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Old 06-09-2008, 09:44 AM
 
78 posts, read 412,863 times
Reputation: 45

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Hi all! Our family of four is seeking a place to relocate and settle down. After moving from across seas, and also within the USA, we want an affordable, safe, and entertaining place to live. Des Moines was recommended by a friend, and so here we are.

We have two small children. It is very important that we live in a place where we feel safe. I've seen conflicting things about Des Moines. Some says it's really safe, yet the numbers show it well above average. Can someone shed some light on why this is?

Also, other than craigslist, we are having trouble finding rental information. Which neighborhoods, with an easy commute and good school systems, should we consider? We would hope to relocate as soon as we would land a job (in a few months hopefully). We are searching for a single family home. How much are we looking at spending?

We love what we see so far. Is there a lot to do during the winter months? We are looking for a great place for a family, easy commute, safe, affordable, and a fair amount to do. (We currently live in a place with very little do to all year around!)

May I ask, if we are not conservative will we fit in? We live in a VERY conservative area at the moment and don't find a lot of diversity as far as thinking here. We'd love to live somewhere that there are different opinions and that it is accepted.

I look forward to all of your responses! So sorry about all the questions. I hope someone will take time to answer them.

Last edited by ukusmom; 06-09-2008 at 09:49 AM.. Reason: needed to add a bit more
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,782,893 times
Reputation: 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukusmom View Post
We have two small children. It is very important that we live in a place where we feel safe. I've seen conflicting things about Des Moines. Some says it's really safe, yet the numbers show it well above average. Can someone shed some light on why this is?

We are searching for a single family home. How much are we looking at spending?

We love what we see so far. Is there a lot to do during the winter months? We are looking for a great place for a family, easy commute, safe, affordable, and a fair amount to do. (We currently live in a place with very little do to all year around!)

May I ask, if we are not conservative will we fit in? We live in a VERY conservative area at the moment and don't find a lot of diversity as far as thinking here. We'd love to live somewhere that there are different opinions and that it is accepted.

.

Des Moines is a safe place for the most part. There are some bad neighborhoods and when you get here, you'll know what those neighborhoods are by the usual tell-tale signs. Can you clarify what you mean by the "numbers are above average"?

The average price for a single family home in this area is going to be slightly over $100,000. In the suburbs it's probably closer to 200-250k. Property taxes are on the high side, but housing is still reasonable.

Life goes on in the winter, that's about it. I imagine it gets much colder and there's much more snow here than the UK. January and February can take a toll on you. There's not much outdoor recreation during the winter, but theres snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, sledding and so on if you're so inclined. There are two good amatuer hockey teams in the area, going to see a game is a good option for a winter night.

If you are not conservative, you could fit in. On a scale of 1 being totally liberal and 10 being totally conservative, Des Moines and Iowa is probably about a 4 or so. Very politically moderate and straight-laced although things typically tend to lean slightly to the left. There are people on both extremes here and all points in between. As with everything, as long as you're cool people will be alright with you.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:29 AM
 
78 posts, read 412,863 times
Reputation: 45
Default Des Moines

Thanks for your reply. I have been looking up crime statistics here on city data and the crime rate was shown as way above the average. Is it the sort of place I can go out after dark? I hope I do not sound ignorant, but I've never been there. I never want to feel afraid in a place I live in. If crime tends to be in "pockets" that's much like places everywhere, but if it exists in the main areas that we as a family would also be, this would worry me.

Any additional information would be great. Thanks so much for your reply.


Quote:
Originally Posted by El Rhino View Post
Des Moines is a safe place for the most part. There are some bad neighborhoods and when you get here, you'll know what those neighborhoods are by the usual tell-tale signs. Can you clarify what you mean by the "numbers are above average"?

The average price for a single family home in this area is going to be slightly over $100,000. In the suburbs it's probably closer to 200-250k. Property taxes are on the high side, but housing is still reasonable.

Life goes on in the winter, that's about it. I imagine it gets much colder and there's much more snow here than the UK. January and February can take a toll on you. There's not much outdoor recreation during the winter, but theres snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, sledding and so on if you're so inclined. There are two good amatuer hockey teams in the area, going to see a game is a good option for a winter night.

If you are not conservative, you could fit in. On a scale of 1 being totally liberal and 10 being totally conservative, Des Moines and Iowa is probably about a 4 or so. Very politically moderate and straight-laced although things typically tend to lean slightly to the left. There are people on both extremes here and all points in between. As with everything, as long as you're cool people will be alright with you.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,782,893 times
Reputation: 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukusmom View Post
Thanks for your reply. I have been looking up crime statistics here on city data and the crime rate was shown as way above the average. Is it the sort of place I can go out after dark? I hope I do not sound ignorant, but I've never been there. I never want to feel afraid in a place I live in. If crime tends to be in "pockets" that's much like places everywhere, but if it exists in the main areas that we as a family would also be, this would worry me.

Any additional information would be great. Thanks so much for your reply.

Honestly, I'm not sure exactly how City-Data determines what average is, as it looks like the average for every city I clicked on is different. Des Moines is usually regarded as a safe place where you can go out after dark in most areas. It's no Detroit by any means.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:18 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,544 times
Reputation: 184
The main reason not to go out after dark in Iowa is that's when the mosquitoes are worst! Seriously, things are VERY laid back here, including crime and danger. We have a lot more crimes against property -- opportunistic burgleries of an unlocked car or home, for example -- than against people, and the crimes against people are generally by someone they know or are associated with, if you know what I mean. And I don't mean to make it sound like burglary is rampant... 99 times out of 100 you could leave something unlocked, but given that 1%, it makes sense just to get used to locking things, just like it makes sense to use your seat belt... better safe than sorry. I've lived in Iowa most of my life and have personally experienced the following crimes: someone took $2.00 in change out of my unlocked car in front of my home in Iowa City; someone took my purse out of my unlocked car downtown Cedar Rapids; someone took a baseball bat to our rural mailbox (along with those of most of our neighbors. The culprits were caught and made to buy and put up new mailboxes for all of us); and my car was totalled in an collision with an uninsured drunk driver. Oh, and I was assulted as a student at University of Iowa in Iowa City many years ago, although it took a police report before I knew I had been assaulted... I thought he'd just grabbed my, er, derrierre. That's about 40 years worth. I don't know how that compares to other places because I've not lived anywhere else, at least not for 40 years... also, results probably vary based on the fact that I'm generally fairly safety-conscious (although apparently a slow learner when it comes to locking the car) and if I'm going to take risks, I'd rather do it white-water rafting than by hanging my cluelessness out in the wrong neighborhoods. <shrug>.

The thing that concerns me most about your post is your statement about wanting lots of things to do. You say

Quote:
Originally Posted by ukusmom View Post
(We currently live in a place with very little do to all year around!)
When you are frustrated at there being nothing to do where you are, what is it you think "I wish we had a [what?]" or could go to the [where]?" What kind of things are you looking for? If I were you, I would identify the things that are important to you and look for those.

In my view, Iowa is very "do it yourself." If you are going to find "something to do," you generally have to work at it a bit. There are more options in Des Moines than anywhere else in the state, no question, but I'm sure you can find posts on this forum about people who are bored there, too. It would be a shame for you to relocate here and THEN find out you can't pursue the activities you most enjoy.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:19 PM
 
196 posts, read 727,635 times
Reputation: 94
The only place I would stay away from would be north of downtown. Otherwise I think most other areas of the city are fine. Suburban areas, no problem.
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Old 07-17-2008, 10:30 AM
 
Location: wannabeinkentucky
862 posts, read 1,505,316 times
Reputation: 1056
Check out Altoona, very safe.
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:25 PM
 
114 posts, read 454,799 times
Reputation: 37
Also, even though it is a good hospital, don't move on Douglas or around Broadlawns hospital. Unless you are a resident there and they have very secure housing.
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