Urbex: Understanding The Dangers Of Urban Exploration

words Al Woods


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Websites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have exploded with user-generated content surrounding urban exploration, in recent years. This sort of activity involves going on adventures to areas in cities that aren’t generally seen by the public, usually including venturing into abandoned and disused buildings.

This activity can be fun and educational, but it can also come with some risks. To give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to take on this sort of adventure, this article will be exploring some of the dangers that can come with it.


While it should really go without saying, exploring buildings that haven’t been used for a long time can put you at great risk of injury. To start, the longer a place has been closed the longer it will have been since it had an inspection by someone who understands construction, making it more likely that the place will be at risk of collapsing. Alongside this, metal will be rusted, there will probably be debris, and you may have to explore by torchlight, making it hard to see obstacles. Getting injured would definitely ruin an adventure like this.

Becoming A Victim Of Crime

Urban explorers aren’t the only people who are drawn to abandoned buildings and disused places, and you really never know who you might run into in a place like this. People have been mugged, assaulted, and worse when they have found themselves trapped in a derelict place with a stranger. This is especially dangerous as you often won’t be found or be able to get help if you are left somewhere like this. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, but it’s always worth considering issues like this before taking part in Urbex.

Committing Crimes

Most legal systems have clear trespassing laws, and you can get into a lot of trouble if you break them. Most abandoned buildings will have fences, signs, and other measures in place to prevent you from accessing them, and police will usually assume that you’ve broken in if they find you somewhere like this. You can often avoid breaking the law by using entries that other urban explorers have created, but it will be important to have evidence of this. This sort of crime will usually result in fines and warnings, though you may even find yourself in prison.

Non-Criminal Legal Problems

It can be easy to assume that you can only go to court for committing a crime. In reality, though, civil lawsuits are quite common nowadays, with companies having the power to sue individuals for a variety of reasons. Content creators that have posted footage and images of themselves exploring abandoned property that belongs to a business have found themselves facing this issue. This occurs because the business doesn’t want people to see this aspect of their work, alongside acting as a deterrent for other explorers that might decide to copy those they see online.

Should You Try Urbex?

As mentioned at the start of this article, Urbex can be an educational activity that will give you a deeper understanding of the cities and towns you visit. It’s always worth considering the risk you could put yourself at before you try something like this, though. There are much safer ways to explore and enjoy the city you call home, from taking tours to spending time with other people in the area. Of course, though, some people will want to go to derelict places no matter what the risks.

In this case, it’s usually best to look for legal ways to satisfy your exploration cravings. If you ask permission from landowners and they grant access to the property, you can enjoy the buildings and other structures as much as you like. Not everyone will say yes to this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask when your other option involves breaking the law. If you’re lucky, you may also be able to find a local group of explorers that work to get permission for teams to explore together. This comes with the added bonus of going with people who have some level of expertise. 

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the dangers that come with an activity like Urbex. While this trend is quite popular, this doesn’t always mean that you should feel safe when you throw yourself into it. If you want to try urban exploration, you should work hard to make sure that you understand the risks, doing everything you can to mitigate them as much as possible.


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