Crime in Memphis

<p>Rhodes looks like a great fit for my son (smart kid, wants a liberal arts education, great test scores, wants to help DaddyDarden by getting a nice merit scholarship), except....</p>

<p>Memphis has a bad crime problem. In fact, it is rated dead last out of more that 350 metro areas in "Places Rated". The Rhodes campus looks beautiful and secure, but Mrs. Darden and DardenSon viewed the Memphis Police crime map with some skepticism.</p>

<p>We will be visiting the campus in the next two months, but were hoping for some perspective from those in the know. DardenSon is very smart, but not Street Smart. Do the students at Rhodes feel safe when off campus? Do they have some shops nearby to go to for esesentials in the evening, or can only venture out in the day?</p>

<p>I am sure that Memphis is like most cities with a violent crime problem, in that good and bad pockets exist, but within a few blocks of campus are sites of assault and robbery, etc...</p>



<p>Perhaps as in any metro or urban environment, the students should be careful when venturing out at night for "essentials". Rhodes is not in the best area of Memphis however the campus is very secure. I would suggest the students go in groups of 2 or more.</p>

<p>i heard the campus is secured by a very tall fence-ish wall that surround the entire campus... is this true?</p>

<p>Thanks for posting this question. My relatives and friends in Tennessee have discouraged my son and I from even visiting and they paint some very negative pictures of Memphis in general (i.e. bars on windows everywhere). Can someone please provide an honest assessment of the general atmosphere?</p>

<p>You may want to send a PM to curmudgeon -- his D is at Rhodes.</p>

<p>I pm'd Curmudgeon yesterday so he'd know about the question. I am very interested in his take on this.</p>

<p>There is no perfect college, they all have compromises. For the right school a tough town is probably worth it, and Rhodes looks like it may be an excellent fit in most other respects.</p>

<p>P.S., Can somebody please explain to me how I can start a new forum for a college that doesn't yet have a forum, e.g. "Darden College"? I've searched all over the danged website, and I cannot figure out how to do it.</p>

<p>Requests to start new threads should be posted in the Community & Forum Issues section. If there is enough interest, a new forum will be created. </p>

<p>I hope Cur responds. I've only visited Rhodes once, and it certainly seemed like a secure campus to me (limited access points). I also didn't see any problems with the surrounding areas (the pandas at the zoo seemed friendly enough, but you never know about the Komodo dragon).</p>

<p>I posted this on a Tulane thread : </p>

This sounds so much like a small LAC in another southern city with blinding, incessant poverty. It too has plenty of opportunities to serve some of America's most needy, most forgotten, most desperate. The school doesn't just pay lip service to "service". It is the school's primary extracurricular focus (up to and including recruiting public service advocates with some pretty good incentives ) And yes there is violence there , too.


<p>So. About Rhodes . Memphis is a tough town. On one side that blinding poverty comes a too little close for my liking. Campus security is great. Access points are limited, lots of guards, but as my own D says "There's gotta be a reason they think all this is required." The Hollywood/Springdale area at one time had the highest infant mortality rate in the nation and it's not that far. My D and a friend tutor at a school close to there. In the daytime. </p>

<p>If a kid is prone to substance abuse Memphis ain't a great place to dry out.</p>

<p>It's really nice place but it is an old city with some entrenched problems and it is seemingly without a great deal of institutional will to fix them.</p>

<p>D feels safe at all times on campus. I wonder at times if she is becoming too comfortable. D wanted to attend a school in a tiny town (Centre, Colgate, Hamilton) and safety was paramount to her as a soph and still some as a senior but the city advantages (med school, St.Jude's, the shopping, the entertainment, U of Memphis) to her finally won out over the negatives. </p>

<p>Rhodes is very proactive starting early during the first day on campus I think - safety, date rape (sex signals), alcohol. I think they do a good job and the students learn from Peer Assistants (like my kid) the "lay of the land". The PA's stay with them pretty much solid for a couple weeks (and keep up with them much longer).</p>

<p>I made a visit to Rhodes with my high school son a couple of weeks ago. I have to say I was very concerned about what I saw. To be blunt, the entire drive from the airport to the school was through one of the poorest ghetto areas I have ever seen (and I've travelled the world). The only place we could find to eat lunch in the vicinity of the school (admittedly, this was my first trip to Memphis and I had no idea where to look) was a nasty Church's fried chicken restaurant that was sitting right beside a run-down "adult entertainment" club with bars on the windows. The campus is surrounded by a high fence, and security was in place at the entrances to the campus. But I felt like I was driving into a "protected zone" and I would have no desire to drive back out in the surrounding area. The campus itself is pretty enough. All (most) of the buildings utilize the same architectural style and brick/stone work, which at first looked pretty nice but it started to wear on me (too monotonous) by the time we were leaving. We attended a basketball game, and there were only about 200 people in attendance (only about 50 of whom were students). Not exactly the school spirit we were looking for (my son is an athlete). In short, I would not feel comfortable with my son attending.</p>

<p>Wow. That really annoys me. I try to be as honest as possible in my portrayal of a school my D loves, give the good and the bad and here you come with a hatchet job. Sheesh. This was your first post? You joined today to make THIS post? Hmmmmm.</p>

<p>Number one- how did you get from the airport to Rhodes? You certainly didn't take the same roads we do. Rhodes setting is next to large pretty park containing the Memphis Zoo. To the East the school is bordered by a very nice older neighborhood that continues to get nicer as you go East (away from the river). Cooper-Young is trendy arty district of nice restaurants/shops . A bit funky/eclectic and just what a college kid likes. Further East is U Memphis with scads of college hangouts. Towards the river is midtown and the medical district and then downtown with Beale Street and the minor league park right downtown (it's great) and the arena for the Grizzlies, all of which Rhodes students attend frequently. Concerts, live blues, restaurants, nice and plentiful hotels- a bit touristy but's still better than Sixth Street in Austin. </p>

<h1>2 As far as food goes, jesus man - you ended up at Church's. You didn't try at all, did you? Did you even consult anybody at Rhodes? Check a newspaper? Ask a cop? Memphis is wonderful foodie town and everybody has their favorites and they are fiercely loyal. Folks, discount this completely. I wouldn't eat at a Church's in Palm Springs much less Memphis. Good grief. Do you usually frequent Church's? Unbelievable. How was the Memphis McDonald's?</h1>

<p>Rhodes is consistently ranked as a Top Twenty Most Beautiful Campus and it is in my personal top 5.</p>

<p>Sounds to me like your kid might have had a better time if he had come alone.</p>

<p>Be critical but be fair. They asked for info . You provided crap.</p>

<p>To everybody else. I presented the facts, both good and bad. Search my name and Rhodes. I speak often of the problems I see at the school (it's the right thing to do) but I believe it is a very fine college, one of our finest, and I am very proud my daughter attends. As for her? She wouldn't be annoyed at this post. She'd have laughed her head off. Silly parents.</p>

<p>thanks curmugen... i was really put off by razordads comment. it kind off got me scared about seriously considering rhodes. but im glad you to hear you have a very different impression of it!</p>

<p>You are more than welcome. I'll give you the unvarnished truth. Search on my name. You'll see. ;)</p>

<p>There are some nice links here to a Memphis the unfortunate prospective mentioned above didn't get to see. When doing a college visit the time you spend researching the school and the community is well worth it. </p>

<p>Rhodes</a> College | Explore Memphis</p>

<p>Something new this year at Admissions- student bloggers</p>

<p>Admissions</a> Office</p>

<p>One last thing. Memphis has poor people and they are visible. Do they have more than New York, L.A. San Antonio, Houston? No. Is it possible to drive and live in Memphis without seeing a ghetto? Maybe, but why would you do that? . A city has safe places and not so safe places. I can take you to places in any city of any size with an underclass and find the same neighborhoods. My kid is incredibly safety conscious and we are not from a tiny town, we are from NO town. We live on a ranch with 100's of acres separating familes. She likes the place (both school and town) and can't see herself anyplace else. She has no regrets. </p>

<p>Go see for yourselves, and for gooness sake- ditch that parent and talk to some students on your own, go to some classes, meet some prof's. In short try it on for size. You can't learn anything much by window shopping. Get deep down in it. Then you'll know. </p>

<p>My D visited 5 times, and I know that is a lot. She just wanted to be sure and Memphis was on the way to everyplace else we visited so we just kept dropping by.</p>

<p>p.s. The fence is around the campus. It is wrought iron and gorgeous. People are making it sound like chainlink and 3 strands of razor wire. This campus area is as safe as any truly urban campus area we visted. The campus itself is very safe and more safe than many (even some rural "open" campuses) .</p>

<p>Darden, I've merely offered you my perception, based on a recent, cursory visit to Rhodes. We were visiting another school later in the day and did not spend any time looking around the greater Memphis area. The airport is on the south side of town, and we drove the direct route, given to us by the rental car agency, to Rhodes, which is basically in the center (or perhaps slightly northwest part) of the area shaded on the map as the city of Memphis. The few blocks before arriving at the campus are comprised of nice, large, older homes. As I pointed out in my original message, it was our first visit and we had no idea where to look for a quick bite to eat (we were pressed for time). I'm sure Memphis has its nice areas, restaurants and attractions. I said the campus is pretty, but, from a personal taste standpoint, I didn't care for all the buildings being of uniform construction/stone. The point about the attendance at the basketball game and perceived school spirit is just a fact, but that is not unusual for small liberal arts colleges. Certainly didn't mean to offend any current students or parents of such students. Obviously you need to go check it out for yourself. If, however, your kid wants a strong liberal arts school in the Southeast, but with less of an urban feel, you might check out Furman (in Greenville, S.C.) and Elon (in the Burlington area, sort of between Wake Forest and Chapel Hill). Best of luck.</p>

<p>Both good schools. Furman also has buildings built in the same style and color as each other. The lake is beautiful. The landscaping exquisite. You get more of a religious feel at Furman , maybe from its Baptist roots, much more so than at Rhodes. The kids seem happy and contented. D looked , liked it, but it fell by the wayside for no particular voiced reason. </p>

<p>Elon doesn't quite have the stats of Rhodes or Furman but is great school in its own right. lderochi has a child there who I believe is very happy. P.M. him for info. For a female realize that the M/F is even more skewed at Elon than Rhodes or Furman (and it's pretty bad at those two). </p>

<p>I'd also suggest Sewanee and it is more rural than any school mentioned, Southwestern and Austin College in Texas and as well as the schools I mentioned before. Good hunting. Remember to have fun.</p>

<p>razrdad, As to "perceived" school spirit being a "fact", I think the truth would be better served by calling it your perception at that sporting event because I can assure you the students are intensely proud of their school and school pride is everywhere. I've been there many times. You've been there once for a couple of hours. Check out Rhodes out of state %ages and compare them with other LAC's in the South. You'll see that these kids want to be there.</p>

<p>Razordad, I appreciate your taking the time to give your perceptions, since we'll be better prepared for our visit later this month. Despite some misgivings, this school seems to have a lot going for it, and we'll go see it for ourselves.</p>

<p>Razordad and others,
Ironically, our twins and I ate at what I believe is the same Church's ( sorry Curm) last September during our kids visit for campus and to meet tennis coaches and staff. We ended up at Church's because, as my kid's say, I am directionally challenged. Several faculty had given us great places to eat within one block of campus-but none were opened at 11:30 am on Monday and kids had an interview one hour later.</p>

<p>Interestingly, I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and have lived in several major metropolitan areas as an adult. While I agree the area around Church's ( 1-2 miles from campus) does not mirror Central Park it certainly doesn't seem to rival the area on Yale. Friends of our children were so put off from Yale campus safety concerns after a visit they chose not to apply. All of this is to say, yes there is a gate around Rhodes and security from what we have been able to find out is excellent. As a parent of two kids about to depart for college ( and watching/reading about problems with campus violence- including young woman from our city murdered at Auburn yesterday) I do not view gates with security guards as a negative thing. Our kids have applied to a number of the schools listed in this thread-many, if not most of the small LAC's I remember were enclosed by fences/gates and were staffed by security guards. Furman is a school high on our kids' list and my first impression of driving to the school last February from the interstate was that the school was not in a great are of town! While Greenville, SC crime rates may not approach Memphis, the way to and from the campus did not seem tremendously different.</p>

<p>As Atlanta residents, our kids were NOT interested in applying to GaTech because of campus proximity to "unsafe areas" of city. Even though husband is an alum and we frequent the tech campus-I must say I wish Rhodes security patterns/practices could be replicated at places like Tech, Ga, UofF. </p>

<p>FWIW, there are a number of small LAC's that have strong school spirit in Athletics-try Davidson right now during the height of NCAA basketball, Furman or Wofford during Football.</p>

<p>Thank you Darden & Razordad for your posts. Please don't be intimidated by another poster's overly defensive and somewhat offensive posts. We are all intelligent adults here and recognize an honest opinion based on one's observations & can distinguish defensiveness from true concern. Your perceptions are as valid as the other poster's "facts".</p>