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10 Worst Neighborhoods In Philadelphia 2024: Beyond the Liberty Bell

Philadelphia Worst Neighborhoods

Philadelphia, this lively hub in Pennsylvania, may not be the state capital, but to me, it’s always felt like the heart of cultural diversity and vibrancy. As the fifth largest city in the U.S. and second largest on the Eastern Seaboard, its diverse neighborhoods create a rich cultural experience that I find truly captivating.

I love exploring Philly’s neighborhoods, each bursting with fantastic entertainment, delicious food, and a unique charm that makes the city feel like a melting pot of cultures and communities.

But like any big city, Philadelphia has its ups and downs. It’s a city of stark contrasts – you’ll find wonderful, family-friendly areas alongside less affluent parts. From my experience, it’s wise for both residents and visitors to think about home security, especially since Philadelphia’s crime rate sits 55% above the national average. It’s a statistic that shouldn’t be overlooked, despite the city’s affectionate nickname, the City of Brotherly Love.

Before getting into the specifics of Philadelphia’s tougher neighborhoods, it’s important to grasp the overall safety situation in this diverse and ever-changing city.

Key Takeaways

  • Most Dangerous Neighborhoods: Tioga-Nicetown, Hunting Park, Strawberry Mansion, Fairhill, Alleghany West, Harrowgate, Haddington-Carroll Park, Elmwood, Frankford, and North Central stand out as the most challenging areas in Philadelphia.
  • Cultural Diversity and Vibrancy: Philadelphia, not the state capital but still a cultural hub, offers a rich tapestry of diverse neighborhoods, each with unique entertainment and culinary delights.
  • City of Contrasts: The city presents a stark contrast between family-friendly areas and less affluent parts, emphasizing the need for awareness and security due to a crime rate 55% above the national average.
  • Safety Varies by Neighborhood: Safety in Philadelphia is complex, varying greatly depending on the area and time of day, with the violent crime rate being 139% higher than the national average.
  • Gentrification and Change: Despite high crime rates in certain neighborhoods, I’ve observed ongoing gentrification and positive changes in areas like Strawberry Mansion.
  • Personal Safety Measures: My visits have taught me the importance of staying in well-lit areas, being aware of my surroundings, using safe transportation, and researching neighborhoods before moving.

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Is Philadelphia a Safe City?

Answering how safe Philadelphia is can get quite complex. Safety varies depending on the specific areas and the time of day. A key indicator is the violent crime rate, which encompasses crimes like robbery, murder, and forcible rape. Property crimes, including theft and burglary, also play a part.

In Philadelphia, I’ve noticed the violent crime rate is alarmingly 139% higher than the national average. This means there’s about a 1 in 25 chance of falling victim to violent crime. But it’s not all bad news. The city’s overall crime rate has been on a 3% yearly decline.

When I visit or talk to someone thinking about moving to Philly, I emphasize that the city is generally safe, especially in certain neighborhoods. But, when venturing into less favorable areas, being alert and cautious is crucial.

Neighborhoods like Strawberry Mansion, Elmwood, Hunting Park, and Fairhill tend to have higher crime rates. I think it’s important to understand these areas’ challenges to navigate the city safely.

10 Cruddiest Hoods

Neighborhood Population Median Home Value Median Income
Tioga-Nicetown 17,382 $58,569 $24,935
Hunting Park 22,735 $57,200 $23,587
Strawberry Mansion 19,690 $71,938 $31,085
Fairhill 27,298 $51,578 $19,698
Alleghany West 18,676 $48,477 $25,196
Harrowgate 17,456 $48,963 $23,871
Haddington-Carroll Park 35,068 $68,396 $28,706
Elmwood 24,891 $90,648 $36,424
Frankford 39,792 $94,038 $33,217
North Central 21,880 $87,376 $25,297

1. Tioga-Nicetown

Tioga-Nicetown Is Considered the Worst Part of Philadelphia

Despite its name, Tioga-Nicetown is not a pleasant neighborhood. Tioga and Nicetown are two separate communities in the Northern part of Philadelphia, collectively known as Nicetown. This area is considered the worst part of Philadelphia.

During World War II, the neighborhood was in a dire state. Deindustrialization led to white flight, resulting in high poverty levels. A brief period of gentrification raised home prices to about $42,000, but they later dropped to $22,000.

Visiting Tioga-Nicetown, I felt the weight of its challenging history. Despite its struggles with poverty and crime, I noticed glimpses of community resilience that show its potential for change.

  • Population: 17,382
  • Median Home Value: $58,569
  • Median Income: $24,935 

2. Hunting Park

Hunting Park Is Neighborhood in Philadelphia Known for Its High Crime Rate

Hunting Park is another neighborhood in Philadelphia known for its high crime rate, largely due to gang activity. The neighborhood is home to local street gangs and more organized gangs such as the Latin Kings and Black Mafia according to the Property Club.

A resident once described Hunting Park as the heart of the community, but the situation has deteriorated over time. In one incident, a man was shot after winning $10,000 in a local lottery. Despite its challenges, the neighborhood has several historical structures, including the Bayard Tailor School, K. McClure School, and Clara Barton School.

  • Population: 22,735
  • Median Home Value: $57,200
  • Median Income: $23,587 

3. Strawberry Mansion


Despite its appealing name, Strawberry Mansion is known as one of Philadelphia’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Until 2013, it was home to one of the most dangerous schools in the U.S., Strawberry Mansion High, which was profiled by ABC news due to its high level of violence.

However, the neighborhood is undergoing changes, with gentrification occurring in its south and west sides. Current home prices average $48,000. The average annual income for employed residents is $31,085, and the unemployment rate is 8.6%. The crime rate is 1944 per 100,000 residents according to the estatousa.com.

Strawberry Mansion’s name belies its reality. Walking its streets, I felt the tension from its past troubles, but also saw efforts towards positive change, especially in its south and west sides.

  • Population: 19,690
  • Median Home Value: $71,938
  • Median Income: $31,085 

4. Fairhill

Fairhill Is Home to Philadelphia's Hispanic Community

Fairhill, located to the West of Kensington along Glenwood Avenue, has a population of 27,298. The neighborhood is known for its long rows of houses, with only 20% of residents owning their homes. Fairhill is home to Philadelphia’s Hispanic community and the Philadelphia Badlands.

However, the neighborhood is notorious for crime, poverty, and drug use. One intersection at Indiana Avenue and 3rd Street is ranked as the second most dangerous drug corner in the city according to the Al Jazeera. The average family income is estimated to be $15k annually, and 61% of residents live below the poverty line, five times the national average.

  • Population: 27,298
  • Median Home Value: $51,578
  • Median Income: $19,698 

5. Alleghany West

Alleghany West Is the Third Most Violent Neighborhood in Philadelphia

Located at the Northern end of the city, Alleghany West is the third most violent neighborhood in Philadelphia. It’s primarily an underprivileged African American community.

The neighborhood has suffered from post-industrial decline and disinvestment, leading to a significant population decrease between 1990 and 2000. Many former industrial sites have been repurposed for film production.

The area has low home prices, averaging $26,000, but its high crime rate of 2458 per 100,000 residents makes it less desirable. The unemployment rate is 7.9%, and the median income is $25,196.

Exploring Alleghany West, I could sense its struggles with post-industrial decline, but also noticed a strong sense of community among its residents, hoping for a brighter future.

  • Population: 18,676
  • Median Home Value: $48,477
  • Median Income: $25,196 

6. Harrowgate

Harrowgate Is Located to The North of Kensington and To the West of Port Richmond

Harrowgate is located to the North of Kensington and to the West of Port Richmond. This area is often referred to as “North Philly.” Clue Luster describes it as a poor, blighted area predominantly inhabited by Puerto Ricans.

The neighborhood recently made headlines when a teenager was caught in a crossfire during a shooting incident. The area is also known for its high consumption of painkillers, with local pharmacies receiving 26 million pain pills over seven years.

Harrowgate has a population of 17,456, with an unemployment rate of 13.6% and a median income of $23,871. The crime rate is 1701 per 100,000 residents.

  • Population: 17,456
  • Median Home Value: $48,963
  • Median Income: $23,871 

7. Haddington-Carroll Park

Carroll Park Is Considered One of The Worst Neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Haddington is a west Philadelphia neighborhood bounded by Lansdowne Avenue and West Girard Avenue. The neighborhood’s motto is “Carroll Park- Where neighbors become friends.”

The neighborhood is home to approximately 35,068 residents, predominantly African American working-class individuals. The area faces significant economic challenges, with a lack of well-paying jobs as also noted by moneyinc.com.

The unemployment rate in Haddington is 8.9%, and the median income is $28,706. Carroll Park is considered one of the worst neighborhoods in Philadelphia, with a crime rate of 1588 per 100,000 residents as per Property Club noted. However, the area offers several amenities for nature lovers.

  • Population: 35,068
  • Median Home Value: $68,396 
  • Median Income: $28,706

8. Elmwood

Elmwood Is Located in The Southwestern Part of The Philadelphia

Often referred to as Elmwood Park, this neighborhood is located in the southwestern part of the city, near the airport. It’s bordered by the Schuylkill River to the East and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery to the North.

Elmwood is home to 24,891 residents, primarily of Polish and Irish descent as noted by Niche. The neighborhood developed around Catholic parishes established in the 20th century.

However, employment opportunities are scarce, with an unemployment rate of 8.0% and a median income of $36,524. Despite its challenges, including crime and poor schools, Elmwood offers a vibrant nightlife and parks.

Elmwood’s proximity to the airport and riverside setting give it a unique vibe. Despite employment challenges, there’s a sense of community among its diverse residents.

  • Population: 24,891
  • Median Home Value: $90,648
  • Median Income: $36,424 

9. Frankford


Frankford is situated on the Northeast side of Philadelphia, bordered by Oxford Circle, Frankford Creek, and other neighborhoods. It’s about six miles northeast of Center City. The neighborhood was notorious in the 80s due to a serial killer known as the Frankford Slasher.

Historically, Frankford was divided into East Frankford and Frankford, with Caucasians residing in the west and African Americans in the east. The neighborhood is diverse, with various ethnic groups. However, racial tension is high, making it a less desirable place to live. Frankford has a population of 39,792, with an average annual income of $33,217, and a crime rate of 1369 per 100,000 people as noted by UNDOC.

  • Population: 39,792
  • Median Home Value: $94,038
  • Median Income: $33,217 

10. North Central

North Central Is Located in The Northern Central Part of Philadelphia

North Central, as the name suggests, is located in the northern central part of Philadelphia. It’s home to approximately 21,880 residents with an average yearly income of $25,296. This neighborhood is considered 3% safer than other cities in Pennsylvania.

Despite its reputation as one of Philadelphia’s less desirable neighborhoods, North Central has some redeeming qualities. It houses a portion of the Temple University campus and is located near Girard College.

However, the economic situation in the area is challenging. The median income is $25,296, and the unemployment rate stands at 7.9%.

Road Snacks reports that despite the presence of renowned educational institutions, local public schools still struggle. Housing issues and crime are prevalent in this neighborhood. North Central ranks 16th among the most dangerous neighborhoods in Philadelphia, with a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.

In North Central, the presence of Temple University brings a youthful energy. However, the neighborhood’s struggles with housing and crime are visible, making it a place of contrasts.

  • Population: 21,880
  • Median Home Value: $87,376 
  • Median Income: $25,297

Horrific Crimes in Philadelphia


Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, has a dark side that is marked by a history of horrific crimes. Some of the most chilling incidents include:

 The Philadelphia Poison Ring (1938):  This was a group that orchestrated the poisoning of at least 70 people using arsenic. Several of the victims were poisoned by their own wives. The case was a shocking revelation of domestic treachery and cold-blooded murder.

 Gary M. Heidnik (1986–1987):  Heidnik was a notorious criminal who kidnapped, imprisoned, raped, and tortured six women, two of whom he murdered. His crimes were so gruesome that they served as an inspiration for the character of Buffalo Bill in the movie “The Silence of the Lambs.”

 Kermit Gosnell (?–2010):  Gosnell was an abortion doctor who was convicted of killing newborns. His clinic was described as a “house of horrors,” and his crimes sparked a nationwide debate about abortion clinics and their regulation.

Safety Tips For Visiting

  • Sticking to Well-Lit, Busy Areas: Especially at night, I make sure to stay in areas that are well-lit and have a good number of people around. This is particularly important in neighborhoods known for higher crime rates.
  • Being Aware of My Surroundings: I always keep an eye on my surroundings and avoid showing off expensive items like fancy jewelry or the latest electronics. It’s a simple way to avoid unwanted attention.
  • Choosing Safe Transportation: Whether it’s public transport or ride-sharing, I go for the options that are trusted and have a good reputation. This gives me an extra layer of security when getting around the city.
  • Securing Personal Property: I’m diligent about locking my car and house doors. When I park my car, I make sure not to leave any valuables in plain sight.
  • Doing Neighborhood Research: For those considering moving to Philadelphia, I recommend doing thorough research on different neighborhoods. It’s crucial to understand the safety profile of an area before settling down. I often look into recent crime statistics and talk to locals to get a real sense of what living in that neighborhood is like.

FAQ

FAQ about Philadelphia

What Is Being Done to Improve Safety in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia’s law enforcement and city officials are continuously working on strategies to improve safety. This includes increased police presence in high-crime areas, community outreach programs, and initiatives to address root causes of crime like poverty and lack of education.

The city is also investing in improving infrastructure in less-developed neighborhoods.

What Are Some of The Safest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia?

Some of the safest neighborhoods in Philadelphia include Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Roxborough, and East Falls.

These neighborhoods have lower crime rates compared to the city average and are known for their strong community involvement, good schools, and family-friendly environments.

How Has the Crime Rate Changed Over Time?

Philadelphia’s crime rate has seen ups and downs over the years. While the city has struggled with high crime rates in the past, recent years have seen a decrease in both violent and property crimes. However, specific trends can vary year by year and neighborhood by neighborhood.

What Resources Are Available for Residents to Stay Informed About Crime in Philadelphia?

Residents can use online resources like the Philadelphia Police Department’s crime mapping tool to stay informed about crime in their neighborhoods.

Local news outlets also regularly report on crime. Community meetings and neighborhood watch groups can be valuable resources for staying informed and involved in local safety efforts.

Are There Any Initiatives to Help Improve the Challenged Neighborhoods?

Yes, there are several initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life in Philadelphia’s more challenged neighborhoods. These include economic development programs, affordable housing initiatives, educational improvement efforts, and community policing strategies.

Organizations like the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity are actively working to address issues of poverty, unemployment, and crime in these areas.

Bottom Line

The City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, is a vibrant and culturally rich metropolis with a diverse range of neighborhoods. While it offers a wealth of opportunities and attractions, it also faces challenges, particularly in terms of crime rates in certain areas.

However, it’s important to remember that safety can vary greatly from one neighborhood to another, and many parts of Philadelphia are very safe. The city’s officials and law enforcement are continuously working on strategies to improve safety and quality of life for all residents.

Despite some of the challenges, Philadelphia’s unique charm, rich history, and cultural diversity make it a city worth exploring and understanding in all its complexity.

In an unfortunate incident that shook the city during the Independence Day celebration, five lives were lost in a shooting in Philadelphia’s darkest July 4.

Disclaimer

Please note that the insights and data presented in this blog post are based on my personal observations and interpretations, supplemented by various online sources. The information provided is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as any form of advice. The economic landscapes and data are subject to change, and I encourage readers to consult additional sources for the most current information. The views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position.

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