been a victim of theft, call the credit card companies to report them stolen and make a police report. Also, jewelry draws more attention to you, making you more of a target. If a thief sees a person with lots of expensive jewelry, they automatically see a potential victim. It is also important to keep an eye on your luggage at all times. When you claim your luggage at the airport, check it in at the hotel and take it back to the airport for boarding, make sure you know where it is at all times and what is in it.
If you do not own credit cards and carry only cash, then it is best to keep the cash on your person where a thief cannot get to it easily. Fanny packs can be handy for keeping your important things stashed, but they are easy for a pickpocket to steal. Keep your cash and important documents, such as passports and drivers license in your sock, if you are a man, or some place a little more personal if you are a woman. Retrieve them just before you need to use them, then put them away immediately after. Be as unappealing to a criminal as possible.
It is also very important to stay out of dark alleys. You may not be afraid of the dark, but you should be afraid of what is in the dark. It is best to take a taxi or a shuttle from your motel to the locations that you want to go, especially at night. This will mean that you get dropped off in front of your destination and do not have to find a parking spot. Also, taxi drivers record every stop they make at every time they make them. If anything should happen to you, this makes it easier for law enforcement to find out what happened. Also, maps paint targets on your chest and back that say, “I’m a tourist and I have money! Come rob me!” Avoid them as if they were dangerous animals. Speaking of dangerous animals, if you think you are being followed, walk into a building or a well lit, crowded area. This will deter would be attackers.
In Miami, there are also some very unsafe neighborhoods to avoid. Ask a taxi driver or a police officer to find out where not to go. These are places that a taxi driver does not like to go. The more people you interact with that are “safe”, like bartenders and door greeters, the more tracks you leave. These are going to be people that, when shown a photo, will automatically recognize you. Ultimately, be safe and have fun.