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Safety important in post-grad living choices

Story by Katie Ericson

The first semester is nearly done, and seniors are starting to realize that their college experience is almost over.

This usually results in panic, nostalgia and general fear, but life is completely manageable after college.

One of the most important things after college is to find a place to live.

Deciding where to live after college can be easy. Job offers or graduate schools can narrow down the choices.

However, if you do not plan to continue school and have no job offers yet, the choice can be complicated.

Senior Judy Lee agreed.

“It’s tough to figure out where you want to go. There are so many options,” Lee said.

With the whole country to choose from, the process can be very confusing.

There are ways to narrow it down, though.

Be sure to look at a city’s average rent and unemployment rate. Some have great attractions and opportunities but terrible statistics.

Luckily, a recent study by rent.com took these factors, and average income, into account and created a list of the Top-10 cities for college graduates.

At the top is Seattle, Wash. With a population of 626,865, an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent and the average single-bedroom apartment costing $1,300, it is not a bad place to live.

Neither is Washington D.C., with an average income of $62,900, Dallas with apartments costing only $900 or Boston with unemployment down to 5.9 percent.

Yet this list does not take other factors into account.

St. Louis is No. 9 due to its $960 apartments and 7 percent unemployment rate, but the city has a reputation as an unsafe one. Using FBI criminal statistics, you can tell a lot about a city.

Out of St. Louis’s 318,667 people, 5,661 experience violent crimes annually. There are roughly 113 murders, 199 rapes and 1,778 robberies each year.

While this does not sound particularly bad, Raleigh, N.C., has 420,594 people and only 1,780 violent crimes and 17 murders a year.

“There’s no way I would live in an unsafe area,” said senior Madeline Matthews. “It’s just too risky, especially if it’s somewhere I’ve never even been before.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s unemployment rates, Iowa City ranks 8th in the United States with 3.8 percent unemployed. Des Moines is 27th with 4.7 percent.

Then you factor in FBI crime reports. With 207,400 people, Des Moines has 1,094 violent crimes, seven murders and 250 robberies.

Yet if you look at West Des Moines with 58,134 people, it had 95 violent crimes, no murders and 16 rapes last year.

“You’ve gotta be careful in Des Moines,” said senior Robert Starace. “If you live in the wrong area it can get pretty bad, but for the most part, it’s a great place to live.”

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