Many people will often point out that the worst drug problems are in America's Suburbs, not the inner city projects, and that the area's with the worst underage drinking problems are often affluent suburbs and small cities as well. Some people say it's because these teens have more money to spend on the drugs and so pay more, so it inflates the apparent number of drugs sold. Others point out that inner city cops don't have time to bust underage drinking and small time druggies because of the far more important and dangerous crimes going on around them.
I think however there is a much simpler and easier to fix problem that causes this. It's the lack of anything to do after 7:00 in residential neighborhoods or even in some higher density mixed use ones unless you're over 21.
I live in a fairly affluent, somewhat racially mixed, very community oriented and neighborly area on the southside of Chicago. Low Crime, good schools, everyone knows everyone, all that jazz. But there is amazingly little to do. And the area, Beverly Hills, is fairly dense, maybe 8-10 houses per acre and several commercial streets so plenty that could support a night life. However we have 2 restaurants that could be considered Zaggat worthy, a few bars that could be counted on one hand (and only exist on one side of the main street because the other side is a dry zip code). There is a handful of franchises that fit in pretty good. One of the top selling Border's in the country, Panera Bread, Quizno's and what not, but there is only one place that services the under 21 crowd that is open after 8, and that has now reduced it's hours to close at 11 and 12 on weekdays and ends respectivly. This should explain when the Beverly police district (22) has one of the highest incidences of underage drinking IN THE COUNTRY.
There is a commuter train that goes express suburbs to downtown with this being the last stop before downtown, but the last one leaves downtown at 12:05. We could drive to the Northside but that's inconvienent in so many ways. If we take public transportation via the CTA it means dangerous neighborhoods and several transfers.
All there is to do it get your older sibling to buy you beer or talk to that shady guy in the park for some pot and sit holed up in a basement, or in the middle of a park that closes at 11:00 anyway so the cops will come. We have no true Cafe's and local bands play maybe once or twice a month within walking distancem usually at churches.
I know many suburbs are in essentially the same situation, if not worse because kids have to drive EVERYWHERE.
Now I have to say what would some of you say about how to fix this problem, using Beverly as an example. People are afraid of too much nightlife or restaurants bringing undesirables from outside both as workers or patrons (we have only a few appartments). So what say you cyburbians? How do you save Beverly Hills?
Thread moved to FAC, as it didn't really seem appropriate for Cities and Places. --nerudite