Signs of a Bad Neighborhood

I bet you’ve done this. I know I have. You’re driving around in Houston, maybe you know where you’re going, maybe you don’t, but you turn a corner and BAM–you’re not in Kansas anymore.

I like to think of Houston as a fairly safe city. But the truth is that all big cities in the U.S. have their dangers. Houston has gangs, crime, drugs, and violence and always will. It still helps to know how to recognize a bad area when choosing a new place to live. Here are a few things to look for:

  • graffiti
  • vacant shops and commercial buildings
  • unkempt yards and lots
  • vacant houses
  • homes and buildings in disrepair
  • sidewalks and streets in need of maintenance
  • bars on windows
  • few pedestrians
  • lots of police cars
  • few retail shops
  • run-down cars

Most of these things are obvious. And many of us have a sixth sense when it comes to bad neighborhoods. You can sense when something isn’t right.

But sometimes, you’ll find a bad neighborhood right around the corner. Even if a neighborhood appears to be squeaky clean, you might want to check out the local crime rate. Some of the best Houston neighborhoods have a not-so-great neighborhood right around the corner. Crime from that neighborhood can spill over into your good neighborhood. That’s a real bummer when your truck gets broken into for the seventh time.

Dealing with crime is part of living in an urban area. It’s unavoidable for the most part. By staying away from areas with the obvious signs is your best bet. And, taking the necessary precautions is also important. Always lock your doors, even when you’re at home, and never leave valuables in your car. Avoid walking alone at night. Have your keys out and ready before heading to your car.

Sometimes, sketchy neighborhoods can be tempting because they usually offer great deals on rent and home prices. Some of them might even have a nice property or two if a local developer is trying to inspire a revitalization in the area. That bargain basement rent price can be hard to turn down. But ultimately, better neighborhoods are worth the price. You don’t want to be afraid in your own home and you want to able to enjoy the area around your apartment. And, replacing your iPod every six months gets old.

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