Top 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Brooklyn (2023)

Brooklyn is often portrayed as a hub for crime; as far back as the days of prohibition it was always made to seem as if this was the centre of criminal activity. The worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn are those that have become notorious over time due to high levels of criminal activity ranging from small time pinching and pick pocketing to organized crime.

Over the years many of these neighborhoods have undergone a lot of change; municipal and police authorities have stepped up crime prevention and detection measures to make the neighborhoods more peaceful and family friendly. This has led to the influx of developers, realtors, and property investors; as everyone wants a piece of the new areas that have just been opened up.

Top 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Brooklyn 2023

1. Brownsville

Brownsville was once called the “murder capital of New York.” While that title was assigned a long time ago, there has not been any significant change seen over the years. The neighborhood is located in eastern Brooklyn, and started out as a home to many Jewish factory workers escaping the poor living conditions of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Presently, Brownsville is filled with public housing for lower income residents. Poverty and crime goes hand in hand; which is why it comes as no surprise that Brownsville has the highest poverty level and crime rate in New York City.

Brownsville presently has a population of over 58,000, with most of the residents making around $15,000 to $30,000 a year. Those are the good ones; there are many jobless people who are addicted to drugs in this town, which is why many buildings are empty and many shops closed.

2. Bushwick

Bushwick is located in northern Brooklyn. The area was developed during the 1800’s by German immigrants. At some point during the 1800’s the neighborhood was closely associated with the brewing industry. “Brewers Row” actually had 14 breweries in a 14 block area. However, things changed for the worse, and by 1976 the last brewery in Bushwick had closed.

Bushwick is full of public housing projects, but there are nice townhomes, and family apartment buildings in the area as well. Bushwick is quite densely populated; there are about 29,000 people living in a space of about 1.305 square miles.

Despite the efforts of the authorities this is still one of the worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn because of a higher crime rate than many other areas. Young professionals only move into the neighborhood due to the lower rentals.

3. East New York

East New York is located in the eastern end of Brooklyn. It is a residential neighborhood which started out as an industrial region and railroad hub during the early 19th century. Due to the abundance of jobs more people started moving into the neighborhood, thus creating the need for more housing.

However, after World War II, East New York lost many of its factories, and so large parts of the population were thrown out of work. They turned to drugs and crime, and so the area lost its shine, with many of the financially stable families deciding to move out and set up shop elsewhere.

The area is still run down; the houses are best suited to poor people, and many of the people in the area are known for drug addiction and crime. The area is quite densely populated; there are 92,000 residents.

4. Downtown Brooklyn

Downtown Brooklyn is located in the northwestern area of Brooklyn. It is the 3rd largest central business district in New York City after Midtown and lower Manhattan. This is great for a professional or a business person looking to settle down and set up shop. However, it is still a good idea to look at the crime numbers; Downtown Brooklyn experiences 72 non-violent crimes per 1000 residents.

The population of the neighborhood is over 51,000, and some of those are the robbers snatching women’s purses at night.

5. Williamsburg

Williamsburg used to be an independent city until it was annexed by Brooklyn in 1855. It is located in northern Brooklyn, and was established in the early 19th century.

The neighborhood started out as an industrial centre; and this brought in many German immigrants, many of whom invested in industry. The late 20th century saw an increase in musicians and artists to the area; bringing in artistic appeal to the neighborhood, which became identified as a “hipster” community.

Sadly, many young people think it is artistic to use drugs; which is why Williamsburg continues to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Brooklyn. There are an estimated 24 crimes per 1000 residents.

6. Greenwood Heights

Greenwood Heights is so named for the Green-Wood Cemetery where soldiers who were killed in the American Revolution Battle of Brooklyn. It became a hub for industry during the 19th and 20th century, and the shipping industry grew because of its location on the Brooklyn waterfront.

There is some spectacular architecture to be seen in this area, although most of the houses are ordinary wood frame, and brick homes. The late 20th century, there was a decline in the number of people coming in to the neighborhood.

Greenwood Heights now has a population of more than 20,000 people, and while most of them are up-standing, and hard working people, some of them are criminals.

7. Navy Hill

Navy Hill is located in northwest Brooklyn, New York. It gets its name from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This was a huge centre of activity during the World War II; around 70,000 workers were stationed here building ships at the Navy Yard.

Presently this area has a small population, and there are private and commercial businesses along the piers and berths.

Some of the around 11,500 people in the area have reported getting mugged a few times.

8. Dumbo

DUMBO means “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” The area used to be known as Gairville. It is a fairly large area; it encompasses two sections: one between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, and another that faces east from the Manhattan Bridge to the Vinegar Hill area.

Dumbo was first developed as a ferry landing, and there were many industries and warehouses making use of the bay. However, since the 1970’s, the area was developed into an art community; with many museums and exhibition centers being built.

As mentioned above; many young people think that art and drugs go hand in hand, which is why the area is not considered safe.

9. Fort Greene

Fort Greene is located in the northwestern part Brooklyn. It has been an up and down story for this area; it was once a booming neighborhood, until the loan scandals of the 1990’s shook the property sector. There are nice single family houses in the area.

The problem is that there is some disparity between the social classes living in the area. While some families are quite well off; others are very poor, and so they turn to crime.

10. Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill is in the northwest part of Brooklyn; near the Navy Hill. The area gets its name from the “Battle of Vinegar Hill” during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. During the 19th century, the Irish settlers worked in the Navy Yard.

This is a small town with around 4000 residents; many of the homes were built between 1820 and 1860. There is not much happening in this small town; however, one needs to be careful; there are about 25 non-violent crimes for every 1000 residents.



The worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn are mostly the few areas that have not yet been touched by the modern gentrification which has largely changed the face of New York City. It is fully expected that as time goes on, more young professionals will move into these areas, bringing peace and prosperity.