July 3, 2013 | New Orleans

Safety is always a concern when visiting any major city, especially if you’re not particularly familiar with the area. While millions of people pass through New Orleans every year without incident, crime does happen. Tourists are often easy targets in any city because they are likely carrying cash, cameras and other valuables, while also easily distracted by their new surroundings

We want your trip to New Orleans to be the best possible, so here are five safety tips from locals about staying safe in New Orleans:

Always be alert

Many pickpockets try and create a diversion to distract their victims from what they are actually doing. It’s the old sleight of hand. Whenever you’re watching a street performance, are bumped into, or ever approached by a stranger on the street, be mindful of where your valuables are and keep them secure.

Take a taxi

Instead of walking down unfamiliar streets, take one of the city’s many taxis. It’s not very expensive, and you’ll minimize the chances of winding up somewhere you’d rather not be.

Stay with a group

You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating: There’s safety in numbers. If you’re traveling alone, then limit your exploring to well-populated, well-lit areas of the city.

Plan your route before you leave

Smart phones are wonderful things. Apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps have made navigating the unfamiliar much easier by providing turn-by-turn directions in the palm of your hand.  If your head is buried on your phone while you’re looking for your next turn though, you’re an easy target for phone snatchers. Before you leave your current location, map out your next route and get familiar with the street names. When you’re not looking at your phone for a quick reference, keep it in your pocket or purse.

Use common sense

Really, it all comes down to this. If you feel like you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be, then leave. Don’t carry a large wad of cash in your pocket and show it off on the street. Don’t let a stranger hold on to your cell phone. You know the drill. 

For more safety tips while traveling, see our Frequently Asked Questions