Quality of Life in Key West>Question Details

Ann, Home Buyer in Kalamazoo, MI

What are the "bad" neighborhoods of Key West?

Asked by Ann, Kalamazoo, MI Fri Mar 7, 2008

I'm looking at a move to Key West and I want to know where to stay away from and also where the nicer areas are.

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22
Ann-
I too am a Michigan transplant and have been in the Keys the past 13 years. Key West and the Florida Keys is a very diverse area. You will find Million dollar plus homes built next door to a 40 year old mobile home. The charm of Key West is in it's diversity, newer structures next to century old "conch" houses, fishermen alongside the retired CEOs, tacky vs. traditional. The beauty of Key West is not black and white rather- the colors of the Sunset.

That being said, the downtown area known as Old Town consists of quaint old homes and small shops. The eastern end of the island is referred to as New Town and consists of chain stores, hotels, restaurants and mostly ranch type homes built in the 60s. There is a great community spirit throughout the Keys and as previously mentioned neighbors watch out for each other.

Key West is the only place in the country where you are closer to Cuba than to a WalMart!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
sorry, not "newsweek" i meant to say "newsday"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
. if the drugs are there the crime is there and then many people think it's a bad area. The point: The crime is generally where the drugs are available and where the people go to buy the drugs. I've looked at crime statistics.
Oh P.S., Here on Long Island we have a town called Smithtown. It's 95% white. Yet its the heroin capital of Long Island. Newsweek ran a feature story on this town. "How could this happen in such an affluent area???" they wrote.
Even with the rampant increase in heroin use, a ridiculous number of teens addicted and in rehab,and the crime, its still considered a "good" area because its 95% white. Had it been in a predominantly black area, it wouldnt even have been mentioned in that newspaper....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
That is incorrect. Where drugs are users will be. Using drugs is non-violent.
Flag Sat Jun 28, 2014
You are absolutely right, Paula (by the way my maiden name was Haber - but it's unlikely we're related - I'm white ;-)) My kids go to Smithtown schools and one day five years ago when my older daughter was a senior I was waiting in my car to pick her up, on the street in front of the school, and I saw a drug deal go down right in front of me, by a teenage kid from the trunk of his car. So it can happen in ANY neighborhood. I also agree with you about the profiling. It's disgusting and I long for the diversity that seems to be common in Key West. I am thinking of moving there, have visited and it is quite an interesting place!
Flag Wed Feb 19, 2014
Sorry you thought my comment was a disappointment. One thing you need to understand, i've been black all my life. Living on Long Island and having grown up in Brooklyn, when a white person says it's a "bad" neighborhood, they mean to say "black"neighborhood. Its "bad" because its not up to their standards. They've told me they don't want to walk or travel through these neighborhoods for fear of being attacked. As if us blacks have nothing better to do than to lie in wait behind a tree to jump the first white that walks by.
I kid you not. I've grown to the code phrases used in the real estate business, such as "in transition", "gentrification", "rough area" etc., It may not be this way in Key West being such a small island, but this is how it is in New York, ESPECIALLY on Long Island.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 2, 2010
I have lived here in Key West for over 30 years. My answer is that we are a very diverse island community. The "bad" about Key West in not necessarily the neighborhoods but the transient people we have coming to our island. Neighbors help neighbors by looking out for each other. We are proud of our island and we work together to ensure that all of us retain a high quality of life. We support diversity through our live and let live motto.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
My wife and l hope to become part of that community
Flag Mon Jul 22, 2013
Your question is very subjective Ann. Have you been to Key West yet? Your best determining factor would be to go exploring your future neighborhood and make that decision on your own based on whatever criteria you consider "bad" to be. To some, "bad" might mean loud motorcylcle noise late at night - then don't move next to a biker bar right on Duval - to others "bad" might be a fishy smell lingering in the air - then don't move next to a marina or a fish restaurant........ Your best bet is to go on your own, wander the quaint little town, stay in a few different bed&breakfasts in different areas and make the call on your own on where you feel most comfortable. Best of luck to you. Jose Gomez , Realtor in Miami
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
We're getting closer to buying a place in Key West. Most likely all we can afford is a condo. Does anyone know what "personalities" the condos have? For instance I would rather live where it's not mostly rentals. Maybe that's asking too much, but it would be nice to have a feeling of community, and not seeing strangers in the hallway everyday. I would love to hear from locals.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 7, 2012
Hi Ann,

Key West is a wonderful place to live! I have lived here for 34 years and raised my daughter here. It is a very small island and generally the locals watch out for each other. There are several neighborhoods to choose from it just depends on what you are looking for. I am a real estate agent and would be happy to show you around when you decide to make your move. You'll be surprised at how welcoming our island folks are! You can contact me anytime if you have any more questions just go to my website, LureyTaylor.com
Web Reference: http://www.LureyTaylor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 5, 2011
Ann,

One way you can get an idea of Key West is to take an online subscription to the local newspaper, "The Key West Citizen". It doesn't cost much, it covers most of what's going on in Key West, it has a daily "Crime Report", and generally keeps you informed of what's going on in Key West. I moved here in January 2010 but I began my subscription in October when I decided to move to Key West. So when I arrived I had a good idea of what was going on and what I could do. The link is: http://secure.keysnews.com/enews/purchase.cfm?issue=Citizen0…

And it's having a promotional right now so you can even get it on sale. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 1, 2010
I have lived in Key West for many years (raised my two kids here). Every area has good and bad points, but frankly i have lived in what is termed the midtown area for the vast majority of my time. Mid Town is the area around White Street and kind of bordered by seventh Street. It is neighborhood, old families, new folks, yards, not alot of traffic. When the car brakes down, you can walk to downtown in about 25 minutes. There are neighborhood convenience stores, its a nice walk to the beach, and it is quiet. Look, no matter where ya go, there are bad areas and good areas, bad people and good people....so worry not....find a small place to move into to start, and you will get the lay of the land....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 30, 2010
Hi Ann and Paula,

I've got relatives in Key West and it's a great place. Once you're ready to look let me know and I'll have them show you around.

Good luck,
Mark LeMenager
Find your next house with the click of a mouse.
Search the MLS without obligation or registration from my website.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 17, 2010
no problem Ann, and thats the exact same reason I'm getting off long Island and moving to fla.People are more laid back and happy down there. Here on Long Island, your house is everything. When people see their property values declining, somebody's car parked in front of their house, neighbors' tree limb hanging over their fence, etc., they come unglued... Honestly, i'm fed up. Key West now, i went to Key West for the first time back in 1982. It was a sleepy little island where everybody knew your name, the streets were deserted at high noon because of the heat, and the islanders down at the pier watching the sunset would invite you back to their place for a drink afterwards. I thought I was in Shangi-la. 3 bedroom Homes were selling for $100,000. Went back 10 years later and I was like "What the hell is this??!!?" Packed full of tourists, pier at duval street looked like a circus...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 17, 2010
Well... I'd still love to move in the future. Just doing some research! When I posted the question, I was closer to doing it than I am now. I visited the keys in October and am still in love with the area! I will definately be needing help from a pro when the time comes, though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 16, 2010
Ann, you asked this question 22 MONTHS AGO. Where have you been?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 16, 2010
whoa! I never meant that as a racial thing! I wouldn't be automatically opposed to looking in the Bahama Village area, even though it is primarily a black neighborhood. I WAS actually worried about drug areas on the island. And it IS the keys, NOT new york, which is why we want to be there. I'm not interested in the big city or the major attitudes that come with it. I love the laid-back, one-love community and I accept ALL people as one human family. We would just prefer to keep away from the ones who choose to use drugs. My question is whether there are any areas like that. People are free to do whatever they choose, and what I like about the keys is that nobody forces their own way of life onto you. Anyway, I think I will have to just spend some time down there and discover just what I want for myself! Thanks for everyone's input!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 15, 2010
I've been asked about bad neighborhoods many times. None of the white people were asking about black people. And by the way, none of the black people were asking about black people either. Same goes for the hispanic, asian and other people I've been blessed to meet from all over the globe.

What a disappointment to read your comment.

Some of the buyers that were asking questions regarding bad neighborhoods were asking about crime. A vast majority of crimes are related to drugs so many were asking about drugs in the neighborhood whether they knew it or not.

I've talked to people all over the country. Usually the bad areas and drug availability are the same areas. Buyers from some parts of country were asking about meth labs. Buyers from other areas of the country were worried about "grow houses" and pot. Crack, coke, heroine.... if the drugs are there the crime is there and then many people think it's a bad area. The point: The crime is generally where the drugs are available and where the people go to buy the drugs. I've looked at crime statistics.

By the way, the buyers that asked me about bad neighborhoods were usually were asking about "partiers" when they don't drink, a family friendly neighborhood when they have children and other personal considerations that affect quality of life.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
"Bad"? That's a covert word white folks use when they want to know if blacks live in the area. Thats why the above Real Estate Broker respondents refused to answer your question........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 1, 2010
By the way, a Realtor has to be very careful about telling a buyer that an area is a good area or a bad area. Contact the Key West police department and the Monroe County Sheriffs office to get crime statistics.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 28, 2009
If you have a certain kind a boat Geiger Key might be the best area. If you have another boat Key Haven might be the best. Cudjoe, Ramrod, Sugarloaf, Saddlebunch or Bay Point might also be a good match depending upon some other factors that you consider important. If you love the water and want a certain kind of home Shark Key might be just the place. If I knew more then Sunset Key might be the only place for you.

If you have kids that are certain ages the Terraces in mid-town might be perfect. If you are a bartender then Old Town in walking distance to the 200 block might be your match. If you don't cook then there are a few blocks that may be what you are looking for. If you are an artist or love to look at art there may be a perfect spot. If you have 4 kids going to different schools then a mid-point might make your life easier. If you want a lot of land and tranquility Big Pine Key might have some good matches for you.

Find an agent that you feel comfortable with that you would like to work with and then share your priorities and goals and the agent should be able to show you homes in areas that will appeal to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 28, 2009
Bad areas in Key West? Didn't know there were any and I have been here 30 years... Seriously, there are pros and cons to every neighborhood in Key West. It depends on what you mean by the term "bad". What is your definition of bad? When we have the answer to that question, we can better answer your first question.

Steve Eid, Broker Associate, Crocker Wagner & Associates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 15, 2009
Hi Ann,

Contact the local police department or county sheriffs department. They have access to the most accurate and up to dte information.

Congrats on deciding on K.W. ......It is a very special location.

Good luck,
The "Eckler Team"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 25, 2008
Ann,
I too am from Michigan... I recommend following the advice of all those who answered below (Sound advice). I think you should first start by renting for a short time then finding out all the ins and outs of Key West itself. You will quickly realize the Island itself tends to be a blend of everything it has to offer all within a short walk. So make a list of your plusses and minuses then go from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
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