Oakland is a city which has historically been associated with gang violence and drug crimes.  The image which many hold of the area is one in which it is not safe to visit in general and certainly not safe to spend time in alone as a foreigner.  Is there truth to the fear associated with the area?  Yes.  Does that mean that travelers should avoid the area?  No.

The city of Oakland has been working hard to revitalize the area and to make it safer for both locals and travelers.  And the city has had some success.  In general, gang crime, drug crime and street crime are all decreasing.  Race relations, which were historically poor and sometimes instigated violent crime, are improving.

For the most part, travelers are not at great risk of harm in Oakland.  The crimes which are still occurring in the area are mostly occurring between locals with either gang or drug disputes between them. However, there are some precautions which travelers should take to be safe.

The two most dangerous places to be in Oakland are anywhere there is a huge crowd of people and anywhere that other people can not be found.   In large crowds, tourists become at risk for petty theft crimes such as pick pocketing.   The BART station is one example of a place such crime may occur.   In contrast, violent crime is most likely to occur when travelers wander in to deserted residential neighborhoods.   Visitors should stick to the main tourist attractions of the area (see http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction... for information) and avoid going to places they don’t know anything about.