I live in an average suburban neighborhood in a large city with my wife and four young kids. This is our first house, and when we moved here 13 years ago, the neighborhood was surrounded by rural elements such as farms, cows, and horses. Now, we're surrounded by other neighborhoods, including some apartments not too far away which are government-subsidized.
In the past few years, the following activities and changes have occurred:
- Police response and attention is limited due to being a large city police force faced with budget cuts.
- Several registered sex offenders have moved in.
- A large group of young males beat another young male, probably because they wouldn't move out of the middle of the subdivision street when he was driving (speculation).
- Signs of gang activity have been observed and reported by the police.
- There is at least one house in the neighborhood dealing drugs.
- In the small area of city-owned woods behind our house (no sane person would attempt to hunt or target shoot here with houses so close and within the city limits), another neighbor saw a male with a shotgun, which he had discarded by the time police arrived.
- Several neighbors have reported people hanging out/scoping out their house from the street. One of these people verbally and suggestively engaged a female babysitter, and when she went inside, he persisted in knocking on the door and yelling at her. This was three houses down the street from me.
I know that no neighborhood is perfect, and that where there are people, there will also be bad people, but this is getting out of hand. We knew this was coming eventually. We tried and failed to sell 5 years ago. I really fear for the safety of my family when I'm not home. We put our house up for sale this week. No one has come to look at it, despite this being the first weekend of it being listed. When we tried to sell 5 years ago under better real estate conditions, we had at least two people looking the first weekend.
I'm starting to consider the possibility of just moving out and accepting the financial consequences of options such as:
Bank short sale
Deed in lieu of foreclosure
I hate to screw up our credit and make getting another house with a reasonable interest rate loan impossible within the next few years, but physical safety is a much higher priority than financial bliss.
Any thoughts or insights are welcome. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Do you know anyone who has?