Believe the reports, crime is really that bad
I've lived in St. Louis city, north of Forest Park, for 5 years and in two apartments...both in supposedly respectable neighborhoods. In that time, I've two car windows smashed, nearly walked through a shootout on the street, and routinely alter my daily routine so I don't have to walk home in the dark. My girlfriend had her apartment burglarized and sacked, car window smashed, and is routinely harassed on her walk to the Metro (probably 3 of 5 week days). I don't know ANYONE who's lived here for an extended time and not had a window smashed. Property crime is a matter of fact. Kids from the poorer neighborhoods to the north play "throw a rock and run" like I used to play capture the flag. The threat of violent crime and assault is always present.
Before some igonoramus objects and says "if you live in a city, you have to be smart and careful, and you'll be fine"...let me say that I've lived in Chicago and San Francisco, and neither the bums of Chicago nor the burned-out hippes of SF hold a candle to the ever-present crime in St. Louis city. This is a textbook example of economic and social depression--the poorer (mostly black) folks resent the more affluent (mostly white) students and professionals.
The crime impacts my daily life. I used to bike to/from work (~6 miles), but was nearly killed twice in the same week...by angry drivers. I used to commute by Metro (light rail) until I was followed home by someone who attempted to steal my satchel bag(with laptop). So now I drive everywhere, and don't walk/run/exercise outside after sunset (which is a royal shame, because during the summer it gets pretty hot during the days!)
Public schools are pitiful, across the board. In fact, local St. Louisans don't ask what you do for a living, they ask where you went to high school...because the public/private classification is ubiquitous. Families here pay to send their children to private school before paying their mortgages...because the public schools are that bad. Everyone on the public school board ships their own kids to private schools outside the city borders, sad, huh?
St. Louis IS slightly cheaper in terms of naive cost-of-living. But add in a smashed car window or two each year (unless you have a secure garage) to your transportation costs. Add gas and mileage for driving everywhere after dark. Add in the cost sending your children to private schools. And now you're looking at significantly elevated cost of living, relative to o
Kings_Deer | Woodmoor, CO