How safe is the Cleveland Heights neighborhood in Oakland, CA? Advice needed!
August 28, 2011 10:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering an apartment in the Cleveland Heights area of Oakland, CA, specifically near Hanover Ave, not far from Lake Merritt. I'm new to the area and I'm wondering what the general safety of the neighborhood is?

I'm a single female, and, like I said, brand new to the area. I would love some insider tips about the Cleveland Heights neighborhood. Is it safe? Is it considered a "good" or "bad" area of Oakland? If not, then what other areas would you recommend? My budget is on the lower side, between $800-$1100 for a studio or one-bedroom. Thank you!

I'm also interested in the Adam's Point, Grand Lake and Lakeshore neighborhoods. How are those, and how do they compare with Cleveland Heights?

Finally, are there other places to find apartments in Oakland besides Craigslist? Thanks!
posted by starpoint to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Adam's Point, Grand Lake and Lakeshore neighborhoods

Those areas are closer to shops and restaurants, so there are more people out on the streets, making it feel a bit safer to me, as well as making life a little more convenient. How are you planning to get to work?

I think of those three neighborhoods as slightly nicer than Cleveland Heights but not quite as nice as Rockridge, Elmwood, the hills above each, or North Berkeley. You might also look into Glenview if you don't mind living somewhere kind of sleepy and having a longer bus ride.

I've walked around Cleveland Heights just a bit, though, so hopefully someone who has lived there will comment.
posted by salvia at 11:23 AM on August 28, 2011

So, we're pretty new here too, but I've heard that a lot of those neighborhood names on Google maps aren't actually used. We have friends who (according to Google) live in Ivy Hill, but like where you're talking about, you'd generally just call it "east of Lake Merritt" or something.

Oakland Crimespotting is what I've used for assessing safety, and if I remember correctly, the area you're talking about has significantly less crime than other areas adjacent to the lake. I've only been around there in the daytime, but there are always tons of families, joggers, people walking dogs, etc. I'd say the other areas you mentioned are more convenient to shops & restaurants like salvia mentioned, and may also have more foot traffic in the evening, which has its pros and cons. Within your budget you also might find something closer to BART in the Piedmont/Mosswood/MacArthur area, if that's of interest to you, but your budget definitely won't get you as far.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:27 AM on August 28, 2011

My friend is also looking for a place, so while we were going through the listings, I spotted a few other ideas for you.

- This is a small place right in the heart of Rockridge.
- It might be worth learning the prices for these apartments right by the Berkeley campus.
- Another small place, but closer to Lakeshore / Grand shopping -- those streets feel very safe at night to me. (I'm assuming they mean Warfield at Mandana.)
- I've spent a lot of time on Staten in Adams Point, including a lot of late-night walking, so I think this would feel safe for you.
- Near an upscale part of Piedmont, this might also be worth checking out, especially once you figure the higher rent is offset by the free laundry and wi-fi. But don't do it if you'll have to walk to/from MacArthur BART at night.
- I like this place near Broadway, but I'm a sucker for architecture. I'm not sure about the sense of safety on those blocks, however.
posted by salvia at 12:36 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Salvia: Thanks soooo for your suggestions! Very helpful. The place on Saten would be perfect if only the landlord would allow cats (I called, she doesn't. :(). But at least now I have some reference for continuing my search. If anyone else happens to know the Cleveland Heights area, please let me know your impressions as well.
posted by starpoint at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2011

Hello! I just moved out of a one bedroom apartment on Hanover Ave yesterday! Young female here as well. I was paying $995 a month for the place.

I would say it is a safe area. I moved there from the Uptown district and I loved the neighborhood. Compared to Uptown, the vibe of the neighborhood is much more friendly. Neighbors will say "hi" to you and smile. There are always people walking about with their dogs.

As far as crime goes, I did have my car broken into once (no broken glass though, and they only stole the spare donut tire.) But I think that's bound to happen in any city.

Parking can be difficult at night in the area due to there being more apartment complexes. If you don't have assigned parking, anytime after 7-8 pm you may find yourself circling the block. I had to park on Lakeshore a few times and walk up the hill to my apartment, and even at 2am I never had any problems or felt like there was a huge risk. Of course, you should always be vigilant of your surroundings.

The Lucky supermarket is within walking distance, which is nice. There are a few restaurants close by, but none that I liked enough to really go to more than once (except Tacos Mi Rancho, man I'm going to miss them.) Walking down Lakeshore to the theater and Trader Joe's is not bad at all, either. Much better restaurants around there.

The only downside for me was that BART (Lake Merritt) was a good 20-30 minute walk.

My old landlord is one of the nicest guys on the whole planet. I'd rented with him in two different buildings and had fantastic experiences both times. My old apartment is already rented, but he may have other openings as he owns quite a few buildings. I originally found him on craigslist though, so that's definitely your best shot.

Padmapper will make your craigslist apartment hunt much easier though.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have as well.
posted by Nerro at 4:08 PM on August 28, 2011

I like Haddon Hill/Cleveland Heights. It's where I'd most like to buy a house, if it ever comes to that. The one kicker about it is that parts are not super close to BART, and we are very spoiled in our proximity to Downtown Awesomeness. I say go for it, but if you're also interested in BART and being able to walk to bars and brunch, you should look in my neighborhood, Lakeside Obviously you can still walk to Downtown from Hanover, it's just a bit longer. Lakeshore area is also walking distance, and there is a great farmer's market on Saturday. My neighborhood is very cool. Here's one on my block, but no pictures! Alice street is nice and quiet.

Safety: it's relatively safe there. Generally speaking, I think if you're going to be tooling around Oakland late at night, it's nice to have a bike.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:19 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, Adam's Point, Grand Lake and Lakeshore are also good places to live, though I think more desirable if you don't need to get to BART. Adam's Point is an interesting mix of posh homes side-by-side with apartment buildings. I like the proximity to the Lake, Whole Foods, and Downtown. Grand Lake is sort of in the same boat. Good restaurants and Trader Joe's, bookstore, coffee. Again, more posh homes as you go higher up. I think there's a possibly wider mix of people and incomes in Haddon Hill, Lakeshore, and Lakeside, which also seem a bit friendlier to me, IMO. The Jack London area is also getting more amenities, so you might want to check that out, too. Farmer's market, Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon, Blue Bottle, Chop House, free Broadway shuttle to take you through Downtown, wine tasting! Beware proximity to train noise if that's a problem for you.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:30 PM on August 28, 2011

I think car break ins are likely, muggings are not. ("Lower Rockridge" which I guess is actually part of Temescal - or the place where Rockridge nears Telegraph Ave, has a lot of muggings in my anecdotal experience.)

There have been a few previous threads about Oakland neighborhoods: 1, 2, 3.
posted by serazin at 4:31 PM on August 28, 2011

That neighborhood is relatively safe, but it would not be my first choice of neighborhoods, especially if you just moved to Oakland. Anywhere right next to the lake is going to be fine because it's high traffic. I think whether you will enjoy living there depends on if you have a car or not - that side of the lake is not really close to a BART station and most night life things like bars and restaurants are in the downtown/uptown/Temescal/Grand-Lake areas. If you want to go out and do something, you won't be doing it in that neighborhood (Tacos mi Rancho is good but that's the only option in walking distance over there!). I lived off E 18th St at 12th Ave (a few blocks up from the Lucky) and I got really tired of having to leave the neighborhood every. single. time. I left my apartment.

Don't go any farther east of the lake than a few blocks. Even where I was at on 12th Ave there was a fairly dramatic change from the apartments adjacent to the lake. Constant car break ins, a lot of gang graffiti, prostitutes out night and day on International, and obvious drug dealing going on out of neighbors houses. I wasn't afraid for my safety or anything, but I always felt like I needed to be on alert at night. The closer you get to the lake the less of a problem this is.

I would look at the other neighborhoods around the lake. Grand-Lake, Adam's Point, Downtown, Chinatown, and Uptown are all more convenient, walkable, more neighborhood-y, and I would say safer.

I used to live in that building on Alice St. that oneirodynia linked (and before that, the other SFRent building around the corner at 1511 Jackson) and highly recommend that area! You can definitely get a studio in your price range there. Very safe, lots of things to do, right next to BART, close to the lake, central to all the other neighborhoods, etc. I am actually living on Alice for the second time since moving to Oakland and this time I'm not going to leave!
posted by bradbane at 5:04 PM on August 28, 2011

Thanks everyone! I ended up finding a place in the Grand Lake Neighborhood and can't wait to move in. :)
posted by starpoint at 5:59 PM on September 7, 2011

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