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New City, Crime Rates, and Apartments - Should I Worry?

shihtzulover

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
717
I was offered a job in another city, and it seems like a great opportunity for me. My fiance will be moving there with me, and we found a few really nice apartment complexes in the area of where I will be working. We fell in love with one more than the others, and since they are all in the same basic area, I would think that crime rates are probably about the same for all of them. Also, the other two complexes that we looked at were slightly further from my work, the rent was higher (even though the staff wasn't as nice, there were less grassy areas, and we didn't like their atmospheres quite as much), and they had no availability for the apartment size that we would prefer.

We really know nothing about this city, so we can only go by what we have seen, and what we have read online. I have never really lived in a big city, and I really would prefer to be very close to work, because driving in busy areas makes me really uncomfortable - especially highway driving, and this city has tons of highways. Most people do not take public transportation there, but if we move in closer to my work, then my fiance could drive me on most days. Even when he couldn't, I think it would be a bit less stressful to live in this area and and not one further away, since I wouldn't be required to travel on any major highways.

We were approved for the apartment, and we really love the complex. I have been looking up crime information online, and it looks like this zip code has a bad reputation. The area that it spans is very wide though, and it seems that there are good parts and bad parts. This is the 'worse' side of the city, and I can see that - the downtown area looked very unsafe (but nowhere near where we would be), and if I went in the other direction from where I would work, it doesn't look so good. The area around the complex looks pretty nice though, and the complex itself looks awesome.

I looked up crime statistics, and I found some scary things that took place at the complex. I only looked up a couple of the roads there, but even in just looking at that, I found one burglary, a few thefts (mostly from cars), a sexual assault, and a few arrests, etc. I know that can happen anywhere, and the burglary was about 1.5 years ago. I didn't look at the rest of the complex, so I have no idea what happened there. One of the thefts (from inside a car), the sexual assault, and an arrest all took place at the building that we were planning to move into, but I don't think that they were very recently.

I have no idea how common this is in apartment complexes, or whether this is a really bad rate or anything. I grew up very sheltered, and I just don't want to unknowingly move into a really high-crime area. My biggest concern is that the apartment that seems perfect for us is on the ground floor (three bedrooms, which we would prefer, and available at the exact right time for us), and it faces the back, toward a treeline. It does not have a patio, but I still am concerned that it's an easy target. We would definitely have renter's insurance, but I am honestly mostly worried about something happening to my dog if there was a burglary. He is not a scary or vicious dog at all, and I am afraid that he would run out the door and get lost, get hurt, or maybe even be taken by the burglars. That might be a little bit far-fetched, but I wouldn't even be able to function if something happened to him.

While my fiance does work from home, we would still go out sometimes, and he would likely be driving me to and from work. He would also run some errands here and there throughout the day, and maybe even go on a short business trip or two over the course of a year. He has some really nice electronics items (big-screen TVs and high-end computers), and I know that others would see them, since we wouldn't be living with our blinds closed constantly.

We would also definitely get a security system, and leave lights and/or the TV on when we weren't home. I'm not sure how much that all deters crime, and that's what worries me.

We would really like a three-bedroom apartment, because we would need separate bedrooms (he snores really loudly), and he would need an office to work from home in. We could squeeze a two bedroom with a sun room, and put one of our desks in the living room, and the other in the sun room, but it would be a tight squeeze, and we wouldn't be able to bring our exercise equipment.

Unfortunately, the only three-bedroom options that are available in our time frame are on the first floor. We could take a front-facing one, but I'm not sure how much better that would be. There is one upstairs two-bedroom with a sun room available right now that faces the back, but it would be a tight squeeze for us, and we would have to start paying rent a month early. There is also one last two-bedroom with a sun room will be available around when we would need it, but it faces the pool (higher rent for something that we don't want) and is a lot less private.

The other option is to move into the ground floor apartment, and then move (for a fee) to an upstairs apartment when one comes open. At this point, we would probably take any upstairs apartment, regardless of where it faces.

We actually love the apartment that is available right now, because there is some grass before the trees, and it seems like a nice little place to hang out. It would be very easy to walk my dog, and it seems quaint and nice. If it weren't for crime worries, it would be our dream.

Don't get me wrong, because this complex is extremely nice, and just by looking at it, it seems luxurious and safe I probably wouldn't even think twice if I hadn't looked online and found that some people think that this zip code is so bad, and that there are crimes reported in this complex. Like I said, I understand the stigma in part because I did see some bad areas around, but some people said that they would prefer to not live even in the area that we are planning to move into. Others said that it's great and even nicer than the 'better' parts of the city, but others said that it's still not good. I do know that a lot of their issues involve the school system and apparent gangs there, but my fiance and I don't have any children yet.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Should I expect to find some crime reports in any complex, or is this really concerning? Are ground floor apartments almost always the ones that are targeted? Should we move to the 'better' part of the city, even though I would be terrified to drive to work every day, and it would probably also be very inconvenient?
 

Amys Bling

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
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What city is this? Maybe PSers local to that area can advise you better?
 

mrs jam

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
686
During my apartment-dwelling days, my one rule was absolutely NO first-floor units. I've had four friends who were burglarized, and all four lived in first-floor apartments at the time. I know that anywhere can turn into a possible crime scene, but it just seems like a ground level apartment has increased odds.
 

princesss

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
In general, I prefer safety over convenience.

Is this the city you were trying to attend a GTG in? If so, there are a few of us who could advise better, even with just the general parts of town you're talking about (for instance, it sounds like you might be talking about living towards the East side of my city, which I would definitely tell people to avoid. However, there are also a lot of side roads, and you can generally avoid taking any of the 4 highways that cross through/around the city if you know what roads to take. So it might be worth it to get an apartment in a safer area and explore the "avoid highways" option on Mapquest and/or your GPS.
 

princesss

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Mar 18, 2007
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8,035
mrs jam|1308680044|2951159 said:
During my apartment-dwelling days, my one rule was absolutely NO first-floor units. I've had four friends who were burglarized, and all four lived in first-floor apartments at the time. I know that anywhere can turn into a possible crime scene, but it just seems like a ground level apartment has increased odds.
As a general rule, I agree. I live in a first floor unit now, but only took it after having lived in the city for 2.5 years and knowing what areas are better than others, and where it would be safer to live on the ground floor vs. the 2nd or 3rd.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
i also say pick safety over everything else!i don't know if i would move into a complex with that history.I would also call the local police department and talk to them about the crime rate in the area,if there's that much information available on the net then there's more that nobody's talking about and the police can give you the real picture.I agree also with the ground floor isn't as safe from theft as a middle level apt.
 

fleur-de-lis

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
1,343
It might make sense to register and ask questions about your specific future zipcode in the proper city-data.com forum rather than obliquely ask the world population about an open-ended locale on a diamond forum.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,806
I would just name the city here. Maybe people here would know. But I also second calling the local police department. You could also call a realtor and tell them you are looking for an apartment for short term and may be interested in buying later and want to know the safest areas to live near your workplace. And I would not consider the first floor apartment. At least on upper floors, you only have to worry about having adequate locks on the front door.

Oh, and what about calling Human Resources for the company? Surely they can connect you with someone who can advise you about the area.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
HI,

I didn't have a chance to read your post fully, but got the jist of it. Basically, if you're looking up crime data for an area of the city and a lot of small petty crime is coming up, do not move there. Consider all the crime that is NOT being reported.

If you want to get a good feel for the neighborhood, take your dog out for a walk a few times around there and see how you feel. Do you have the urge to RUN past a few of the houses/people?

Also, um the school thing is a BIG deal. Doesn't matter if you have kids or not because those "gangs," teenagers/whatever will be walking around hanging out and they could be a problem!

I say all this as a person who didn't properly research before I moved. I go walking and have a map of the area and put an X on every street a crime has been committed and there are not many streets left to go on. I also do a weekly look up of the crimes from my zip and b/c of discovering all the crap, my kids aren't allowed to play outside by themselves! In fact, I DRIVE them to another school to keep them away from here. So, basically *I COMMUTE* for them.

Take the safety route and get renters insurance regardless of where you live.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
jewelerman|1308680606|2951172 said:
i also say pick safety over everything else!i don't know if i would move into a complex with that history.I would also call the local police department and talk to them about the crime rate in the area,if there's that much information available on the net then there's more that nobody's talking about and the police can give you the real picture.I agree also with the ground floor isn't as safe from theft as a middle level apt.
Police post public logs on a weekly basis so you can see which crimes have been committed in a certain zip code. It'll say the block of X street. Not the exact house number (It'll say 1200 block of X street or along those lines), but it gives you an idea (and is helpful if only four houses are on that block). I found a crime close to me and went INTO the police station and they wouldn't give me details outside of confirming that the specific crime HAD been committed as stated online.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
20,749
Congrats on the job shihtzu!

Burglaries, petty theft - it happens *everywhere*. Difference is, in Palo Alto, CA, theft of a GPS system will be reported... in East Palo Alto they have much bigger things to worry about, so the petty theft records are probably empty!

The sexual assault worries me a lot more, I think you can't help but worry about something like that, but again, depending on how long ago it was, I know neighbourhoods can change a lot in a surprisingly short time span - for better or worse, I guess.

I'd add talking to your neighbours to the to-do list. You get an idea of who else lives there, they'll probably have good info re. where to go and what to avoid, you can find out what they like and dislike about living there, and more importantly if you decide to move in you make friends who will keep an eye out for you, who'll take note of and mention to you the oddities that go on in your nook whilst you're at work...
 

Amys Bling

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
11,025
personally, I would pick a safe location to live over an easier commute.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Princesss -- If I remember correctly, I *think* you're right about the city Shihtzulover's looking at. I like the suggestion of looking at the "avoid highways" option on Mapquest for now. When we first moved there (assuming we're right in our thinking), the highways were confusing. Well, one particular one (the whole "inner" and "outer" thing never really made sense to me)...

Shihtzulover -- Having said that, I'd suggest trying out the highways during a quiet time to get a feel for the roads. I also think it would help you to overcome your fear of highways. Honestly, at some point, I think it would be a good idea work on your fear rather than avoid it altogether.

Anyway, I'm assuming you've accepted the first position. Congratulations!
 

chemgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,091
Regardless of the city, I don't think I'd go for a back facing, ground floor apartment. I grew up fairly sheltered in a small town, but the one street savvy thing I picked up was that its important to avoid housing where you back on to a parking lot, park, or trail. I drive DH nuts when we're looking at houses because I am paranoid about giving people easy access to my home. In my mind, a ground floor, back facing apartment is a target for robbery, even in a small town or a relatively nice area.
 

shihtzulover

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
717
Thanks for the advice and kind words everyone!

My fiance was able to speak with a friend who has lived in this city. We showed him where the complex is located, and he said that it's not a bad area, but not great either. He explained that in general, the other side is better, but that if we want to live on this side, we should stay outside of the belt line loop. This complex is outside of that loop, but my work will be located inside the loop. I think that it will be okay though, because the building where I will be working is small, and the parking lot is right by it. Also, my fiance will probably drive me to work on most days.

I also asked about the area and apartment complex on city-data.com's forum. So far, three people have responded, and they all think that the complex is in a nice area. They did reiterate that the zip code has a bad rap, but that it's a really large area, so one can't really judge just by that. Two of them even said that the crime rates are quite low around there.

Regardless, we have discussed it, and we will most likely take one of the available two-bedroom units on either the second or third floor. Hopefully, one of the two that we were looking at will still be available.

I just hate to give away some of our nice possessions (or put them into storage), and try to cramp ourselves into the two-bedroom. We will most likely really need to sleep in the two separate bedrooms, but we could probably try to squeeze the office items into the bedrooms, living room, and/or sun room (rather than having a third bedroom as an office). I feel bad, because I know that I'm asking a lot of my fiance - moving to a strange new city and finding an apartment, and now taking an even smaller place and having to say goodbye to more of our stuff.

We are also going to see if we can be put on a waiting list for a second floor three-bedroom apartment, but I'm not sure how often those come available. We have a bit over a month before we have to move, so I guess it's possible, but none are expected to open up during that time frame. We could also always switch to a larger apartment later, when an upstairs one comes available - but we will have to pay for the movers again, and also the necessary apartment switching fees.

It's so unfortunate, because if crime was not an issue at all, the one that's available would actually probably be our top choice in the whole complex. When I was there, the whole area *seemed* safe, and like it would be totally wonderful to live in that ground floor apartment with the grassy area and trees behind it, but I know that looks can sometimes be deceiving.
 

Amys Bling

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sorry if I am prying, but I am curious as to why you and your fiance will have to cramp into and sleep in the two bedrooms..... you're not sharing a bedroom? :naughty:
 

shihtzulover

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I know, it sounds really weird! :) We sleep in separate bedrooms because he snores, and I guess I can be a light sleeper. Whenever we try to sleep in the same bed or even the same room, I wake up several times throughout the night, and then can't get back to sleep. He is trying to remedy the problem with those sprays that they advertise and stuff, and I am trying to convince him to have a sleep study done, just to rule out anything serious.

I hope that we are able to sleep in the same bed in the near future, but for now, we are looking at having two different bedrooms.
 

MichelleCarmen

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shihtzulover|1308715032|2951694 said:
I know, it sounds really weird! :) We sleep in separate bedrooms because he snores, and I guess I can be a light sleeper. Whenever we try to sleep in the same bed or even the same room, I wake up several times throughout the night, and then can't get back to sleep. He is trying to remedy the problem with those sprays that they advertise and stuff, and I am trying to convince him to have a sleep study done, just to rule out anything serious.
.
Yeah, if he's sleeping in another room, having a sleep study done may be a good idea. Isn't there a simple surgery that can be done to reduce snoring?

FWIW, my NEIGHBOR snores so loud that I have to sleep on my side with a pillow OVER my head. I can hear him from downstairs. He also has periodic hickuping problems. Will go for hours at like 3-4 am sleeping and hickup sessions, so sometimes DH or I end up on the couch, so I can relate... ;-)
 

kateydid05

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Jun 10, 2010
Messages
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shihtzulover|1308715032|2951694 said:
I know, it sounds really weird! :) We sleep in separate bedrooms because he snores, and I guess I can be a light sleeper. Whenever we try to sleep in the same bed or even the same room, I wake up several times throughout the night, and then can't get back to sleep. He is trying to remedy the problem with those sprays that they advertise and stuff, and I am trying to convince him to have a sleep study done, just to rule out anything serious.

I hope that we are able to sleep in the same bed in the near future, but for now, we are looking at having two different bedrooms.
I was the same way. Couldn't even sleep in the same room as my boyfriend. He eventually got surgery to fix a deviated septum and now his snoring is SO much better. He only snores when he's in an awkward position (like with his head leaning back). We're back in the same bed!
 

Amys Bling

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shihtzulover|1308715032|2951694 said:
I know, it sounds really weird! :) We sleep in separate bedrooms because he snores, and I guess I can be a light sleeper. Whenever we try to sleep in the same bed or even the same room, I wake up several times throughout the night, and then can't get back to sleep. He is trying to remedy the problem with those sprays that they advertise and stuff, and I am trying to convince him to have a sleep study done, just to rule out anything serious.

I hope that we are able to sleep in the same bed in the near future, but for now, we are looking at having two different bedrooms.

lol. want to know a secret? I am a big time snore-er! (sp?) lol. many a times my FI has gone to our spare bedroom or the couch to avoid me. :rolleyes:
 

mary poppins

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2,569
Are you sure FI is snoring? He might have sleep apnea, an unhealthy and dangerous condition for which there is treatment. Sounds like he should ask his doctor for a sleep study.
 

janinegirly

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Sep 21, 2006
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I agree about safety over convenience. I also happen to put "good neighborhood" over "space", but that might be personal preference.

I think you need to do a bit more homework on this city since you admit to being naive about this - don't go in bind and sign a lease thinking it "felt safe." Asking people who already live there is a great step - ask people you have things in common with, or even your new employer.
 

chemgirl

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shihtzulover|1308715032|2951694 said:
I know, it sounds really weird! :) We sleep in separate bedrooms because he snores, and I guess I can be a light sleeper. Whenever we try to sleep in the same bed or even the same room, I wake up several times throughout the night, and then can't get back to sleep. He is trying to remedy the problem with those sprays that they advertise and stuff, and I am trying to convince him to have a sleep study done, just to rule out anything serious.

I hope that we are able to sleep in the same bed in the near future, but for now, we are looking at having two different bedrooms.
I thought I was going to need my own room because DH was a huge snorer. He lost about 10 pounds, does cardio on a regular basis, and stopped drinking beer. No more snoring! Maybe its a dietary thing? Suggest he gives his diet a 180 and then he might be more receptive to the idea of a sleep study :devil:
 

diamondseeker2006

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Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,806
Okay, if you are moving where I think, there are a few of us who live in the outer areas of the city. Where we live is very safe, but I think it is on the wrong side from where your job is. If you don't want to name the city, just give the name of the closest intersection from your work, and maybe those in the area can give you more suggestions. You don't have to be afraid of the loop once you learn how it works (and I have only learned the parts that I need to learn!). There are extremely nice parts of this city for sure. I'd hate to see you in an area that is not as good.
 

Pandora II

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Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
I live in a part of London which 9/10 is where the latest shooting/stabbing etc occured. The apartment before this one had a crack den downstairs and the neighbours used to get raided by the police at 5am every few months!

However I have always felt totally safe and I'm happy to bring my daughter up in the area. Can't remember how many times DH has left the front door open all night and we've never had an issue.

So, while crime figures may not look good on paper it doesn't mean that you will find it a problem living there. Heck I lived in Belfast at the height of the Troubles in an area that was almost a no-go for the police and that had army patrols every 15 minutes day and night and 99.9% of the time I felt totally safe despite an English accent and being the wrong religion for the area!

I would however never choose to live in a ground-floor apartment. I've always gone for 1st floor.

So my advice is not to rule somewhere out because of what is in the papers. Is there anyway you can speak to someone in the local police department? Here they are brilliant at giving advice on the 'real' situation in areas and housing blocks etc
 
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