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Old 02-20-2012, 10:39 PM
Location: Washington, DC area
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^ I don't think anything in KC even remotely compares to Chicago, or Philly, or Baltimore or the north side of StL city as far as just intense and intimidating ghetto. That's why I said that crime never really bothered me in KC.

But the metro area does seem to have more than its fair share of just run down areas. Not just prospect or troost, but vast areas way beyond that. Not ghetto, but really run down, depressed areas that go far into the burbs (like kck, indy, Grandview, etc).

Lots of cities are like this I suppose, but kc just seems to lean more Detroit than Denver when it comes to this while I think the city probably should be leaning more toward Denver. It’s a much healthier metro economically.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:04 AM
Location: Tower Grove East, St. Louis, MO
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Clearly we should just all stop reporting our rapes correctly so we can't get included in these yearly rankings. I believe Chicago would be atop that list every single year if they were actually included. I suspect officials there know it too. And it should be said that in my neighborhood of Chicago -- even though we were within very close proximity to much sketchier areas -- I still felt very safe.

That said, kcmo has a serious point about crime here -- it's so easy to look at this and say "at least we're not St. Louis" but if St. Louis could suck up another 250+ square miles of mostly suburbia (even if that would include some fairly dangerous suburbs such as Jennings) their crime ranking would drop a ton. I'm no statistician, but the fact that KC ranks so high with so many safe suburban Northland areas included seriously says something about what's going on in places south of the river.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:14 AM
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Denver's economy is healthier than KC but KC metro's GMP is average and stats like poverty/education, KC economy is overall avg to better than avg - not 'leaning' towards Detroit. KC (metro) ranks near the best for poverty (lowest poverty that is).

OTOH, DC's economy is one of tops in nation with lowest poverty in US yet DC crime ranking was higher than KC last year. It's hard to pinpoint any one reason for crime problems for any particular city. KC's seemed to be lowest when unemployment was below 5% yet DC has low unemployment and higher crime than KC. KC apparently has ties to Mexican/W Coast drug distribution so that is part of the problem. The key thing to point out is that KC's murder rate is usually tied to drugs. Those not involved are rarely a victim and it's easy to avoid the E Side.


Most of KC's E Side doesn't really have the appearance of 'ghetto' - lower income housing is mixed in but not many bombed out looking hoods. I drove someone from LA who provides low income aid around the county and he thought KC's E Side was the best looking 'ghetto' he's seen. There are some good looking homes in some areas, especially down Paseo.

Last edited by xenokc; 02-21-2012 at 08:36 AM..
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:38 AM
Location: Washington, DC area
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^ some of the worst areas of LA "look" fine, especially compared to ghettos in big northeast cities. They are still very dangerous areas. By the time an area reaches the "bombed out" phase, there are few people left to mug or rob you. KCMO doesn't have anything that looks like Baltimore's ghetto, but they get the same crazy, insane violent crimes that Baltimore gets. KC and Baltimore news is very similar. My point is that dangerous areas of cities don't all look the same.

Maybe I just know KC too well. I mean, I can imagine just about every street in the metro in my head down to the fine details. But the metro area seems to have a very high percentage of run down areas that cover a huge geographic area on both sides of the state line and well beyond the urban cores of kcmo and kck and I really think that sprawl and less people wanting an urban lifestyle than many large cities has a lot to do with it. KC just seems to have a "throw away" mentality when it comes to the built environment. Abandon something that exists and build down the street on that empty field and then get a tax subsidy to do it.

I will stand up for KC any day of the week when it comes to the culture and amenities the city offers compared to similar sized cities. Few cities of 2 million can match KC in that regard. But when it comes to urban and suburban decay and blight, that's where metro KC has a lot of issues. Much of the city and metro just looks terrible (run down and 1950's ish) and the better areas of the metro are stuck in the 1980's compared to many big cities and big city suburbs. (no TOD, active pedestrian areas etc, just single family home subdivisions, apartments and strip malls all zoned separately which is not sustainable long term).

Last edited by kcmo; 02-21-2012 at 09:04 AM..
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:13 AM
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
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Originally Posted by MOKAN View Post
The northern boundary of KCMO's "ghetto" could vary depending on your standards. Many consider Historic Northeast not so bad, plus it's busy, which would put the northern border about Independence Ave, but most probably would consider the northern border Cliff Dr (which is north of what would be 1st St). The southern border could be considered 75th St or Bannister (95th), although ghetto areas extend southward from Bannister (95th) in a less uniform manner, like over to the former Bannister mall area and south as far as Grandview along Blue Ridge BLVD (Ruskin Heights, Hickman Mills), which is south of 435 and just west of Longview Lake. The eastern boundary is mostly the Blue River between KCMO, Raytown, and Independence.

^While the area I describe is absolutely HUGE, the true epic center, the one Xeno remarked as having been one of the top 10 worst areas in the nation, is just southeast of downtown KCMO. I'm not sure of the exact boundaries, but roughly the Prospect corridor and a wide swath on either side of it east of downtown through Brush Creek.

The ghetto areas are mostly buffered from the Missouri-side neighboring suburban cities by bluffs, industrial, and rivers, except for where the ghetto has leapfrogged a bit in far southeast KCMO. My biggest beef is that I like the urban core (Plaza through Waldo) and the ghetto is merely separated by a street, Troost Avenue, and go one block either side and it's night or day and the narrow width of both the good side and bad side of the city means the good urban neighborhoods are always only a few blocks from the bad.

However, if you don't like older neighborhoods, walkability, city living, etc., you can live in the suburbs and be mostly far away from this problem KC has. But I still think having so many "off limits" areas people are warned about and the sheer amount and size of those areas takes away from KC overall and makes people scared of the city here, which keeps it from reaching its potential. Since I don't think we're going to fix the ultimate underlying and huge social issues that are the reasons things are the way they are, the only way to make our city better is to drown out the bad by proportion, which involves types that just don't care how bad it really is or sugarcoat it and rationalize it and unfortunately by minimizing the reality and encouraging new folks to move, hoping we'll reach the critical mass that makes it all better. Personally, I think people should be well informed and make an ultimate decision based on that. When you explore here, you'll have lots of boundaries people tell you not to cross.

Yup, Denver is a great example of a city on the opposite end of the spectrum in regard to cities plagued by social problems that are very much due to being cities for former industrial glory.
Yes, Denver wasn't a huge industrial city. I'm pretty sure it was a smaller metro area up until the late '70s when Denver had an oil boom. Denver has a very different racial makeup as well. A large Hispanic population, but a much smaller African American population than KC. And the historically "black" part of Denver, an area of NE Denver, looks pretty nice. I get the feeling that Denver has had less racism than existed in KC, so that may play into it as well, offering African Americans more opportunities here over the years, so they've done better economically. I'm no expert on all this... just thinking out loud.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:13 AM
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Was curious of poverty levels not that it has a direct correlation to crime, which it appears it doesn't. This is metro though, not city. Is interesting that Denver has higher poverty than KC.

% Level of Poverty in 2009
1 Memphis 15.1
2 San Antonio 12.6
3 Houston 12.2
4 Detroit 12.0
5 Los Angeles 11.5
6 Miami 11.5
7 Columbus 11.3
8 Louisville 11.2
9 Oklahoma City 11.2
10 Cleveland 11.1
11 Dallas 10.9
12 Phoenix 10.7
13 Indianapolis 10.6
14 Atlanta 10.3
15 Charlotte 10.2
16 Milwaukee 10.2
17 New York 10.0
18 St. Louis 9.7
19 Chicago 9.6
Average 9.6
20 Austin 9.5
21 Nashville 9.5
22 Cincinnati 9.2
23 Pittsburgh 8.8
24 Denver 8.7
25 San Diego 8.5
26 Portland 8.4
27 Philadelphia 8.4
28 Kansas City 7.9
29 Baltimore 6.8
30 Salt Lake City 6.7
31 Seattle 6.7
32 San Francisco 6.5
33 Minneapolis 6.3
34 Boston 6.0
35 Washington D.C. 4.9
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:41 AM
Location: Old Hyde Park, Kansas City,MO
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^Even though KC ranks fairly low in poverty levels, i thought they ranked really high in deep deep poverty that is concentrated. San Antonio may have 12.6% poverty but a lot of that is probably spread all over the city and a lot of those in San Antonio are probably working at McDonalds earning minimum wage whereas poverty in KC is much more concentrated and those people might just be living off the gov't watching Springer and Judy Judy in the afternoons doing absolutely nothing productive.
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