Imagine this situation:
Random garbage, thick graffiti, and groups of idle teenagers can be seen everywhere around your home.
Then chances are good that you are living in a bad neighborhood.
So, as you may wonder, what makes a bad neighborhood? And what are the obvious signs?
In this post, we will show you the top 26 signs that you are living in a bad neighborhood and share with you 3 tips to stay safe in a dangerous community.
When scouting out a new home, you must consider whether it is a good neighborhood or not. Below are the 26 signs of a bad neighborhood that you need to pay more attention to.
#1. Random Garbage Everywhere
One obvious sign of a bad neighborhood is random garbage scattered everywhere. If the trash is not cleaned up over a long period of time, it is absolutely a red flag.
#2. Thick Graffiti
Graffiti is a type of street art but many graffiti are drawn without the permission of houseowners. Excessive graffiti on both public and private property annoys people a lot.
#3. Many Dilapidated or Abandoned Houses
Well maintained houses are reflections of a good neighborhood. Conversely, too many dilapidated or abandoned houses are red flags of a bad neighborhood.
#4. Bars on Doors and Windows
Another clear sign is bars on doors and windows. If 50% or more house owners install bars on doors and windows to stop break-ins as they sleep, this can be a sign that you are in a bad neighborhood.
#5. Fences Around Houses
Just like putting bars on windows and doors, people living in bad neighborhood put up fences around their houses to keep strangers out.
Some may also put up "Beware of Dog", "No Trespassing" signs and even fake security signs (read this post to see whether they really detect burglars) on their fences.
#6. Locks Everywhere
Locks everywhere is also a red flag. You can see people lock things that usually we do not put locks on: mail boxes, air conditioning units and so on.
#7. Broken Car Window Glass in Parking Lots
If you have left your valuables in cars, it is possible that thieves target your cars and grab your valuables by breaking car windows.
Broken car window glass, known as the ghetto diamond, is another clear sign you live in a bad neighborhood.
#8. High Unemployment Rate
In a neighborhood with high unemployment rate, you can see people loitering around during daytime of weekdays.
The jobless people have no stable income sources and may do something bad to your property.
#9. Lots of Homeless People
People without jobs cannot afford renting houses, let alone buying one. Therefore, a neighborhood with lots of homeless people is not an ideal place to live in.
#10. Unattended Kids
If you find kids always playing or walking around your communities on their own and you have never seen their parents, then it is possible that you are in a not-so-good community.
#11. Strange Teenagers
You also need to pay attention to strange teenagers. Teenagers in poor neighborhood tend to gather together and behave strangely, like walking around aimlessly at 2 a.m. in groups.
#12. People Talk Loudly in the Street
If you can hear many people talking loudly in the street, especially about their daily personal life, then it is possible that you are in a bad neighborhood.
#13. Noise Late at Night
No one would like to hear big noise late at night. If your neighbors play loud music or even start band practices at midnight, then your neighborhood is not a favorable one.
#14. Irregular Police Presence
Everyone feels relieved if police keep regular patrolling around. However, under the situation that police walk the beat in your neighborhood at daytime but never at night, you should be extra careful because this could be a red flag.
#15. High Crime Rate
Another thing that requires your notice is soaring street crime.
According to Los Angeles Times, the neighborhood with the highest gross crime counts in L.A. is Downtown during the past 6 months. From Jan.1, 2018 to July 1, 2018, it counts 844 violent crimes and 2,891 property crimes in Downtown.
In other words, there are nearly 180 crimes per 10,000 people living in that neighborhood. Such a neighborhood is definitely not an ideal place to live in.
Gangs are another obvious red flag of a bad neighborhood. If there are gangs in your community, you will worry about your safety from time to time.
#17. Illegal Activity
Besides high crime rate, illegal activities, which include taking drugs, drug dealing and prostitution, is also a characteristic of a bad neighborhood.
#18. Pairs of Tennis Shoes Thrown Over Electric Wires
It is said that shoes over electric wires represent gang hangout or drug dealing spots. Thus, these shoes are also the sign that you are in a bad neighborhood as well.
#19. Most Popular Dog: Pit Bull
As reported by New York Post, more than 700 US cities have enacted breed-specific legislation, which typically regulates or bans pit bulls, and in NYC, pit bulls have been banned from New York City Housing Authority.
When you see a great amount of pit bulls in a neighborhood, you may be in a not favorable one with loose breed-specific regulation.
#20. Frequent Yard Sale
People living in a bad neighborhood do not feel strange about frequent yard sale. Most stuffs that people throw in their yard for sale are useless things like old bathtubs.
Sometimes you can even see ridiculous yard sale slogans, for example, yard sale because I am going to jail.
#21. Not Enough Basic Infrastructure
Not enough basic infrastructure is a also a sign of a bad neighborhood.
For examples, there are no pedestrian infrastructures, such as sidewalks and overpasses, or they are in bad conditions and need repair.
#22. Shot Out Street Lights
As mentioned above, poor neighborhoods will neither offer enough basic infrastructure nor maintain their public fixtures including street lights.
A bad community without well-functioning street lights is extra dark at night, which brings inconveniences and concerns to residents.
#23. Plenty of Check-Cashing Stores, Pawn Shop and Payday Loans
If you pass by a check-cashing store, a pawn shop and a payday loans in every 60 seconds, it means that this place is not a favorable place to live in.
It does not necessary mean that these shops are inherently bad and they do offer good and convenient services. Once those business come in a great amount, then you should be more careful about your community.
#24. Bulletproof Glass on Local Stores
In some dangerous neighborhoods, fast food chain stores and gas stations have to use bullet-proof glass to protect their staffs and ensure daily work without external threats.
#25. Pizza Are not Delivered to Your Houses
Pizza places would avoid delivering pizzas to places that are dangerous to their delivery drivers. So if a neighborhood receive no pizza delivery service, it could be a sign that you are in a not-so-safe neighborhood.
#26. Off-Brand Stores
You cannot see any major brands in a bad neighborhood. What's worse, you may see some off-brand stores like Kennedy Fried Chicken.
Keep in mind that you can trust your instinct. If you feel uncomfortable in a neighborhood, it is probably for some reasons. You can check in different periods of time to see whether the signs above appear in your neighborhood.
With the 26 signs above in mind, now you can learn how to stay safe in a bad neighborhood with 3 tips we offer you.
#1. Install Security Cameras
Installing security cameras is one of the most proactive method to protect yourselves and property when you are living in bad neighborhood.
According to home security statistics, homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into. Therefore, installing security cameras helps you avoid burglary, robbing, thieves and even murdering.
Security cameras are able to capture images and send immediate notifications to you once they detect motions. So that you can make in-time actions.
Meanwhile, those images and videos that are recorded by security cameras can serve as evidences to help find out individuals.
For example, Reolink RLC-410, a top selling security camera, is able to help you to solve local thief problems.
After installing the security cameras, house owners use the audio and videos of the security camera and identify would-be thieves. Good news is that there are way less thief issues now.
#2. Stay Alert
You need to improve awareness so that you can make better preparation when living in a bad neighborhood.
Here are several suggestions: pick a direct route from your home and the nearest entrance of your neighborhood.
Do not go alone especially at night. You will not be the first target for bad guys when you have company.
Know where the police are so that you can find them immediately when you need help.
#3. Get to Know Your Neighborhoods
If it is possible, try to blend in the local environment and get to know more about your neighbors. Maybe you will find that they are nice persons!
At the same time, you can join local neighborhood watch to see what is going on in your neighborhood. If there is no such an organization, you can learn and try to start a new local watch yourselves or with several neighbors.
Note: These three tips also apply to people who run businesses in a bad neighborhood.
Quora: What are some signs that you are in a bad neighborhood?
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City-Data: How do you know when you live in a bad neighborhood?
CCTV Forum: What makes a bad neighborhood?