Houston isn't very dangerous, but crime in the city has risen in recent years. Houston has a crime rate that is 126% higher than the national average, which is comparable to other large cities. The main problem is the increasing violent crime rate since 2020.
While many areas of the city are relatively safe, these are the worst neighborhoods in Houston based on crime statistics from 2021 and 2022.
- Far North
- East End
Sunnyside is the most dangerous neighborhood in Houston due to its extremely high crime rate, which has only risen in recent years. Sunnyside is a large neighborhood located South of downtown Houston and has a population of 17,751. The crime rate in Sunnyside is 91 per 1,000 people, meaning residents have a 1 in 11 chance of being the victim of a crime. Some of the most common violent crimes in the neighborhood are robbery, assaults, and to a lesser degree, murder.
Another one of the most dangerous areas in Houston is the MacGregor neighborhood, which is located in southeast Houston's Third Ward. The area includes beautiful old mansions and a well-funded research university. However, many low-income apartments are located in the MacGregor neighborhood, and a lot of violent crime and theft happen there. The violent crime rate is 76 per 1000 residents. The neighborhood is so violent that it's been ranked as one of the most dangerous areas in the United States.
The public schools are some of the most poorly rated in the Houston School District.
Sharpstown was developed in the mid-1950s by Frank Sharp with the intent of it being a great community for families. Initially, Sharpstown did grow and became a great place for entertainment and was a very safe place to live with good schools. Unfortunately, after a few decades, Sharpstown became a run-down and crime-ridden area. Today 34% of the population ages 25 and over have not graduated from high school. The annual average violent crime rate in Sharpstown was 34% higher than that of Houston. The rate of firearm-related violent crime was 65% higher than the Houston rate.
Greenpoint, known as "Gunpoint" among residents, is one of Houston's most violent neighborhoods. The neighborhood is located in the southeast of Houston, and although the Houston Police Department has put in a lot of effort to establish law and order, it hasn't had enough success as crime rates have been on the rise for over a decade. In the 1990s, the city converted some low-income apartments into higher-end family housing, and it had a positive impact on crime in the city. However, After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, many evacuees settled in the Greenspoint area, and crime rates started to rise again. Efforts are now going into cleaning up the apartment complexes and trying to revitalize the area, and some improvements have been made. Although Greenspoint is still a notably dangerous part of Houston, there has been a drop in crime. Auto thefts are down by 4%, robberies are down 16%, sex assaults are down by 14%, and burglaries are flat.
Far North is another one of the worst areas in Houston due to its high crime rate and few opportunities. Far North is along the i-45 highway towards the way out of town, near the airport. The area doesn't offer much economic opportunity and has a median income of $30,316. Although the neighborhood does have a significant amount of retail and commercial activity, real estate prices are relatively low, with a median home value of $72,540. The population is about 60,000, and violent crime is 2,455 per 100,000 people.
The Northeastern area of Houston has a major crime problem, with overall crime rates that are 63% higher than the US national average. Even more troubling is the violent crime rate, which is 197% higher than the national average.
Residents of Northeast Houston have approximately a 1 in 25 chance of being a victim of crime.
Despite several nearby attractions, such as the Brock Park Golf Club, crime in the area is still an issue, and the neighborhood is more dangerous than 90% of Texas areas.
Northwest Houston is one of the most dangerous areas in the city, with crime rates that are 48% higher than the national average. Violent crime rates are even higher, at 131% of the US average. In Northwest Houston, residents have a 1 in 29 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.
Overall, Northwest Houston is more dangerous than 86% of other neighborhoods in Texas.
Houston's East End has a long and storied history; you might even say the city evolved around this neighborhood. Going back to the 19th century, this area had a booming economy and was at the center of Houston politics. However, the area is no longer the economic dynamo of the past. The East End of Houston has a crime rate that is 49% above the national average, and the violent crime rate in this area is also 101% higher than the US national average.
Sugarland is another one of the most dangerous areas in Houston. This suburb is located in the Southwestern part of the Houston metro area.
The median income is $42,634, and the unemployment rate is 6.8%. The population of Sugarland is 126,502, and violent crimes are 1,228 per 100,000 people. You can find many interesting sites in Sugarland, including the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences and Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center. It's a great place for a day trip. However, it's not a great place to raise your kids.
Pasadena is located southeast of central Houston, touching the bay. As part of this water access, it offers attractions like the Bay Area Museum and the Armand Bayou Nature Center. Pasadena has a very high crime rate despite only having an unemployment rate of 5% and a median income of $64,381. However, the chance that a person will become a victim of violent crime in Pasadena is 1 in 175. Crimes such as armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape, or murder are high in this neighborhood, equating to a rate of 6 per 1,000 inhabitants.
Whether you are a transplant from up North looking for warmer weather and cheaper housing, these are some of the worst areas in Houston regarding crime, and you probably want to avoid them. Despite the many great things Texas has to offer, Houston is still considered above the national average in terms of crime. As always, visitors should be safe if they exercise proper caution.