Originally Posted by Caroline
Anyway, this certainly added a factor to my ongoing internal debate about where to retire.
How have others factored this type of crime and safety information into their decisions? Has anyone moved in search of a lower crime rate? Anyone worked longer to be able to afford a safer neighborhood? Anyone given up the excitement of city life in favor of rural security? Or has anyone stayed put because culture / weather / friends and family are too good to give up?
My observation is that crime is very much a neighborhood rather than city-wide issue. Analysis of high crime cities (e.g. St Louis took a beating in today's paper) is rarely helpful to an individual. Rural areas seem to attract their own share of crime, and some find the lack of physically close neighbors to be unsettling.
When we moved to Tampa, I read a statistic about very high auto theft statistics in the area where we bought. Only after moving did I realize that a couple miles from us are two of the biggest, fanciest shopping centers in the region. Virtually all the car thefts were in their parking lots, and were actually rather rare compared to other large shopping malls. So you have to know the city well before jumping to conclusions.
Personally, we have not had problems always having lived near the downtown areas of several cities. We take no extraordinary precautions (don't have a security system other than our cowardly but imposing Doberman). Part of it is that we are willing and able to pay more in order to live in lower crime neighborhoods. It has been a good strategy so far. But if our safety were jeopardized beyond a rare and isolated incident I'd certainly consider relocating.