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There was an earlier thread that i wanted to reply on but somehow couldn't it... for people interest in crime in Seattle compared to other places... read on.
I would like to add what I believe would add a different perspective to this conversation. To start, I will say i'm a 34 year old male. I have been a profession hip-hop recording artist for the past 12 years. I was involved in gangs from when I 15-20 years old. Through touring, I've traveled throughout the western half of the United States and am very familiar with other cities, especially the poorer neighborhoods. I graduated from high school and went to college and studied Drug and alcohol psychology. I've always been interested in the city population growth, largest cities in the United States and crime. The almanac is my favorite book, for those that haven't ever looked through an almanac, its an annually published book that has current and historical facts on a lot of things including things that would apply to this conversation. I lived in Bellevue, Kirkland and Seattle, WA. I've also lived in Odessa, TX. Des Moines, IA. Las Vegas, NV. Portland, OR. Boise & Caldwell, ID. Portland, Gresham and Troutdale, OR (All Portland Metro). If you add this to the fact of traveling 8-10 months out of the year I feel like I've covered a lot of real estate and can shed some light based on experience. I would explain more of my backround, but feel writing a book on this subject would take away from the conversation and the average persons interest on the subject. Here is how I evaluate crime and how my experiences have led me to this conclusion. Although every city has crime, certain factors contribute to the amount of crime there is. Living conditions in a city: If a city has neighborhoods that are old, run down with a larger amount of vacant buildings and apartments. crime rates are higher. unemployment or lack of good paying jobs. In high tech metro area the unemployment is lower and average wage earned is higher than that of agriculturally based ecominies. This too affects crime rate in a city. In most cases, crime in larger cities although may take place throughout the entire city, the majority of crime is mainly in low income, low property value areas. large Minorities population in a neighborhood area is usually another sign of higher crime rates. In my opinion, this has a lot to do with employment, cost of living and education. For people that don't know, public education systems are funded by taxes collected for that area. In area where land values are higher, means nicer schools, books and higher paid teachers. With low land values means lower taxes collected which means less funding for schools in those neighborhoods which means old schools, books and teachers being paid less. If you have heard the saying the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.... Public education is a system that is a perfect example of that. as long as education equates to better jobs and higher wages. People from poorer neighborhoods are infact 1 step behind kids from nicer/safer neighborhoods. So where does crime mainly exist? poor neighborhoods. Who lives in these Poor neighborhoods? it varies depending city and state as some states like Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota although do have some poorer/older neighborhoods but the state population is 90% or higher white leaving a very small minority population. In more populated states the minority population is much bigger and they make up a much larger portion of the population in poor neighborhoods. In younger populations, Urban music formats such as hip-hop is the most popular form of music. The music you listen to, also reflects the social group you belong too. There is always exceptions to the rule but by far, poor people relate to urban music because the artists are products of these poor neighborhoods. The listeners relate to the enviroment they identify with. everything I've said is things I've seen and learned through experiences. There are obviously a lot of factors to higher crime area but living conditions, education and property value have to be in the top 5. Why would anybody with a good education and a good job choose to live in poor neighborhoods with higher crime rates? In most cases they wouldn't but sometimes when people make the jump from renters to 1st time home buyers they don't have the luxury to live in a safer neighborhood. In cities where high property values have driven up the cost of homes... the working class and the newly college educated people who enter the workforce have to make there start in these poorer/older neighborhoods until they build equity in there homes for 2-5 years and then refinance and sell. Seattle and the Eastside like California have these problems due to an over priced cost of living. its why a lot of move south to pierce county or north to snohomish county as I way to avoid neighborhoods like white center, south seattle and central district. Here are the cities with higher crime rates in select parts of the cities. 1. Tacoma (Hilltop, stadium high school areas) 2. Everett 3. Yakima/Lower Valley (Yakima/Sunnyside) 4. Nampa-Caldwell, ID (Boise metro) 5. Pasco, Wa (Tri-Cities metro) 6. North and Northeast Portland 7. Gresham/Rockwood District (Portland Metro East) 8. Seattle (southend, central district and white center) 9. Spokane (North side) 10. Warm Springs, OR (Oregons largest indian rezervation 11.- Omak/Colville (Colville Indian rezervation) 12. Rose Park/West Valley (Salt Lake Metro) Although these cities or neighborhoods in these cities are by far the worst neighborhoods for crime, drugs, gangs, property values etc... In my opinion these crime infected areas don't compare to a lot of the other cities in the United States tht I have been too. Poor neighborhoods in the NW really don't look poor when you compare them other places in the western united states. For example, take East St. Louis, IL/St. Louis, MO and Detroit... Its populations have been decreasing for more than 50 years. the cities are plaqued with poor run down old neighborhoods and economic problems. Population decreases for long period of time are normally a great warning sign for places to avoid. In 1850, St louis was 3rd most populated city in the USA. since then the population of almost 900,000 has lost more than half its population. compared to other large american cities, Detroit and St Louis are declinging while all the other top 100 most populated cities in the states are growing. Detroit although has been in the news a lot lately due to so many layoffs, home foreclosures and the highest unemployment rates during the recent recession... The reality is that this city once supported doubled its current population. The vacant homes arent just a sign of today, theyve been a sign for more than 20 years. Money is a factor with crime as i've stated in other words before but what people would define as rich in one city, may not be so rich somewhere else. For example, 300,000 home in Bellevue would be considered average amongst other homes in the city. But 300,000 homes in places like Texas, or countless cities throughout the south and midwest maybe considered upper class or the low scale of rich. It works the same as poor. Theres different levels of poor, and the living condition and government assistance varies by state laws and housing conditions. Poor section 8 housing in Seattle or Portland would be considered nice by the poor residents of Chicago and Gary, Indiana to name a few. Here are other noteable places that I believe are the hardest cities to live in, especially if you would fall under the "POOR SOCIAL CLASS". There is no Housing projects in the NW that would compare to the living conditions in these other cities and the crime that surround them. In no particlar order: Milwaukee, WI Chicago, IL - Gary, IN Detroit, MI St Louis, MO - East St Louis, IL Witchita, KS Omaha, NE (Northside) Phoenix, AZ El Paso, TX - Juarez, Mexico San Diego, CA - Tijuana, Mexico I didn't mention California or Texas cities for a reason. The 2 I did mention are border cities that are connected to some of Mexico's bigger cities in northern mexico. they have unique situations compared to other cities in the US . California is one big crime infestation. Ofcourse it has its nice places and rural towns that don't have the crime issues as much but as whole... West Coast gang problems, start and end in California. Most gang members in the NW, claim affiliation to gangs in California and Mexico. These gangs represent streets and neighborhoods in California, not at home in the Northwest. The exception are tied to Chicago. I hope this gives some insight, to what ive seen through my own experiences. There was a few earlier posts that mention gangs and the problamatic parts of Seattle. On the west coast, Seattle wouldn't make the top 10 cities for high crime. If I had to grow up poor in any place in the western United States Seattle-Bellevue metro would be in the top 10 for best places to live in poor neighborhoods. Phoenix-Tempe area would be my #1 just because of the weather.... Portland-Gresham would also be in the top of that list. NW cities with the lowest crime rates would have to be Boise, ID. Bend, OR. Bellevue, WA. Eugene, OR and Idaho Falls, ID. other safe places are Pullman, WA - Moscow, ID. Eastern Oregon everywhere, and both the ORegon and Washington coasts. Salt Lake City metro bedroom cities and St George, UT are both low crime areas too. Just my .02
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