1.7 out of 10

Cortez / Stege

37.9248470549468 -122.340000275565
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Public Transport
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
Not great for
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Safe & Sound
  • Schools
  • Childcare
Who lives here?
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Reviews

1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Jul 27, 2012

"Broken Windows"

Fenced in yards, steel-reinforced front doors and occasional piles of refuse greet you in the Cortez/Stege neighborhood of Richmond. In the bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell explained the “Broken Windows” theory about crime and neighborhoods. The theory is that you can help fix crime by fixing the little indicators that a neighborhood isn’t working—like fixing the street lamps, replacing traffic lights and, yes, fixing the broken windows. Well, the impression I get from the Cortez/Stege neighborhood from my brief experience with it is that it is an example of the Broken Windows theory in reverse.

Things look shabby here, like they have come apart, which scares people away and makes those who live here feel less hopeful. Is this reflected in the statistics for this neighborhood?

Let’s start with the obvious starting point: crime.

Although there have been no homicides that fall directly within this neighborhood, there have been 5 homicides just outside of Cortez/Stege since the beginning of the year. Assaults are in the hundreds since the beginning of the year, as are burglaries and robberies of all varieties. Put simply, this is a dangerous crime-ridden neighborhood, where I doubt anyone feels safe.

This, of course effects everything else as well, with the median property price here submerged at $175K and with close 20% of properties selling for less than $100K. The homes here are mostly older, except for in the southwestern end where there some newer looking low cost homes. Lawns are mostly dead and unkept, however, and except in that southwestern area, although even there most backyards are dead.

The eastern end of the neighborhood is dominated by boxy looking apartment buildings, which are relatively nice though still not desirable for most people.

Schools fair no better either: With the local elementary being about average, but the middle school and Kennedy High being well below average.

Put simply, this is a neighborhood where no one with a choice would choose to live.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Close to BART
Cons
  • Very Dangerous
  • Dirty and Unkept
  • Poor Schools