These Are The 5 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Texas

exas, the land of wide-open spaces, barbeque, and friendly faces, also has its share of challenges. Crime is one such concern, and while certain cities consistently rank high in national crime reports, danger can lurk in specific neighborhoods within those cities.

This article dives deeper than just city rankings. We’ll explore five of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Texas, examining the factors that contribute to their crime rates and offering safety tips for anyone venturing into these areas.

Understanding Crime Rates

Before we delve into specific neighborhoods, it’s important to understand how crime rates are measured. Violent crime rates typically encompass offenses like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crime rates focus on theft, burglary, and arson. These rates are usually expressed per 1,000 residents.

It’s important to remember that crime rates are just one piece of the puzzle. Socioeconomic factors like poverty, unemployment, and lack of educational opportunities often play a significant role in shaping crime rates in a particular area.

The 5 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Texas

  1. Sunnyside, Houston

Houston, the largest city in Texas, also grapples with significant crime issues. Sunnyside, a historically Black neighborhood on Houston’s east side, consistently ranks among the city’s most dangerous areas. Poverty, gang activity, and drug trafficking are significant contributors to Sunnyside’s crime woes.

  1. Southside/Cannondale, Odessa

Odessa, a West Texas oil boomtown, finds itself grappling with a different kind of danger. Southside/Cannondale, a neighborhood on Odessa’s south side, has seen a rise in violent crime in recent years. Gang activity, drug trafficking, and economic hardship are all contributing factors.

  1. Central El Paso, El Paso

El Paso, on the westernmost tip of Texas bordering Mexico, has its own set of challenges. Central El Paso, encompassing the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, has seen a rise in property crime. Drug trafficking and gang activity also contribute to the area’s feeling of unease.

  1. East Waco, Waco

Waco, a city forever marked by the Branch Davidian siege, also has areas struggling with crime. East Waco, a historically lower-income neighborhood, faces issues with poverty, gang activity, and drug trafficking. These factors contribute to a higher than average crime rate.

  1. Pleasant Grove, San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas’s second-largest city, has its share of dangerous neighborhoods. Pleasant Grove, on the city’s east side, faces significant challenges. Gang violence, drug trafficking, and a lack of economic opportunity all contribute to a higher than average crime rate in the area.

Why These Neighborhoods?

Several factors contribute to why these specific neighborhoods face higher crime rates. Here’s a closer look:

  • Socioeconomic Disadvantage: Poverty, unemployment, and lack of educational opportunities often create fertile ground for criminal activity. When residents struggle to meet basic needs, they might turn to crime as a means of survival.
  • Gang Activity: Gangs can establish control over neighborhoods, creating a climate of fear and intimidation. They often engage in drug trafficking, violence, and recruitment, further destabilizing the area.
  • Drug Trafficking: The presence of drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines fuels violence and property crime. Gangs and individuals often fight for control of drug markets, leading to shootings and other violent acts.
  • Lack of Community Resources: Areas with limited access to quality education, healthcare, and social services struggle to break the cycle of poverty and crime. Without positive outlets and support systems, residents might fall victim to criminal activity or be drawn into it.

Safety Tips When Visiting These Neighborhoods

If you find yourself needing to visit one of these neighborhoods, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to your environment and the people around you. Trust your gut instincts and avoid situations that feel unsafe.
  • Travel during daylight hours whenever possible: Avoid walking alone at night in these areas.
  • Don’t carry valuables: Only take what you absolutely need with you. Leave expensive jewelry and electronics at home.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and avoid distractions like using your phone while walking.
  • Plan your route beforehand and stick to it: Don’t wander into unfamiliar territory.
  • If you see something, say something: Report any suspicious activity to the police.
  • Consider using ride-sharing services: This can be a safer option than walking or taking public transportation in some areas.

Beyond the Headlines: Finding Solutions

While focusing on crime rates is important, it’s crucial to look beyond the headlines and explore potential solutions. Here are some ways to address the root causes of crime in these neighborhoods:

  • Investing in Community Development: Increased funding for education, job training programs, and social services can empower residents and create opportunities for a better future. This can help break the cycle of poverty that often fuels crime.
  • Community Policing: Building trust between residents and law enforcement is essential. Community policing initiatives that involve officers getting to know the people they serve can foster a sense of safety and cooperation.
  • Youth Programs: Providing after-school programs, mentorship opportunities, and recreational activities for young people can keep them off the streets and engaged in positive activities. This can steer them away from gangs and criminal activity.
  • Revitalization Projects: Investing in infrastructure improvements, affordable housing initiatives, and business development projects can revitalize struggling neighborhoods. Creating a more vibrant and hopeful environment can deter crime.
  • Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Programs that provide support services to victims of crime and gang members seeking to leave gangs can help break the cycle of violence.

The Importance of Individual Action

While large-scale solutions are crucial, individuals can also play a role in making these neighborhoods safer. Here’s how:

  • Supporting Local Businesses: Shopping at local businesses in these areas injects money into the community and creates jobs. This can help strengthen the economic fabric of the neighborhood.
  • Volunteering Your Time: Volunteering your time with local organizations that are working to improve these neighborhoods can make a real difference. You can mentor young people, participate in clean-up projects, or offer your professional skills.
  • Spreading Awareness: Talking to others about the challenges faced by these neighborhoods can help raise awareness and encourage support for revitalization efforts.


Crime is a complex issue with no easy solutions. However, by understanding the root causes of crime, investing in community development, and taking individual action, we can create safer and more hopeful futures for the residents of these neighborhoods.

Looking Forward

This article has provided a snapshot of five dangerous neighborhoods in Texas. It’s important to remember that crime rates can fluctuate, and neighborhoods can change over time. It’s always wise to research the specific area you’ll be visiting before you go.

More importantly, let’s move beyond simply labeling neighborhoods as “dangerous.” By focusing on solutions, empowering residents, and fostering a sense of community, we can create a safer and brighter future for all Texans.

Additional Resources

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as safety advice. It’s always best to use your own judgment and take precautions when visiting any unfamiliar area.

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MBS Staff
Articles: 7042

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