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What It's Like Living in a Bad Neighborhood

I live in two "bad" neighborhoods. One is my apartment in Vegas, and the other is our shared apartment in Hawaii. The way I'd define both areas is that they're among the cheapest housing in their respective cities, and they're bad enough that when an Uber driver understands where you are going, they feel comfortable saying things like, "Oh wow, that's a really bad place". A guy in Vegas whose job is working with homeless people said encouragingly, "Don't worry... you'll make it out of there some day."

In both cases, my primary motivation was the location, and in both cases the apartments are a handful of blocks away from some of the nicest areas in the city. I've also found that "bad area" usually means "non white people who aren't rich live here" a lot more than it means that the place has problems. I'm sure that there are places I could live in other cities that would be actually dangerous or materially bad.

In both cases, there are a few neighbors that are disruptive. They're loud at night or they argue loudly or they crank their car stereos as they leave for their jobs in the morning. I tend to get along with them okay and have never had any sort of confrontation. Our old downstairs neighbor in Hawaii seemed to probably be on meth and argued pretty loudly with her boyfriend. She also grew a really nice garden that we could see from our window and was really nice to us, so it was more of a disregard or lack of awareness around social norms. Or maybe it's just drugs and alcohol.

There is probably also a slightly higher chance of being the victim of theft, though probably not any other crime. I think the actual chance of being a victim of these things is far lower than the perceived risk, though. The areas seem sketchy, but they tend to not be big targets since it's assumed that if you live there you're poor. The worst thing that happened was a few blocks away (in a much worse looking area) in Vegas an abandoned house became full of drug addict squatters and some subset of them launched a crime spree on our neighborhood. Our house was broken into, as were six others. According to the neighbors who had been there for decades, no one had been broken into there before. That isn't entirely true, though, because someone reached under my gate once and stole my shoes.

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