Vancouver is a beloved tourist destination, popular for its diverse ethnicity, linguistics, and beautiful natural landscape. If you’re traveling for the first time, you should be aware of major crime and the security level in the areas you intend to visit.
Below, we’ll highlight the safest neighborhoods in town, petty crimes tourists face, and the general rules for visiting Vancouver to plan for a safe and enjoyable vacation.
Is Vancouver a Safe Choice for Tourists?
Yes, Vancouver is a safe destination for tourists. Despite its densely populated city center, the crime rate is lower than the national average, and major crimes are almost extinct.
See Also: Is Canada a Good Place to Live?
The Safest Areas in Vancouver
Most parts of Vancouver are safe, but crime rates differ in different city centers.
For example, North Vancouver in British Columbia is one of the safest regions you can stay. Also, the larger part of Downtown Vancouver, like Stanley Park, is a haven for tourists and locals because it’s located between the water and mountains, making it even more beautiful. And since it’s the most populous city in British Columbia, security is tight.
Here are other secure areas you can visit:
While it may lack the action from the bustling city center, South Cambie has one of the lowest crime rates in Vancouver, at 32% lower than the national average. Tourists can be assured of their safety while exploring the city’s top attractions.
Shaughnessy is one of the safest places in Vancouver, with a crime rate that’s 50% lower than the national average. It has well-lit streets and strong community policing that ensures locals and tourists feel safe both at night and during the day.
Kerrisdale is a wealthy neighborhood located in the West of Vancouver. It has charming free-lined streets and offers many families and individuals a safe environment to stay. The area has a crime rate that’s 43% lower than the national average and a local community engaged in keeping the neighborhood safe.
Arbutus Ridge is located at the center of Vancouver’s west side and has convenient access to Downtown beaches, parks, and local shopping centers. The crime rates are 25% lower than the national average, so you’ll feel safe strolling through the area at all times.
Top Petty Crimes and Scams in Vancouver Affecting Tourists
Criminals in Vancouver often target tourists because they carry more cash and valuables and are less likely to identify their attackers in an alien environment.
So if you’re visiting, look out for the following offenses:
Personal safety is your top priority as a tourist, especially in crowded places like metro Vancouver or the Vancouver International Airport, where petty theft is common.
Pickpockets have the skills and experience to steal your belongings without your notice. Avoid being a victim and carry your bag in front of you instead of on your back. This way, you’ll be aware if anything fishy happens.
Bag-snatching is a common crime in crowded areas like public train stations, tourist attractions, and shopping malls. And since tourists are usually distracted with sight-seeing, they make easy targets for criminals.
You should also wear a crossbody on your front rather than your back and don’t flash your valuables.
Some criminals will take advantage of your kindness and generosity. Someone may walk up to you and sell misery. For instance, they might say they’re a tourist who got their money stolen and need help, most likely, cash, to get back to their hotel. Chances are, you’ll be tempted to help because these people are trained to express the right emotions.
This is almost always a scam, and tourists are often easy targets. To avoid being a victim, don’t give them your money, valuables, and, especially, personal information. What you should do is direct them to the nearest police station; it’s better to let the proper authorities handle these things instead. Not only do you guarantee your safety, but you also help these strangers in case they’re truly innocent in their claims.
Safety Dos and Don’ts When Traveling to Vancouver
Vancouver is a friendly place with a welcoming environment. But if you don’t know the rules, you may get into trouble with the local law enforcement. Here are some of the common dos and don’t that will make your trip smoother:
Consider the following list of what you should do when traveling to Vancouver:
- Get travel insurance: It’s essential to get travel insurance before your trip to keep you financially covered if you fall ill, get into an accident, or lose your belongings. To get the best policy for your trip, compare different providers and always read the terms and conditions of your coverage.
- Keep all your car doors locked: If you’re traveling to Vancouver by car, always lock your car doors when driving or parking in crowded places, like downtown. Criminals won’t hesitate to steal your valuables if they find your doors unlocked.
- Be wary and confident: Stand tall and walk with confidence around crowded areas because criminals often target tourists who seem scared or lost.
- Carry your passport with you: Some places, like the Vancouver Maritime Museum or Vancouver Art Gallery, require identification and don’t accept foreign identity cards. As a tourist, a passport is an international ID that will get you into most areas with strict laws. That’s why you should always keep it safe to prevent theft.
- Drink responsibly: We understand that you’re inclined to have as much fun as you want as a tourist, but please take precautions. Drink responsibly and with people you trust to avoid being a victim of “date rape” drugs.
The following tips on what not to do in Vancouver will keep you out of trouble:
- Never leave your drink unattended: Leaving your drink unattended may get you drugged in a bar or a victim of sexual assault. Instead, you should finish your drink before excusing yourself and only drink with people you trust.
- Avoid Downtown Eastside area (DTES): This is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and a big hub for drug abuse, violent crimes, property crime, mental illness, poverty, and prostitution.
- Don’t carry weapons: Canada has strict gun laws, so you can get in trouble with the Vancouver Police Department if you’re caught with firearms.
- Don’t drink or smoke in public: You’re not allowed to drink or smoke in places like parks, streets, and other public areas. Doing so will get you fined or arrested.
Is Vancouver Safe for Solo Travelers?
Yes, Vancouver is generally a safe place if you’re traveling alone. It’s ranked the fourth safest city in the world for solo travelers.
However, you should avoid certain neighborhoods with high crime rates and walk in well-lit areas at night. This way, you can enjoy the best of what the city offers without always worrying about being a victim of theft or mugging.
Is Vancouver Safe for Female Travelers?
Yes, Vancouver is generally considered safe for female travelers as it has low crime rates and a strong police presence.
However, you should still avoid walking alone at night and be wary of your surroundings. You should also reject rides from strangers and use a taxi or ride-sharing service instead.
Vancouver is generally a safe city for tourists, with almost non-existent serious crimes. The streets are well-lit, and the friendly faces are abundant, giving travelers a memorable experience.
When planning your trip to this major city, review the guidelines and stats to ensure you make the most out of your stay. Safe travels!