The good and the bad - 9/5/2011
I live and own a home in Chapel Hill city, but Durham county, which means I really live in Durham, when it comes to government, taxes, utilities, and crime stats. We've been here just over 2 years, but I grew up in Cary and spend a lot of time in Raleigh, so I feel pretty knowledgeable about the Triangle.
Neighborhoodwise, I'm in southwest Durham. People will tell you this is the safe part, full of new construction, subdivisions, shopping, and middle income professionals. That's all true. But don't be naive, we have crime here. In my fairly affluent neighborhood, home and car breakins are a constant and no longer surprise. Last year we had a random, really violent assault right on my street in broad daylight. You can't live in fear, but please don;t be naive about SW Durham. Get an alarm system and keep your home and cars locked. Don't leave electronics in view. Join your neighborhood watch committee and get to know your neighbors. The police in District 3 are great and will come to your house to do a safety inspection and make recommendations for preventing crime. This all sounds alarmist, but it's just being smart. The cops told us that drug addicts commit crimes in the morning, once they've run out of dope and cash, and they target wealthier areas.
All that being said, Durham is a cool town. A great food and bar scene, with that kind of gritty, indie culture you see in Austin, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, but it's still lowkey and cheap. Raleigh is much more slick and commercial and has lost some of its character in the last few years. Durham still has it. If you're gay or alternative in any way, you'll be comfortable here. The town's pretty diverse. My Asian friends from Raleigh like to hang out in Durham, since it's not just white people in all the hipster bars.
Just remember to look out the window before stepping out of your house. [read more...]