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nc0775

Renting in 1st Ward

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I saw this article in the online version of the Observer. A reporter new to Charlotte after being in NY and Miami discusses what it's like to live in 1st Ward. I always think it's interesting to get a newcomer's perspective, although what she describes doesn't suprise me since I've heard similar accounts several times before. I just wonder how long it will take (if ever) for the "feel" of this environment to change.

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It the Observer becoming a personal diary? There wasn't much analysis or journalism in the article.

I don't know if the renting section of First Ward is just so different from the owning section, but I have never heard of such crimes being common in First Ward.

I'd wager that the people who had that happen, like the door kicked in, were involved in some shady activity that caused someone to come after them. It is unlikely that it was just random.

As far as dumpster divers, that happens everywhere, but honestly I haven't seen that in my community for years. It used to happen all the time, and I finally got tired of it, so each time I would call the police, and it stopped within weeks.

Still, I'm sure this neighborhood isn't for everyone.

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A friend who lives there once told me that the subsidized housing will be phased out eventually, but I can't remember how far into the future that will be? 2007?

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It the Observer becoming a personal diary? There wasn't much analysis or journalism in the article.

I don't know if the renting section of First Ward is just so different from the owning section, but I have never heard of such crimes being common in First Ward.

I'd wager that the people who had that happen, like the door kicked in, were involved in some shady activity that caused someone to come after them. It is unlikely that it was just random.

As far as dumpster divers, that happens everywhere, but honestly I haven't seen that in my community for years. It used to happen all the time, and I finally got tired of it, so each time I would call the police, and it stopped within weeks.

Still, I'm sure this neighborhood isn't for everyone.

NO section of Charlotte is free of crime. The difference in First Ward is that everyone communicates when a crime occurs so that we can prevent it from happening in the future. Other places, it isn't really published and communicated, giving the impression that you're safer than you really are. There's also a hint in there that despite her best intentions, she's not comfortable around people different than she is - thus lowering her perception of the safety of the area. Interesting that a reporter, who's supposed to be fair and unbiased, would publish such an emotional reaction without doing any research.

Of course, it also happens to be that article came out two days after I started trying to rent my current place in First Ward. Arrrgghhh!

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Crime does happen everywhere...and someone's personal experiences can be so different from another's. I live in a rather suburban condo (very near the infamous hole) and have never felt like crime is a problem here. But one of my neighbor's whose car has been broken into twice over the last few years may have a very different opinion.

I think Uptown Charlotte has the potential to become a great mid-size urban center and hope to see it happen. However, I think maybe the biggest hurdle to overcome on the way is perception, and this type of article doesn't help much.

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Go to www.apartmentratings.com and you'll see that almost every complex has some amount of trouble, even when they look new and nice.

I've sometimes wondered if "turnaround" neighborhoods not only need subsidized housing for the poor, but subsidies as well to the affluent, as an inducement to give the area a chance. Just phase the subsidy out faster.

Her experience of not knowing her neighbor for a year is typical of renting. I can think of several places that I rented, where I never exchanged anything more than a "Hey..." to people outside. (Including one complex where I lived for 3.5 years.) Renters are just not stakeholders in a community. They were mentally prepared to leave, as soon as they moved in.

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Hello everyone, former Charlotte guy here. I now live in Bremerton Washington, an exurb of Seattle.

My sister still lives in Charlotte and speaks fearfully about crime. That is an absolutely unforgivable pronouncement on a city! The city should do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get enough policemen on the streets, new jails, whatever it takes. The crime in Charlotte sounds like a crisis, that needs to be handled as such. This sounds like a state of siege, where criminal activity is so common, it practically becomes the norm! What a horrible way to live.

Yes the reporter's article was sensationalistic and unprofessional..but if she feels safer in Manhatten than Charlotte, I think she should be listened to. Unfortunately it is the same basic content that my sister speaks of in her emails. That criminals are so bad, someone got shot inside Eastland Mall! This isn't the lovely, sophisticated Charlotte I grew up with~~~

In comparison, Bremerton where I live (population 38,500, an hour from Seattle) is very very safe. A US Navy shipyard sits basically across the street from us, and in front of the naval gates, I've been seeing bicycles leaned against power poles, trees etc. No locks. Just propped up, while people work their 8 hours! Not in view of naval security at all. Hard to believe in this day and age there is somewhere in America where people have respect for other people's property, and leave it alone, even if it is unlocked.

I grieve from thousands of miles away, for my lovely Queen City of the South and it's frightened law-abiding citizens. I only hope the best for my beloved hometown:)

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In comparison, Bremerton where I live (population 38,500, an hour from Seattle) is very very safe.

To be fair, an hours drive out of Charlotte would put one in Shelby, Hickory or Albemaro where the conditions would be very similar as what you describe in Bremerton. In fact they are like that much closer in in Huntersville, Cornelus and Davidson. I often leave my front door unlocked when I go for a walk as I don't like having keys in my shorts. It's never any problem here as this is a close knit neighborhood and little goes on that is not noticed by the rest.

I agree with you however that crime in Charlotte itself is much worse than it use to be. A generation of out of wedlock births living on the public dole has lead to the unacceptable increase.

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That was terrible. If The Observer is in the market for stupid opinions delivered with misplaced sentences, a complete lack of compelling argument, and absolutely no style whatsoever, they

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Having lived on the edges of dodgy areas of large Northeastern cities, including in large buildings that had up to 20% of units subsidized, and never having had a problem at all there, I don't see Charlotte's crime problem as coming from having poor people around. I see the problem as being mainly that there are too few people out and about, especially uptown.

In Manhattan, for example, there is constantly activity on the street and so every potential criminal is under almost constant surveillance; there are plenty of security cameras and lighting around as well. In Charlotte, by contrast, even many uptown streets are nearly deserted, especially at night and on weekends, and there are plenty of dark parking lots and blocks where dodgy people can loiter and do wrong. Suburban areas are often even darker and more deserted. Once Charlotte attracts more stores and housing uptown, resulting in more pedestrian activity, crime will hopefully decrease.

And yes, Eastland Mall has had shootouts during the day; there are exceptions to my observations about activity and lighting reducing crime, but I think that in general my view is legitimate.

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Having lived in a handful of cities, towns, and villages, Charlotte's crime rates feel about in line and don't bother me. Yes there are areas you might plan to avoid after dark, but they aren't that numerous or severe. It's nothing compared to the south side of Chicago or the wrong parts of Tampa or Atlanta.

This appears to be a perception issue. People here are not used to hearing about crime happening near them. After hearing a few stories and possibly knowing about an incident, it's very scary to those who've never experienced it. The talk gets repeated and before you know it, we have an epidemic.

I think we should sponsor field trips to Gary, Detroit, Bronx and let Charlotteans see a real epidemic.

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....... Either your sister is an alarmist or she needs to consider a new neighborhood. What part of town does she live in?

Please don't make personal insults towards others here. We are all entitled to our opinions. I should not have to explain this to you.

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I have lived in Washington DC (Northeast), South Bend, Indiana, LA, Manhattan and Queens in NYC, and Charlotte. In everyone of those cities I have experienced crime, from being mugged at gunpoint to having my car broken into and even stolen. It is simply part of the fabric of urban living.

Heck, I know NYC touts itself as being 50 times safer than it was before 1993 when Rudy Giuliani took over. Yet while I was staying in Queens this weekend there was a knife fight 2 blocks away that put 5 people in the hospital!! I hate to be accepting of crime, but it happens. One can not throw a dragnet accross an entire city. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't find Charlotte any worse than those places on a relative basis.

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I've never been robbed, or had my car stolen, or my home broken into. So I accept THAT as the normal state of things. But I might very well develop a negative opinion in whatever city I finally get "hit".

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