Visiting small towns and bad neighborhoods
I've lived in small towns, and in bad neighborhoods, and there is definitely a comparison between the two. Bad neighborhoods operate on the same premise as small towns, if there is a stranger wandering around, they are probably up to no good. Or, if they mean no harm, hopefully they will be spending some money.
The best advice that I can give to people who would like to visit bad neighborhoods because of an historic interest is *don't*. The people who live there will not know why you are there, and will become immediately suspicious. And while you know that you are there for an innocent reason, they will only see *stranger danger*. And as for ordinary small towns, the best thing to do is to spend some money. Buy something at the roadside, eat a cafe, buy something at a garage sale, buy an antique. I personally love to visit small towns because of my interest in history, and I consider the purchase of a few things from local merchants a reasonable price to pay.
Of course, there really is no such thing as a *bad neighborhood*. It's where people live. If you show respect, and some common sense, you will be fine. May I suggest Google Street View?
Posted by Brad Hall