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Places to avoid [which places should we stay away from on a family trip?]

Places to avoid [which places should we stay away from on a family trip?]

Old Dec 4, 16, 4:08 am
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Places to avoid [which places should we stay away from on a family trip?]

Arrgghh a dark and scary title... but yes... as some of you know, I'm planning a Californian trip: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/los-a...ar-rental.html

However.. last night I saw following nice little documentary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ci...o_Crystal_Meth

I'm still busy compiling the route but generally it would go LAX-(Death Valley)-Yosemite-SFO-Coastal Highway-LAX
(we have +-12-13 days)

But seeing yesterdays documentary and knowing absolutely nothing about the States except what is portrait in tv, I would like to ask your advice on which places we should avoid on our route. (also in SFO & LAX) These are the things that guidebooks generally don't talk about...

Mind you we are stupid sheep as we come from a very safe place in Europe.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 10:59 am
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Moderator's Note:

I've edited the title of the thread to make it more descriptive of the OP's question.

TWA884
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Old Dec 4, 16, 12:23 pm
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Two points:

I live in Fresno and consider it to be a far safer place than many parts of LA, SF or any of the big cities of the east. Stay out of the bad part of downtown or the slums, neither of which are anywhere near any tourist sites, and you won't even notice you are in the "meth capital."

Also, I don't know what route you have settled on but the most direct route from Death Valley to Yosemite via the eastern entrance and Highway 120 will be closed for the winter. That segment will require crossing the mountains at Tehachapi (near Bakersfield) and north through the Central Valley and on to Yosemite via - <gulp> - Fresno!

Really, that documentary is a bit of a joke.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 12:26 pm
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Interesting - I hadn't realized Fresno was the meth capital. Was always under the impression it was the high desert/Apple Valley area - or maybe the later is production whereas consumption is in Fresno?

In either event, I wouldn't be too concerned about Fresno. It's not exciting, but can be perfectly safe.

The problem with our urban areas is that there are pockets of less desirable neighborhoods, but hard to dismiss an entire area. As an example, the Los Angeles/Southern California combined statistical area (CSA) is about 33,000 square miles - three times the area of the entire country of Belgium, where you're coming from.

Within that, there are areas to avoid, but are also usually not places you'd hang out or visit as a tourist.

The worst places are typically in the very urban areas so something to be more mindful of when in the central part of Los Angeles (the city, not the county) and even more specific areas of San Francisco (which is much smaller).
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Old Dec 4, 16, 12:37 pm
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In Fresno, there is a high risk of...

...being bored to death.

Don't Worry. Be Happy.

P.S. I'm headed to Fresno tonight for two days. Let me know if you want a good hotel recc.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 12:41 pm
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If you judge the outside world by what you see on TV, you will fulfill TV's dream, never go anywhere, and experience the world only through your TV.
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Old Dec 4, 16, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
Interesting - I hadn't realized Fresno was the meth capital.
I was under the impression that Fresno was the raisins capital of the world.

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Old Dec 4, 16, 6:59 pm
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It's true that drug use is a scourge throughout California's Central Valley, including the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield. It is social problem, as families and communities are hurt by addiction, and a policing problem, as law enforcement officers frequently respond to emergency calls to find that drugs are somehow involved. That much is true, and sad. But any notion that Central California is dangerous for the average law-abiding person, as if the region were ruled by roving drug gangs l Mad Max movies, is complete fiction.
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Old Dec 6, 16, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
As an example, the Los Angeles/Southern California combined statistical area (CSA) is about 33,000 square miles - three times the area of the entire country of Belgium
I used that number to impress a visitor from Denmark. Then I looked more closely and discovered that the CSA includes the entirety of San Bernardino County, which is over 20,000 mostly empty square miles -- larger than all the New England states combined. Still, the occupied territory is well over 5,000 square miles.
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Old Dec 6, 16, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
If you judge the outside world by what you see on TV, you will fulfill TV's dream, never go anywhere, and experience the world only through your TV.
There seems to be something oddly scarier about violence in a far-away place than violence closer to home. Despite many mass-killing tragedies here in the USA, many Americans see the attacks in Paris and vow never to go there (too dangerous). Likewise, the OP surely knows of terrorism dangers in Belgium, but something about crime in the USA seems particularly scary.

It is certainly true that we have usually high gun violence rates in the USA, and here in California. That's a sad fact, and it doesn't look like it will get better soon. Still, OP, if you do the normal tourist things here, I don't think you face any greater danger than if you were in Paris, London, Berlin or Brussels. In major USA cities, the high-crime areas are separate from touristy areas (at least I can't think of any high-crime touristy areas of a major USA city).
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Old Dec 6, 16, 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
There seems to be something oddly scarier about violence in a far-away place than violence closer to home. Despite many mass-killing tragedies here in the USA, many Americans see the attacks in Paris and vow never to go there (too dangerous). Likewise, the OP surely knows of terrorism dangers in Belgium, but something about crime in the USA seems particularly scary.
It's generally the everybody is carrying a gun part. :-)
Average Belgian goes to BXL...as much as the average Californian goes to Washington D.C.
But ok.. I travel more... and I visit the airport more.. so yes.. I have experience with our soldiers carrying weapons at BRU. Anyway.. the reason I have put this post is because nobody can really assess dangers of a place where you don't live. It's not to give the States a negative air.


Btw, when looking for a cheap motel you could end up in places you don't want to even if your daytime is touristy.

Last edited by TWA884; Dec 7, 16 at 12:27 am Reason: Fix BB Code
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Old Dec 7, 16, 2:14 pm
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Hollywood can get a little rustic, but the main tourist part is fine, especially during the day. Downtown LA is OK, but there's not that much to do there. When I worked there, I would see people walk around carrying guidebooks in French, German and other languages and wonder what they were there for. Most parts of the Central Valley are fine, but there's not much to see there. Yosemite and Death Valley are both beautiful and well worth the trip.

The simple answer is you will be as safe as you would in any similar area in Europe. If you see bad-looking houses and junked cars, or pawn shops and massage parlors, I wouldn't stop there. If you see well-dressed people walking around and prosperous-looking businesses, it's all good.

Have a great trip!
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Old Dec 7, 16, 2:46 pm
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When you start seeing check-cashing and instant or payday loan shops, you know you're entering an area that isn't thriving and is liable to have a higher crime rate.
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Old Dec 7, 16, 7:18 pm
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If choose to do an overnight in Fresno before going up the hill to Yosemite, select one in neighboring Clovis or in Fresno near the airport. Both are fine. I'd go with Clovis as the hotels are all newer.
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Old Dec 9, 16, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Koja78 View Post
Btw, when looking for a cheap motel you could end up in places you don't want to even if your daytime is touristy.
I agree with that. You can see many discussions about that sort of thing in this forum. But with that, you need to be more specific about where you're contemplating staying. Then those of us here who are familiar with the areas in question can weigh in.

For example, in San Francisco there are many dicey parts of town such as certain western portions of South of Market, the Civic Center, the Tenderloin and west of Union Square. There's been so much gentrification in S.F. in recent years that I'm not sure that what I used to know about these areas is still valid.
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