Red Hook is an interesting neighborhood. There is a lot of change going on there and much of it is much, much different than several years ago. Specifically closer to the water and columbia street. The bst advice I can give you is to go take a ride around, take the train in - which is a bit of a walk, depending how far off of smith street you are (F train Line). I personally like Red Hook very much, and the upside on the area is still huge. New developments are coming to fruition, stores are moving in, there is alot of action. I sold real estate in Carroll Gardens and had a few listings in Red Hook as well years back. I do see families there, and like ANY neighborhood in New York City, even the Upper East Side where I lived for 22 years, you always need to be a smart New Yorker and consider safety first, walking around late is never recommended, especially by yourself - late at night. Cheers.