Oakland Warnings and Dangers
Oakland is a vibrant city that is one of the most racially diverse in the nation. It is an exciting amalgamation of excellent eats, authentic street culture, and access to local arts. However, like any large city in America, Oakland has issues with chronic homelessness, drug/alcohol abuse, and economic stratification and poverty.
Economically Disadvantaged Neighborhoods, Homeless People, and Violence in Oakland
Oakland is working class, it’s bohemian, it’s authentically cool. It’s a city of people who have escaped the fast pace and high prices of San Francisco and Berkeley; often times because of economic necessity, sometimes by choice. Oakland’s been compared to a large suburb. A bare-bones suburb, but still a suburb. That said, areas to use caution include West Oakland and Lake Merritt, which unless you have family or friends or business in these areas, there just aren’t many tourists attractions. As far as East Oakland goes, unless you know why you want to be there, use extreme caution, especially if you don’t know where you’re going and it’s obvious!
- Rule of thumb: The closer to the Bay (moving away from the hills) the more economically challenged the neighborhood.
- Areas to use extra caution: “North Oakland – bordered by Alcatraz to 40th (North and South); Telegraph to San Pablo (East to West). West Oakland bordered by West Mac to 5th Street (North to South) and from about MLK to wherever it ends.”
Transportation in Oakland
- BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) moves you swiftly, safely, and great distances at a reasonable price between San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. Once out on the platform, know where you want to go.
- The bus system can leave you waiting for awhile. If there’s anything on the street that’s dangerous, you may be stuck waiting for the urban chariot to arrive. Consider an Uber account .
- It’s not uncommon for autos to be broken into. Don’t leave valuables in your car.
- Walking: because there are issues with homelessness and substance abuse, you may get solicited for change in an aggressive fashion.
Downtown Oakland Safety Tips
Downtown Oakland is considered a fairly safe area to enjoy the culture, shopping, cafes, and nightclubs, especially during the day. At night, it’s best to stick to well-lit and populated streets.
Using Common Sense While Enjoying Oakland
As a general rule, most crimes are directed at individuals in gangs or the drug trade with others in… gangs or the drug trade! Most criminals are not interested in interacting with citizens. Stay sane, somewhat sober, wander with others after dark, and enjoy the vibrant city of Oakland.
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Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about areas to avoid in Oakland