Around Wilkinsburg area-safety for college students? (Pittsburgh, Penn Hills: section 8, apartment, rental)
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Around Wilkinsburg area-safety for college students?
My daughter and some friends (college students) are looking for a rental-4 bedrooms which is pretty pricey in the Oakland,Shadyside,Squirrel Hill area. They looked at a 4 bedroom in a huge old mansion type home on South Trenton which the rental agent said was Regent Square but is just in the beginnings of Wilkinsburg. The house is awesome and the price is great but I'm leary of the area. 1 or 2 streets away looks OK-some of the homes are beautiful but then you have boarded up houses that look like crack houses. They'll be taking the bus to Oakland for classes and I'm really torn about OKing this location. Anyone know anything about the safety of this area? Thanks
I hope you're aware Wilkinsburg is a gang neighborhood, and it's bad parts make it debatably the worst suburb or borough of Pittsburgh!!! The bad parts include: Franklin Area, Highschool Area, Hunter Park Area, Park Tringle Area, Upper Central Area & Singer Place Area... To make things simple, the parts bordering Homewood & East Hills and central Wilkinsburg are to be avoided.
W-Burgh is home to the infamous Larimer And/Avenue Wilkinsburg (LAW) gang. With ridin sets (violent) such as the: Hunter Park Gangstas, Uptown Riddas, J-Town Hoods, F-block, & Trill Side... In the '90's the Wilkinsburg LAWs were at war with all East Hills Bloods, all Homewood Cripz, and all Penn Hills gangs. Times of changed, and gang activity is much more quiet now, but it still gets smakin' in Wilkinsburg!!! Theres been 16 homicides in the past four years!!! So its safe to say that in the bad part of Wilkinsburg gangs are a notable presence in the daily life of most people, criminals, crack heads or law-abiding citizens.
So depending on where their apartment is will determine the safety. Yet if the appartment is near by the borders of Churchill, Edgewood, Regent Square, or Penn Hills it will be pretty safe!
The house is on the corner of South Trenton Ave. & Franklin-about a block from Penn Avenue. It's right before you hit the Wendy's-you make a right off of Penn by the Lifecare Hospital? The area is so weird because there are streets that are really nice and then some that look pretty scary so I'm not sure about this place at all. It looks like it's at the very beginning of Wilkinsburg-I know this boro's reputation but I thought maybe this is the outskirts?
I'm pretty sure that's in an area known as Franklin, debatably the worst part of Wilkinsburg!!! The near by section 8 housing projects off of Kelly Avenue, are the home/birth place of a LAW set called F-block are a stone throw away from the house. I would find a safe area if I were you...
As always, there is a big difference between gangs claiming turf, and gangs actually being a major presence.
Anyway, that is a very transitional area. Park Place, to the west of Peebles, is reasonably nice. People have recently been investing in places along and immediately to the east of Peebles, but there are in fact still some rundown properties and such.
Personally, I wouldn't have a problem living in that area. If you are really concerned, you can walk to the Forbes & Braddock bus stop by walking straight over to East End Avenue and then down (so basically you are into Park Place after walking a block or so). You can also use the same route to get to Regent Square, Frick Park, Squirrel Hill (a long walk but a reasonable bike ride), the Hamnett Station stop on the Busway, and so on.
But this is really a matter of personal comfort level. Some people have no problem living in areas like this. Others find it very stressful. So you really have to know yourself.
I think I'm the first to reply who actually lives in that part of Wilkinsburg. I live about five blocks away from Franklin & Trenton, and I'm friends with a family who live on Trenton about halfway between Franklin and Rebecca, so between visiting their house and hearing about their life I know that street pretty well. I know a great many people who live or have lived within a few blocks (mostly west toward Braddock), and most of them have small children.
Franklin is actually three streets from Penn; Ross and South are in between. In no universe except the fantasy-land of realty & rental agents is that intersection Regents Square (which ends at Biddle Ave). The Greater Park Place neighborhood association lays claim to it.
My friends are a married couple with a school-age daughter who frequently have teenage female exchange students staying with them; obviously they are OK with living there. They have good locks on the doors and they are careful to use them. Some of their neighbors cause them some anxiety, but AFAIK they have never had any trouble or been the victims of crime. There is little or no trace of gang activity on that street or in Park Place in general - no gang colors, no gang graffiti tags I've ever spotted, and violent crime is rare and no more common there than most urban districts. A black female friend of mine was mugged on East End four years ago by a young black man, but that's no more common in Park Place than Shadyside or Oakland (fortunately she wasn't hurt, just lost her shoulder bag).
If your daughter and her friends are utter innocents, gullible, or careless, maybe that's not the best place in the city for them to live. On the other hand, they're at least as likely to have trouble in Oakland (even living in campus housing - bad things happen there too) as in Park Place - statistically much more likely, in fact.
If they're reasonably savvy about life in a city, I wouldn't worry any more than any father of college-aged daughters would worry anyway. They'll probably have a better place to live for less money than anywhere in Oakland, and probably safer. Obviously, they'll need to be careful, not leave doors unlocked or windows open at night, keep their eyes open while walking, etc., etc., but any woman who hasn't grown up in a monastery already knows all that.
Make sure the landlord installs good locks and any other security features they can convince him to pay for. Sign on to the Park Place association's email list, which will keep them abreast of whatever crime or vandalism occurs in the neighborhood. Introduce themselves to the respectable neigbors (my friends, say). Walk to or from the bus stops for Oakland (61A & 61B at Forbes & Braddock) along Peebles or East End, and if they jog alone, head west and south into Regent Square rather than north or east into Wilkinsburg.
In short, I'd be comfortable enough having my own daughter live there with friends, as long as she's not an idiot. It's not Mayberry, but it's not a violence-ridden slum.
I would pass on that place if I were you. Chances are your daughter would be fine if she didn't out at night, but life dosen't always allow that. There are some very bad people in that area, and on occation, bad things happen there. I just don't see how it's worth the chance.
There are parts Wilkinsburg that would be safe. Most places south of Kelly Ave. and west of Pennwood Ave. would be fine.
OK - the second to reply. Brian beat me to the punch.
Fortunately you added a ton of good information without actually contradicting me!
By the way, I have friends in other cities who have spent a decent amount of money buying places in rougher neighborhoods. It is great that in Pittsburgh we have a lot of affordable choices, but I always think it would amuse some of my friends to know what some people in Pittsburgh consider to be bad neighborhoods.
Edit: Oh, and everyone else is right: it isn't Regent Square, and isn't particularly close. But it is close to or arguably even in Park Place, depending on your definitions.
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