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Steer me to your nearest "bad neighborhood"...
February 14, 2008 11:02 PM   Subscribe

What is the "bad part of town" for your nearest metropolitan area... and what's the name of the most notoriously "bad" neighborhood(s) in that part of town?

If you're catching a whiff of "chatfilter", it is not because I didn't diligently try to avoid or discourage it when formulating the question. I've kicked it around in my head for a week now, and haven't found a silver bullet to kill the possibility that answers might be a bit chat-tainted. I do have a very specific question I'd like answered, and I am not trying to promote lax conversation. That the thread may be used by some in chatty ways shouldn't indict the specificity of my question. abusus non tollit usum.

I am a cartographer. I've been thinking about "bad neighborhoods" lately and rolling some ideas around in my head. I am thinking about making something that might approximate an "Atlas of the Bad Part(s) of Town(s)". I'd like to get some "jumping on" points to guide my research of various cities.

My perception of "bad part of town" has everything to do with "prevalence of crime"--yours may not, but if you are using some other rubric as your principal justification, please note this.

I am very gracious for any information you can provide, from specific to the very general. It need not be exact, and a notional response (if fairly well informed) would be absolutely fine.

By way of example... the information for my city is as follows: St. Louis, MO - Bad part of town: The North Side - Notoriously bad neighborhoods: Hyde Park, St. Louis Place, the Ville, Carr Avenue.

I am very appreciative for any information you can provide, and for any direction you can steer my research. The project I am envisioning will likely be U.S.-centric, but I am very interested, personally, in answers from all over the world. Thanks much.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj to Society & Culture (173 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
Boston used to have the Combat Zone. It was actually called that on official city maps, iirc.
posted by 1 at 11:05 PM on February 14, 2008


Well, in Adelaide, Australia, the bad part of town is Hindley Street. There are a couple of strip joints, and some of the seedier clubs. But honestly, it's about as dangerous as a soggy piece of bread.
posted by twirlypen at 11:10 PM on February 14, 2008


San Francisco: The Tenderloin
posted by vacapinta at 11:14 PM on February 14, 2008


Hmm...Hunter's Point in San Francisco is scary. I haven't lived there in about 5 years but when I did you had to drive two blocks to the corner market and someone got shot in our driveway.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 11:15 PM on February 14, 2008


This depends a lot on, ones race and dress and vehicle (be it car/bike/shoes/whatever) and so forth, doesn't it? I grew up near Chicago, and a visiting friend of mine got shot and mugged while he was walking late at night from the NGO he'd been working for to the home of the friend he was staying with. Had he not been so obviously an outsider - again, in race, in dress, perhaps even in body language - it's quite possible he wouldn't have run into trouble (although I'm not familiar enough with that particular neighborhood to be sure).

He was white, wealthier than most people in that neighborhood, and dressed like the old-man college-town hippy he was, but this could also apply to people whose class signifiers are 'too low' for a neighborhood.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:16 PM on February 14, 2008


Dammit. Drop the first comma and add an apostrophe to make "ones" into "one's".
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:16 PM on February 14, 2008


Oh, I don't mind the Tenderloin that much. It's a little shady but I never feel scared for my life or my body.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 11:19 PM on February 14, 2008


The Boston "Combat Zone" was called that because of adult businesses, some licit and some illicit. It wasn't called that because of literal combat -- that happens elsewhere.

The "bad part" of Boston is Roxbury. (And Jamaica Plain, to somewhat of a lesser extent.) Roxbury is where the gangs do their fighting, and where the largest number of murders take place.
posted by Class Goat at 11:21 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here in Vancouver it's the Lower East Side, a.k.a. East Hastings. In Regina, Canada, it's the North Side. In Saskatoon, Canada, it's 20th Street.
posted by Cosine at 11:28 PM on February 14, 2008


Um. Most of Phoenix, just outside of downtown... and parts of East Mesa. "Main" is terrible.
posted by disillusioned at 11:32 PM on February 14, 2008


jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj, I'm surprised that you didn't mention East St. Louis. In my experience growing up in STL, parts of the North side are a little shady, but nowhere near as dangerous as East StL after dark. It's perennially on top of the most crime-ridden cities in America list.

(I also understand that many residents don't even consider it part of STL, seeing as how it's in a different state and all)

In Houston, it's probably southwest Houston, outside the 610 loop.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:44 PM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


North London (UK) here, erm, Near me, I would say Harrow, specifically The Hill, and Harrow Weald, also Hayes.
posted by Neonshock at 11:45 PM on February 14, 2008


East bay - Richmond's Iron Triangle, also West Oakland.
posted by iamabot at 11:48 PM on February 14, 2008


iamabot-these days you can simplify it and just call it Oakland period. Seven murders this past weekend, ranging from Jack London Square to the Berkeley/Oakland border.
posted by hangingbyathread at 11:58 PM on February 14, 2008


Chicago's South Side (general area), Humboldt Park (MUCH better than it used to be).
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 12:01 AM on February 15, 2008


agree iwth hangingbyathread: its really all of oakland now. few weeks back a kid was shot during a piano lesson in an area of town that's always been considered safe.

the end can't be far off now. with the economy sliding and fewer and fewer federal/state dollars coming in i expect this place will look like iraq soon. only 1/2 kidding here.
posted by joeblough at 12:09 AM on February 15, 2008


Map of crime in Providence 2002-2004 from the great ProvPlan website.
posted by Kattullus at 12:12 AM on February 15, 2008


I know it's a little town, but it's got a lot going on, so, Santa Cruz, Ca has the Beach Flats (streetwalkers) and Live Oak (stabbings, gang shit).
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:15 AM on February 15, 2008


The nearest town-large-enough-to-have-a-"bad-neighborhood" to me is Salina, Kansas. I grew up there, but I no longer live there. The two "bad neighborhoods" are the North End and Indian Village (i.e. where the poor people live). My mother and her relatives grew up in the North End, where it was said that "all the boys end up in prison and all the girls end up pregnant" (which wasn't true on a statistical level, but prejudice is a difficult thing to overcome). I grew up in Indian Village (its nickname is derived from the fact that the streets are named for Indian tribes, although most of its residents are/were lily-white). I knew as a child that we were "poor," and that we had some very shady neighbors, but I also knew a lot of wonderful people in my neighborhood. This was the mid 70s/early 80s in Kansas, so I don't think my version of a "bad neighborhood" will translate to the big city versions, but the label had its impact within my own microcosm.
posted by amyms at 12:32 AM on February 15, 2008


Here in Vancouver it's the Lower East Side, a.k.a. East Hastings.

More commonly called the Downtown East Side. Not properly called East Hastings, since that includes Hastings-Sunrise and Grandview-Woodland, neither of which are nice neighbourhoods, either. Some maps list Hastings East as a separate neighbourhood, the north half of Hastings-Sunrise, with Renfrew being the south half, and some label Hastings-Sunrise as East Hastings.

Interestingly, the police neighbourhood map lumps Strathcona and the Downtown East Side into one zone (just 'Strathcona').

In any case, the Downtown East Side is the bad part of town.

In Surrey, we have Whalley.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:36 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


North Minneapolis is the most notorious, but there are certainly other parts of the city that have had problems with crime. Studying information like this - Minneapolis Crime Maps - for an extended period of time can probably give you a better idea of what neighborhoods are actually bad versus subjective public perceptions, especially since those perceptions can be skewed by recent news reports and other factors.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:39 AM on February 15, 2008


Berlin Germany: if the presence of graffiti and jaywalking is taken to mean "bad" (the arm of the law is no longer omnipotent) then Kreuzberg and Neukölln and I think Friedrichshain are bad parts of town, maybe Wedding as well. If a large Turkish and Arab population make parts "bad" -- from the conservative German perspective this is definitely the hallmark of bad -- then Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Wedding are bad for this reason as well. In terms of actual crime, parts of Neukölln further south are bad and I've heard that Wedding might be bad. If you don't look Aryan then the former East Germany is the bad part of town -- more central districts like Prenzlauerberg and Friedrichshain are OK, but if you go further out into Lichtenberg and Marzahn then skinheads might fuck with you and the whole place is depressed and depressing anyways. Aside from a couple of lakes there is no reason for you to be there. However in the media perception of bad neighborhoods no-one ever talks about skinhead violence and crushing depression, they just talk about the foreigners, the Muslim women, and the graffiti. I live in Kreuzberg and it's the best place I've ever lived, but it's gotten a bad reputation because of the presence of Muslims, because of a gaggle of junkies hanging out at a really central subway station and most of all because every year on May 1 a bunch of punks come in from the suburbs and riot and everyone sees it on TV.

Basically: the foreign population is largely in south-east W. Berlin and some parts have actual crime, the skinhead population occupies large parts of E. Berlin.

When the World Cup was here 2 years ago the authorities published a guide for visitors outlining the safe districts and the unsafe ones, and I recall it being ridiculous; they basically marked everything unsafe, probably because they saw some trash on the ground when they went there to check it out. There's basically very little crime here, even in the bad parts.
posted by creasy boy at 12:48 AM on February 15, 2008


Damn you, ten pounds of inedita, I had just typed an almost identical response (complete with correction of Lower East Side). Was going to say Downtown East Side and Whalley are probably the worst parts of Vancouver, but also that "bad neighbourhood" is relative: Yeah there's a lot of heroin addicts and dealers in the Downtown East Side, but you can walk through there at night and you're not going to get shot and mugged like spaceman_spiff's poor friend in Chicago. You might get offered crack and/or asked for change.
posted by good in a vacuum at 12:49 AM on February 15, 2008


Sorry. ;-)

Yeah, the Downtown East Side is the bad part of Vancouver, but not especially dangerous. On the other hand, walking through Whalley alone at night, you're just asking to get mugged, curbstomped or followed home so they can take everything you own and shoot you twice in the head. The Edmonds neighbourhood in Burnaby is also particularly dangerous, as far as violent crime goes.

It is notable that in a metro area with ridiculous housing prices, a lower-middle-class family can actually afford to buy a condo in the Hastings, Whalley and Edmonds areas. I'm guessing that it's causal, but I'm not sure in which direction.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:17 AM on February 15, 2008


Brownsville.

I had a friend who lived there who basically told me it wasn't safe to ever come over. She was born and raised there and was fearful daily.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:19 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Tangentially, Wired Science featured an interactive display that mapped crime data over time to show how crime clusters moved around a city seasonally. It's near the end of this clip.
posted by glibhamdreck at 1:31 AM on February 15, 2008


In Vermont (got to do the state, population wise) I believe it's called Rutland.
posted by Mblue at 1:48 AM on February 15, 2008


I only know this from reality/documentary TV, so maybe not a valid answer, but in Miami, it's the Pork n Beans.
posted by clh at 2:10 AM on February 15, 2008


In Toronto, some notable rough areas are Regent Park and the intersection of Jane and Finch. But, they're actually pretty alright most of the time.
posted by tracert at 2:17 AM on February 15, 2008


London UK has a lot of traditionally bad neighbourhoods like Whitechapel and Southwark. Most of the central ones have experienced major gentrification as property prices have risen. Somers Town remains however as a beacon of deprivation, mostly because it has such a high proportion of social housing. Not sure about the contemporary crime figures for the area though.

I work in Camberwell, which is slightly less central. Despite being surrounded by wealthy areas like Dulwich and Clapham, it maintains it's status as a "bad neighbourhood" thanks to the ongoing work of the Yard. Stabbings and shootings occur on a regular basis, which is unusual for the UK.
posted by roofus at 2:17 AM on February 15, 2008


Manchester, UK: crime figures for Gorton. Anyone who's seen Shameless will understand, as it was (until recently) filmed there.
posted by gene_machine at 2:18 AM on February 15, 2008


An Economist's Correspondent's Diary about Peckham, a famously bad part of the Southwark borough in London.
posted by Kattullus at 2:23 AM on February 15, 2008


Harlesden in NorthWest London has been named the Murder Capital of London. Although I lived there for 6 months and never saw anything. Most of the crime is yardie related apparently.
posted by jontyjago at 2:27 AM on February 15, 2008


East St. Louis is a different city than St Louis--it's also in a different state. You can't really just wander into it by accident. I mean, it is bad, but St. Louis has some actual badness into which it's easy to stumble.

In San Francisco, SOMA seems way creepier than the Tenderloin, at least to me.
posted by hototogisu at 2:29 AM on February 15, 2008


Hi from Hackney, in London!

Last year we were declared the worst place to live in Britain.

We have the murder mile (not so bad now), and the Home Secretary won't come here (wimp!)
posted by Helga-woo at 2:44 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Two Berliners, three opinions? I think it depends on the news source, creasy; the Morgenpost and RBB report much more right-wing crime than that of any other group affiliation, in my opinion, and correctly so. I lived in Wedding for a while and it was safer than Kreuzberg, though more obnoxious. I would say that the neighborhoods in Berlin with the hardcore no-go reputations are Marzahn/Hellersdorf/Lichtenberg/parts of farthest Friedrichshain because even German-looking people who might be non-mainstream for any reason worry a bit about getting stomped, but that most people think of the downsides of Neukölln/Kreuzberg/Wedding as potential annoyances rather than potential bodily harm. Agreed that crime rates for the whole city are quite low compared to London or New York, especially if you compare a "worst" neighborhood like Marzahn to what qualifies as the worst neighborhood in either of those cities.

That World Cup guide was funny (I think they thought that Charlottenburg, Schöneberg and Mitte were safe?), though IIRC they specifically called out the neighborhoods I mentioned as being physically dangerous for foreigners because the Greens demanded it.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 2:53 AM on February 15, 2008


Edinburgh, Scotland: If you were to draw a circle about 2 miles wide centred on the city centre it would pass through most of the bad parts of town. In many cases people living in these areas were re-located from more central bad parts of town in the 60s.

Going back to previous centuries Edinburgh's old town had buildings with many storeys in them - the bad parts of town were simply those place which were low down - or completely underground.

In the UK I have also heard the theory that parts of town to the East of the centre have the reputation for being bad places to live: our prevailing wind comes from the West so all the smoke and other pollution would end up in the East end most of the time.
posted by rongorongo at 2:57 AM on February 15, 2008


Here in South Africa (Joburg and Pretoria, both), the worse parts are the city centers, referred to as the CBD's (central business district). Business has moved out into safer neighborhoods and the rather empty downtowns are not that safe, although they're working on re-energizing some parts of them. Then of course you have the townships - under-developed shanty towns in parts of Joburg, mainly. There's a number of those and you wouldn't want to end up in them.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:00 AM on February 15, 2008


In Monroe, LA there are some rail tracks running approximately East-West. South of them is very definitely the wrong side of said tracks.

Shreveport, LA has a neighborhood on the far North side of town based around MLK Jr. Dr.. It lives up to Chris Rock's suggestion of running if you find yourself there.
posted by ericales at 3:07 AM on February 15, 2008


Let's see. When I lived in Barcelona it was El Raval, a neighborhood off of the Ramblas. In Grand Rapids, MI, it was South Division. In Durham, NC it's East Durham, and also a little pocket called Walltown. In Raleigh, it's SE Raleigh, and (this one I'm not so sure of) in Nashville it was East Nashville.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:10 AM on February 15, 2008


Interesting question. I've been thinking about this too. When I spent a little time in Chicago, there seemed to literally be a wrong side of the (train) tracks - which struck me as strange. The "bad" areas seemed very defined. The good areas were these clean, Lynchian suburbs (to my eyes anyway)

Here in Dublin where I live now, it's much more mixed up. There are little pockets of deprivation in the middle of really upmarket areas. On what the estate agents are calling "South Circular Road", you can easily spend €800K on a three bed terraced house; they don't mention the area literally around the corner, Dolphin's Barn, because it's historically been a heroin saturated slum. In Rathmines, where three bed houses still go for in excess of €1 million, there is state-owned housing, and there are (at least a few) junkies. Even Dun Laoghaire and Bray (nice, expensive, seaside areas) there are 'skangers' and junkies.

I've often wondered why. It's probably a combination of the village-y layout of an old city like Dublin, together with government housing policies of mixing classes rather than keeping them separate. The very worst areas seem to be where the state decided to bundle the underclass off to some godforsaken green field site - Ballymun (though there's a big push on to improve it), and places I've never even been, just heard about, like Neilstown or Darndale.

And there are very few parts of Dublin that are pure money (though from Ballsbridge, down the Merrion Road, through to Donnybrook probably qualifies).
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:17 AM on February 15, 2008


For Barcelona, it would probably be El Raval, which used to be the Barrio Chino - then it really was the bad part of town. The cleaned it up a while ago, drove a new boulevard through the middle and washed their hands, confident of a good job done.

Then immigration exploded and now El Raval is home to putas and jihadists. And I had my mobile phone and iPod pocketed in a bar in El Raval just before Christmas, so definitely a bad neighbourhood. Of course, like all bad neighbourhoods, it's the best place to drink as well!
posted by benzo8 at 3:24 AM on February 15, 2008


I believe that the Combat Zone in Boston was actually kind of a rough area. Not sure how violent but I think it was at least a little.

Roxbury in Boston has been mentioned before, but I think it's specifically Mission Hill that's considered the most violent part of Roxbury. It seems to have quieted down quite a bit but when I was in college is was a major no-go and the students that lived there seemed like major bad-asses.
posted by sully75 at 3:43 AM on February 15, 2008


Your Time Machine, what you said sounds more accurate, actually. The Turkish and Arab hooligans in W. Berlin might talk tough and spit at your feet, but they're most aggressive between 14-16 so they're nothing to worry about, whereas the skinheads in E. Berlin are a real menace and continue to be so as they get older. But I think people who live outside of Berlin still think of "Kreuzberg" when they think of bad neigborhoods.
posted by creasy boy at 4:06 AM on February 15, 2008


Somebody asked the same question of a load of Dubliners here.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:09 AM on February 15, 2008


Link borked. Try again.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:15 AM on February 15, 2008


In Sydney, AU - Redfern, although it is gentrifying and Mt Druitt, which isn't. Maybe Kings Cross, which is the red light district, but pretty tame now.
In Cambridge, UK - Kings Hedges and Bar Hill, but both are more poor than rough. The dangerous bit is probably the town with the expensive houses after the pubs shut. And the wife nominates Arlington.
In Brisbane, AU - Fortitude Valley in town and Inala.
posted by bystander at 4:16 AM on February 15, 2008


You may want to read "Unofficial Sectional City Names" by Frederic G. Cassidy in Verbatim. He covers names for both depressed/scary and affluent neighborhoods, among other things.
posted by RobotHeart at 4:17 AM on February 15, 2008


In Sweden, Malmö is considered to be the most dangerous city. It has this reputation because there's a large immigrant population it has "a lot" of murders for Sweden, which I think works out to 3 or 4 a year (for a population of 300000). The "bad part" of Malmö is Rosengård, where there is the largest immigrant population; this seems to be due to the fact that large cheap block apartments were built in this area without consideration for integration, so they naturally attracted the poorest immigrants. Since the time when the apartments around Rosengård were built, newer developments have paid much more attention to integrating them into existing communities rather than creating ghettos. But the area where most murders take place is around Möllevången, which is more central than Rosengård, but again, is associated with immigrant population and businesses.
posted by beerbajay at 4:34 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Areas of Tallahassee, Florida with high crime rates and poverty tend to be the south side and a quasi-historic neighborhood called Frenchtown in the NW area closer to the city center.
posted by empyrean at 4:36 AM on February 15, 2008


South London, have lived in and around Brixton for nearly four years, and in that time have seen the aftermath of three shootings and found an unfired 9mm pistol round on the ground along the road from my old flat. It's pretty gentrified though (and I say this as one of the yuppie scum that came in in 2004 when it was just starting to go up and rents were through the roof) but with a big drug trade still centred around the Tube station. That said, if you're between 14 and 22 and trying to sell drugs down there, it's pretty damn dangerous, and if you do stupid things like use your mobile for any length of time near the station, some kid will take a pop at you.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:36 AM on February 15, 2008


What if your town (population 3.7 million) doesn't have a bad neighbourhood? The only place in Melbourne I would even think safety may be any sort of concern is the nightclub strip, King Street. And that's just a few hundred metres of drunken idiots mostly. Sydney's basically the same, maybe Cabramatta is a bit scary, but jesus, no shooting or anything crazy like that.

I think it says something about US social policies that we can have so many bad neighbourhoods being reported.
posted by wilful at 4:37 AM on February 15, 2008


For London in general, it'd be hard not to mention Brixton.

For Washington, D.C., South West D.C. That's an actual cartographic distinction, as it's separated into quadrants.

For Providence, South Providence.

And for Detroit...Detroit.
posted by awesomebrad at 4:38 AM on February 15, 2008


Here in Nottingham, UK, there are a lot of bad areas, too many to mention here! The main 2 though, are St Anns and The Meadows, who have a long running feud.
posted by derbs at 4:46 AM on February 15, 2008


In Orlando it would be Pine Hills. Anytime I see a news story that begins with "A man was shot today...", the sentence invariably ends with "... in Pine Hills".
posted by Lokheed at 4:47 AM on February 15, 2008


Wilful is basically right, there are no areas in any Australian city where the rule of law breaks down. When I named areas around Cambridge in the UK it is the same. These are places you can still happily walk the street, but your chance of getting in a fight are higher. But no guns.
posted by bystander at 4:51 AM on February 15, 2008


creasy: I think you're spot-on about the suburban/far-urban perception v. reality. Actually, weirdly, the kids from the (IMO) no-go neighborhoods also expect Kreuzberg to be much more dangerous than their own, and are disturbed to hear that, by and large, people get along with each other better in Kreuzberg than they do in their own neighborhoods.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 4:56 AM on February 15, 2008


Frog Hollow, in Hartford, CT. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be, though.
posted by duckstab at 5:08 AM on February 15, 2008


When I lived in Bristol, I lived in a few of what would probably be the 'bad areas': St Paul's and Easton. This, for me, was characterized by a number of stabbings within a few blocks of where I lived. Whether these two areas are the worst in Bristol is something I'm not sure of, however.
posted by beerbajay at 5:13 AM on February 15, 2008


There are a number of bad areas near Pittsburgh, Pa but the Hill District is probably the most notorious.
posted by sexymofo at 5:23 AM on February 15, 2008


In Ottawa, it's Vanier.

Anecdotally, I've had two friends live in Vanier. Both wanted to move out within a month. One had her house broken into; her roommate got most of her expensive stuff stolen, while the thief stole my friend's frozen pizza. The cop put out a notice for a thief carrying 'frozen deliciousness.' Made my friend feel better, at least.

Yes, the story I linked to about the raid also says they targeted the Byward Market, Centretown, and Hintonburg, but the Market is well-beloved despite its flaws, and Hintonburg is trying to transform itself into an arts district called QUAD (Quartier des Arts/Arts District). I don't know about Centretown. There's also anecdotal stories about the problems in the semi-university "ghettoes" downtown, include Sandy Hill, Lees, and Lowertown, but I don't know much about that, and they're certainly less infamous than Vanier.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 5:27 AM on February 15, 2008


Flibbertigibbet, Lees avenue is definitely a problem. I have a good friend there who is moving out shortly because of the gangs, drugs and violence that her 14 yo son sees every day.
posted by LN at 5:32 AM on February 15, 2008


And for Detroit...Detroit.

True. Its hard to pin down one area, but Cass Corridor, where I grew up, was always bad. Now it's probably less dangerous simply because it's desolate. The Jeffries Projects are in or near Cass Corridor, and despite the implosion of the high rises, the single-story projects remain. I don't know the actual "boundaries" offhand, but Grand River and Cass Avenue give a good starting point, and it extends down Cass and spreads out from there. Not far away is Rosa Parks Blvd (formerly 12th St) where the 1967 riots erupted.

I now live in Billings, Montana, and the South Side is considered the "bad area" although it's probably safer and nicer than than the best parts of some other cities. Hardly any violent crimes occur in Billings, but when they do they are more likely to occur on the South Side, and even then its usually drug-related things gone wrong rather than random innocent victims getting shot at or robbed. The South Side is pretty much south of downtown, across Montana Avenue. Once you get more easst or west, it's no longer considered the south side any more.
posted by The Deej at 5:37 AM on February 15, 2008


For Washington, D.C., South West D.C. That's an actual cartographic distinction, as it's separated into quadrants.

Um, no. Southeast also known as Anacostia is know as the "bad side of town." This is an improvement as it used to be anything South or East of Dupont Circle (which is pretty far north and west) was considered "bad"

Southwest is mostly non-residential, though the residential property has an odd mix of high end housing(some of it very high end) and low income "projects."
posted by Pollomacho at 5:46 AM on February 15, 2008


As an ex-Hackney (in north London) resident I was also going to mention the murder mile aka Clapton Road, particularly Upper Clapton Road.

I used to work on the local paper in Islington, mostly known as home to new Labour luvvies, but, like a lot of North London it's actually a real patchwork quilt of deprivation and affluence, with small pockets of crime and scariness next to wealthy, comfortable middle class squares where people can be pretty oblivious to the extent of the deprivation next door. I was sitting waiting for a bus one evening and realised I was about 100ft away from a shrine to a kid who'd been stabbed and killed on the notorious Marquess Estate a couple of nights before. I didn't feel at all uneasy - it was two gangs of kids fighting between themselves, it was territorial, I was on a busy main road and the shrine was down a side road.

But - back on the point - the more dangerous areas in N. London are often just small pockets, maybe identified by the road or the name of the estate (and thanks for asking this question - it also made me look up the The Market Estate where I wrote a lot of stories, and which I now discover is being demolished as I type. Wow. Congratulations Market residents!)
posted by penguin pie at 5:47 AM on February 15, 2008


For US cities, one thing you might look at is where there were racial riots during the 1960s. Those areas were bashed up at the time, and the effects of that bashing up lingers today.
posted by chengjih at 5:48 AM on February 15, 2008


Pittsburgh is made up of about 60 neighborhoods with pretty clear borders due to the quantity of hills, rivers, and bridges that separate them. Due to population contraction there are a number of neighborhoods that look run down, but Homewood, the Hill District and Hazelwood. East Liberty, Garfield and Lawrenceville are experiencing new growth and improvement, but both have wide swaths of blight. Lesser known neighborhoods like Troy Hill, Elliott and Beltzhoover also have rough areas and blight.
posted by Alison at 5:51 AM on February 15, 2008


In Seoul: most Koreans would probably say Itaewon, due to all the (drunk) American soldiers. I pretty much agree with them. Back home, in Saskatoon, SK, Canada: The west side.
posted by smorange at 6:04 AM on February 15, 2008


Seconding Bystander: for Cambridge, UK, the bad neighbourhood is probably Kings Hedges and bits of Arbury, but there's nowhere that I would actually worry about going.
posted by penguinliz at 6:05 AM on February 15, 2008


@hangingbyathread You can't simply say Oakland, nada going on east of the 580, west of it sure, but the Oakland hills are still a very pleasant place to be :)

For Liverpool UK, Toxteth is historically a rough place to be.
posted by zeoslap at 6:18 AM on February 15, 2008


Clarification on Washington, DC:

Southwest — what sliver there is to it — is actually not a bad part of town. I'll assume the commenter meant Southeast.

Southeast is basically split into two parts: The area West of the Anacostia River (simplistically, Capitol Hill) is actually a pretty nice area these days. The area East of the river (simplistically, Anacostia) remains as the notorious "bad part of town."

Northeast is also a pretty bad area to find yourself at 2:00am. However, that's rapidly changing with the expansion of the H Street neighborhood.

But even the Northwest quadrant still has its pockets of badness. While gentrification has swept NW DC, Shaw remains a trouble spot.

And, sadly, as gentrification moves folks outside the city that can't afford higher rents, crime has drastically dropped in the District and move to the suburbs. The crime rate in Prince George's County Maryland has soared as the District's rate has dropped..
posted by General Malaise at 6:21 AM on February 15, 2008


In Philly: West Kensington, part of which is also known as the Badlands, and Point Breeze would be the first neighborhoods that come to mind as being universally known as dangerous. (And rightly so.)
posted by desuetude at 6:22 AM on February 15, 2008


Charleston -> North Charleston
posted by toastchee at 6:26 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interacting with Pittsburgh city planners on a regular basis, they're actually most wary of Carrick, which is out of most people's minds. Sure, the other places mentioned aren't the best, but one characteristic which defines them is the density of vacant lots and condemned buildings. Garfield in particular has been decimated.

But if I were going to pick the place in the Pittsburgh area I would be least likely to feel comfortable in at any point in the day, it would be the Rankin/Braddock border, slightly to the east of the city proper.
posted by that girl at 6:27 AM on February 15, 2008


Very interesting question.

In the small, wealthy, lily-white, republican town I grew up in, Carmel, IN, the 'bad part of town' was called Homeplace. It had gravel neighborhood streets (in the late 80s) and small ranch houses, and was just the poorer part of town. Also seemed to be where most of my Jr High friends lived. Amusingly the city has tried (and possibly succeeded) in 'annexing' this neighborhood now, after not wanting anything to do with it for years.

In Indianapolis (where I haven't lived for more than 10 years) I would put the 'bad part of town' as along Pennsylvania Ave south of 38th st, centered around the former Herron campus. My dad lived there for a spell and I've had multiple friends mugged there.

Also, in Indy, around 10th st on the east side. At least when I lived there. It was actually a pretty mixed race neighborhood (rare for Indy) but way poor.

When I loved in Boston (97-02) I lived in Jamaica Plain and walked around Mission Hill often enough. I didn't hear much about JP being a bad neighborhood, Roxbury a bit moreso. I think Chelsea had a worse rep at the time.

When we moved to Cleveland Heights, OH, we were told by friends and our real estate agents to avoid anywhere north of Mayfield Road. (Interesting, I seem to think of the 'South' part of town as being more likely to be the 'bad part of town'. Why?) Further north of that was another city called East Cleveland which actually was a very bad part of town.

Now I live in NYC. I think the Bronx is the historically "bad part of town", but I live in the Bronx, and here we further subdivide it to the "South Bronx" as being the bad part of town. It is very poor; my wife and her colleagues work in a clinic down there and I haven't heard of any criminal incidents. There's a city nearby, Mount Vernon, which I drive through often. The southern, Bronx-adjoining parts of that city seem much sketchier to me than the south Bronx.

...

In Indianapolis, I was raised to equate 'bad part of town', 'black part of town', and 'inner city'. It took me a while to realize 'inner city' was just a codeword for 'black'.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I know this is going to sound racist but this is how my city is. On the north east side by the river is where many blacks live and it is a bad part of town. On the south east side is where most of the mexicana live and is sorta bad. I am in Omaha, NE, USA.
posted by DJWeezy at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2008


"The Straight Dope answers Is the south side always the baddest part of town?. Excerpt: "Previously people thought cities developed in concentric rings, with the poorest sections in the inner city and the more prosperous neighborhoods in the outlying areas. Hoyt thought this was too simple and proposed "sector theory": early in a city's history, one side of town got established as the good side and another as the bad side, and the goodness/badness of these sectors persisted as development spread out from the center. Result: wedge-shaped high- and low-rent districts extending from downtown into the boondocks."
posted by Kattullus at 6:35 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Baltimore, the east side is the "bad part of town". Oh, and the west side. The good parts are a fairly narrow corridor between MLK and 83 and along the water. Here's the murder map.
posted by electroboy at 6:38 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem with a question such as this is that it's very difficult to gather information completely independent of the person providing it. Perception plays a part in the assessment of a neighborhood's "badness". I wonder if robust crime statistics for boroughs of London would match their reputations. Anecdotally, I lived around Streatham and Brixton for a dozen or so years, came and went at all hours, only personally experienced a single (rather pathetically comical) attempted mugging, and admit I still have a lot of affection for the area and "bad" isn't the first adjective that comes to my mind.

The Brixton riots did a lot to cement it in popular culture, of course, and I'm not suggesting there isn't some solid basis for its continuing reputation as a relatively "bad" area, but the popular consensus when I lived there was that the vast majority of violent crime was perpetrated within, both by and upon, the established criminal community (primarily drug-related). If you weren't a part of that, it was (perhaps) no worse than plenty of other parts of suburban London.

Naturally, this is the probably out-of-date perception and opinion of a relatively privileged white, middle-class, 20-something student at the time. Someone from that area with a different background and experience might have a justifiably and completely different perspective.
posted by normy at 6:39 AM on February 15, 2008


In Philadelphia, West Philadelphia has a bad rap (thanks Will Smith), but North Philadelphia has a much higher crime rate. Camden, NJ, across the river is in a very bad state. The entire city is one big "bad neighborhood."
posted by jrichards at 6:40 AM on February 15, 2008


Cincinnati : Over the Rhine.
posted by MasonDixon at 6:42 AM on February 15, 2008


In Winnipeg, Canada, the North End (and to some extent Point Douglas) is the dicey part of town.
posted by pocams at 6:45 AM on February 15, 2008


Normy: I think the question can move forward taking that into account. Especially for a cartographer, who could perhaps overlay the perceived 'bad parts of town' with actual crime stats.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:49 AM on February 15, 2008


A few clarifications on DC....

Southeast is basically split into two parts: The area West of the Anacostia River (simplistically, Capitol Hill) is actually a pretty nice area these days. The area East of the river (simplistically, Anacostia) remains as the notorious "bad part of town."

I know the last poster knows this, but to clarifiy - Anacostia refers to a neighborhood in SE DC, not the whole quadrant. People get this wrong all the time, especially those that don't live in DC. And there are some upscale areas of SE DC east of the river (Hillcrest is the most well-known, with 300-500k homes). Though simplistically, SE is the 'worst' part of DC, yes.

Northeast is also a pretty bad area to find yourself at 2:00am. However, that's rapidly changing with the expansion of the H Street neighborhood.

Again, this varies. NE encompasses huge swaths of the city, and crime in Brookland or Riggs Park may be higher than many parts of NW DC, but not really that bad. H St area in particular has made a huge comback from where it used to be.

But even the Northwest quadrant still has its pockets of badness. While gentrification has swept NW DC, Shaw remains a trouble spot..

Yes. Although, gentrification hasn't really touched anywhere north of Park Road, between 14th St and North Capitol (a little bit, but nothing like inner NW DC neighborhoods)
posted by waylaid at 6:52 AM on February 15, 2008


In Kansas City... I haven't been here that long, but a lot of people say "don't go east of Troost".

When we were buying a house, someone at work drew me a map of Kansas city and shaded out certain areas, which was pretty interesting. It would be cool in a book like this to get a bunch of people to draw maps like that and see how they looked.
posted by mgogol at 6:53 AM on February 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


New Haven - up along Chapel Street from the center of town; the surounding projects; and the Hill area across town to the south. There used to be a lot of tension between "town and gown," but I haven't lived there since 1984 and have been back only infrequently. It still looks more or less the same.

I remember when the (mostly local lower-class black) workers in the Science Tower on the Yale campus were striking for more wages; this was at a time when researchers were paying $1 a pop for lab-raised cockroaches. They could have had all they wanted for free, many from my own apartment. I would have liked for those scientists to start exploring the ntritional possibilities of the roachies.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2008


Ah, that should be Dixwell Avenue, not Chapel. Chapel had a lot of street-walkers but got cleaned up.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:55 AM on February 15, 2008


Now in Boise, ID . . there is no bad area.

Formerly from Detroit, MI . .I tended to think of the 'bad' areas as Highland Park, Harper and Van Dyke, and parts of the Schoolcraft area, though most of the city was 'worse' than the 'bad' areas of most cities I've been to.
posted by nameless.k at 7:01 AM on February 15, 2008


A couple that spring to mind: Houston -- Greenspoint, aka Gunspoint. Dallas -- Oak Cliff.
posted by katemonster at 7:04 AM on February 15, 2008


In Denver Colorado, it's called Five Points. It was awful in the early-mid 90s and seems to be gaining that status back lately.

I live in Manhattan now and I can't really tell you what's a "bad" part of Manhattan now. The old places were all cleaned up and even my neighborhood (Washington Heights) which is still the primary distrubution center for cocaine in the North East is pretty safe. East Harlem is still a rather rough area but, like the rest of Manhattan, everything is gentrifying and being cleaned up.

I still see burnt out cars in my neighborhood so I'm guessing that it would still be considered "rough". But I've never felt unsafe there.
posted by Stynxno at 7:10 AM on February 15, 2008


Seconding Dallas' Oak Cliff, and Ft. Worth's Stop 6.
posted by juicedigital at 7:12 AM on February 15, 2008


Tough to say what the "bad neighborhood" is in Nashville. It gets spotty in East Nashville, Edgehill, and North Nashville but they're not really that bad and I can't think of anywhere that stands out.
posted by PFL at 7:19 AM on February 15, 2008


Austin's got a large chunk that "everyone knows" is bad — basically the eastern third of the city, anything east of I-35. It may have deserved that reputation in the past; nowadays it's poor but harmless and the developers are moving in quickly.

Interacting with Pittsburgh city planners on a regular basis, they're actually most wary of Carrick, which is out of most people's minds.

Really? That's a shame. Having lived there up until a year ago, I'm fairly certain it's got less to do with crime or poverty (Carrick's fine on that count — Beltzhoover and Mt. Oliver, nearby, are much harder hit) and more to do with its racial balance (conspicuously tilting from "very white" to "mixed," while the poorer neighborhoods nearby are already predominantly black).
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:19 AM on February 15, 2008


Not answering the question directly, but you should check out Bomb the Suburbs, by William Upski Wimsatt. Parts of it (if I recall correctly) concern him being directed to the "bad neighborhoods" in various cities and him going to hang out and see how bad they actually are.

Here's an old City Paper article where Upski and the author go to the bad neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
posted by buddha9090 at 7:21 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Philly, Southwest Philly and North Philly are the worst. West Philly has plenty of crime too, which seemed to trickle over into the immediate western suburbs like Upper Darby, where I used to live for a time.

In Portland OR, I would venture to say that the "Felony Flats" (far SE) area is considered the worst. Although it seems like a garden spot after Philly.
posted by medeine at 7:27 AM on February 15, 2008


For Brooklyn, it used to be Bushwick. Now I hear it's East New York. This is talking "getting shot on the street" bad part of town. Interesting NYT map of murders here (unforfunately, you can only see one borough/section of a borough at a time...).
posted by whitewall at 7:30 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pittsburgh has the Hill District ("the Hill"), though depending on who you are and where you like to live, you might consider Homewood, a lot of the North Side, Lincoln-Larrimer, Garfield, and East Liberty dangerous.

Austin has "the East Side," which is how people commonly refer to the huge multi-neighborhood area between the river on the south, Manor on the north, I-35 on the west, and Airport (and beyond) on the east. Most people who don't live there tend not to know individual neighborhood names. The supposed most dangerous area in the city is 12th and Chicon, which is the Kealing neighborhood. There are definitely many other "dangerous" parts of town (though what qualifies as a 'bad' neighborhood here would likely get you laughed outta town in other cities--developers have just started work on luxury condos four blocks away, despite the sex workers & junkies).
posted by soviet sleepover at 7:33 AM on February 15, 2008


I live in Buffalo. The East side is seen as the "bad" part of town (despite being a good quarter of the city, composed of several distinct neighborhoods). It may have a couple little pockets of decent areas, but we're talking one, two streets surrounded by block after block of boarded up, burned out messes with dealers hanging on the corner and streetside memorials for gunshot victims.

The lower west side of Buffalo was also seen as a bad area (commonly known locally as the "states and numbers" due to the north-south streets being numbered, and the east-west being named after states). However, because prices in adjoining areas like the Elmwood Village, Allentown, etc have skyrocketed in recent years it's improving through slow gentrification.

You want to see some pictures of "bad" areas hit me up. I remember seeing "Friday" when it first came out and laughing. I believe my words were something like "that's no ghetto... where's the abandoned buildings? Their house doesn't even have any bullet holes in it! No one tagged their front windows!"
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:36 AM on February 15, 2008


Ha--sorry for the Pittsburgh duplicates. It's kind of funny though that all our bad neighborhoods have very little overlap!
posted by soviet sleepover at 7:38 AM on February 15, 2008


crime in Brookland or Riggs Park may be higher than many parts of NW DC

Which parts? Please keep saying this, it keeps folks from ruining our quiet neighborhood.

According to MPD:

Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of Catholic University of America (in Brookland neighborhood of NE) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 7
Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of American University (in upper NW) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 39
Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of Georgetown University (in lower NW) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 40
Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of Howard University (in eastern NW) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 51
Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of Galludet University (in lower NE) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 58
Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of Southeastern University (in SE, across the Anacostia) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 114

But the real winner here is:

Crimes that occurred within 1000 feet of George Washington University (in lower NW) 2/14/07-2/14/08: Total Crime- 145
posted by Pollomacho at 7:40 AM on February 15, 2008


I write pretty regularly about Philly's worst neighborhoods and tend to spend a lot of time working in them. A natural first stop for you would be the Inquirer's violence special, that includes a map with pin pointed shootings and homicides for 2006-07 (actually, the shootings data only includes up to May of '07, which is unfortunate). If you'll permit me to provide an on-topic self-link, take a look at an article I wrote last summer at the height of Philly's recent crime wave. It's from an embedded perspective on a block in West Kensington as the block was in a state of increasing tension and eventual violence. I spent about a month working intensively on this block as a social worker and this is what unfolded in front of me.

West Kensington isn't technically the "Badlands," that name refers generally to the Fairhill neighborhood to the west of West Kensington. Fairhill is the epicenter of the city's heroin trade and is naturally very violent as a consequence. Fairhill and West Kensington were heavily represented in last year's popular Top Ten Drug Corners article, which I was sourced in, just to disclose.

However, most of North Philadelphia above Cecil B. Moore is pretty indefinitely off the hook. If you follow the dots on the violence maps above to the area around 19th and York you'll see a lot of red. That neighborhood doesn't get the media attention the Badlands does but believe me, it is total insanity from about 2 pm on every day. I've had to do outreach work on foot around there; let's say I didn't feel entirely comfortable doing it.

Pockets of West Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia are every bit as violent as the Badlands; you'll notice that the Market Street corridor from about 49th Street to the far western border of the city out by 63rd Street is very violent and heavy with drug trafficking. My family is originally from this area; it's astounding how profoundly it's changed in 30 years.

However, one thing about urban violence is that it moves and shifts a lot so "worst block" or "worst neighborhood" can change from day-to-day, week-to-week. I've seen blocks go from good to hellish almost over night because one abandoned home was converted into a crackhouse. There are definitely long term trends where you can finger broad areas that are home to violence, but within those areas the exact locations of short term hot spots are in constant flux

The worst situation I was ever in was getting caught in a crossfire in broad daylight. That neighborhood (near Temple Hospital) is really bad but not notorious like the Badlands. However, at that particular moment, it was the worst block in the city, believe me.

Feel free to drop me a line if you want any more info about Philly, like I said, I'm out in this stuff just about every day.
posted by The Straightener at 7:43 AM on February 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Houston's worst are probably Sharpstown (southwest, outside the loop but inside the Beltway) and Greenspoint (Gunspoint, as the OP said). There are a lot of low-income areas in Houston but for the most part those are pretty quaint.
posted by Ruby Doomsday at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2008


San Francisco: The Tenderloin
posted by vacapinta at 7:14 AM on February 15 [+] [!]


I'd counter with San Francisco: Oakland.
posted by plexi at 8:01 AM on February 15, 2008


I live in Indianapolis now, and the bad part of town is the East Side- before they reformed the police department last year into the Metro police department, IPD actually abandoned the east side to the Sheriff's Department because they couldn't do jack about the rising tide of homicide over here.

And if you want drugs, hookers, drugs and hookers, and trouble with gangbangers, you can find them all on 38th Street. It traverses the entire city and both East 38th and West 38th uniformly suck, except for one weird patch downtown where it turns into Gentrificationville for about 4 blocks. Right at the art museum and Crown Hill cemetery, it resumes being teh suck all the way out of town.
posted by headspace at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2008


In Hyannis, MA the area with the most crime and drug activity (in the open, at least) is in what is usually just called "the Bearses Way area" after the main street running through the neighborhood, but it is occasionally more colorfully called "Fresh Holes" (after the name of one of the other streets in the neighborhood).
posted by Rock Steady at 8:06 AM on February 15, 2008


In San Jose CA. It's East San Jose

In San Francisco I would say Hunters Point followed by Western Addition/Divisadero and Excelsior
posted by yertledaturtle at 8:08 AM on February 15, 2008


Montreal has none. There are a few spots that have poor, post-WWII housing thrown together in a hurry for returning soldiers, now inhabited by recent immigrant families, where an affluent white person might feel out of place, but crime here tends to be between and among gang members, not foisted on random members of the public.
posted by zadcat at 8:09 AM on February 15, 2008


Camden, NJ, across the river is in a very bad state. The entire city is one big "bad neighborhood."

Except for inside the aquarium, of course.

jjjjjjjijjjjjjj, you're looking for names of neighborhoods specifically, not just coordinates, right?

Does it matter to you whether the neighborhoods are actually very dangerous or just perceived as dangerous? SF's Tenderloin is still famously 'bad', but is not actually a terribly dangerous neighborhood. As a visitor to New Orleans, I was always given dire warnings about the notorious Tremé, though I figured out that it's notoriety was more its blackness, as there are certainly much, much worse neighborhoods in NOLA.

The Straightener, didn't know that you're that guy. I really like your stuff. When's the next "Today I Saw" coming out?
posted by desuetude at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Leeds, UK: Chapeltown/Harehills has a historically bad reputation based on immigrants and thinly veiled racism, but I'd say that Gipton and Seacroft farther out are actually rougher (white trash rather than Asian/Caribbean).
posted by handee at 8:21 AM on February 15, 2008


In New Orleans, after the hurricane wiped out many poor sections, and recently as 4 housing projects were shuttered to be razed, seemingly all the local gangs moved into an area called Central City.
posted by plexi at 8:24 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


i live in columbus, oh, East of I-71 is seen as bad part of town, west of it, and north of I70 is seen as good, but there are huge exceptions to this, IE, Bexley, east of I-71, which is very wealthy
posted by Salvatorparadise at 8:24 AM on February 15, 2008


Here in San Diego, there is Barrio Logan - a very rough area near downtown (or what we in this sleepy Enron-by-the-Sea call a downtown) that is mostly latino, high-crime, and home to both low-income residents and loads of small, highly-polluting factories.

If trailer-ish, "Cops" type badness is more your speed, semi-rural Lakeside is right up your alley. Loaced about 15 minutes away from downtown, Lakeside is home to horses and wife-beaters (the shirts and the perpatrators).
posted by Futurehouse at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2008


In Santa Fe, Hopewell Street is bad. And Alto St., though its been cleaning up for awhile.
posted by pointilist at 8:36 AM on February 15, 2008


Does it matter to you whether the neighborhoods are actually very dangerous or just perceived as dangerous? SF's Tenderloin is still famously 'bad', but is not actually a terribly dangerous neighborhood.

This is a very salient point; I've been looking at the violence data a lot recently and there are parts of Philly that are pretty notorious but the red dots aren't there on the map to back it up. For example, I spent a lot of time recently working in Bartram Village, which is a notorious low-rise public housing project in Southwest Philly. I was pretty horrified by the conditions people lived in there, and considering it's locale was sure that it must be a violence hot spot. But judging from the data...not so much. At least not as far as gun violence and homicide go; over the past two years it's been pretty quiet.

Follow the most recent data, if you can get it, not the conventional wisdom; as stated, these things tend to be in a continual state of flux.

The Straightener, didn't know that you're that guy. I really like your stuff. When's the next "Today I Saw" coming out?

Thanks! Today I Saw has been on hiatus for a minute because I've been concentrating pretty intensely on a book proposal about my experiences as a social worker. Random House said the material "doesn't fit their profile" and the editor in chief of Pantheon said he found it "intriguing" and "appealing" but passed. Who knows, a couple other places are still looking at it.
posted by The Straightener at 8:38 AM on February 15, 2008


For Austin, it's mainly the "East Side" because all of the scary brown people live there.
I-35 divides the city pretty well along color lines. I used to teach at a MS just West of the highway. It pulled some kids from just west (who were predom. white, maybe two of them) but the rest were from east of the highway. My kids and the taggers divided the East Side up by zip code. The 54s hated the 53s, or whatever. The East Side is pretty diverse, with gentrifying areas and traditionally "ethnic" middle class areas, so it is a broad over-generalization to call it the "bad part of town" but that doesn't stop it from happening.

Austin also has a "South Side" that's considered bad. Some people think it is bad south of William Cannon. Others think it is south of Stassney. Generally, areas east of the railroad tracks are considered to be worse. These areas tend to be whiter than the East Side. Also gentrifying as property closer in is being bought up and developed.

It's all perception. My "safe" neighborhood has a higher crime rate than most east side neighborhoods due to break-ins. High influx of "undesirables" because of proximity to the greenbelt (a large urban "wilderness").
posted by Seamus at 8:43 AM on February 15, 2008


Sacramento has Oak Park. Broadway east of Stockton Boulevard. Generally an unwelcome neighborhood known for drug activity and occasional shootings. Gentrification had begun to creep in before the downturn in the housing market.
posted by geekyguy at 8:55 AM on February 15, 2008


Halton Moor is arguably the roughest part of Leeds, UK - although Chapeltown could be a contender, as well as the deceptively-pleasant-sounding Harehills, Belle Isle and Seacroft.

Craigmillar and Granton are the roughest parts of Edinburgh, way out in the suburbs.
posted by creeky at 9:00 AM on February 15, 2008


Here in San Diego, there is Barrio Logan - a very rough area near downtown (or what we in this sleepy Enron-by-the-Sea call a downtown) that is mostly latino, high-crime, and home to both low-income residents and loads of small, highly-polluting factories

Yep. Basically for San Diego it's Barrio Logan and points east and south of there for quite a ways inland--out to Lemon Grove and Spring Valley. Basically, south of the 94 freeway isn't such a hot place to be, although our "bad" areas are pretty tame compared to other places. Our bad areas basically got their reputations through gang activity, and yes, they are generally inhabited by minorities in what I think is a very segregated city.
posted by LionIndex at 9:02 AM on February 15, 2008


In Philadelphia, any area not in Center City is the bad part of town. This is not a stand-up routine. It's reality.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 9:10 AM on February 15, 2008


Regarding Boston, the W. Roxbury/Jamaica Plain parts that are "bad"* are generally right along the Orange T line, including Hyde Square (not Hyde Park), Jackson Square, Forest Hills. Also nearby Dorcester and Mattapan (aka "Murderpan") get a bad rap.

*not advocating for these positions, just relaying the requested stereotypes. JP has been good to me.
posted by zachxman at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2008


I'd also add Pleasant Grove to the Dallas area that's bad. Parts of Irving, west Fort Worth too.

Unless people think people being killed and stuck in the freezer at Taco Bell is normal (when the robbers only got $100 cash) or a daytime shooting in the mall during a weekday is normal?

When I lived in south Dallas on the border of Pleasant Grove, my car got broken into (in my driveway) an average of once a week. While I was in the house.

Also, my burglar bars got pried off and my window got completely ripped out, leaving a 12 x 12 hole in my house. Getting robbed SUCKS, especially at 4 p.m. on a Thursday.

I also regularly walked out of my house on Saturdays to find broken glass completely up one side of the street and down the other when crackheads would drive down my street with a baseball bat, smashing every window in both directions. Their friend would follow along on a bike with a basket, ripping out stereos and other goodies (I lived on a street behind a bar that was fairly popular at the time).

Screw south Dallas, it's not worth it for the cheap rent or being close to downtown for work.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:26 AM on February 15, 2008


Growing up in the Ronan-Edgehill neighborhood of New Haven, I always heard a lot about The Hill as a bad neighborhood. Newhallville was another bad one, and Fair Haven was also considered a little rough.

When I was in high school, Edgewood Park (an actual - very large - park, not a neighborhood), located in Westville, was another place to avoid (this might have changed recently, depending on your orientation, with the introduction of squads of armed Jewish patrols).

Though crime had something to do with it (there are still a good number of shootings in The Hill), poverty and race probably had more to do with it.

You might find The New Haven Independent a useful resource.
posted by bubukaba at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2008


I'm not sure if you mean "bad residential neighborhoods" or simply "bad neighborhoods."

As someone pointed out, burned-out crappy post-apocalyptic inner city stretches are most definitely "bad neighborhoods," meaning you'd avoid spending time there but no one really lives there or would ever even consider it as a place to move to or launch a typical business. To see them on a map would be helpful but not necessarily lead to avoidance. Often you must traverse them to reach your destination because major roads or highways go through them.

The other type are areas that are residential to a large extent and still dangerous, meaning don't walk around, don't buy a house, don't get a flat tire etc. if you value your life and/or your possessions. Such areas can be circumvented without much impact when driving- a map could advise on how to skirt those pockets of danger.

The latter seems like it would have more value for the average home buyer/traveler.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:33 AM on February 15, 2008


I grew up in Lebanon, IL. The bad part of town is known as "the Flats". The neighborhood below the hills that the rest of the town is on.
(And for some reason on the Wikipedia Page, they forget to mention me as a famous person from there...I'll have to fix that...)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2008


pollomacho, a complete tangent, to be sure - but i was giving Riggs Park and Brookland as examples of NE neighborhoods that are safe, quite safe. As compared..to, say, Edgewood Terrace, which i have been in at night as well and is not so safe/nice. The two above are very safe NE neighborhoods, but less violent crime still tends to happen, in say...Foxhall or North Portal Estates as compared to the 'nicest' NE neighborhoods. (An aside, i like parts of NE a lot and am hoping to buy there in the future)

Plus, you're giving a stat with 1000 ft. from universities - that's a little unfair, given that most of those have private security forces, but that 1000 ft from GW encompasses a heck of a lot more than 1000 ft from Catholic.
posted by waylaid at 9:56 AM on February 15, 2008


In Salt Lake City, the "bad part of town" is Rosepark and the suburbs of Magna, West Valley City, and Kearns.
posted by metacort at 9:56 AM on February 15, 2008


North Michigan Park in DC has the night manager at the McDonald's stabbed a few times a year.
posted by Electrius at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2008


I understand this is all relative, but calling the whole South Side of Chicago a bad neighborhood is sloppy in more than one way. Many neighborhoods there are quite nice, and "the south side" isn't a neighborhood.

That being said, Englewood, a neighborhood on the south side, ranks highest on this quantitative measure of crime by neighborhood. And the stats don't lie, I can verify that it would fit almost anyone's definition of a bad neighborhood.

South Austin and Lawndale, on the city's west side sometimes get grouped together under the lovely sobriquet "Murdertown", but I imagine that's just one of those colorful marketing names Realtors have a habit of dreaming up.
posted by kickback at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2008


Another metro-Detroiter chiming in. I agree with The Deej that historically the Cass Corridor was always the yardstick for comparing neighborhood badness ("there are so many abandoned houses on our street, it's starting to look like the Cass Corridor.") Also, at one time, "Six and Woodward," meaning Six Mile Road and Woodward Avenue was always considered a "red light district" because of the prevalence of X-rated movie theaters, strip clubs and street-corner prostitution.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:24 AM on February 15, 2008


another vote for East New York.

Bushwick is a stately pleasure dome now, comparatively speaking. My neighbors tell me that from the late 1970s through the 80s (and part of the 90s) it was a war zone. Average of one arson a day in 1977, IIRC. Now it's calmed down quite a bit, especially as the double-edged sword of increased gentrification means more police involvement.

East New York falls into BOTH of I_Love_Bananas categories of bad news: burned out stretches as well as sketchy residential areas. I have friends who teach school there, and I end up there once every couple weekends... I don't go there at night.
posted by dubold at 10:26 AM on February 15, 2008


In Belfast, there are fair few notoriously dodgy neighbourhoods. First off the top of my head would be the Shankill, the Falls Road, and the Village.

This site gives a little background on the Village.
posted by Tapioca at 10:28 AM on February 15, 2008


To piggy-back on Kellydamnit, there is the Fruit Belt in Buffalo. The street names are, ta-da, named Lemon and Cherry, etc. These are located in the general area of ECMC, the hospital you want to go to for trauma of all kinds-- but certainly if you have suffered a gunshot wound.

The heart of the East Side Kellydamnit is talking about is the Broadway-Filmore intersection. I knew from working in the adjacent high school that this was a locus of gang activity and thus referred to as simply Broadway-Filmore. There is also the Broadway Market-- deathly empty for most of the year, but around Eastertime, it is mobbed for the Polish/Ukrainian/Russian meats and supplies for Easter. You get your Butter Lamb there. It is weird. Take one direction on Broadway and you will follow the Polish flight out of the city through the Lovejoy district into Cheektowaga.

Also a "bad" section is the West Side. That is the Latino/a area.
posted by oflinkey at 10:36 AM on February 15, 2008


Oh, and the bad part of town in Albany NY is Arbor Hill.
posted by oflinkey at 10:37 AM on February 15, 2008


Atlanta: much of the south part of the metro area is considered "bad", but my nonscientific, anecdotal experience is that SE Atlanta (neighborhoods like Kirkwood, Oakhurst, Cabbagetown, Old Fourth Ward -- though OFW may be in NE technically) is gentrifying fairly rapidly. I remember coming to a game at Fulton County Stadium and being told that the area just beyond the boundaries of the ballpark were a war zone, and now they're filled with $400k houses, so go figure. At least in my area, north of Memorial Ave is ok, but south of Memorial Ave is dangerous (closer to the city, in Grant Park, etc., it's plenty safe south of Memorial).

SW Atlanta, however, still seems to have plenty of headlines involving drive-by shootings and drug problems.

People talk about "problems" in Stone Mountain and the areas north of I-85, which are increasingly inhabited by (according to those telling such tales) emigrants from the former problem areas intown and Spanish-speaking illegals, respectively, but I'm thinking a lot of that is just xenophobia on the part of the person talking.
posted by socratic at 10:37 AM on February 15, 2008


I am surprised only one person mentioned New York (and then only Brooklyn)

Manhattan
No more bad neighborhoods, nothing to see but Starbucks. They don't even talk like New Yorkers anymore. Even uptown is gentrified. Parts of Harlem and Washington Heights might be a but scruffy around the edges, but that's about it.

Brooklyn
East New York - very bad, could be the worst 'hood in New York. To some extent Bushwick except where it gradates into Williamsburg, and the area around New Lots Ave. Canarsie is hit or miss. Might be some other pockets I missed.

Queens
South Jamaica is as bad as it gets in Queens, but it is no East New York. Parts of the Rockaways are more sad than really bad.

The Bronx
Much better than its reputation, but again, I'd caution an utterly white sunbelt suburbanite who is clueless on how to act and who thinks he's "edgy" because he lives in Williamsburg from walking around some parts of it. He'd get mugged just on principle.

Staten Island
Don't know enough about it
posted by xetere at 10:39 AM on February 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Los Angeles, the South Central area is generally considered a bad area (In some cases unfairly, since it covers a lot of territory). The city actually changed the name to just "South Los Angeles" because "south central" had such a bad reputation. Regardless of what's on the maps, just about everyone still calls it South Central.
posted by Spurious Packets at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2008


Madison, WI:
--Allied Drive. Always.
--Thompson Dr./Jana Lane area near the interstate
--Hammersley Rd. area, the part closer to Elver Park on the southwest side, is coming up more frequently. (Not to be confused with Hammersley AVE.)
--Darbo-Worthington is supposed to be bad, but it doesn't come up as frequently as the Allied Drive area.
--Broadway-Simpson area was renamed and cleaned up and is now quite a bit nicer.

And yes, our south side in general doesn't really have a great rap.
posted by Madamina at 10:51 AM on February 15, 2008


I don't know that Olympia (WA) is big enough to have a bad part of town, but when I lived in Tacoma, it was Hilltop (just west of downtown) and the Eastside.

When I first moved to Tacoma in the early 90s, there was an article in Time that listed Tacoma as having something like the 3rd highest murder rate on the west coast. Mom told me that about the time I moved into a rental house just on the edge of Hilltop...where we got robbed 2 days before Xmas. :( I know there was a house across the alley from us where people were dealing something, probably meth.

I lived on the eastside for a year, too, and was warned by a neighbor to get down if I heard gunshots, but I never did. (4th of July, OTOH: totally insane.)

I gather that Hilltop has cleaned up a lot since I lived around there, and Tacoma in general has cleaned up around the downtown area, as the museums & the UW have moved in.

My understanding from people who have lived here longer than I is that the military bases have always brought in a lot of rowdy elements: Lakewood & Tillicum (2 suburbs right up against the bases) have some remarkably unsavory areas. In Lakewood's case, that's cheek-by-jowl against some incredibly well-to-do neighborhoods. (A lot of retired generals, apparently.)

And I think Tacoma has a reputation as far as the whole metropolitan Seattle area as a "bad part of town" -- being more military, blue-collar, non-white, etc. Plus the whole "aroma of Tacoma" thing (paper mills, smelter, port), tho the smelter is gone and the paper mills are much less stinky than they used to be.
posted by epersonae at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2008


Yikes...I realize that I didn't complete my thought at 8:51 am. It should read "...but Homewood, the Hill District and Hazelwood have the worst reputations."

I also agree that there are parts of the North Side, especially in the Mexican War Streets and on the way up to Observatory Hill that look very ragged. Some blocks look quite nice due to gentrification, but there is a long way to go.

If you ever do make a crime map of Pittsburgh, I would be happy to help point out the blighted areas. There are many neglected areas throughout the city, but each seems to have its own story of how it got that way. For some, it is the destruction of the steel industry (Hazelwood, neighboring Homestead), for others it is bungled urban planning (East Liberty, the Hill District), and for still others it is the crowded, steep geography of the area (Troy Hill, big chunks of the South Hills). It would be really interesting to see that in map form.

Good luck!
posted by Alison at 11:20 AM on February 15, 2008


Sorry, that should be 'blight map' instead of 'crime map'...
posted by Alison at 11:21 AM on February 15, 2008


To break Los Angeles down a little more....

in the San Fernando Valley ... Pacoima.
posted by clh at 11:22 AM on February 15, 2008


Calgary's "bad" neighbourhoods are Dover and Forest Lawn (right next to each other). Bad in quotes because it's only relative badness. I lived on the outskirts for years and never felt unsafe at night on the street.

waylaid writes "Plus, you're giving a stat with 1000 ft. from universities - that's a little unfair, given that most of those have private security forces, but that 1000 ft from GW encompasses a heck of a lot more than 1000 ft from Catholic."

Yes, my first though was wondering if the stats were normalized for the area a 1000' from occupies.
posted by Mitheral at 11:24 AM on February 15, 2008


West Oakland's not as bad as East Oakland, imo.

As for SF, the Chronicle recently ran a two-issue feature on Sunnydale. I've ridden past it on the 9x, and got off earlier this week to check the place out. Some of the residents told me that the article was overhyped. It's not a good neighborhood, but it's not like what the article portrayed, either.

Later on I took the T-Third back downtown and we passed through Hunter's Point. I didn't wander about, but the place looks like it's slowly getting gentrified.
posted by hobbes at 11:30 AM on February 15, 2008


In San Francisco, definitely Bayview/Hunter's Point has a really bad reputation for violent crime. Soma is sketchy because of the crackheads and the club-goers who apparently carry guns nowadays, but it's not scary to go there. Western Addition and Excelsior I think have a lot of gang activity. The Tenderloin used to be really, really seedy, but now it's just a little seedy and has some good hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It's not scary to walk around there.
posted by doubtful_guest at 11:44 AM on February 15, 2008


In Los Angeles, it's South Central.
posted by MythMaker at 12:06 PM on February 15, 2008


LA: Compton, Bell Gardens, "East LA" (which is ridiculously broad but still signifies "bad area" to many people)
posted by Bella Sebastian at 12:16 PM on February 15, 2008


LN: I didn't mean to imply Lees wasn't bad, just that I don't hear about it as much. I do hear about it (being a uOttawa student, it's a favourite 'student ghetto'; also, the Fine Arts building is moving down there in 2009, may god protect them), but it's mainly in the context of cockroaches or jokes, not actual... incidents. Same with Sandy Hill. I hear it's a pretty nasty stretch, but no one I know who lives there actually has anything to say other than, "yeah, it's kind of sketch." Plus, I live out in the suburbs, so the amount of downtown gossip I get is limited, but even I hear about Vanier. It just has the reputation, even though it is improving.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 12:40 PM on February 15, 2008


As mentioned before in Cincinnati "Over-the-Rhine" is commonly known as the "bad" part of town, even by the white suburbanites who have never set foot in the cirty, and certainly isn't a place you would want to visit at night (let alone some areas in the daytime, it's also the "bad" area of town made somewhat famous in the movie "Traffic") It is now more of an "up and coming" area, but still has the "bad" parts. However, IMO Avondale is the worst area in Cincinnati. I know police officers who can back me up on that too.

I am currnently in Boston. Someone mentioned "Mission Hill" before. I certainly wouldn't consider this "bad" nor would I consider Jamacan Plain "bad" JP has it's places to watch out for, but it is not "bad" Most of the "bad" news tends to be in Dorchester. I would put Roxbury and Mattapan second.

I would say I have a higher tolerance for what most would consider "bad" Living in Clifton in Cincinnati, where I need two hands to count the amount of people I know personnaly who have been a victim of some sort of robbery, violence, or mugging. Plus the guy who was mugged and shot 5 houses down from me, but I really don't consider Clifton to be "bad" It is all relative though, can you imagine a suburban housewife hearing about that and not immediately labling that part of town "bad"?
posted by comatose at 1:17 PM on February 15, 2008


Shoreline, Washington: Aurora Avenue. (Sorry, TochterAusElysium...)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:22 PM on February 15, 2008


I don't know that Olympia (WA) is big enough to have a bad part of town...

When I lived there, I read in the paper (I think, maybe it was a FOAF) about a teenager whose mother had told her not to go downtown because that's where "the drug people" were.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:25 PM on February 15, 2008


In Jersey City the perceived "bad part of town" would be Greenville. And nobody's mentioned the Lower Haight in San Francisco yet, but there was a time in the 90s when I passed up a gorgeous apartment there because of advice that it was a "bad neighborhood."

The Urban Institute's National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership links the local data warehouses in a bunch of cities - these are the orgs that would be likely sources of local crime data for neighborhoods you're interested in.
posted by yarrow at 1:29 PM on February 15, 2008


The worst neighborhood in Atlanta is called a part of SW Atlanta called The Bluffs. Pacman Jones is from there. Need I say more? Also mentioned in Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full."
posted by Frank Grimes at 3:07 PM on February 15, 2008


Baltimore. Cherry Hill.
posted by media_itoku at 3:28 PM on February 15, 2008


Madison, WI:
--Allied Drive. Always.
--Thompson Dr./Jana Lane area near the interstate
--Hammersley Rd. area, the part closer to Elver Park on the southwest side, is coming up more frequently. (Not to be confused with Hammersley AVE.)
--Darbo-Worthington is supposed to be bad, but it doesn't come up as frequently as the Allied Drive area.
--Broadway-Simpson area was renamed and cleaned up and is now quite a bit nicer.

And yes, our south side in general doesn't really have a great rap.


Bah. Madison's crime rate is extremely low compared to most cities'. Yes, the neighborhoods you mention are the "bad" parts of Madison, but only relative to an overall very low-crime city. Most of the south side's reputation stems from the fact that it's populated by non college-educated nonwhites-- i.e., it doesn't fit the paradigm of a Midwestern university town.

After living in 4 urban areas in Ohio, my wife and I thought we'd moved to Mayberry when we came here. We laugh when we see the hysterical reports of the "crime problem" on the Madison news.
posted by Rykey at 4:09 PM on February 15, 2008


San Francisco: The Tenderloin
posted by vacapinta at 7:14 AM on February 15 [+] [!]

I'd counter with San Francisco: Oakland.
posted by plexi at 8:01 AM on February 15 [+] [!]


That's baloney. Hunters Point/Bayview is super sketch, far worse than a number of places in Oakland (I used to work in the Bayview). The Murder Dubs and Rollin 100's in East Oakland are on par with Hunter's Point, but that's certainly not all Oakland.

I know it's stylish to bash Oakland, and there's certainly a crime problem here that is worse than any other Bay Area city. But it's ignorant to say all of Oakland is just one big ghetto, and it's naive to forget that one of the most affluent cities in the nation saw 98 murders in 2007, with 133 indigent dead found on the streets.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:14 PM on February 15, 2008


In Toronto there are a couple "bad" neighborhoods - one is Regent Park, the other is Jane & Finch (named for the intersections of those two streets). I've spent good amount of times in both and they really aren't that bad as in unsafe to live/work/exist in, they just tend to have higher crime rates, less middle class white people, and more visible issues w/drugs, violence, etc. So when there's a gun crime in Regent Park, it gets covered in the media differently (it gets blamed on the area rather than on the individual) than when there's gun crime somewhere else, say, downtown near the mall. There are other rough patches but those are the main two which are named and talked about as being "problems" the city needs to address.
posted by SassHat at 4:32 PM on February 15, 2008


When I was in Tulsa, I was politely informed to "never go north across East Admiral Boulevard." The University of Tulsa campus is near East Admiral and quite a few cars got broken into and/or stolen -- all of which was blamed on folks who lived on the "bad side" of the boulevard.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 5:44 PM on February 15, 2008


I understand what you are looking for by asking for the "bad" part of town. But to me, the worst part of any town is the outlying place where all the huge box stores and fast food outlets are. I hate those places. No, my safety is not threatened there, but my sanity is.
posted by shifafa at 7:08 PM on February 15, 2008


In Ireland both Dublin and Cork would put the lie to any theory that "South Side" means trouble: their north sides house the largest concentrations of deprivation. And from the last time I was in Dublin, it was clear that both a) they were spending a pile of money on the bits of Ballymun nearest the main roads, and b) it was still a total shit hole.

In London, when they say "Harlesden" on the news they're really talking about the bit of Willesden between Harlesden and the Brent Magistrates Court. Church Road has a half mile of the nastiest early-70s council blocks I've ever seen. Certainly when I lived nearby it was like Boyz N The Hood at night: almost permanent police helicopter overhead, joyriding and the occasional gunshot. Even then, nothing kicks off until after dark.
posted by genghis at 9:19 PM on February 15, 2008


Can't believe nobody's mentioned Newark, NJ yet. The Mayor's even gone so far as to launch a publicity campaign to 'Stop the Murders' - big billboards everywhere (as if that will make some sort of impact) . The crime situation is so diffuse that it's hard to say where it's NOT a bad area, but I think out of all of the neighbourhoods (a lot of them have cleaned up - especially Ironbound and University Heights), the dubious distinction of worst area would probably go to the South Central ward. Here's a disturbing map from a few years ago couldn't find anything more recent illustrating just how out of control the situation is.

Definitely not someplace that you want to be regardless of time of day - unless you know where you're going and that you're going to be right downtown in the Business/Municipal areas or University Heights sections (there are a bunch of law/medical schools/colleges there). Once it hits 4:30pm or so, everything shuts down and it's literally a ghost town. Scary stuff...
posted by dancinglamb at 9:23 PM on February 15, 2008


I've heard that Ipswich is known for the unmarried teenage mothers. And Fortitude Valley has a reputation for being dangerous at night (or at least noisy; a lot of the clubs are there).

In Kuala Lumpur, Chow Kit was known as the place for prostitutes. As far as the whole of Malaysia is concerned, Johor apparently had this reputation for high crime and plenty of transgendered prostitutes - having lived there all my life though, I haven't seen one. (I did see a photo of such a prostitute in the Netherlands science museum, of all places. Great representation of my home state! :|)
posted by divabat at 3:29 AM on February 16, 2008


I've heard that Ipswich is known for the unmarried teenage mothers.

And this makes Ipswich a bad neighborhood... how, exactly?

You can make an argument for bad neighbourhoods and deprivation leading to unwed teenage mothers, but you cannot make an argument for unwed teenage mothers leading to bad neighbourhoods.

Well, obviously, you can; I would just invite you to consider if that is really an argument you want to make. France, incidentally, leads the way in unwed motherhood.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:55 AM on February 16, 2008


The only Chicago mention I see here says the South Side as a general area, and Humboldt Park specifically. Um, Humboldt Park is not on the South Side. My impression of areas labeled "bad" in Chicago always seemed to associate the bad parts with specific public housing: Cabrini Green, Robert Taylor Homes, Horner Homes, etc. I would think this question would be very different depending on the size of the city-- a major metro area like Chicago is going to have pockets of high crime, rather than a specifically "bad part of town." I would also like to strongly disagree with the poster upthread who stated that crime is perpetrated on people who don't fit in with the general ambience. I believe it is more true that most violent crime is perpetrated like to like, and not the Fox News trope of the nice white boy getting beat up by the bad poor people when he accidentally gets off the highway at the wrong exit. (no cite, sorry).

Also-- define "bad." High crime? High poverty? Perception? Reputation? (not snarking, I think you need a definition here. It would be interesting to see your map overlaying actual badness--crime, poverty, drug use, high school graduation rates, etc., with people's perception of a bad neighborhood, and even with whether different demographic groups perceive these same neighborhoods differently. There's a MeFi Project in this.
posted by nax at 7:17 AM on February 16, 2008


For the record, Genghis has it wrong that Dublin has "the largest concentration of deprivation" on the northside. It's just a traditional view that the northside is worse. Anyone actually looking at a map will see clearly that there are at least as many bad areas on the southside. Ballymun's pretty crap but it has nothing on places like Neilstown or Jobstown (both on the southside). And Dolphin's Barn, on the southside, looks like the low-rises in The Wire.

The real northside/southside distinction is that there are more super-rich areas on the southside. A lot of the northside is just solid ordinary neighbourhoods.
posted by tiny crocodile at 7:36 AM on February 16, 2008


DarlingBri: I'm not saying it's the teenage mothers that make it bad (Personally I haven't actually been there) but from what everyone else tells me about it, you can tell Ipswich is dodgy from all the teenage mothers. Like they were the symptom rather than the cause.

I've got nothing against teenage mothers myself, and I have no opinion of Ipswich; I'm just reporting what people here assume to be a "bad neighbourhood".
posted by divabat at 1:15 PM on February 16, 2008


I truly hope your stories about urban poverty and drug culture will help to create change and improvement in these areas, and not just for the voyeurs and the curious to reaffirm any stereotypes like what I'm reading here.

Yes, as a writer my hope is to bring the reader into the world I work in and have that world impact them as powerfully as it impacts me, thereby creating the necessary sense of urgency and connectedness to the disadvantaged that a real fight against poverty and inequality demands, which is largely absent from our selfish culture.

After the story ran I got a message on Myspace from a young girl who lives on the same block I wrote about. Unlike a lot of people here I really like Myspace for precisely this reason; the kids who live in the neighborhoods I work in use it, and when I write about their neighborhoods, they often contact me. Sometimes they really like what I have to say and sometimes they don't. This girl thought I focused too much on the negative elements in the neighborhood and stressed how most of the block is comprised of working poor folks. Why don't you write about those people, she asked. I told her I thought she had a really good point and asked her to do a follow up piece about her family, which our new mayor Michael Nutter responded to personally. This young girl's voice got heard in the Mayor's Office, from all the way out in West Kensington. That really blew me away. And Nutter doesn't talk shit, either, he's heard the neighborhoods speak and so far has been working his ass off to start turning things around.
posted by The Straightener at 10:49 PM on February 16, 2008


lunachic-- I think I raise these questions because I also live in a "bad" neighborhood-- when my kids were small, their friends from the good part of town were not allowed to come here, or if they did, I had to escort them the 25 feet from their cars to the door so that mom would not be subjected to our bad (read "racially mixed") neighborhood. (My neighborhood is racially mixed at a deep level, starting with my own mixed household. No racial majority here-- black, white, yellow, red, and several shades of brown. My daughter and I once sat at our local mall and clocked 17 languages walking by.)

I have brown and black friends who have a very interesting reversal on the fear of white people entering "colored" neighborhoods. They don't feel safe in white neighborhoods, because they fear police harrassment or attacks by the bigots whom they perceive inhabit these neighborhoods. So badness could be defined more as a fear of the Other than a rational response to real factors. What a fascinating topic, you definitely need to format it as a Project.
posted by nax at 9:45 AM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


that is multiple js needs to format it as a Project
posted by nax at 9:46 AM on February 17, 2008


Dancinglamb, those billboards were put up by the teacher's union, not the mayor, in some sort of weird anti-Booker gesture, although they may be coming down soon - Newark's having a record no-homicides streak currently.
posted by yarrow at 11:01 AM on February 17, 2008


beerbajay said: "When I lived in Bristol, I lived in a few of what would probably be the 'bad areas': St Paul's and Easton. This, for me, was characterized by a number of stabbings within a few blocks of where I lived. Whether these two areas are the worst in Bristol is something I'm not sure of, however."

Knowle/Knowle-West and Hartcliffe are just as bad, if not worse. White dominated (whereas St Paul's/Easton are black dominated), prolific drug dealers/users, shitty government houses, shitty schools, high numbers of people on the dole/welfare, all the teenage girls get pregnant, all the boys go to jail. You're brave if you're an ethnic minority out there - most people hate anyone that isn't from South Bristol, so lots of angry racism. Dog fighting, stabbings, some gun crime, smackheads going from door to door selling stolen gear (they also take requests!), extreme family feuds, most people have baseball bats/knuckledusters/air guns/"samurai swords" in their houses - no hope, no future and shitloads of debt. Could have been my future too, but I got lucky.
posted by saturnine at 6:12 PM on February 17, 2008


Brisbane, AU - Inala, Darra, and Woodridge. Kangaroo Point and Fortitude Valley used to be seriously bad districts (in terms of drugs, gangs and crime) - they've been cleaned up over the last 10 years, though.

Of those, the one I'm most scared of is Woodridge. Seriously, not a place to wander around at night.
posted by ysabet at 9:24 PM on February 17, 2008


It's not where I am now, but: Tlatelolco in Mexico City. That's where all my friends bought their state-of-the-art (probably stolen) stereos for like $20.
posted by mynameismandab at 9:51 PM on February 17, 2008


Pittsburgh actually has closer to 90 neighborhoods than 60. (I believe the official count is 89; this includes some areas that are split up into multiple 'neighborhoods', like Homewood North, South, and West, and the 5 separate 'neighborhoods' of the Hill District, and some areas where multiple areas are combined into one 'neighborhood'.)

I live on the North Side; most of the area over here is merely run-down, not dangerous, unless you're stupid. However, there's currently a gang war on between the Charles Street Valley and Perry Hilltop, officially two parts of 'Perry South'.)

Frankstown Road, which divides north and south Homewood, was rated as the most dangerous place in the county a couple years ago. East Hills and the independent Wilkinsburg borough are also places where there are a lot of drugs and guns.

Braddock is desolate, almost a ghost town, which makes it scary as hell, especially at night.

A friend a while back was set upon by some dealers in Knoxville simply for, as I recall it, being in 'their' bus shelter. I try to stay out of Beltzhoover and Mt Oliver, the areas which flank Knoxville, at night as well.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 2:10 PM on February 28, 2008


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