How is the safety? Can I get around walking alone at night?

I am a woman in my mid 20's moving from California - I really enjoy getting around by foot but heard that New York City isn't the safest place. I am looking at places on the upper west side to live, is that a relatively safe place? Should I be okay walking home alone at night? Is there anything I should be weary of/any precautions I should take?
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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