The total land area is 2.19 square miles, and the ZIP codes for the neighborhood are 11212 and 11233. Brownsville is bordered by Fulton Street to the north (on the Bedford-Stuyvesant border), East 98th Street/Ralph Avenue to the west (Flatbush and Crown Heights borders) and the freight rail Bay Ridge Branch of the Long Island Rail Road running along Linden Boulevard to the south (adjacent to the neighborhood of Canarsie) and Van Sinderen Avenue to the east (East New York).
The area is patrolled by the 73rd Precinct located at 1470 East New York Avenue. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 2. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 16. Brownsville is notable for having some of the highest rates of violent crime in New York City.