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Old 01-23-2013, 05:31 AM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
1,584 posts, read 1,703,270 times
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I've browsed through a lot of these threads and it seems that outside of the places like Bellevue, Mercer Island, Woodinville, Redmond, Issaquah (sp?), etc, a lot of suburbs aren't really as "safe" as I would've expected. I'm moving to the area this summer and figured I would try to find an affordable 2BR apartment in a suburban area if I couldn't afford a decent part of the city, which I'm assuming I can't. BTW, "affordable" in my book is preferably no more than $1100 for 2BR. I understand that South Seattle is a little on the sketchy side, and because of that I wasn't shocked to hear that some of the areas directly adjacent to the city proper may be a little like that as well.

I know I was just going off instincts and whatnot, but I guess I was a little surprised to begin to hear negative things about the cities a little further out, like Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way. Are these areas really not that good or safe? I figured they were outside of Seattle enough to where they may be a little more suburban and not as dingy, but again that was just a hunch and really nothing to base it on other than trends of other cities I'm familiar with.

I've also started to hear some bad things about Renton. Is that not a terribly good area either? I guess I'm surprised to hear that a seemingly entire side of the Greater Seattle Area is getting so many negative reviews. I had a notion that the area was largely safe, except for a few places here and there.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:36 AM
 
873 posts, read 860,683 times
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South Seattle/South King county has held a bit of a negative stigma for decades, mostly by the rest of Seattle and the Eastside/North end folk. There are certainly some less desirable areas of the towns down south, but how bad it is, is often exaggerated IMO.

Some of the South Seattle areas considered less desirable, such as Rainier Beach or White Center, are areas that I would agree to avoid moving to if you have the choice.

Kent/Auburn/Federal Way/Renton - it depends what part of those cities you're in. They all have nice parts, and not-so nice parts, like any city. I wouldn't really say any of them are unsafe as a whole. For the most part, they're towns that serve as bedroom communities for people who work in Seattle or Bellevue. I personally tend to prefer Des Moines or Burien as far as Seattle suburbs go, but it's not because I would consider those other areas unsafe.

$1100 or a bit under for a 2 bed will be enough to keep you out of bad areas though, I wouldn't worry too much. The pickings won't be as plentiful in good parts of Seattle proper, but it can certainly be done.

Last edited by Flightoficarus87; 01-23-2013 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:10 AM
Status: "Enjoying the winter" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
34,062 posts, read 61,960,043 times
Reputation: 38003
There is nothing here that compares to the crime in LA, Oakland, Detroit, and other big cities, but we do have pockets of nastiness here and there. Most recently the area to avoid seems to be Parkland, just south of Tacoma. In Seattle the worst area seems to be at the south end around Rainier Ave South. Renton is a mix, with some really nice areas and other parts nearer downtown not so great but still not bad. Despite the drugs, hookers and panhandlers, the 3rd/Pine street core downtown is not even that bad, I walk through there twice a day and rarely see police action. Keep in mind that many negative reviews are from residents that want to keep others away, to avoid increased traffic.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:04 AM
 
9,638 posts, read 24,979,825 times
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What some people do here are these broad statements, about how an entire area is unsafe or ghetto. The reality is quite different, and almost every one of these "bad" areas has a scuzzy, run down, higher crime two or three blocks, and then a much safer, perfectly respectable middle class area just a few blocks away. Some of this is Seattle's covert racism. If you look at actual crime stats, Capitol Hill and Ballard are particularly high in burglaries, but nobody is telling you to avoid those areas because they're unsafe. Even the "worst" of them, Rainier Beach, Skyway, and White Center have much nicer, much safer areas just a few blocks away. Yes, there are very small parts of Kent, Auburn, and Renton that are a little scuzzy, maybe 5% or less of those towns. But because of that 5%, people will tell you to stay away from the entire city. I live in Renton, in an area people would tell you to stay away from, heading towards Skyway. Sure, I wouldn't move here f I had school aged children, but I've been here 14 years and nothing has ever happened. It's quiet. More boring than dangerous.
Also, people don't really get that you only have a certain amount you can spend on rent. Yeah, if you could spend twice as much on rent you wouldn't be considering Kent or Auburn, and you'd live in Kirkland or Wallingford. But less hip/groovy/rich doesn't mean you'll be putting yourself in danger.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,800 posts, read 5,015,459 times
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It's not really that bad, there are small pockets here and there that would be good to avoid if possible but there is really not any area in the entire metro area that is terrible. We are fortunate in this metro area that there are little to no full blown "ghetto" areas. Some small areas can look a bit shabby or have a bit of crime, but this is the first city/metro area i've been to where you have to look hard to even find those areas.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:10 PM
 
1,632 posts, read 3,517,179 times
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I agree with Ira about people painting areas with very wide brushes. I love to point out to people that there are many million dollar homes within 1/2 mile of Rainier Beach. In fact, some of the biggest estates in Seattle are very close to Rainier Beach. I doubt the folks in those homes dislike where they're living.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,800 posts, read 5,015,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobester View Post
I agree with Ira about people painting areas with very wide brushes. I love to point out to people that there are many million dollar homes within 1/2 mile of Rainier Beach. In fact, some of the biggest estates in Seattle are very close to Rainier Beach. I doubt the folks in those homes dislike where they're living.
Excellent point! A month ago my wife and I were out one evening meeting someone at their home to buy something they had posted on Craigslist. We didn't know the area very well, so we were following the GPS and found that their home was in the Rainier Beach area. Funny thing was their house was a a beautiful, modern new home built apparently on the lot where an older one had stood previously. They drove nice cars, had this seemingly expensive home and had no qualms about living in that area. Nor did it even seem that bad to us when we were there in the dark. So we had fallen victim to the stereotypes people put on those areas, in reality they seem not to be nearly as bad as what we keep hearing.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:41 PM
 
5,075 posts, read 9,440,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake744 View Post
I know I was just going off instincts and whatnot, but I guess I was a little surprised to begin to hear negative things about the cities a little further out, like Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way. Are these areas really not that good or safe? I figured they were outside of Seattle enough to where they may be a little more suburban and not as dingy, but again that was just a hunch and really nothing to base it on other than trends of other cities I'm familiar with.

The further out suburban fringe cities are cheaper as many have mentioned. It doesn't necessarily make them unsafe, but it does mean they end up with a disproportionate share of Section 8 residents. That's been the story with a lot of renton, kent and auburn as seattle has removed much of the post war public housing and started gentrifying the older low income neighborhoods.

South end burbs also tend to be places people move because they're affordable, not because they really picked it as a desirable location. I say this as an observation of what friends have done. Realistically, you can get a nice, safe house in Kent for the price you'd pay for an old run down shack on a busy road in Seattle or Bellevue. In that regard, the south end is more desirable. I don't see many people with a lifestyle that affords a $3K/month downtown apartment picking one in kent instead.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Seattle
620 posts, read 1,186,244 times
Reputation: 805
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ira500 View Post
What some people do here are these broad statements, about how an entire area is unsafe or ghetto. The reality is quite different, and almost every one of these "bad" areas has a scuzzy, run down, higher crime two or three blocks, and then a much safer, perfectly respectable middle class area just a few blocks away. Some of this is Seattle's covert racism. If you look at actual crime stats, Capitol Hill and Ballard are particularly high in burglaries, but nobody is telling you to avoid those areas because they're unsafe. Even the "worst" of them, Rainier Beach, Skyway, and White Center have much nicer, much safer areas just a few blocks away. Yes, there are very small parts of Kent, Auburn, and Renton that are a little scuzzy, maybe 5% or less of those towns. But because of that 5%, people will tell you to stay away from the entire city. I live in Renton, in an area people would tell you to stay away from, heading towards Skyway. Sure, I wouldn't move here f I had school aged children, but I've been here 14 years and nothing has ever happened. It's quiet. More boring than dangerous.
Also, people don't really get that you only have a certain amount you can spend on rent. Yeah, if you could spend twice as much on rent you wouldn't be considering Kent or Auburn, and you'd live in Kirkland or Wallingford. But less hip/groovy/rich doesn't mean you'll be putting yourself in danger.
I agree with Ira. From reading this board, I have the impression that anyplace where there is a large minority population and a high working class demographic, then it is more likely to be viewed as sketchy and dangerous.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:06 PM
 
5,075 posts, read 9,440,304 times
Reputation: 4640
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Siobhan View Post
I agree with Ira. From reading this board, I have the impression that anyplace where there is a large minority population and a high working class demographic, then it is more likely to be viewed as sketchy and dangerous.

Interesting, a lot of born and bred Eastside friends have the same prejudice about the entire city of Seattle.
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