Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Before you purchase a new home in Westlake there’s something you
might want to know.

Have you seen the “Governor’s Commission for
a Sustainable South Florida”? Read excerpts
from that report below.

One aspect of that report deals with crime and just as importantly, the perception of crime and “Revitalizing Southeast Florida’s Urban Core” along I-95, FEC and CSX rail right-of-ways.

And later on learn why the societal problems you’re trying to avoid by moving out west are going to show up on your front door soon enough. You’ll be stuck in a house worth pennies on the dollar and wish like hell you lived in a coastal city like Lake Worth.

One of the reasons why many home buyers and those considering moving to Central Palm Beach County (CPBC) move out west instead of choosing a coastal city such as Lake Worth, or cities near the coast like Greenacres, is because of misleading, confusing, and inaccurate press and media reports. For example, a Post reporter relied on flawed data (GIGO: “Garbage In Garbage Out”) from NeighborhoodScout and Nerd Wallet, both data aggregation sites that rely on zip codes for crime statistics (see map below).

That article was easily debunked. But how many people read it and believed it? And since when does a ‘newspaper of record’ depend on sites like Nerd Wallet? Don’t believe it? Use this link to read all about it.

 The City of Lake Worth uses 2 zip codes:
33460 and part of 33461.
33461: The areas in white are unincorporated (called “suburban” Lake Worth or Lake Worth Corridor). Sites merely accumulating data — e.g., crime and demographics — do not distinguish these areas
from the City of Lake Worth.

Once again, how many people read that ‘news’ in the Post and believed it? We’ll never know. But because of misleading reports such as those, and from other sources, many myths about crime continue about the City of Lake Worth. And below, at the end of this blog post, you’ll learn why Realtors here in CPBC and the City of Lake Worth will be very busy very soon.

The irony is. . .

On the pretense of personal safety and “fear of crime”, there will come a time when many of those home buyers fueling western sprawl will regret that decision.

Transportation, traffic, and the quality of life will degrade to the point they’ll look to coastal Palm Beach County in a whole new light. But by then their “investment” out west will be worth just a small fraction they were hoping for.

No one will want to live out there any more. Home prices will drop, socioeconomic problems will increase, and guess what? More crime.

Let’s focus on an important topic,
the perception of crime:

“The general population perceives that central city areas, whose residents are more likely to live under difficult socio-economic conditions, provide fewer safe opportunities for investment in residential property.”

The quote above isn’t anything new. What will be news to many is when it was written about our coastal regions in South Florida.

When was it written? The answer is below. Without further ado, below are excerpts from the “Governor’s Commission” on the topic of “Revitalizing Southeast Florida’s Urban Core”

“Because communities must be designed, built, and perceived as safe and secure places to live, both the prevention of actual crime and improvements to perceived levels of security are essential. Successful redevelopment and infill development will not occur in a high crime environment.

and. . .

“Social scientists and criminologists wrestle with the factors which can lead a person to criminal behavior. The vast majority of victims know their assailant, and murder victims are usually related to these assailants. Socio-economic conditions such as poverty, lack of education, unemployment, and a lack of positive role models, can exacerbate criminal tendencies.
     The general population perceives that central city areas, whose residents are more likely to live under difficult socio-economic conditions, provide fewer safe opportunities for investment in residential property. This belief is manifested in decades of institutional and individual investment decisions about the location of hazardous materials facilities, redlining, and abandoning older neighborhoods for the suburbs. Cumulatively, these decisions reduce the opportunities for employment and education that are most needed in these neighborhoods, reinforcing the effects of poverty and despair that, in turn, can contribute to criminal activity.
     There are neighborhoods in the urban core of Southeast Florida that continue to thrive despite negative perceptions about the people living there. These neighborhoods possess characteristics that help to neutralize the effects of nearby criminal activity: strong social institutions, unique architectural character or amenities, and a well-defined sense of community that fosters feelings of responsibility and obligation among its residents. Amenities and design elements that contribute to community building must be considered in the redevelopment of the urban core.

Quotes from Eastward Ho!, “Revitalizing Southeast Florida’s Urban Core”, pp. 26–27. Prepared by the South Florida Regional Planning Council in conjunction with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. An initiative of the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida:

Published in July 1996.

From the “Executive Summary”, page 1,
of Eastward Ho!:

The area between the Florida East Coast (FEC) and Chesapeake Seaboard (CSX) railroads throughout the tri-county area was once the thriving, functional core of the region opened up by Flagler’s railroad.
     This is the Eastward Ho! area, where 44% of the region’s population reside. In the next 20 years, this area’s population is expected to be disproportionately minority, younger, less educated, less employable and poorer than the population as a whole. The housing stock will be older, home ownership lower.
     It is predicted that by 2015 nearly four out of five new residents will settle outside the Eastward Ho! study area. The burden on public finances will be inordinate. More and more land will be lost to accommodate people. Workers will be farther from their jobs, driving up the cost of labor and transportation.

and. . . the last sentence:

“Piecemeal developments will fail to resemble communities.”

Considering buying a home in Central Palm Beach County? Have you heard about the Meritage Homes “Lake Cove” housing development east of I-95 in the City of Lake Worth? Use this link to learn more about that, and from a letter to the editor in The Palm Beach Post:

“[U]rge prospective buyers to look into the abandoned home market for their families. In the city of Lake Worth, a charming, diverse and culturally rich area, there are hundreds of abandoned homes looking for someone to love them. Ask your Realtor to show you some.”