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Old 10-02-2009, 08:48 AM
 
433 posts, read 901,616 times
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I've spent a ton of time researching Florida cities and talking to my friends who have lived there.

3 week long visits to Florida in the 90's confirmed to me that I like the weather, the beaches, the people.

I have found schools that are accredited with things I would be interesting in studying and ways to get financial aid.

The time has now come for me to make a clear decision because I have been told to have the best chance at a job I should arrive late october early november because that is when the restaurants and bars start to really hire.

Two big things really haunt me though.

First is that the crime stats consistantly rate the hot spots in Florida (Tampa, Orlando, Fort lauderdale/Hollywood Miami area) as higher than the national average. I notice that most of this is the result of the party vibe in Florida. Things like vandalism, assault, robbery -- the normal stuff that comes with a bunch of people gathering in one place, partying, getting drunk. These things come with the territory and don't alarm me.

What alarms me is racial tension and gangs. I am a white non-hispanic male and while I live in a very diverse place right now, we all get along great. I've been told in Florida that is not always the case, that there is racial tensions, that the people don't intergrate, that if you drive in the wrong place by accident you feel "unsafe" and "challenged". I don't want to feel unsafe, I don't want to be challenged based on my nationality. I don't have a racist bone in my body and I don't want to develop one after living here. I want to be able to go out and have fun at night. I've been told that the closer you live to the beach that the more problems with this I will have and that the bad area's intermix with the good area's in a way that make it impossible to really avoid them. As a white non-hispanic male I guess automatically I will inherit some skeptics in Florida. That's my impression. My question is for a single guy in his upper 20's who likes to go out and have fun at night -- will I feel unsafe or fear for my life at times when I live down there?

The other concern I still have is jobs. Despite the fact that Florida has a peak season that runs from Jan-April for restaurants and bars and despite the fact that I have a lot of experience I realize that there will be a lot of competition and that the seasons are not as busy as they use to be. I've been told South Florida would be easier to get this type of job than central Florida and I've also been told there is more racial tension in central florida.

My plan is to come down with a nice interview outfit, 100 resumes printed off, a cover letter, and some letters of recommendation. I also have 3 solid references. I have recent work in restaurants and 10+ years of on and off experience in them. My plan is to get a job ANY job AS SOON AS POSSIBLE that pays AT LEAST 9 bucks an hour and offers FULL TIME WORK. If I cannot secure AT LEAST THIS by the end of January -- than I will most likely have to leave. (That gives me almost 3 months)

So for those of you with any familiarity as to the details of the Florida restaurant and bar peak season situation I would appreciate knowing if Tampa is a place I can at least accomplish the goal above and maybe even better (Getting a job as a server or a barback would be ideal and allow me to save up money while I am down here, which is what many of my colleages end up being able to do). If Tampa is not the best place for this, would South Florida be better?

Thanks for any insight on the racial tension, the crime, or the job situation -- and PLEASE if you don't have a good friend in the job industry I speak of please don't chime in with some negative take on the economy and jobs. If you don't take part in the industry and the peak season situation or have a good friend that does than you don't have the knowledge to give me any sort of accurate information. Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: South Tampa - Bayside West Neighborhood
1,824 posts, read 7,771,597 times
Reputation: 1031
Crime - it does happen here, just watch the news or read papers..

as far as statistics, they are just numbers...

ive lived in Tampa for over 20 years, never personally seen, been victim of, or know anyone personally that has been a victim(lived near USF, Northdale, Carrollwood, and South Tampa areas of Hyde Park, Palma Ceia and Bayside West)...you know areas to stay out of(why would you go there anyway? its not like you HAVE to go thru those areas)..you lock your car doors(I cant believe that to this day people still eave there car doors unlocked with everything in plain site), and you are aware of your surroundings and the people you choose to keep company with(friends/aquantainces).

You will notice when watching the news or reading the paper, that most(not all but most) crimes are either crimes of opportunity(leave door open, invite a stranger in, drugs, etc.), or the poeple knew each other(relatives, aquantainces, etc.). Very rarely do you see someone just be a victim of crime out of the blue(unless you are walking home at 3am from a bar in a bad area of town--that really hurt hearing about that UT student).

Last edited by tampaguy03; 10-02-2009 at 10:27 AM..
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Old 10-02-2009, 10:40 AM
 
433 posts, read 901,616 times
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(lived near USF, Northdale, Carrollwood, and South Tampa areas of Hyde Park, Palma Ceia and Bayside West)...you know areas to stay out of (why would you go there anyway? its not like you HAVE to go thru those areas

Those are the area's where everything is at. That is why people would go there. I want to live close to the action. Are you saying that I can't? That I have to pay 20 bucks for a taxi everytime I want to go out and drink or that I have to find a friend who likes to go out but who doesn't drink to be a DD??

Obviously I would like to live near the beach and near the nightlife, and that's why I would be in or near those bad areas.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:26 AM
 
161 posts, read 409,346 times
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eagle,

i live in clearwater/dunedin (across the bay, but part of tampa metro), and even though ive been in a scuffle once or twice in my life, the crime in this area is negligible. if i remember correctly, dunedin has virtually nil, and though clearwater has some, its pretty safe in large sections.

my wife and i are non-hispanic whites, and my wife works a job that brings her into the worst parts of the counties literally, and shes never had a problem (no she doesnt wear a uniform). Things get a little rough in certain sections, like south side st pete; i wouldnt want to live there, but traveling through them on occasion has never bothered us. downtown st pete, many years ago was a little sticky after dark, but has greatly greatly improved in the past five years (i remember well cause i hung out in downtown st pete as a teenager).

i would be very surprised if you found the area very uncomfortable in terms of crime, but again, depends on specifically where you live: i suggest clearwater/dunedin/northstpete areas, close to beaches and entertainment. keep in mind, taking a taxi in this city can be expensive because of how spread out we are: 20 bucks is on the low end.

if youre dead set on living in tampa, im less of a help, but id stay away from everything around usf.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:29 AM
 
Location: South Tampa - Bayside West Neighborhood
1,824 posts, read 7,771,597 times
Reputation: 1031
Quote:
Originally Posted by ^Eagle^ View Post
(lived near USF, Northdale, Carrollwood, and South Tampa areas of Hyde Park, Palma Ceia and Bayside West)...you know areas to stay out of (why would you go there anyway? its not like you HAVE to go thru those areas

Those are the area's where everything is at. That is why people would go there. I want to live close to the action. Are you saying that I can't? That I have to pay 20 bucks for a taxi everytime I want to go out and drink or that I have to find a friend who likes to go out but who doesn't drink to be a DD??

Obviously I would like to live near the beach and near the nightlife, and that's why I would be in or near those bad areas.
those areas are not known for crime areas(Carrollwood, South Tampa, Northdale, and North/Eastof USF campus.) In Tampa, some areas known for crime inclue areas east of I-275, north of I-4 (East Tampa), West side of USF campus, Drew Park area.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:37 PM
 
433 posts, read 901,616 times
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Thanks guys. After bringing my concerns to some of the people here it seems the violent crime situation gets overblown.
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:10 PM
 
15,765 posts, read 32,865,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ^Eagle^ View Post
Thanks guys. After bringing my concerns to some of the people here it seems the violent crime situation gets overblown.
Crime in Tampa is definitely WAY overblown, and the vast majority of it happens in the inner city neighborhoods, along the I-275 and I-4 corridor areas, where the neighborhoods are mostly poor and run-down. Also, much of the area near USF is pretty bad (north end of town). All of the neighborhoods that Tampaguy mentioned are very nice, with not more than occasional crime which you would have in any city or town no matter the size.

I was born in this town, I am a white Spaniard, and there are very little racial problems these days - there are so many ethnic groups here now, you will find a mix of peoples wherever you go.

My dad made a CAREER out of being a waiter and then a bartender here. My uncles also worked in the restaurant business and then did very well opening their own. Stop listening to the naysayers, GET OFF THIS FORUM and set about getting what you want. There are plenty of people who love to talk everyone out of what they want to do. There are plenty of places to get a job during season, but I think you might want to check out opportunities in Sarasota where the season tends to be a bit better. Tampa is not a resort area but a business town, so does not experience "season" in the same way.

Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Location: South Tampa - Bayside West Neighborhood
1,824 posts, read 7,771,597 times
Reputation: 1031
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychic View Post
My dad made a CAREER out of being a waiter and then a bartender here. My uncles also worked in the restaurant business and then did very well opening their own. Stop listening to the naysayers, GET OFF THIS FORUM and set about getting what you want. There are plenty of people who love to talk everyone out of what they want to do. There are plenty of places to get a job during season, but I think you might want to check out opportunities in Sarasota where the season tends to be a bit better. Tampa is not a resort area but a business town, so does not experience "season" in the same way.

Good luck!
I agree, I was in the hospitality business for 12 years prior to my current profession, and in Tampa, season is the winter indeed , but its more Business clientele, Conventions, and the occassional tourist that is mostly staying on the beaches or Orlando that wants to check out a few things in Tampa. We used to book our hotel solid from the end of December through April...lots of groups, convention business, and corporate/regional headquarters having their winter meetings in Florida.
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Currently in Oscoda!!
274 posts, read 574,567 times
Reputation: 143
I am a white non-Hispanic male and moved to N. St. Petersburg in Jan 05' at the age of 30. I lived there for 3 1/2 years and the only reason I left was for work... ATL had more jobs with better pay in my field.

I did not experience any racial issues at all. I dated a black girl from Trinidad for almost 2 years and we would be out in public all the time showing each other affection and still no issues. I have been to clubs, beaches, beach bars, concerts, sporting events with her and no one even looked at us twice. I then dated a Jamaican girl for 6 months and the same thing... no one looked at us twice. Of all the couples we hung out with, half of them were mixed couples.

I have friends there from all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and classes: rich, average, and poor. We would have get-togethers all the time and I never saw any get into a fight or argument because of race. You are the company you keep. If you hang out people who like to fight or mix things up, then you will have issues no matter where you go. If you hang out people who are fun, don't let things bother them, and open minded like you say you are, you shouldn't have any issues.

I used to go to parties of 30, 50, and more people and sometimes I would be one the only white person there and I never felt uncomfortable at all... and I never had anyone challenge me in any way,shape or form. I am NOT saying that there is NOT racism there, because there is everywhere, but from my PERSONAL experiences I never had any. I experienced more racial issues my first 2 months in GA then I did my entire time I lived in Florida. Which is why I hate the state of GA and why I am moving next summer when I have money saved up. People here are more closed minded as anywhere I have ever been.

Every major sized city is going to have its so called "bad parts", you just need to find out what those are and avoid them. I was told to avoid South St. Pete, but after living there I discovered not ALL parts of South St. Pete are bad... just certain areas.

If you are not prejudice, then you should not have any issues. Heck...the more I think about it... the only white friends I had were people at work. ALL and I mean ALL of my friends were Latino/Hispanic, Black, or from the Caribbean.

Just when you go out to the beach, bars, or where ever, just be nice and don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone. If you give off a good positive vibe you will attract positive people... It's all in how you carry yourself.
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:20 AM
 
161 posts, read 409,346 times
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iwantsnow is correct in saying that not all south side st pete is bad, though it used to be once upon a time, its easier for those living here to tell visitors or the "about to move" folks to choose somewhere else other than south side, as it can be complicated to explain which parts of south side are experiencing creeping gentrification, which parts may be experiencing it soon, and which parts are unlikely to see it for some time.

plus, i would think many newly moved would prefer not to live in a still gentrifying area where crossing the street to the "other side" can be an issue. like i said before, even bad parts of south side aren't the worst you'll see in the country; you just have to be smart and polite.

story time: i used to have a friend who had to take an apt. in the worst part of town there, and i visited him often. as the only white kid in his apartment building, he never had any problems, and i was always treated with *overwhelming* friendliness by anyone i happened to meet in his building while going to his apt. sure, drug deals went down, and i heard of, but never saw, violence, and again, i wouldnt live there, but i swear the people in his building were nicer to me than almost anyone ive met elsewhere in the county: i remember having beer and food with some the old black ladies on more then one occasion when they were cookin' out on their porches; these ladies and their families were pretty awesome.
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