How to live in a Bad Neighborhood

If you live in an area with abandoned houses, random garbage disposal, high rates of unemployment, many homeless people, etc., then the chances are pretty high that you live in a bad neighborhood.

Studies indicate that living in bad neighborhoods is associated with high crime rates, vandalism, noise and negatively impacts our physical and mental health. In an ideal world, those living in bad neighborhoods would immediately move to safe neighborhoods. However, it is not that simple in the real world.

If you live in a bad neighborhood, the following are some of the tips you can use to stay safe.

Know Your Neighbors

This is a crucial tip to follow when living in a bad neighborhood. Knowing the people living around you is a great way to increase security in your area of residence. If you know your neighbors’ behaviors and what they do for a living, it will be easier to tell which neighbors to avoid and those to watch out for.

Avoid Walking Alone

Do not take random walks in a bad neighborhood, especially if you do not know most people living in the area. Try as much as you can to avoid using public transportation. This can make you a target because you will have to take much time in the corners of the street waiting for the bus.

Unfortunately, not everyone living in bad neighborhoods can afford a private car. Use a bicycle instead to speed up your movement within the neighborhood. Do not forget to buy a U lock to secure your bike.

Invest in a Home Security System

Installing a home security system is an excellent investment, particularly when living in a bad neighborhood.

It is advisable to install the 24-7 home security system monitored by professionals. These systems are quite affordable because of their wireless nature, making them require minimal installation. This makes them ideal to use in rented homes and apartments.

Wireless security systems are relatively cheaper than their wired counterparts, which is another added advantage for the renters in the bad neighborhoods who can easily purchase a home security system online and increase the safety of their families.

Guard Your Home: Secure Entry Points

One thing about most criminals is that they are lazy and opportunistic. This implies that they will always go for the easiest catch, the one with the most valuable property but the least amount of security.

To avoid being a target, guard your property and avoid leaving valuable belonging in the car after packing at night. For example, do not leave electronic gadgets such as your phone, laptop, and tablet on sight, and make sure you lock your car’s doors and windows.

Install more lighting outside your house to keep burglars away. This could even be in the form of adding a spotlight at the top of your door or ensuring the security lights are on during the night.

Have Easy Access to the Police

Living in a bad neighborhood comes with insecurity challenges. In case you realize that someone is following you, or you need to run away, heading towards the police station. When your follower sees where you are going, they will go away fast in fear of being caught.

Learn how to Defend Yourself

Self-defense is an important art to learn when living in a bad neighborhood.

However, know the specific scenarios that defending yourself will help. For example, if somebody tries to steal from you in an unsafe neighborhood, do not try to resist, as it isn’t worth the risk.

You will sometimes find yourself in instances that self-defense is key. If you have the skills and a weapon to defend yourself, your confidence is boosted, and you look courageous instead of fearful. Fear is the worst emotion you could have in a bad neighborhood since it will make people walk all over you.

Be Street Smart

If you want to survive in a bad neighborhood successfully, then you have to be street smart. Staying in such a neighborhood can be harmful, particularly when walking alone. The great news is that there are things you can do to avoid being a target.

First, you have to learn how to blend in and not look like an outsider whenever you go out. Try to match your clothing style to that of the people, and avoid dressing in a manner associated with gangs if they exist in your neighborhood.

Whenever you are walking alone, try to act like you know where you are going, even when you don’t. Look for maps to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood before you step out. Do not use the maps while on the go. Know the streets’ layouts and plan your walking path before leaving the house.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Shoes

High heels and sandals are great shoes to wear, but not in a bad neighborhood. In case of any danger, where you need to flee or fight an attacker, you will require shoes with a strong grip.

Sneakers and boots are most appropriate when walking in a bad neighborhood because of their sturdiness. However, if you really have to wear heels or sandals, carry them with you and put them once you reach your destination.

Stay Alert

Stay alert when walking in a bad neighborhood, particularly at night. If possible, avoid walking in the dark altogether. Texting, calling, and scrolling through social media will distract you while walking. Avoid using your phone and keep it somewhere safe.

Additionally, smile or try to keep a friendly countenance when passing through a crowd of strangers. This will help you avoid confrontations or bad energy with them. If you pass a group of people you are not familiar with, cross the road and walk on the other side.

Another way you can stay alert is by choosing a direct travel route from your house and the closest entrance to your neighborhood. This will leave you with a shorter walking distance.

Always Lock Your Doors

Maintaining security is paramount in a bad neighborhood. Ensure that you keep your doors always closed to lower the chances of your home becoming a crime scene. When you go out for a stroll or are just stuck in the house watching Netflix, make sure that your doors are locked.

Have a look at your windows, too, and ensure that they have no dents, rust, or weak handles. The hinges and bolts should also be in perfect condition. Again, lessening the security of your house is a way of welcoming intruders and giving them an easy pass.

Have a Weapon for Self Defense

When living in a neighborhood with rampant cases of gang-related crimes, self-protection is necessary. You may find yourself in a situation that you are just by yourself, making you your only protection.

Mugging and pocket lifting are common behaviors in bad neighborhoods. When you are caught in such a situation, having a self-defense weapon such as pepper spray, a Taser, and a pocket knife will enable you to attack back.

Use Curtains for Your Doors and Windows

Allowing outsiders to see the interior of your house is a way of welcoming and tempting them to steal from you. Nobody should see your possessions from outside your home, especially in a bad neighborhood.

Having open windows and doors will enable people to see the layout of your house, making it easier for intruders to familiarize themselves with the house before attacking. Most burglars will always sniff around your house before they break-in. So they will peep in through the windows to note the easiest entrance to the house.

Drawing your curtains will prevent intruders from getting into your house. It will also make it difficult for them to know whether you are in the house or not, which will create a doubt in their minds that will prevent them from intruding.

Have Your Loved Ones on Speed Dial

Sometimes, a situation can move from zero to a hundred real quick and require a fast response or action. It might take longer to take out your phone, scroll to your contacts list and dial a number.

Today, most cellphones come with a speed dial option where you can easily dial a digit, and the phone will immediately call the person you saved under that digit.

It would be advisable to put the closest police station to your neighborhood on a speed dial, followed by a reliable family member or a close friend, who will immediately come to your rescue.


Living in a bad neighborhood surely does come with multiple challenges. However, using these tips will enable you to deal with your current situation as you gradually save to move to a safer and better neighborhood, such as Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and any other place.

Familiarizing yourself with your neighbors and the streets, maintaining your privacy, and practicing self-defense are some of the many ways to stay safe and protected in a bad neighborhood. CWP

Community Watch Paper posts:

People loitering in your neighborhood 

Children playing outside in their Neighborhood

“Snitching” A Problem for Low Income Communities


Feller, S. (2015, June 18). Study: Bad neighborhoods linked to faster cellular aging. UPI.

McAfee, B. (2018, January 10). Staying safe when you live in a bad neighborhood | Crime prevention. CPSS |.

Secure Lock And Alarm. (2017, October 26). How to stay safe while living in a dangerous neighborhood. Secure Lock & Alarm.

Yolanda. (2018, October 18). How to stay safe when living in a bad neighborhood. Reolink.

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