I am typing this from my laptop at a regional chain in Redstone, Arapaho. The fact that I am typing from this computer is a miracle.
Redstone is not a particularly attractive city. It’s a former mining town that’s past its prime. Its population hit its peak almost a century ago. Jobs are scarce, high-tech jobs non-existence, and its reputation is as the armpit of Arapaho.
But despite all of this, one thing it does have going for it is a relatively low crime rate. Lower than any city I have ever lived in, in fact, including Deseret. And not by a small margin. Its crime rate is lower than that of the state as a whole. I knew these statistics, but it just doesn’t feel it when you’re walking around town. And today, when my laptop went missing, and I determined that I had left it on a bench in a questionable part of town, there was no doubt in my mind that some Redstonian had hit the paydirt. But when I arrived… it was still sitting there. This is good news not just because I didn’t lose a $500 laptop, but today of all days the laptop bag had in it my passport and a checkbook. These are not things that I ordinarily carry with me, but today of all days I did.
Despite all I mention above about it being a town past its prime, I am actually partial to the place. I can’t really explain why. The next nearest city, Alexandria, is much more well-regarded. Though it’s twice the distance away, people will often go to Alexandria to do their shopping and whatnot. But perhaps because time has passed it by, Redstone has a uniqueness about it. Sure, there’s a Walmart (one of the reasons I come here), but on any given day you drive by decommissioned mining rigs, a huge statue of the Virgin Mary, and mountains, mountains, mountains (even the mined ones are interesting, if a tad unsightly.
It reminds me of all I liked about Fort Beck, where I lived in Deseret, in comparison to Mocum, where I worked. Mocum had the whole “Mormon town” thing that was problematic to a Gentile like me, but in addition to that and despite the better amenities, the better economy, the more educated population, and a number of other factors I never warmed to it the same way I warmed to the usually disdained Fort Beck. Fort Beck and Redstone are both disdained by their respective states, but in my view both had more personality than the places populated with people disdaining them.
Of course, I say all this and if I had to decide on where to live between Redstone and Alexandria, there’s a pretty good chance I would live in Alexandria simply because of the increased opportunities, increased education, and better amenities. But even if Alexandria were not further away, I think I would still take my bi-weekly escape from Callie to Redstone.
But right now I am typing this on the laptop that has declared Redstone the greatest city on earth.
UPDATE: Some stats: Redstone has 2 violent crimes per 1,000 residents per year and 35 property crimes. The towns where I lived and worked in Deseret had almost 3 and over 40. The city where I lived in Estacado had over 5 and over 60. In Cascadia where I lived it was over 10 and over 80. For reference sake, Detroit is 16.7 and 60.2 and Memphis 15.5 and 84.5. Notably, unemployment is higher and median family income is lower in Redstone than where I lived in Deseret, Estacado, or Cascadia.
What’s a little funny about this is that these low crime stats are decidedly inconvenient for me. One of the things I decided about Redstone is that it would make an ideal setting for a series of crime novels that I have been thinking up for the past few years. Unfortunately, the idea requires a location with a significant crime problem. I only looked up Redstone’s stats in the first place to confirm what I had suspected, that they did have a crime problem relative to other towns in the region, only to discover that it’s actually the safest place I have ever lived. Actually, I guess I can’t say that because I don’t live in Redstone but rather in a nearby town. However, Redstone actually has better crime stats than Callie, so I guess it’s safer than any place I have lived. How bloody inconvenient is that?!