Safe areas for families in Carbondale

By Gus Bode

Evergreen Terrace offers family living in

Carbondale is a pretty safe town, although there are some areas

where safety plays an important role in where students and families

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choose to live, according to Carbondale City Manager Jeff Doherty.

“All areas of Carbondale are safe. People living throughout the

community are never affected by crime in terms of where they live,”

But some areas in Carbondale are safer than others.

A representative from Century 21 said the safest

neighborhoods are located in the southwestern corner of Carbondale,

because it’s considered a more stable area, and there are fewer

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Sima Thurman agrees that the west side of town is the safest

and more suitable for families. She is originally from Homewood and

knows first-hand what areas are best for students and families

because she has experience with both types of housing.

She has lived Carbondale for years and graduated four years

ago from SIUC, studying early childhood education. While she was a

student, she lived in an apartment complex (now remodeled) called

the Egyptian Apartments until 1997.

After the birth of her son, Marqui, she moved to Evergreen

Terrace apartments, University housing for families, for four years.

She reluctantly moved because after graduating from college, her

income level was too high to stay in the apartment complex.

“Evergreen Terrace was very nice and just a nice place to live,

Sima said. I lived there with a mixture of races, and I never had to

deal with domestic abuse or complain about loud music.

Evergreen Terrace apartments have as many as three

bedrooms and are made for family living. There are four parks

within walking distance of the complex, and the area office offers

play groups for children and opportunities for families to become

acquainted with one another, according to Gloria Thurman, a

freshman at SIUC from Killeen,Texas.

“It was the nicest place we saw. There were parks, and it was a

nice and quiet neighborhood,” Thurman said.

Thurman and her husband, James, also a freshman from Texas,

have lived at Evergreen Terrace for eight months. They were in the

U.S. Army and recently moved to Carbondale for better job

opportunities and a change of pace.

Sima, Gloria’s sister, persuaded her to move to the apartments

because she had such a good family experience there. The Thurmans

have two sons, ages 1 and eight months, and found a stable family

environment at Evergreen Terrace because of the special family

programs and safety precautions.

It’s really safe,” Gloria said. “The police patrol day and night.”

In comparison, many Carbondale residents feel the east side of

town is not equipped for safe family living.

“It’s definitely a difference in the west side and the east side,”

She also said the east side, with the exception of some areas

like Giant City Road, has more crime than the west side. Students and

people born and raised in Carbondale live in that area.

As a result, Sima said she prefers to live on the west side of

town, because it’s more suitable for families.

“We deal with the whole city, Carbondale Police Chief R.T.

Finney said about crime in Carbondale. Crime, in terms of the entire

city, is a concern regardless of where it’s at for us. You can find little

hot pockets of crime in every section of the city.”

Sima now lives in Westridge Townhouses, an area occupied

predominantly by professionals rather than families, but she hopes

to buy a home in the future in a more family-based area on the west

“The key to a safe environment is when children and families

are first priority,” Sima said.

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