Places to avoid around Oceanside, CA?
August 2, 2016 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I booked a rental place in Oceanside, and I'm going to visit Legoland and a few friends in SoCal. But when I mentioned that I was staying in Oceanside, there seemed to be some concern that parts of Oceanside are "sketchy" (with gang-related activity)? Is that a real problem for tourists? How do I avoid the bad parts, so I don't just blindly follow my GPS somewhere....
posted by mhh5 to Travel & Transportation around Oceanside, CA (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are some people in Oceanside who are not rich. It is not a problem for tourists. Blindly follow your GPS. Do not buy drugs or prostitutes. Do not hunt Pokemon alone in parks after dark (in part because it is both hilly and marshy in Oceanside and you could get muddy or fall down).

You will be fine.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2016 [6 favorites]

I just fifteen months traveling the country by RV. EVERYWHERE I went, people warned me about certain neighborhoods and areas. They called them "sketchy" and "dangerous". None of them ever were. I experienced zero problems in my fifteen months, even in the heart of supposedly bad neighborhoods. I won't go so far as to say the warnings were racist -- I believe they were genuine and meant out of kindness -- but that they're misguided and based on rare, fringe events and not on reality.

I spent time in Oceanside on the trip. It was fine. Go.
posted by jdroth at 2:15 PM on August 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

(Correction: you can certainly buy drugs, if you want to get your card, at a licensed dispensary, but avoid independent curbside resellers.)
posted by Lyn Never at 3:24 PM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oceanside is home to Camp Pendleton, a large Marine Corp base. I was just in the area a few weeks ago and other than being more crowded than it was when I lived there many years ago, it was just as pleasant of a place as I remember. Use your GPS to find your way around traffic on I-5, enjoy the drive down the coast through Carlsbad, Encinitas, etc. You will be fine. Oceanside has always had a bit of a "reputation" but I've never felt it was warranted.
posted by OkTwigs at 3:24 PM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: I'm a native of Encinitas which is down the coast a bit.

Growing up, everyone had stories about Oceanside. There's a huge Marine base next to it called Camp Pendleton. So there was prostitution there and the associated drug-dealing. This was in the 70's and 80's.

Today it is gentrified. To be honest, it is less gentrified than the other beach towns down the coast such as Carlsbad and my own Encinitas.

But reputations die hard, so yeah people are just repeating what they have heard - for decades.
posted by vacapinta at 3:32 PM on August 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: As a San Diegan, I'm with the above posters, but let me speak more plainly: the people who say Oceanside is dangerous don't know what dangerous is. It's totally fine to visit. It can be a fun place for families, with lots to do and see. I've been there a bunch.

Using the violent crime statistics at ARJIS, and the 2013 population numbers provided by Google, in the first six months of 2016 I calculate that Oceanside had the second-least violent crime per capita of all the reported San Diego County cities.

Carlsbad 110972 10 0.0090
Oceanside 172794 44 0.0255
La Mesa 58642 15 0.0256
Chula Vista 256780 79 0.0308
Escondido 148738 47 0.0316
San Diego 1356000 463 0.0341
National City 59834 29 0.0485

posted by Mo Nickels at 4:05 PM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oceanside is super safe. I would take this as a lesson more about my friend than Oceanside.
posted by samthemander at 7:35 PM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've always had relatives in Oceanside so I've been going there about every other year for the last forty or so years -- except- then there was a seven year break, and finally me and my sister went down. This is what we found:

Our Aunt straightaway wanted to show us all the new, "fixed up" stuff in Carlsbad (immediately south of Oceanside). This turned out to be the same homogeneous upscale malls that are the same everywhere. After this, we snuck off to the old downtown Oceanside and were relieved to find that it still has the same wig shops, uniform (Marine) shops, poster shops, pawn shops, etc., that we remembered from our youth. Thank God- it hadn't been "fixed up"!
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 9:43 PM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

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