STT walking at night?
Hey everyone, my friend and I are planning to move down to St Thomas in October. We're looking into staying hopefully at Villa Fairview, it looks like the perfect place to start out. One thing we were wondering about is that we've read a lot of sites that say not to walk at night. Seeing as neither of us are going to ship our cars down we were wondering, how serious it really is. I've grown up around Boston and everyone says not to walk at night here too, but its never stopped any of us.. so I was wondering if it was just a general warning or serious?
I recommend always getting a ride home at night or take a taxi. You should not really walk around anywhere at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
Not a general warning....
Thank you for the replies, I just wanted to get some first hand opinions.
other than taxis, does the bus run at night?
When I have plans to go somewhere unfamiliar at night (a restaurant I haven't yet been to, for instance), I drive by during the day to see where it is and more importantly, where to park. That way I know the lay of the land.
Most often I am going along/meeting someone and I don't feel safe walking around many areas. I do not go places at night which require walking very far.
Busses stop running around 9PM.
Is it possible to rent a vehicle while you're there? There's plenty of parking in front of the building and you'll be able to see more of the island. I rented a vehicle but I also walked in the area both during the day and at night . I was with a friend who didn't "stand out" quite as much as I did. I was never really afraid but I don't suggest you do it. I heard stories from some of my fellow housemates while staying at Villa Fairview. There's also the option of befriending someone staying there that has transportation. One of the greatest things that I came away from Villa Fairview with is a few of the friendships I developed while staying there.
I was wondering about this myself. I'm staying at Villa Fairview from Sept-Oct. how hard is it to find dollar rides at night, or any taxi?
also, from the impression i get on this board, the public transportation is pretty inconsistent . is it just the buses or the taxis too?
do you think a few girls walking together at night is still unsafe? is it just walking alone, or walking at night in general?
thanks for any info.
Listen to the other board members. It isn't safe. Shell out a couple of bucks for a taxi and if you can't afford to do that then you can't afford to be there. You can phone them and they'll pick you up. If you are a few girls walking together you're going to still attract attention--probably more. Besides walking to Villa Fairview is all uphill. Who wants to do that?
And I forgot....there are also quite a few stray dogs, most of which are probably harmless, I never had a problem with them, but you never know.
Thank you guys for the info! I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.
We're really excited about moving down.
I can tell you from experience that walking on STT at night is not bad at all. There are alot of people who are afraid of their own shadows! The fact is there is danger everywhere and as long as you use some common sense you will be safe. Dont walk alone and dont walk around unfamiliar areas. This is good advice anywhere in the world and at anytime day or night.
Of course I walk around with my husband so maybe I have a false sense of security.
If by public transportation, you mean official city buses....they are almost non-existent. However, St. Thomas has a terrific "dollar bus" system. It's actually now $2.00 for most destinations. They are open safari trucks, and there are dozens and dozens of them. They travel a loop all day until about 9 pm, from west, out by the University to east, all the way to Red Hook. There is not a schedule, but you seldom have to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes, except Sunday or in the early evening.
The dollar bus doesn't vary from the loop, so it won't get you everywhere you want to go, ie Magens, or anywhere on the northside or southside. Good idea to form a relationship with one or two taxi drivers. They can be a wealth of knowledge and help, if you meet the right ones.
From Villa Fairview, you will need to walk down the hill during the day to the main road. If coming back in daylight, you can walk up the hill, but it is really UP! Even in daylight, just be aware, and don't even think about walking it at night.
As for walking at night anywhere on island, Red Hook is OK and the main drag of Frenchtown. There are neighborhoods where residents can stroll around the block (as it were) and visit, etc., but for actually walking to get somewhere, it's not a good idea.
this brings up another question, do you suggest keeping some sort of self defense, like pepper spray, on you at all times?
If you do decide to walk up and down the hill. Some more advice....befriend as many people on Garden Street as possible. We always spoke to all the neighbors on our way up (as stated...it is UP) and down. They will look out for you. You can also stop in the little store at the bottom of the hill. People look out for other people they know. Don't make yourself look like a target and you won't be one. Tell Tyson across the street that Morna says "hi". He's a funny guy.
There was a thread a couple weeks back regarding mace and pepper spray, where to buy and the pros and cons of carrying. You can do a search and find lots of info and opinions. Personally, I have never felt the need to carry some sort of self defense, wouldn't know how to use it, and would not want to live, work and play where I thought it was necessary. I think it is far more important to use good judgement and common sense. No guarantees, of course, but if you just act sensibly, you are much less likely to be involved in any type of incident.
Those are really good points Jaunita and Morna. I don't know the area yet of course, but anywhere you go, I think common sense plays the biggest roll.
Wow I am planning on moving to the islands, after reading this forum, now I'm not so sure. What is the problem? Rape, kidnapping, thieves, murders, etc. What is the crime rate? Where is the safest place to live in the Islands?
Which island, Kristie? There are ares where anyone would be a fool to walk around at night. Why is that surprising?
It's not as bad as you'd think from reading posts on the internet. I got down here a little over two weeks ago and the first thing I did was go walking around at 1am to see what it was really like. I got heckled by a bum on my way to a jerk chicken stand and that was it, if you haven't lived in a suburb your whole life you're not going to really bat an eye. And the problems aren't things like rape or anything, it's almost entirely petty theft and you can avoid it with any kind of common sense. I'm also renting an apartment now in a place I was told to "stay out of" and I have to agree with whoever said "some people are afraid of their shadows." I have a great harbor view and I am not worried about anything, my last apartment in chicago was in a way worse area than anything here.
Like others have said, you can't find a safari bus after about 9pm and they really don't go everywhere, if you're going to move down you should grab a copy of the island trader and look for a cheap car (they call them island cars) and until you can do that, take a taxi wherever you need to go that the safari busses don't. Ask around where you work, someone will have the number of a dependable cheap taxi.
I'll repeat, there are areas not safe to walk around late at night.
"I'll repeat, there are areas not safe to walk around late at night.
I just wanna say that I reread my own post and it sounded like I was saying to ignore this advice, but I didn't mean that. Trade is right, there are definitely places you don't want to find yourself in at night, i've seen some of that in the back streets of charlotte amalie. These places are easy enough to avoid is what I meant.
I have lived in STT for 5 years and I definitely know people a few people who have been jumped when walking at night. I think some people fail to live while only avoiding bad things, but I think taking a cab home, etc. just makes sense because of where you are staying. I knew a couple that lived at that place for about 6 months, and they loved the place (facility, neighbors, etc.), but eventually decided the neighborhood was too rough at night.
I think the person who wrote to get to know your neighbors gave you very good advice. Most are very nice and like to look out for each other. Here's more advice that I have found helpful. Tourists can be a popular mark for crack-motivated muggers. (Tourists don't always know their way around and don't know people, they usually have cash, etc.) In STT it is appropriate and expected for you to greet persons on the street with "Good Morning", "Good Afternoon", and "Good Night". I know the last one sounds weird as a greeting to a Statesider, but this is the most useful one. If you pass someone at night walking (although I really recommend not to walk in your neighborhood at night) I would assertively say as you are still moving "Good Night". If the person is cool, it's just polite. If the person is a would-be assailant, it lets him or her (statistically more likely 'him') know that you are not a tourist, which makes you a less attractive victim.
Between you and town is Garden Street (on which I worked for 3 years) and unfortunately this neighborhood that has plenty of lovely families also has a disproportionate share of shootings, especially at night. Please exercise caution in the day too, but it is very nice in the day, with some beautiful historical landmarks, such as the church surrounded by a school.
I love the idea of getting to know your neighbors well. I almost hate to dispense advice of not walking at night, because in a way it would be cool if we all did it to 'take back the night'. I don't want that to happen at your expense though. You are likely to pass some prostitutes and dealers along that way at night unfortunately. Please be smart and safe.
Many have told me that they don't recommend walking on waterfront at night. I have done it many times though, and have always felt safe. I don't know if it is an illusion or not, so I'm not necessarily recommending it. I was followed once (I don't know what the person's intention was - it could have been as small as wanting a smoke), and once while walking with another woman, we were randomly and racistly cussed out by a crack addict too. A local woman yelled at him to shut up and threatened to pour lye on him. This was disturbing and a tiny bit amusing at once. Many people have asked me for money and cigarettes when I have been out walking. I have been taught to NEVER try to give someone money who asks. In fact, the minute you stop walking or worse, pull out a wallet or cash, you are more likely to be a target. It's hard to hit a moving target. If someone pulled a weapon on me and wanted cash, I'd throw the cash to the ground, trying to spread it, and run. I try to emit that I am confident and familiar with where I am when I walk. I do think it helps.
Most people are very nice, but one does have to be careful. Of course, you never want to walk under any chemical influences that would make you more vulnerable. I knew an alcoholic who took the very same route about which you asked and then went a little more north and he was severely beaten and mugged. He was totally drunk and made a very easy target. He also did it at the same time once per week, along with a particular drink special, and might likely have had his route cased in advance.
I don't know if I recommend carrying mace, etc. I do carry pepper spray, but I wonder if someone could get it off of me and use it against me. A whistle is never a bad idea. I would definitely get one if I was living where you are.
It's a shame that the convenience and architectural beauty of behind town comes with security issues. I hope we as an island can change that.
Best of luck to you! There are many reasons to love living here, and I hope these ideas may have helped.