Is Portland, Oregon Safe To Visit? Everything You Need To Know (Crime Rates And Crime Stats)

If you are thinking about visiting Portland and have some qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered.

We are going to deep dive into the statistics, look at some maps, graphs and talk to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe Portland really is.

Is Portland, Oregon Safe To Visit?

is portland oregon safe

Portland is a moderately safe place to visit. While the media has made Portland out to be some kind of “war zone”, its violent crime rate is not indicative of such a label.

In 2020 Portland had a violent crime rate of 531.03 per 100,000 people and is on par with cities like Colorado Springs, New York and Fort Worth.

To put that in perspective, Memphis had the highest violent crime rate in 2020 at 2418.24 per 100,000 people. Portland’s violent crime rate is 4.5 times less than Memphis.

Portland does have issues with property crime and homelessness, which we will elaborate on later in the article.

Portland Population

The population for the Portland in 2020 was 652,503

Portland, Oregon Crime Stats

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in Portland for 2019 and 2020.



2019 vs 2020













Aggravated Assault












Motor Vehicle Theft












*All data is from the FBI UCR

Crime In 2021

We were able to find crime data for January 2021 – October 2021 on Portland Police’s website. While we are missing two months, the data shows that homicide, robbery and burglary are significantly up and will surpass 2020 numbers.

As of October 2021, there have been already 69 homicides, 476 sex offenses, 950 robberies and 3,889 burglaries.

Portland Violent Crime Rate

In 2020 Portland reported 3,465 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 531.03 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for violent crime is 398.5 per 100,000 residents. Portland’s violent crime rate is 133% greater than the national average.
  • Oregon’s violent crime rate is 484.8 per 100,000. Portland’s violent crime rate is 1.82x greater than the state national average.

Here’s a map showing you how violent crime has trended in Portland over a 30 year period. Violent crime peaked in 1995 when there were 8,833 violent crimes reported and the city had a violent crime rate of roughly 1,738.78 per 100,000 people.

violent crimes in portland graph

*Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Portland Property Crime Rate

In 2020 Portland reported 31,416 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 4,814.69 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for property crime is 1958.2 per 100,000 residents. Portland’s property crime rate is 246% greater the national average.
  • Oregon’s property crime rate is 2,659 per 100,000. Portland’s property crime rate is 1.8x greater than the state national average.
  • Property crime has decreased over 50% from it’s 30-year high in 1995.
  • Portland has a similar property crime rate to Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Dallas.

Here’s a map showing you how property crime has trended in Portland over a 30 year period. Property crime peaked in 1995 when there were 46,515 property crimes reported and the city had a property crime rate of roughly 9156.5 per 100, 000 people.

property crimes in portland graph

**Property crimes include; arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft are classified as property crimes. The property crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Portland Murder Stats

In 2020 Portland reported 53 homicides, which was a staggering 82% increase over 2019, where 29 homicides were reported.

  • In 2020 Portland had a murder rate of 8.12 per 100,000 residents. Portland has a similar muder rate as Boston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.
  • 53 homicides is the most amount of homicides reported in Portland in 27 years.
  • The national murder rate is 6.5 per 100,000 people. Portland’s murder rate is 1.25x greater the national average.
  • As of November 1, 2021, there have been 69 homicides reported and is on track to become Portland’s deadliest year in its entire history.

Here’s a map showing you how murder has trended in Portland over a 30 year period. Murders peaked in 1993 when there were 58 murders reported and the city had a murder rate of roughly 11.4 per 100, 000 people.

murders in portland graph

Portland vs The Most Dangerous Cities In The United States

Here’s a list of the top 17 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rates.

portland vs the most dangerous city in the us

CityPopulationNumber of violent crimes in 2020Rate per 100,000 people
St. Louis301,5786,0171,995.17
Little Rock202,5913,6571,805.11
South Bend103,4531,7651,706.09
Kansas City508,0907,9191,558.58
San Bernardino222,1013,0331,365.59
New Orleans383,9975,2151,358.08

*All data is from the 2020 FBI UCR

Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Portland, Oregon

Here’s a map showing you the most dangerous areas of Portland according to the amount of crimes reported in the area.

(The stats below reflect the time period from October 2020 – October 2021)

most dangerous neighborhoods portland

  • Downtown – 4,531 reported offenses
  • Hazelwood – 3,779 reported offenses
  • Northwest – 2,780 reported offenses
  • Powellhurst-Gilbert – 2,209 reported offenses
  • Lents – 2,198 reported offenses
  • Centennial – 1,914 reported offenses
  • Montavilla – 1,651reported offenses
  • Parkrose – 1,506 reported offenses

Is Downtown Portland Safe?

Downtown Portland is not a safe area to visit right now. The pandemic really hit the downtown area hard. As shops, restaurants and stores closed, transients and homeless people filled the void.

There are pockets of downtown that are still nice but overall it’s a cesspool of homeless people, drug addicts, poverty, crime and tents.

The worst part of Downtown is Old Town/Chinatown. It is unpleasant during daytime and is certainly dangerous at night.

What do residents think of Downtown Portland?

  1. "Old Town is probably the worst spot in downtown."
  2. "Downtown just doesn’t feel as safe as it did before. There’s a lot of transients living in tents on the sidewalk and practically spilling out into the streets. They are having sex in broad daylight, shooting up and OD’ing, running into the streets naked and screaming to the high heavens and harassing people walking."
  3. "The downtown area is dirty with tents everywhere and everything smells like human waste."
  4. "I live in downtown Portland and it’s not as safe as it once was. I would avoid the area of downtown outlined in the image below."

downtown portland dangerous

Tour of Downtown Portland

What do residents of Portland say about its safety

  1. "Portland’s recent reputation for sketchiness doesn’t match reality. You can find sketchiness if you look for it, just like any other big city. I feel safe walking down most sidewalks at most times of day."
  2. "Avoid Delta Park, its like a favella in Rio. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of semi-permanent shelters and RVS there. There is constant screaming, drug dealing, and violence there."
  3. "Things aren’t perfect but it still relatively safe overall. Downtown is a kind of a mess and homelessness has grown but it’s still certainly a town worth visiting."
  4. ‘Old Town/Chinatown is a sh*t show. I would not want to be walking around there at night."
  5. "Crime in Portland is very overblown. Bad things happen and there area to avoid, but just like any other city. Just keep your wits about you and you should be fine."
  6. "Portland is a very safe city compared to other major cities. We are having a crime streak, but if you’re not a gang member or in the drug trade, you’re probably not going to encounter much violence. Old Town/Chinatown is pretty rough and I wouldn’t stay there, but otherwise Portland is an incredibly safe city."
  7. "There is definitely lots of homeless camps all over the city. Every part of it."
  8. "Stay away from protests and stay in a nice part of town and you should be fine."
  9. "Unless you are from LA/SF/NYC, the homeless situation will likely be shocking to you."
  10. "While the media likes to portray Portland like some kind of “war zone”, It Its totally overblown. I think you will enjoy your visit!
  11. "Portland is hell on earth. There are fires everywhere, building are destroyed, gangs are fighting on the streets and bullets are flying everywhere. But really, Portland is pretty safe. It’s not Detroit or Baltimore, not even close."
  12. "Portland is pretty safe. You might see unsightly things related to homelessness, but you’re typically very safe in the city. Avoid anywhere east of 82nd,as there is a lot of violent crime concentrated there."

Tips to stay safe while visiting Portland

  • Research the layout of the city and figure out which areas you should avoid.
  • Don’t leave ANYTHING in you car. Not even an empty backpack or empty soda cans. Your car window will get busted in the right area.
  • Don’t leave laptop bags, camera bags or anything that gives someone the sense that something of worth is in your car.
  • Don’t engage or make eye contact with homeless people. For the most part they will ignore you, if you ignore them.
  • If someone is following you, head to a crowded area or go into a restaurant or store.
  • In some parts of the city, the sidewalks are overrun with tents, so you have walk in the streets, be sure to watch out for cars.
  • If you see an erratic person with a weapon, leave the area.
  • Don’t walk around alone at night, especially in the downtown area. There is safety in numbers.
  • Don’t be polite when it comes to your safety. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, leave the situation. You don’t need an excuse or anything, just leave.
  • Don’t be a walking advertisement. Don’t wear expensive jewelry, watches, purses or anything like that.
  • Don’t drink from the public water fountains or use the public bathrooms in downtown.

Is Portland safe for a woman?

Portland is generally safe for women, but walking alone at night and especially in downtown is not recommended. Many women report being accosted and harassed by transients when walking through downtown, day and night.

Is Portland safe at night? / Is it safe to visit alone?

Portland can be a safer place to visit if you study the layout of the city and avoid the problem areas and also follow the safety tips posted above.

Final Thoughts

Portland is a moderately safe place to visit. It’s violent crime rate is elevated but not alarming. Although crimes in 2021 are outpacing 2020 numbers, the numbers are still relatively low for a city of its size. Portland’s crime is not even in the same ballpark as cities like Detroit, Baltimore or St. Louis, not even close.

Downtown has suffered the most from the pandemic and the protests. Homeless people and their encampments are strewn all throughout the area and it can be very jarring for a visitor who is not used to seeing such things.

We suggest you avoid the downtown area at night, especially Old Town/Chinatown.

We also recommend that you avoid the areas mentioned above, as well as following the safety tips and you should be able to mitigate your chances of becoming a victim.

Quick Facts About Portland


Portland city, Oregon

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020



Population, Census, April 1, 2010



Black or African American alone, percent



American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent



Asian alone, percent



Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent



Two or More Races, percent



Hispanic or Latino, percent



White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent



Foreign born persons, percent, 2015-2019



Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2015-2019



Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2015-2019



Median gross rent, 2015-2019



Language other than English spoken at home, percent of persons age 5 years+, 2015-2019



High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019



Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019



In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2015-2019



Median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019



Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019



Persons in poverty, percent



*All data is from the U.S. Census

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Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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