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Old 07-12-2012, 04:59 PM
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I have really tried to do research before asking this question, but have not found the information I need. Recently accepted a job in the Columbus/Starkville general area. I understand from comments here and elsewhere that Columbus is cheaper but has higher crime, and Starkville is more expensive with a little less crime.
Question:
* I am looking for a safe city, town etc with fairly affordable rental market. (I know, I know, like trying to find the Holy Grail!) Is there suburbs, or smaller towns that may not have a high profile on the web that may fit the bill? Commuting is not a problem for me. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
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Dude, I lived in Mississippi for several years--Jackson--and supposedly one of the more high-crime areas (Belhaven Heights), and I was never a victim of crime. I worked long hours, came home late at night, went to work usually before sun-up, jogged all around the city (in the night for the most part) and nothing ever happened to me.

I did work for a short time for the Mississippi Attorney General's office and I've seen stats on the crime rates in Mississippi, but for the most part, the most prevalent crime in the state falls into three categories: 1) drug related crime, usually possession or poss with intent to sell, 2) spousal abuse, 3) child abuse. If you don't use drugs, then likely this type of crime will have little or no effect on you (the AGs office was hyper focused on the meth problem and if you know anything about meth, then you know people cook that stuff up out in the woods away from people because they don't want to be detected). Otherwise, unless you're being beaten by your wife or husband, or if you're a child, I think you're going to be safe.

I couldn't for the life of me think of why Columbus is so "crime-ridden" or has that perception. I know there've been some murders there, but this kind of thing seems to get publicized out the wazoo.

Oh, another prevalent crime stat in Mississippi worth mentioning here is the proclivity for Mississippi law enforcers, generally sheriffs and sheriff deputies, along with some municipal law enforcers, to fall under federal racketeering indictments. The USA Today did a breakdown on it back in 2007 and it was extensive. Just about every county had at least one LE under indictment either by the state or the feds.

That being said, stay away from the cops, the drug dealers, the wife beaters and child beaters, and you'll be fine.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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They are both safe and inexpensive. Columbus has many historic antebellum homes as well as newer neighborhoods with homes on steep wooded hills. Outside of town is Caledonia which has new suburban homes in a semi rural setting and pretty good public schools. West of Columbus near the airport are homes on large open lots. Starkville has many apartments for college students as well as new suburban subdivisions along South Montgomery. The west side of Starkviile, west of Hwy 25, is heavily wooded. About 20 minutes away are the very small towns Ackerman and Eupora, which are tiny but do have their own charming neighborhoods.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Entirely based on my opinion, but the "defining" entities for Starkville is Mississippi State University. It has a huge residential infrastructure to handle massive numbers of students (lots of houses and apartments to rent, lots of restaurants, etc.). Starkville has grown considerably in the last 20 years.

The "defining" entity for Columbus is the Air Force Training base to the north (where they teach wanna-be pilots how to drive a jet) and the old-money antebellum homes near the old downtown. Columbus has actually shrunk in population in the last 20 years. When large numbers of people move away from a town (almost 10% in the last 10 years), there are usually good reasons to stay away.

Most of the industrial growth in the area has bypassed both Starkville and Columbus, and instead concentrated between them near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The "Golden Triangle" consists of Starkville, Columbus, and West Point.

If it were me, and I admit I'm biased because I'm a MSU alumni, I would pick Starkville over Columbus in a heartbeat.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
Entirely based on my opinion, but the "defining" entities for Starkville is Mississippi State University. It has a huge residential infrastructure to handle massive numbers of students (lots of houses and apartments to rent, lots of restaurants, etc.). Starkville has grown considerably in the last 20 years.

The "defining" entity for Columbus is the Air Force Training base to the north (where they teach wanna-be pilots how to drive a jet) and the old-money antebellum homes near the old downtown. Columbus has actually shrunk in population in the last 20 years. When large numbers of people move away from a town (almost 10% in the last 10 years), there are usually good reasons to stay away.

Most of the industrial growth in the area has bypassed both Starkville and Columbus, and instead concentrated between them near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The "Golden Triangle" consists of Starkville, Columbus, and West Point.

If it were me, and I admit I'm biased because I'm a MSU alumni, I would pick Starkville over Columbus in a heartbeat.
Columbus and Starkville are indeed both nice places to live that offer cheap housing, but if I had to make that choice I'd probably choose Columbus--simply for the amenities offered by a city that doesn't house a university the size of Mississippi State (what? some 18K undergrads?).

In Starkville, consumers' choices are limited and the best example here is restaurants. The Thai place in Starkville sucks, while the one in Columbus is much better. Moreover, there are more veterinarians in Columbus, there are more stores--more choices in department stores, and things in Columbus are not dominated by the university's clients--who tend to be young folks who cannot drive very well. Moreover, the hoopla swirling around an otherwise mediocre football team would be something to avoid if you don't particularly care about that team--yet on the flipside, the day-long, campus-wide parties for six/seven home games a year are indeed fun, good times, good times.

Yet the football hoopla certainly diminishes the relative safety of a given community. Some 40K to 60K fans inundate the town six/seven weekends a year, which only increases the aggregate number of impaired drivers in town, places undue limitations on businesses that reach capacity (resulting in lines), and increases the overall concentration of traffic on city streets not designed for that kind of congestion.

I'd also venture to guess that MSU doesn't have a performing arts center and as a "cow college" lacks a robust humanities-related speaker and lecture series when compared to, say, the University of Alabama which is only 70 or so miles from Starkville. I mean if food and diary science is your cup of tea, then Starkville would certainly be hog heaven.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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I recently (i.e. this week) moved to Starkville and we compared Starkville and Columbus in our real estate search. From what I have seen of both, I think either could fit the bill. Both have affordable places, both seemed plenty safe, and they are similar in many ways. I could say look at both and see where you can find the home that fits you and your family best. I don't think there is a reason to stay away from Columbus, nor do I think Starkville is out of reach.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,791 posts, read 3,884,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiogenesofJackson View Post
Columbus and Starkville are indeed both nice places to live that offer cheap housing, but if I had to make that choice I'd probably choose Columbus--simply for the amenities offered by a city that doesn't house a university the size of Mississippi State (what? some 18K undergrads?).

In Starkville, consumers' choices are limited and the best example here is restaurants. The Thai place in Starkville sucks, while the one in Columbus is much better. Moreover, there are more veterinarians in Columbus, there are more stores--more choices in department stores, and things in Columbus are not dominated by the university's clients--who tend to be young folks who cannot drive very well. Moreover, the hoopla swirling around an otherwise mediocre football team would be something to avoid if you don't particularly care about that team--yet on the flipside, the day-long, campus-wide parties for six/seven home games a year are indeed fun, good times, good times.

Yet the football hoopla certainly diminishes the relative safety of a given community. Some 40K to 60K fans inundate the town six/seven weekends a year, which only increases the aggregate number of impaired drivers in town, places undue limitations on businesses that reach capacity (resulting in lines), and increases the overall concentration of traffic on city streets not designed for that kind of congestion.

I'd also venture to guess that MSU doesn't have a performing arts center and as a "cow college" lacks a robust humanities-related speaker and lecture series when compared to, say, the University of Alabama which is only 70 or so miles from Starkville. I mean if food and diary science is your cup of tea, then Starkville would certainly be hog heaven.
I have no problem with anyone offering a differing opinion, even if it is directly opposite mine. I also don't deny the potential problems that can be created by mass numbers of college students. But a couple of points:
  • Football home game days are ridiculous when it comes to traffic and hotels being full, even with an "otherwise mediocre football team"; there's no denying this. Some major roads even have traffic fully reversed to get the cars away from the stadium as quickly as possible after the game. But the real problems only last for a few hours, and only 6-7 times a year. The only time there's an "all day campus-wide party" would be one weekend a year, homecoming. There are any number of places without a major university and yet with similar problems. I live in Chattanooga and for two weeks every summer the downtown area is a driving war zone because of the Riverbend Festival, but this isn't a reason to tell people to avoid moving here.
  • MSU did start off as a "cow college", the ag department is still a major component, and to this day I've never found better ice cream or cheese than that produced at MSU. But it is a full university with schools of business, creative arts, performing arts, history, English, engineering, architecture, etc. Yes, there is a Performing Arts Center, and I attended many performances there as a student. Yes, there are regular lectures by various "smart" people, including lectures on humanities. I worked for a while with the office responsible for setting up chairs, table, microphones, etc. for various speakers and we were constantly on the go for that. However, MSU in general is much more conservative than, say, Berkley, so take that into consideration.
  • MSU has a major veterinary school which needs animals for teaching purposes. It's like getting your hair cut for cheap at a beauty college, but with more care because lives are at stake. Private-practice vets have a hard time competing with this.
But in spite of my defense of the town, I freely acknowledge that it's not for everyone; maybe even not a good fit for most people. Starkville really is dominated by the University. I've never eaten at either Thai restaurant, nor have I counted department stores, so I'll take DoJ's word on that. I'll add that the Old Hickory Steakhouse in Columbus is far superior to any place in Starkville, and there's definitely something to be said for a lack of crowds of young (and far too often rude) college students.
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:46 PM
 
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First, anyone refering to MSU as "cow college" has an axe to grind and isn't giving an objective opinion.

If you are single, young, I would recommend Starkville. If you have a family to raise, I would recommend Caledonia or New Hope. However, even if you have a family, Starkville will be good. I don't recommend Columbus proper regardless of your situation. I was raised in Columbus too.
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