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March 6, 2008 8:32 PM   Subscribe

Navigating housing in Baltimore: How safe is the area around Patterson Park?

I will be attending Hopkins this fall and am looking at various neighborhoods in Baltimore: Mt. Vernon, Charles Village, Fells Point, etc. My classes will be located on the medical institutions campus, and I've found several affordable 3 bedroom renovated/rehabbed rowhomes near Patterson Park. Other than the general advice I've been given that I shouldn't live in the periphery of the JHMI campus due to safety/crime issues, any thoughts about Patterson Park? Is there any available street parking?

...or would it be best to stick with Mt. Vernon or Charles Village and just take advantage of the JHU shuttle line?
posted by Asherah to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Patterson Park is OK, but it's still very much block to block there. I would strongly encourage you to stick to Mount Vernon or Charles Village (for the shuttle, though there are plenty of other neighborhoods I would recommend if the shuttle weren't a factor) for at least your first year, until you know the city a bit and better know what your comfort level is. Feel free to MeMail me with any questions. Welcome to Baltimore.
posted by Airhen at 8:40 PM on March 6, 2008

Yeah, Airhen is right on the money. Live somewhere reliable until you know the city better. Parts around the park are nice, but go a block and it gets super sketchy.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:01 PM on March 6, 2008

I have friends who own a rental property just north of the park and from hearing them talk about the problems, I wouldn't recommend the area at all. Another friend of mine was their tenant for a while; she didn't last 6 months. It's not even block-by-block, more like house-by-house. If there's anything else you want to ask, feel free to MeMail.
posted by weebil at 9:23 PM on March 6, 2008

Concur on all counts re: Patterson Park. My ex, who lived right there, would get propositioned because guys were hoping she was a prostitute at least once a week.
posted by OmieWise at 5:38 AM on March 7, 2008

I'm mostly familiar with the Linwood/E. Baltimore corner of PP. Can't speak to the others, sorry.

Street parking is becoming more rare, but definitely can be had with few problems. Sometimes you had to go around the corner but it was still a short walk. The location was very close to the medical campus and you could bike or drive there. Six years ago I felt pretty unsafe and now it's all young professionals and Hopkins-related people for the most part. I never felt 100% safe there but never had nor heard of any problems. The houses were all really nice and people were friendly. A downside was that we were right on the bus line and man, that bus can sure shake a house when it roars by. There were also a fair amount of sirens IIRC. The only crime I can recall is that my SO's car was keyed and there was a fight that turned into a shooting near the ice rink.

Overall I liked the location. I also have experience living right outside Fells Point, which was also positive. We had a much nicer house in PP but better amenities in Fells Point (walk to bank, supermarket, Burritos en Fuego, etc.).
posted by ml98tu at 6:15 AM on March 7, 2008

I live in Charles Village, so I'm somewhat biased, but I'd recommend here. Lots of Hopkins students, restaurants and it's within walking distance of plenty of stuff to do, without being too sketchy or too filled with drunken college students like Fells can be sometimes. Parking is pretty decent too. I'd recommend staying north of 25th, east of Howard (where I live), and west of Guilford. There's a bunch of shuttle stops here that will take you to the medical campus.

Mt Vernon is also a pretty nice place. Stay between Eutaw and 83 and you should be fine.

Are you looking to rent or buy? Feel free to email me for more info.
posted by electroboy at 6:30 AM on March 7, 2008

Oh nonsense, Patterson Park is fine as long as you're below Baltimore Street - north of Baltimore Street does get dicey pretty fast. I lived there for years without any trouble and a bunch of my friends still do, including one who has lived right on Patterson Park Avenue for over 30 years, raised kids and grandkids and never been mugged or robbed. Yeah, your car might - okay, probably will - get broken into occasionally and yes, there are sirens and prostitutes and so on, but Butchers Hill is a great neighborhood and the edge of Highlandtown on the other side of the park is also very safe and very nice, if a little, uh, low rent white hillbilly. Plus there's tons of stuff you can walk to from Butcher's Hill and it's all more interesting than Charles Village. And besides, Patterson Park itself is a wonderful place, particularly if you have a dog.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2008

Patterson Park is interesting? I guess someone forgot to tell the rest of Baltimore.
posted by electroboy at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2008

I've heard Patterson Park has improved a lot in the past few years, but I don't know whether it's improved to a point where one would recommend living there.

Charles Village is a nice area, and very up-and-coming. I am probably going to be moving out of the five-bedroom rowhouse I'm living in now in May, and the rent is relatively cheap. So if you're looking for something like that, go ahead and message me.
posted by Anonymous at 11:15 AM on March 7, 2008

Oh nonsense, Patterson Park is fine as long as you're below Baltimore Street - north of Baltimore Street does get dicey pretty fast[...]Yeah, your car might - okay, probably will - get broken into occasionally and yes, there are sirens and prostitutes and so on,

I agree that PP is actually a great area, and much more interesting than Charles Village or, even, Mount Vernon, I disagree that it's "fine." I'd live there, but I also wouldn't post a question to AskMe that made it clear that I was apprehensive about the safety of Baltimore as a place to live. There's nothing wrong with being apprehensive, we all have different levels of comfort with different things, but the very existence of this question suggests that the "annoyances" of city life, which are much more prevalent around PP than in CV or MV, would make it a poor choice for this poster. This is a neighborhood, after all, and not something that we need to defend the honor of.
posted by OmieWise at 11:16 AM on March 7, 2008

Best answer: To be fair to the poster, Baltimore has a pretty bad reputation when it comes to crime and knowing where the good and bad areas isn't quite as easy as in somewhere like DC.

This is a helpful tool. You can search by neighborhood. You'll notice all of the maps will have lots of "larceny from vehicle" and a few "stolen vehicle" markers. That's just a fact of life. Don't keep anything in your car, buy a club and get window breakage coverage on your insurance. Avoid areas that show a big red plus sign or lots of blue squares.

One other neighborhood that you might not have considered is Remington Offers most of the advantages of Charles Village and is a lot cheaper. Crime is a little higher, but houses can still be had for $125k. The main problem with Patterson Park is that to live anywhere you'd actually like to live is beyond most peoples means.
posted by electroboy at 12:54 PM on March 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the helpful information everyone. I really don't have apprehension regarding living in Baltimore, however after everyone at JHU and current Baltimore residents that I've encountered seem to want to drill into those moving from all parts West, the importance of living in a safe area, and from that, one begins to wonder. I would seriously bet a sizeable amount of cash that everyone I've spoken with brings the safety issue up. Coming from Southern California, I've navigated through many dicey areas and have no qualms with walking/investigating large cities alone, using common sense (e.g. Philly, NYC), I've just never lived in the dicey areas.

I find the more interesting and historic homes more attractive, especially the relatively affordable leases that seem to be available in neighborhoods such as PP, however if it is true that it is likely that having a car in that area means that it will probably get broken into at least once, that does seem like an "annoyance," I would rather do without (personal safety aside).

I think my best bet at this time will be to stick to Charles Village (or around the Homewood campus) until I experience Baltimore and perhaps move to a more interesting patch of the city at a later date. Thanks again!
posted by Asherah at 11:55 PM on March 7, 2008

Your car will probably get broken into in Charles Village as well. Mine was stolen off Maryland Ave last November. I got it back, but my results are atypical.
posted by electroboy at 12:21 PM on March 8, 2008

Response by poster: I'm not entirely sure I'm taking a car to B'more anyway, but was interested in the information regarding parking availability/safety regardless.
posted by Asherah at 1:53 PM on March 8, 2008

Charles Village has ok parking, but you'll have to buy a permit. They're cheap, $20 a year. Baltimore doesn't have great public transportation, but the Hopkins shuttle is good for getting to work and class.
posted by electroboy at 2:59 PM on March 8, 2008

I live in Charles Village. My car was never broken into, though it was wrecked while parked when a drunk Hopkins kid decided he was going to practice drifting in Daddy's BMW at five in the morning.

So there are downsides to living in the "nice" areas, too.

I would say if you don't leave anything valuable in your car and it doesn't look like a nice car, you will likely not have problems with auto issues.
posted by Anonymous at 3:18 PM on March 8, 2008

Ironically, newer cars aren't stolen as much. Older cars are easier to steal and can be stripped for parts. Either that or the 1996 Honda Accord is what the cool kids are driving these days.
posted by electroboy at 1:47 PM on March 9, 2008

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