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Old 12-07-2008, 09:49 PM
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 782,259 times
Reputation: 144


Hey chicagoresident, if you're worried about crime in south Florida there are several other cities in Florida worth considering. The Tampa Bay area (Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater) is really nice. My girlfriend is from the St. Pete area and every time we go back to visit her family I'm pleasantly surprised by many of the cities and neighborhoods in this area. Although some parts of south St. Pete, Clearwater, and east Tampa are bad, most of the area seems safer than most parts of Dade and parts of Eastern Broward county. Downtown St. Pete has nice cafes, pubs, bayfront parks, the pier, art galleries, a great bookstore (Haslam's-the largest used and new bookstore in Florida), and other amenities like pro baseball (the Rays play at Tropicana Field in downtown St. Pete). Dunedin and Tarpon Springs are both nice too, they're north of St. Pete and Clearwater and are smaller but both are charming and have walkable cores with mom and pop businesses (Dunedin is more upscale and has a brewery and art galleries, etc. and Tarpon Springs is a Greek enclave thats economy is based on sponge diving (a kitschy museum called Sponge-O-Rama is there)). Also, Pinellas county (St. Pete, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs) has some of the nicest beaches in the country (Pass-A-Grille, Fort De Soto, Madeira Beach, Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island, etc.). Tampa has all of the amenities that you would expect in a big city and a fun entertainment district called Ybor City with clubs, bars, cigar rolling factories and cigar bars, the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, etc. But, the crime and congestion is a little higher in Tampa than across the bay in the St. Pete area. Good luck.
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Old 12-07-2008, 09:53 PM
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 782,259 times
Reputation: 144
Also, I meant to say that if you're coming from Chicago, Jacksonville might seem a little provincial and sleepy to you. It's a large city with a small city mentality in a lot of respects. And, by some measures, the crime in JAX is worse than in other parts of Florida. JAX beach is OK, but I've seen a lot of unsavory characters there too. Orlando is sticky and hot in the summer, the traffic's bad, and the crime rate is very high. If you're going to live in Florida live in a coastal city, it's not worth it to move down here and live inland because the summers are brutal even on the coast and having the option of escaping to the beach is nice.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:59 PM
193 posts, read 1,039,812 times
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wow..thanks so much for the replies! you all have definitely given me some options to think about..thanks!
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Old 12-09-2008, 10:07 AM
Location: Miramar
294 posts, read 1,000,462 times
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Originally Posted by chicagoresident View Post

I'm looking to move from Chicago to a warm city...I really like Chicago and its people but think its time to move on since I can't stand the winters. What city would you recommend for someone who's single, in her early thirties and looking for a safe place with a bit of culture? Am I right in thinking that I may get some/all of these in Ft Lauderdale or Miami? Or should I consider some other city in Florida or elsewhere? Also would be great if you could recommend some nice/safe/popular/ not too expensive neighborhoods. Thank you!
We moved here from Chicago (lived in Humbolt Park and South Loop) and are mostly happy with the move. We first moved to South Beach and now live in North Beach. We've enjoyed both places. For someone who's young and single, I'd recommend either South Beach or Ft Lauderdale near Las Olas Blvd. South Beach, however, gets old very fast unless you are cool with living in an area full of drunks, druggies, bums, tourists and a constant influx of recent transplants. It's mostly safe though and affordable in parts. I'd recommend SoBe for maybe a year, and then pick another place once you get the feel of the area. If you do pick SoBe, live on the West side in a high rise if you can afford it. It's quieter, feels more like a community, and is ony a ten or twenty minute walk to Lincoln Road.

Don't get too rattled with all the hype on crime. For some reason, people are super obsessed/paranoid about crime down here. I feel it's no different than Chicago, but others may disagree. Just watch your back and avoid the bad areas and you'll be fine.

If I could do it all over again, honestly, I would have moved to Tampa. Most of the transplants here in Dade and Broward are from the East Coast, and most of the transplants in Tampa are from the mid-west. Nothing against that per se, but I just feel more at home on the western coast of Florida. But we are also a bit older and have a kid. So our perspective is obviously different.

By the way, compared to Chi-town, there is very little in the way of culture down here.

Good luck!
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:00 PM
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I think you'll find that cities on the western coast of Florida are way more laid back. Coming from Chicago, you might find that boring. Laid-back cities have their pro's and con's. The crime might be lesser in St. Pete or Clearwater than South Fla. But IMO those cities are boring when compared to South Florida. So basically, you are faced with a decision of living in a higher-crime, but more exciting area with better entertainment, or living in a more laid-back, sleepy area that is slightly more boring. Personally, I think that the west coast is a great place to raise a family, but is way too boring for my taste. Also, the people on the west coast tend to be highly conservative-minded, and are small-town minded as well. In Tampa, they are still fighting over whether to put up a Confederate flag along I-75 when you drive into Tampa.

South Florida is a 50-50 mix between conservatives and liberal-minded ones so that may factor into your decision-making. Broward County is the only "blue" county in the state of Florida. Dade and Palm Beach are close to 50-50 with a slight edge to conservatives. You will also find that radio stations have far less sensor-ship here in South Florida because people could care less if certain words are spoken or certain topics are discussed. In central Florida (Orlando/Tampa) radio-stations for example, instead of bleeping out every semi-bad word from songs, they actually change the lyrics around completely. If you've never heard "Bartender" from the band Rehab, you'd think its about picking daisies in a field or something if you listen to Central FL radio. Now you might think that's a good thing, but IMO it sucks. Censorship is one thing, but I can tolerate the words "damn" or jack-a#%" on my favorite songs on the radio. If its that bad, then they should just avoid playing the song altogether.

About crime>

I don't think that crime being bad here is a huge problem for someone from Chicago. The problem is the attitude of many people from northern cities who come down here thinking that Florida is some paradise free of crime and a walk in the park. If you have that attitude, you will get burned down here. Now there are some areas that are safe, but on a daily basis you might leave those areas and travel into other areas nearby that are more dangerous. Its not like you are going to move here and stay in your own neighborhood all of the time. Most people have to work and travel to other areas. You might want to hit a grocery store in downtown Fort Lauderdale on your way home from work, or go to the Sawgrass Mall. Now those areas are relatively safe, but there are always carjackings, robberies, etc. So you really never know. There are also bums just about everywhere that you go in Broward or Dade. They are in popular areas like downtown because they know people with money walk around in that area so its a good place to beg for change. Also, going out at night can by dangerous in Fort Lauderdale and especially Miami. As I've said many times already, stay with a group of friends at night when going out and you should be fine. Don't wander at night by yourself.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:23 PM
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I can tell you why the crime is so bad here in South Florida. The answer is 3-fold.

1. The attitude of the kids who grew up here and went through the Broward/Palm Beach/and Dade county school systems in the 80's and 90's. It started after de-segregation with the school system bussing in poor kids from outside neighborhoods and mixing them in with kids from better socio-economic backgrounds. The culture of the poor street kids prevailed. It bred a strong culture of disrespect for authority, and lashing out in class. For every good kid that wanted to learn, a bad kid was there to start a fight or cause an outburst or distraction. Also, you are a product of who you associate with and many kids from good backgrounds fell victim to this type of culture. Adding fuel to the flames was the poorly funded school system that could not afford to devise better programs, and the overcrowding of classrooms. As a result, an entire generation of South Florida kids grew up with a thug/punk-ish mentality.

2. The street-wise New Yorkers who flocked here over the years brought their dog-eat-dog, every man for themselves mentality along with them. You will notice that in South Florida, there is no sense of community in most areas. Most people do not know their neighbors much less have their kids play together or do community service work to better their communities. When you are afraid to associate with your neighbors, this creates a sense of distrust amongst a community. The result is that you see an every man for himself culture where everyone is out to take advantage of the other guy. You see this in all aspects of life in South Florida. It is most evident on the roads with the road rage thing. By the way, Miami is the #1 worst city for road rage.

3. The poor minority groups and immigrants who arrived and settled in South FLorida over the years has created vast areas, especially in Miami-Dade, of poverty stricken communities. These communities have been neglected over the years and are worse now than ever. IMO this is a result of the government refusing to fund the schools in these areas, and the strict policies of police and other government agencies that have created a system that ensures that these people will fail in life. Also, the lack of manufacturing industry here in South Florida and lack of jobs compounds this problem.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:43 PM
35 posts, read 125,129 times
Reputation: 30
Like everywhere else at the end of the day the arbiter 'tween good and evil is how much you can afford for rent. Don't even think about SoFla at under a thou a month and for proper insulation I'd move to Ft. Lauderdale. I grew up in Edgewater on Sheridan Rd and coastal Lauderdale is just as amenity rich as any other major metro....
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:32 PM
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I am originally from the midwest and lived in ft lauderdale while working in Miami/Coral Gables. I would strongly receommend living in Ft. lauderdale over Miami. Miami is more similar to Latin America, not being critical. Speaking spanish is almost certainly required. My wife and I often went to Miami on the weekends and it worked out perfectly. Also, the Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood airport is hands-down the better of the two. A visit is highly recommended since ultimatley it depends on the person. Be prepared for tons of more people (i.e. snow birds, tourists, spring breakers, etc) during the winter (enjoyable) months. One last thing, I would also look at Del Ray Beach as an option. It has a lot to offer and, in my opinion, has less of the "issues" you may have in ft. lauderdale and miami.

Good Luck!
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:51 PM
Location: The Shires
2,257 posts, read 1,679,325 times
Reputation: 1050
If I were to choose between the 2, I'd honestly choose Fort Lauderdale, hands down.

Fort Lauderdale still feels like it's part of the United States. It's generally cleaner, more diverse and better "planned".

Then again, if you really dig the whole Cuban/Latin culture and want to live near South Beach, maybe Miami is for you. Personally, I can't stand this city, but that's just me
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:30 PM
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When it comes down to it, the main differences are:

1. Miami has 2X the population density as Fort Lauderdale
2. Miami has a way bigger Hispanic population
3. Miami has a way faster pace of lifestyle and the whole South Beach thing while Fort Lauderdale is much more laid back

Those are the biggest differences when it comes down to it.
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