Is Vancouver Safe To Visit? (Local’s Perspective)

Are you wondering is Vancouver safe to visit?

Being born and raised in Vancouver, I have extensive knowledge about this beautiful city and its safety measures, so you’ll have everything you need to know about whether Vancouver is safe.

While Vancouver is generally a safe destination to visit, there are some details that you may need to know before you go.

I’ll cover whether Vancouver is safe at night for tourists, places to avoid, whether it’s safe to travel alone for females and students, transit, other general information, and local tips for staying safe in the city.

Is Vancouver Safe

While no city is truly crime-free, Vancouver is generally safe. However, petty crime still occurs, but again, it happens in every city.

Recently, to be transparent, there has been gang-related violence around the lower mainland (mostly Surrey); however, don’t panic. They haven’t targeted civilians and don’t usually.

However, it’s still crucial for visitors to exercise caution and stay safe during their trip. Be mindful of your surroundings and look out for suspicious activity. Keep your personal belongings securely with you.

View from a bridge that shows False Creek, buildings and a few boats along the waterway, and buildings in the surround area as well as the North and South False Creek Seawalls. While no city is truly crime free, Vancouver is generally safe for travellers.

Is Vancouver Safe For Tourist

Overall yes Vancouver is safe for tourists. In addition, Vancouver is one of the most welcoming cities in the world for immigrants and tourists.

One of Vancouver’s strengths is the diversity in its population which helps to contribute a sense of safety as to why many tourists visit Vancouver.

However, pickpocketing is something that could potentially occur on your trip to Vancouver, but not usually. Therefore, tourists should take extra care when in crowded areas frequented by other tourists.

While most people don’t typically encounter pickpockets in their day-to-day lives, they can be a potential thing during your vacation, especially in overcrowded areas.

Is Vancouver Safe At Night

Overall, Vancouver is generally safe at night to a certain time, I would say before 10:30 PM. But there are areas of the city that you should avoid after dark. Like most cities, staying in well-lit, heavily trafficked areas and travelling with friends is always best.

Is Vancouver safe at night? Yes and no. Photo taken at night with buildings with lights on in the background. Calm section of water and a pedestrian walkway way on the right.

Places And Areas To Avoid In Vancouver

These are the areas that people prefer to avoid due to various reasons, such as safety concerns, higher crime rates, or simply a less desirable atmosphere. It would be best to avoid these places, especially at night.

Downtown Vancouver (Late At Night)

Walking around Downtown Vancouver late at night might feel sketchy and quiet. However, people are usually around at night before 10:30 PM if they are waiting for the bus, heading to the SkyTrain station or getting off work late.

Partying on Friday nights or weekends has a lot of people walking around at night, especially on Granville and Robson Street. But, overall, the popular areas of downtown are generally safe but still be careful and aware of your surroundings.

Always be on the lookout if you pass by an ally. Usually, there is nobody in the alleys, but sometimes unpredictable individuals may be around.

When I got off work in the evenings after my closing shifts (around 10:30 PM), I would take the bus to Downtown Vancouver and take a short walk to the SkyTrain Station. Most people around me were getting off night shifts, so I felt safe.

Gastown

Gastown, I would have to say, is unpredictable. It’s close to areas where it’s unsafe to be. But, during the day, Gastown is safer than at night because there are a lot of locals and tourists.

Late at night, avoid Gastown in general because some individuals are not the safest to be around or are unpredictable. However, that should stop you from exploring Gastown at night, but I would say nothing past midnight.

Is Vancouver safe to travel to? Yes it is! Old steam clock that whistles every quarter of the hour. Cobble sidewalk and mixed of cobble on the stress in the background with older buildings in the background.
Whistling Clock in Gastown

Chinatown

Chinatown I suggest avoiding walking around Chinatown at night altogether. It’s not safe at night because it’s close to an area of Vancouver where it’s unsafe and unpredictable. During the day, it’s safer because many people are walking around.

Downtown Eastside/East Hastings

There are five or so blocks in an unpredictable area in Vancouver. Tourists should not be walking here day or night, which is Downtown Eastside.

It’s a neighbourhood with a large homeless population prone to crime, unfortunately. Although this is not necessarily indicative of all areas in Vancouver, it’s best to avoid this part of town.

Mostly, they will avoid you and tend to their own business, but sometimes, that is not the case. For example, they may ask you for a cigarette lighter or cigarettes but politely decline or ignore them if you want, and they will walk away.

Chinatown and Gastown flow into the Downtown East Side, and you may see them walking around. Still, they mind their own business and will not bother you unless provoked.

While there are efforts to clean up the Downtown Eastside, many homeless people still go back to that area.

Is Vancouver Safe To Travel Alone

For everyday activities like shopping, sightseeing and even hiking, during the day, Vancouver is relatively safe to travel alone as most people go about their day-to-day activities. In addition, most areas are bustling with people, so you don’t have to worry about feeling unsafe.

Suppose you are hiking or planning on visiting other locations outside of Vancouver, for example, driving from Vancouver to Whistler or doing other activities around the city alone.

In that case, you again will be safe (not including weather or wildlife factors). But do let someone know about your whereabouts for safety precautions.

Is Vancouver Safe For Females

As a woman travelling around Vancouver alone during the day, you’ll likely have no issues doing everyday things, such as travelling on local transit, shopping, etc.

I always feel comfortable travelling as an alone female during the day. However, I am always still aware of my surroundings.

Unfortunately for women, walking alone in Vancouver at night is still somewhat dangerous. However, it’s still generally safe if you are not walking alone past 10:30 PM.

Regardless, always be aware of your surroundings and don’t engage in any activity that may happen. If you feel unsafe, take an Uber or Taxi home.

If you are clubbing, the general rule is do not leave your drink unattended (date-rape drugs are things that people may put in your drink). If you are unsure about your drink, it’s always safe to grab a new one.

Is Vancouver Safe To Live

I have lived in Vancouver my entire life and assure you it’s generally safe. Of course, there are pros and cons to living in Vancouver. However, other than the usual crime in any city, i.e. breaking and entry, theft, etc. There are no other reasons why Vancouver would not be safe.

Is Vancouver Safe For Students

Birds eye view of buildings from the University of British Columbia campus and trees with the ocean and mountains in the distance. Is Vancouver safe for students? Yes it is!

Vancouver is generally considered a safe place for students to live and study. In addition, Vancouver is a popular destination for international students worldwide, making it one of Canada’s most popular study-abroad destinations.

The city is home to world-class universities like the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Both universities have consistently ranked among the top public universities in Canada. As a result, both universities are attractive options for students looking to get a quality education abroad.

Is The Transportation Safe In Vancouver

Yes, Vancouver generally has a safe and reliable public transportation system. It includes buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, Canada Line, and, eventually, a new subway system. Public transportation is one of the best ways to get around Vancouver without a car.

Skytrain on its way to a station during sunset with the city and mountains in the distance in the background. Vancouver has an efficient local transportation system, and it is generally safe.

The city’s transit services are well-maintained and used by thousands daily (weather and traffic delays may be a factor if late). Plus, an extensive network of bike lanes makes it easy to get around the city.

However, there have been instances where transit was unsafe, and I have witnessed a few incidences. But, using transit since I was a teenager, I have to say it’s overall safe.

Some homeless people may hang around stations, but they usually leave you alone or get escorted out. They also may be on trains as they could have bypassed the gates illegally.

If you feel unsafe, there are silent alarms on the SkyTrain and Canada Line windows — a yellow strip or buttons near the entrance of every door to call for help. Let your bus driver know if there is also an emergency.

If you are in an emergency, here are the phone lines for help in Vancouver:

  • Ambulance, Fire, and Police: 911
  • Non-Emergency Line: 604-717-3321
  • BC Nurses Line: 811
  • Poison Control: 1 800-567-8911

💡 Tip: The SkyTrain and buses last rides stop around 1:15 to 1:30 AM.

Compass Cards

Compass Cards are the key to getting around local Vancouver transit. They’re reusable and reloadable cards that you tap on and off SkyTrains and Canada Line Stations and tap on when on a bus.

If you are staying in Vancouver for an extended period, I suggest buying a Compass Card ($6.00 purchase fee). Although you can use your credit cards, the transit fees are higher when you do so.

There are cards for concession, children/youth/seniors (orange) and adults (blue) that you can purchase at any SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express Stations, select London Drug stores or the Translink Customer Service Centre located at Waterfront Station.

Options For Not Using Transit

Here is some information about using Vancouver’s public transportation system and how to get around if you want to avoid using the transit system.

Uber, Lyft & Taxis

Vancouver does have Lyft, Uber and Taxis if you want to avoid using public transit at night. However, it can be expensive depending on where you want to travel in the city or out of the city.

Evo

Evo is a car-sharing service in Vancouver and parts of Burnaby. You can rent the car for the day or get to points A to B. Before I got my car (I still have the membership; it’s free), Evo was convenient to get around the city.

Evo works by only paying 45 cents per minute from the time you start the car until your trip ends.

However, you must register in advance because it can take time for the system to accept you. Also, you must meet all the requirements regarding driving and licences.

Tips For Staying Safe In Vancouver

These are a few tips from a local for staying safe in Vancouver.

🔦 Staying In Well Lit Areas

For the most part, Vancouver is well-lit on main and side streets. Don’t cut through alleyways or parks during the night because we do have wild animals (raccoons and coyotes mostly) or people that may be hanging around.

🤝 Walk With A Friend

It’s always good to have a buddy system when walking in an unfamiliar area. While Vancouver is generally safe for solo travel during the day, at night it’s better to travel or walk with a friend.

📱 Report Crime

Nowadays, people like to stand and film videos of a crime as a bystander; yes, it’s good for evidence, but calling to report the offence would help get those who committed the offence off the streets and make it safer for others.

Is Vancouver Safer Than Toronto

Despite being two of Canada’s largest cities, Vancouver and Toronto have quite different reputations regarding safety. Toronto is estimated to have an annual crime rate per capita of about 1.4 times higher than Vancouver, making it slightly less safe than the West Coast city.

When comparing Toronto and Vancouver’s safety scales (according to Numbo), it’s important to consider the different types of crime each city experiences.

Vancouver is more likely to experience property-related crimes like theft and vandalism. Toronto is more likely to experience assault and armed robbery.

In addition, an unfortunate crime that continues to happen in Vancouver – and a significant issue in Canada, is missing Indigenous women and girls. Although efforts to combat this issue are ongoing nationwide, it’s still a problem worth mentioning.

However, despite the crime, if you are comparing Vancouver and Toronto for visiting, both cities remain relatively safe compared to other urban centers worldwide.

Where To Stay In Vancouver

These are some options for where to stay in Vancouver or for where to stay in Vancouver for the first time.

💎 Best Luxury Hotel – Rosewood Hotel Georgia

✅ Excellent location
✅ Highly Rated Customer Service

The Rosewood Hotel Georgia is a luxurious and historic landmark offering elegant accommodations and world-class service. This iconic hotel is the perfect choice for travellers looking for sophistication and comfort.

⚖️ Best Mid-Range Hotel – Hotel BLU

✅ Free WIFI
✅ Complimentary Bike Rentals

Hotel BLU in Vancouver is a stylish and contemporary boutique hotel. With its modern amenities and convenient location, Hotel BLU offers a welcoming and comfortable stay.

📍 Best Budget-Friendly – Best Western Plus Sands

✅ Excellent Location
✅ 24-Hour Front Desk

The Best Western Plus Sands hotel’s proximity to the beach and a variety of dining options in the surrounding area provide an ideal spot for exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver.

Conclusion

So is Vancouver safe? Yes, Vancouver is safe overall.

Whether you are looking for an exciting city to explore or a place to call home, Vancouver provides both safety and adventure; as long as you take the usual safety precautions and know your surroundings, you’ll have no trouble enjoying all this beautiful city offers.

Have a good day 🙂