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Camden, NJ + Philadelphia

werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm currently starting up with a consulting firm, and one of the sites they're offering me a short to mid term job at is in Camden. While it's a great job with absurdly good pay the obvious problem is, you know, it's Camden. The specific site is just a bit on the river side of N South Freeway, about half a mile south of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The area looks decent enough on Google's street view, but I'd like any information and opinions people who know the area might have.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but just how concerned should I be about the city's reputation? The waterfront district is supposed to have become less shitty, but this place is about a mile inland and all the information I can find on the city still leads with "Seriously, don't go out at night."

And if the area isn't completely Escape from New York, how feasible is commuting over from Philly each morning? There seem to be some amazing apartments only a couple of miles drive away, but who knows how atrocious traffic could be in and out of Camden.

Any information or even general feelings for the area could be a huge help.

werehippy on

Posts

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I grew up in Cape May County and Camden is absolute shit. I'm applying for Teach for America and as much as I'd love to teach in Philly, it's a Mid Atlantic region and I won't risk being place in Camden. We went there for shows at the Tweeter and never wandered off the route everyone else took. Commuting out of Philly I can't comment on, there are some Philly forumers who might be able to better comment. You can look up the neighborhoods crime statistics online to find out what that looks like. It has been named the most dangerous city in the country a few times though, and has been in the top ten pretty much annually.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • twmjrtwmjr Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Note: I'm not from Camden; I'm from the part of NJ right across from NYC, and I work down in Princeton.

    That disclaimer being said, Camden by all accounts deserves the reputation it has gotten. If your employment at this place required living there, and you had any concern at all about it, I'd say just stay away from the situation entirely.

    Now, living in a nicer area and commuting in is certainly a viable option. There are rather nice areas <40 minutes away and as you mentioned housing in Pennsylvania is much cheaper (just be aware that I believe you'd be paying taxes in two states as you'd have residence in one and employment in another). I'd imagine you'd be much safer living your life outside of Camden and only being there for work.

    Is it possible to take a visit to the area? You should do that and see how that specific area is, and how it would be commuting there from potential places you'd like to live. You may find you aren't really near any of the worst areas at all. At the end of the day, though, your peace of mind and personal safety aren't worth any amount of money. If you are going to spend your time there worrying about being safe, just hold out for another position where you'll be more comfortable.

    twmjr on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    umm. its camden. move along, it ain't worth it

    mts on
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  • Typhoid MannyTyphoid Manny Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    camden's gotten a lot less horrible in the last few years, but you still don't want to live there. and seriously, don't go out at night. luckily there are some pretty good towns within a reasonable commute, like cherry hill which is only like five miles away, so if everything about this job is awesome besides location, you've got options.

    Typhoid Manny on
    Don't mess with me, lady. I've been drinking with skeletons.
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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    That's kind of what I'm thinking, though the more I google around the less enthused I become. When mapping violent crime in your city is apparently a competitive industry, I'm a bit freaked out. Things like the fact that murders drop off along the waterfront area are balanced against the fact that there are only two murders I probably could have seen from the roof of the building last year is apparently an accomplishment, etc etc.

    I'd be interested in hearing how bad the commute through Philly and over the bridge would be likely to be, since apparently the area of Philly opposite is quite nice, but still. I'm pretty sure I'm goign to have to regretfully pass on this one :)

    werehippy on
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    If the site is easily accessible from PATCO it is a very easy commute from Philly. Those trains run about every 5 minutes and never strike.

    It wouldn't be a fun commute by car, but you will at least be going against traffic.

    Kistra on
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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    That might not be too bad, and it seems to be within walking distance. Though if I'm going to spend any amount of time walking around, especially if it's going to be long hours and I'm getting in early or leaving late, then the question of how crappy the area is becomes that much more pressing.

    werehippy on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    a lot less horrible for camden is like saying the sun is a couple degrees cooler in december.
    there are some decent areas around camden, my wife's family leaves down near there, but it doesn't change the fact that the workplace is actually in camden and you still need to leave the safety of the building

    mts on
    camo_sig.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    That PATCO thing seems like it would be a godsend, since there's a terminal within spitting distance of on the related buildings, though not the one I'd work in. And to a certain extent that might not be horrible, if I can just stayed holed up until I duck out and bolt for the train back to civilization. I can theoretically managed to not get into trouble in the 15 minutes max it takes for a train to show up, and the station itself should be fairly safe, right?

    werehippy on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited November 2009
    Are you planning on driving to work? If so, I wouldn't even think about commuting from Philly and try and find somewhere to live in NJ i.e. the previously stated Cherry Hill. However, NJ Transit or septa/patco back to Philly is painless, and to NYC its like 15 bucks.

    Unknown User on
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I was originally thinking driving, until I realized just how close the PATCO station is. I'm sure I can find something decent within walking distance on the Philly side, and if my entire exposure to Camden is station -> short short walk to building -> order in food for lunch -> hoof it back to the station -> station that might not be the end of the world.

    werehippy on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited November 2009
    man it's not like camden is in the middle of a war zone or something. It's really not much worse than university city in philly, and college kids are out till all hours of the night there (albeit with more security and police presence).

    Also if you're going to be taking the train, don't shy away from living in northern liberties or old city. It's a much younger crowd than what you'd find right by the waterfront, and a lot cheaper too.

    Unknown User on
  • Chases Street DemonsChases Street Demons Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Camden is a craphole...if you live there. The good thing about Jersey is that 30 mins from anywhere bad, there's someplace nice to live. Just don't be stupid. If you look like a target, you are one. Don'tloiter unnecessarily after dark, don't go exploring with a camera and cowboy hat on, you'll be fine.

    You're from Philly? You should be alright. Just act like you see real people act. ;)

    Chases Street Demons on
    "Sometimes things aren't complicated," I said. "You just have to be willing to accept the absolute corruption of everybody involved."

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I am starting to feel a bit ridiculous about how ... disconcerted I was about the location. I've lived upstate new york the bulk of my life, so between that and having grown up with a lot of people from new jersey who treat camden like it's hell on earth I think I was a bit more freaked out than the situation merits.

    Though major kudos to HA. This thread has been absurdly helpful in sorting out my planning and generally getting my head out of my ass. Much appreciated.

    werehippy on
  • muninnmuninn Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Waterfront Camden is grungy, but no worse than the Univeristy city in Philly, as someone stated. So there will be a hefty population of students there to dillute the murderer/rapist population of the city.

    If you want to live in a nicer parts, you are in luck as public transportation between Philadelphia and Camden kicks ass. You get $1.30 busses that get you to the Camden waterfront, and the train is almost as cheap from the center Philly. Also Camden has ridiculously nice neighborhoods around it. I have been in Collinswood recently, which looked fantastic ( fancy boutiques, big homes, great places to eat) and was a short, 20 min ride from where you are planning to work.

    So if the job is good, I wouldnt cross it out only because it is in Camden. The area you work in is not that horrible, and there is a lot of great public transit around and good places to live in the vicinity.

    EDIT: there are masses of drunken concert goers going through the area from the Twitter center any given night, without too many incidents, if that helps you feel more at ease.

    muninn on
  • WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    camden's gotten a lot less horrible in the last few years, but you still don't want to live there. and seriously, don't go out at night. luckily there are some pretty good towns within a reasonable commute, like cherry hill which is only like five miles away, so if everything about this job is awesome besides location, you've got options.

    This man is wise. Hell, we have a few people who work much more north than the distance between Camden and Cherry Hill who enjoy living there. Not a terrible commute as long as you're okay with either taking the bus or finding some secure parking in Camden

    Edit: shit, I'm slow on the draw today!

    Wulf on
    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ah Camden. I teach at Camden County College, so I get the fun of being there several days a week. While I don't think it's as bad as the reputation it's received, there have been several occasions wherein I have been either right next to or a couple blocks away from muggings and stabbings. Almost all of these occurred in broad day light at like 1 or 2 pm. It's particularly discouraging to read a crime report that takes place on Cooper street, which is the main street that runs down Rutgers and has a ton of police and security guards at all times. I think a lot of people are responding more to the reputation it has rather than what it's like to actually be there, but it's still not a great place by any stretch of the imagination.

    LoveIsUnity on
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