Back in 1998 I looked at many houses (in a certain price range) to buy when facing a rent increase at my current apartment. I saw many houses, and many were in "questionable" locations.... But this was my first house after renting for a year....
Initial thoughts: cute little house, built like a tank, quiet street, convenient to 202 corridor and downtown. On-street parking was abundant.
Location: I bought a house on the 500 block of West 23rd Street, Wilmington. This was a few blocks south of the I-95 and 202 interchange, between Baynard Blvd, Concord Avenue, and between Madison and Monroe Streets. This was a residential area, but had a few churches, a daycare, a gas station, and liquor store all within walking distance. I don't think this neighborhood has a subdivision "name," at least not that I know of.
Curb appeal: It was a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, with full basement and attic, tiny front yard, and a small back yard. It was a two-story brick duplex (shared common wall w/ neighbor) that sort of looked like a 3-story. The other neighbor's house was about 5 feet away. My house had a beautiful pink-flowering tree, a round brick planter, and a full-width porch in the front. Across the street were a few residential garages and a church, so it wasn't a busy street at all, nor were there many houses on my block.
People: My neighbor was very nice when we first moved in. However, he turned out to be a huge problem over a few years, with havin all kinds of questionable people over at all hours of the night and day. We're talking about prostitutes, drug dealers, etc. He also owned a dog, which he NEVER let outside, so the stench from his house could be smelled on hot days. Ugh.
My other neighbors were nice and would say hello when they saw me. Many enjoyed talking for an hour or so, to catch up on things. It was a friendly street, with a nice "mix" of nationalities and ages. There were plenty of children around, as well as older couples.
Crime: When I first moved to the neighborhood, I quickly noticed and realized the kinds of riff-raff my neighbor brought to our street. Prostitutes would visit his house, and even knock on my door thinking I was him. Ugh. Drugs were also a problem, not only next door, but also across the street near one of the little garages and back yard of the church. Many times there were K-9 units there looking for hidden drugs.
One evening I witnessed a drug deal gone bad. Someone parked right outside my window got out of his car and shot at someone who was up the road at the intersection. The shooter left, but his victim ended up on my neighbor's porch, bleeding everywhere. I was subpoena'd by the State as a witness, but it never went to trial.
Recently in the past 2 years, the frequency of shootings, and robberies, and stabbings has dramatically increased in the immediate neighborhood and this street. Last year, there were a few shooting incidents only a half block from my house, and another incident ON my block. One day, when loading my kids into my van, a few "punks" were walking down the middle of the street and warned me that "shots were coming." That night, there were shots in that neighborhood.
The crime rate in that neighborhood keeps increasing, so that's why I cannot recommend that area to anyone. I sold my house last year, and i'm so relieved that I'm out of that place. It's rough, and not a place where I'd move back to.
I've renamed the city and slogan from: "Wilmington: a Place to Be Somebody"
to: "Kilmington: a Place to Be Some BODY"
because that sums it up for that whole city (within the city limits), especially near my old house. There are a lot of bad places scattered all over the area. It's bad, and I'd advise everyone to stay away from it.