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Seattle Bubble Forum Archive • View topic - Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Is Belltown safe TODAY?

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Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby radycardia » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:58 pm

Hi,

We are moving to Seattle this summer and we are looking for a place to live. I need to be close to Harborview and to UW for work.

We have found a place in Belltown that we really like (Western and Vine) but we have just learned that Belltown doesn't have the best reputation safety wise.

I know the area has been gentrified recently, but am I still going to get hassled by the homeless or asked to buy crack? Will I feel safe walking alone at 11pm? Can I feel safe allowing my wife to walk alone at 11pm? Will I see drug dealers with regularity? Will I hear gun shots?

Most of the stories that I have heard are from pre 2008, but is it safe TODAY. I don't care that 20 years ago it was dangerous, what is it like today?

I would be nice to be able to walk to the sculpture garden, pikes place market, or the downtown area, but I don't want to feel threatened.

Thanks
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby jillayne » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:12 pm

Do your due diligence.

Walk the neighborhood at all different times of the day and night.

Talk to the local people who live and work in the neighborhood.

Google "belltown seattle crime" and take a look at all the data in just that one search.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby ira s » Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:42 am

I agree with Jillayne. Not everyone is going to react the same way to a place. There are plenty of upper middle class folks who live happily in Belltown, so go on various days at various spots to see how it feels.
But I wouldn't live there. Just a little too stark. Maybe up the hell at the easterm edge of Belltown would feel safer to me, but Western and 1st have a little too much reality for me to feel comfortable, like homeless mfolks and open drug dealing. Lower Queen Anne is nearby and feels nicer to me.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby Dave0 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:32 pm

I like to look at http://spotcrime.com/wa/seattle for a general idea on current neighborhood safety. Looking at that website, while Belltown isn't the most dangerous area of the city, I wouldn't call it a safe neighborhood either.

In Belltown's small area (between Denny Way, Pine St. I-5 & the water) there have been 2 robberies and an assault in the past 2 months. Head a little NW to Queen Anne and there is nothing. I would personally rather live on Queen Anne than Belltown. However, Belltown is better than the Broadway area of Capitol Hill (between Roy St, Denny Wy, I-5 & 15th AVE NE) where there have been 3 shootings, 4 assaults, 2 robberies & 2 thefts in a smaller area.

Keep in mind however that this website doesn't take into account population density. Belltown is very dense with residents and employers, where as areas such as Queen Anne are not as dense.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby dls » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:52 pm

Radycardia,

I don't know if you are simply completely ignorant of Seattle and the Belltown area, or just a troll. I'll assume the former. Belltown is no place for decent people. When it was 'gentrified; some years ago the drunks, dopers, and general scum didn't go anywhere else because there was no place for them to go. Street trash, crime, etc is very prevalent in the area. If you're wife wants to be out at 11pm at night then I suggest a Glock, preferably 40S&W or larger. You may seriously want to consider Wallingford or Capital Hill, both areas have their own problems (as do all areas of Seattle) but they are are more decent than Belltown. Also, unless you like major construction, on the order of Boston's 'Big Dig', you may find Belltown noisy for the next several years as the viaduct gets replaced with a (unnecessary) tunnel.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby Civil Servant » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:30 am

In addition to the physical-safety factor (regarding which I agree with others who have commented here), Belltown also has a discomfort factor -- it has a high concentration of social-services agencies that serve populations with drug and/or psychiatric problems. Outside these agencies there tend to be clusters of clients smoking, panhandling, fighting, nodding off, or harassing passers-by/those waiting at nearby bus stops. So I don't feel in physical danger from them, but I don't like having things yelled at me either, and I tend to avoid Belltown mostly for this reason.

As to your question about whether you will feel OK about your wife walking home at 11pm, I can tell you that my boyfriend does not like to hear that I've walked through Belltown alone after the dinner hour.

Why not consider Lower Queen Anne? From there you can still walk to all of the attractions you name, but I think you and your wife will both feel safer and sleep easier.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby SeattleMoose » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:20 am

I know people who bought there (now laid off WAMU employees) and they have told me that things seem to be getting worse, not better in Belltown. Not only are they sorry they bought at the peak of the bubble and are now trapped financaily, they are sorry they bought into the whole "hip" thing regarding Belltown.

Seattle has lots of alternatives to Belltown...so good luck.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby radycardia » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:54 am

Thanks for the replies.

I am just curious how the place can be so terrible yet so many new expensive buildings/condos have been built.

How did these units sell for $500,000+ dollars if the area is so bad?

Why would so many developers want to build in such a terrible location?

If Belltown was so bad, why develope it in the first place? Did they hope the crack heads would leave?
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby ira s » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:25 pm

You can live in a high rise in Belltown with an underground parking garage and be pretty much oblivious to what's going on in the street a few feet away. It's an odd dichotomy that's also seen in other cities, where there are expensive high rises with homeless folks and junkies just a few feet away. I wouldn't want to live there, but plenty of people value the convenience factor, the many good restaurants and clubs, etc., and are willing to overlook a lot.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby dls » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:49 pm

I pretty much agree with Ira S, if you're isolated in your hi-rise you tend to 'overlook' the 'issues' with the neighborhood. When Belltown was gentrified (late 1990s/early 2000s I think), the 'locals', the (decent) low income, the dopers/bums/drunks/etc, were pushed to the edges of the area, but not 'out', because there really wasn't anywhere else for them to go. The area north of Belltown got remade into the Olympic Sculpture Park, Queen Anne is 'off limits', as is most of Downtown and Capital Hill. The result is many of the original Belltown inhabitants have moved back so to speak because they don't have anywhere else to go.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby WestSideBilly » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:52 am

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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby Civil Servant » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:25 pm

I think the units sold partly because people figured that prices would continue to go up so they were a good investment and partly because those buying them were -- at the time anyway -- fairly young with a lot of disposable income. That is the case with the people I knew who bought or considered buying in Belltown. They could get to work by bus easily no matter where work was and they liked the bars and restaurants and clubs and arty stuff in Belltown, as well as the cachet of being able to say "I live in Belltown" and to think of themselves as rough-hewn gritty urban types. But things can change -- you lose your job and have to take another one that pays less, or you get married and suddenly a yard sounds like a better value proposition than a three-block walk to the Crocodile, and the pricey Belltown condo is no longer so appealing.

Also, I am sure that men's perspective on how much harrassment one can expect in Belltown is different from women's (I am the latter, in case that's not clear).
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby WestSideBilly » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:13 pm

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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby Civil Servant » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:47 am

That is true and I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it was. I guess I find Belltown harrassment-of-ladies a bit in a class of its own because it comes much more often from a crazy (hence unpredictable) person than just a garden-variety jack*ss. That's what I was trying to get across.
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Re: Is Belltown safe TODAY?

Postby ira s » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:27 am

Today's Seattle Times has an article on the plans for a grand boulevard with green space and play equipment on Bell Street.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... wn09m.html

I wish I didn't have such a bad attitude. Is this going to get rid of crazy, unpredictable, smelly, nasty, potentially dangerous people? Doubt it. It's going to provide them with more bushes to pass out in, and more playgrounds to hang out in. If you were a parent of young children, would you move to Belltown because they built a playground?
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