Safe and Dangerous Places in Charlotte

by Jennifer Perkins, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 16th 2010 02:21 PM

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Areas to Avoid Charlotte

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Charlotte, N.C., is one of the fastest-growing cities of the Southeast. With an increase in population comes an increase in crime; but don't that let deter you from visiting Charlotte. The city has so many distinct and inviting areas that it continues to draw many tourists each year. With so many popular attractions and beautiful neighborhoods, it is evident the safe areas clearly outnumber the areas to avoid in Charlotte.

Charlotte is the largest city in the state, and houses nearly three quarters of million residents. With such a heavily populated city comes the good, bad, and the ugly.

Safest areas


Let's start with the safe places. Several areas of the city have been touted as some of the safest neighborhoods in the Charlotte metro area.

The South Park area of Charlotte is by far the safest area. This particular area boasts of some of the best schools, shopping areas, and lowest crime rates. One of the largest churches --the Calvary Church-- is in this area. The opulent "pink church" is located on Pineville-Matthews Road and has thousands of members. Not only is the church located here but also the most prestigious neighborhoods are found in this area. Piper Glen contains magnificent homes and one of the finest golf courses, TPC at Piper Glen. Here you will also find the infamous Quail Hollow Golf Course where the Wachovia Golf Tournament is held each year. Finally, there is the South Park Mall, which is home to Nordstrom's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and many more distinguished shops. This makes this area one of the best and safest to live or visit.

Close by is the quaint town of Matthews, which is in the southeast region of the city and has a beautiful historic downtown area with many locally owned shops and restaurants. The town itself has several excellent schools and established neighborhoods. Many neighborhoods in Matthews have been well preserved and well kept for decades.

Yet another safe area of Charlotte is the Ballantyne area. This up-and-coming area has several new shopping centers, fine dining restaurants, and is home to the Ballantyne resort and country club, two hot spots where many visitors flock each year. Ballantyne also is home to several golf courses and is famous for its beautiful landscape and manicured lawns. This area also has many well established business and medical parks which continue to thrive despite the down turn in the economy.

Another safe neighborhood with low crime rates is the Hickory Grove area. This area is in the northeast section of the city and is home to one of the oldest churches in the region, Hickory Grove Baptist Church. The church has expanded over the years and built satellite churches in North Charlotte and reached out to the Latin American community.

The downtown area of the city of Charlotte is known as "Uptown" and is another safe area to visit and spend time. By far, the Uptown area has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. With the relocation here of the Time Warner Cable Arena, home to the Charlotte Bobcats, many clubs, restaurants, and art galleries have opened for business. Also, the new Epicenter was created to house several night clubs, restaurants, a piano bar, bowling alley, and much more. And as of May the new NASCAR Hall of Fame opened to the public and is an architectural phenomenon.


Areas to avoid


On the other hand, Charlotte does have several areas that are not deemed safe. Listed below are some areas to avoid in Charlotte.

One such area is the University area. This area is home to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and was once known as a great area to live. Over the years, crime has been on the rise, and outside of the actual campus, this area is not safe.

Several other areas of Charlotte have higher crime rates than the rest of the city. The Coulwood neighborhood is one of Charlotte's oldest neighborhoods. As the years have gone by, the neighborhood has had a high crime rate and keeps the North Division of the Charlotte Mecklenburg police department very busy. The city has recognized the problem, and is working diligently to make the neighborhood safer. In fact, an iniative was put in place to establish more playgrounds and sidewalks. More police officers have been assigned to this area, but it still has the highest crime rates as of the end of 2009.

Yet, another area plagued by crime and to avoid is the Steele Creek area. Located off South Boulevard, this area has seen an increase in dangerous crimes. Many shopping centers and restaurants in the area have closed down because of this.

Another area to avoid is Freedom Drive. Businesses have shut down, and there is an increasing population of homeless people here. Driving through this area makes it evident that this is not a safe part of town. There is a push to demolish and rebuild this area, but nothing has been started as of yet. With time, drug-related crimes have increased; this part of town is best avoided.

Finally, West Charlotte is another area that is not safe. Wilkinson Boulevard runs through this area also known as the Metro Charlotte. Property values have plummeted, and crime has increased. Subsidizing housing occupies much of this area. The schools perform poorly, and have several issues with crime. With a high crime rate, and an increased problem with drug-related crimes, this area should be avoided at all costs.


Overall, in 2009, the crime rate did decrease in the city, but as always there are areas that do not reflect these numbers. With a new police chief who has made fighting crime a top priority, the city will continue to thrive and attract more visitors to one of the safest cities in the Southeast.

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