Saturday, July 30, 2016
Is Dangerous a Bad Thing?
Detroit, Michigan has been on everyone's tongue in the last few years. It's got a notorious reputation as the worst city in America. It's filed for bankruptcy. It has a high crime rate. The residents are leaving. Never a good sign.
However, does a dangerous or declining city mean that it's a bad place to visit? That's an interesting question. Here's some of the stranger things that you may not realize when you see those lists of bad places to be. The first thing to know is that there are a ton of these lists. They also change every year. Different agencies use different data to determine what is and isn't good. There are a lot of cities that make both the horrible place to be list and the great place to be list.
Phoenix, Arizona is one of those cities. Phoenix is the place to be with the growing economy and great median wages. There's a lot to do in Phoenix. However, there's a violent crime problem there. Is that a cause not to visit? No. And here's why. Every year these lists are compiled from statistics. They change every year, and they normally aren't relevant to the traveler. Low income issues may be a problem for those who wish to live there, but to the traveler this means good prices on the travel things that you are looking for.
Chicago, Illinois is one of the cities that will forever fall on both good lists and bad. There is a lot to do in this Midwestern metropolis. One of the things that you should do is to stay on the beaten path. There are a lot of neighborhoods in Chicago that you won't want to hang out in. Bad Bad Leroy Brown did hang out in bad neighborhoods on the south side of town. However, the savvy traveler will go to those neighborhoods and see what they're really like. In Chicago, you might just find Chinatown out there.
Houston, Texas stands out. It's on both good and bad lists. It's home to NASA, great sports and wonderful attractions. So, is it good or is it bad? Who knows? It's all about checking it out. If you stay away from a place because of it's reputation; well you won't go anywhere. Considering the fact that most of my favorite cities are on the bad list just tells you that you should only take the travel advise so seriously.
Bridgeport, Connecticut is notoriously famous for it's car theft. I remember those days. Now, the city has been refurbishing their waterfront and cleaning up the joint. Soon, I hope it falls on the good list. I still hang out there. I've been there a lot just this summer.
But, just because a city is deemed bad to live in or dangerous; doesn't mean that it isn't worth visiting. Niagara Falls is on a list of dangerous cities. So is Branson, Missouri. Know what it is that you need for a requirement of a city before you visit. Would I visit Chicago? Certainly. Cleveland? You bet. Niagara Falls? I go there whenever I can. Phoenix? My mother lives there. Indianapolis? I used to live close to there.
Springfield, Massachusetts falls on some of these lists. Why? Mostly because the northeast is having a terrible heroin problem. Will this affect you on your vacation? Probably not. Just don't do anything stupid. Don't wander dark alleys at night. Don't go to questionable bars. Don't take off with strangers. Don't leave your car unlocked. Would you do any of these things in any city that you visit? Probably not. Most cities and the danger that is reported in them has nothing to do with you. You don't live there.
Remember, most of the violence in certain cities is because of problems between residents. It most likely has nothing to do with you. Most of the world's most dangerous cities aren't even in America. Consider that statistic. One of my favorite city's is Cleveland; by most standards a dangerous and undesirable location. I love New York City which falls on both good and bad lists. By the same token there are cities that fall on the good list most of the time like Portland, Oregon that I find cute but rather boring.
Just make sure that you don't let statistics run your life. I've accidentally ended up in the middle of uprisings and I'm fine. Drama is both a good thing and a bad thing. And while I don't think that ending up in the north end of Hartford, Connecticut is a good thing for any tourist, I do think that Washington DC has a lot to offer. I think that Memphis, Tennessee is a great place to visit even though it's ranked as dangerous. I also think that San Diego, California is a great location and it's ranked as safe.
I will tell you that some of the real bad boys of metropolitan areas are my favorites. I love Cleveland, Niagara Falls, Chicago, Cincinnati, Memphis, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Bridgeport, and New York. Maybe it's the drama that comes with the bad boys. Maybe it's something a little less sinister. I also heard that New York is the snobbiest city in America, but it's my favorite major city. I love New Yorkers. Maybe it's all in how you look at it. Maybe most of it depends on how we act when we are visiting someone else's town.
In a world of information overload, we have a tendency to research things to death before we jump into anything. You look and see what a place is like before you visit. You do it, because you don't want to take your one big chance at a vacation and blow it on a place where you might be mugged or shot. I don't blame you. Just remember that the world loves to throw statistics out there, and remember that I wouldn't have seen nearly as much as I have if I had paid attention to all those statistics. You could really miss out on a great time if you think that some report that says New York City is a dangerous place to visit is applicable to you. Sometimes you should just take a chance and see things for yourself. Love is in the eyes of the beholder. Enjoy!