Slough, which recently tried to change its name to Slough-On-Thames to sound less relentlessly awful, is perhaps the most obvious example; it became a vast industrial complex during the industrial revolution, and still is...but with absolutely no cultural life to speak of, essentially being one continuous factory complex. John Betjeman's infamous poem is not about it specifically, but about it being "the menacing shape of things to come", which it was, having produced hundreds of similarly joyless towns existing only to supply workers to industrial estates and metropolises and sustain sky-high crime rates, and whose only semblance of cultural life is the local Tesco (Wal-Mart for Yanks).
The phrase appears in a description of Port Royal during the colonial period. The port was widely seen as an open haven for pirates and smugglers, turning the economy into one based around boozing, whoring, stealing, and an assortment of activities centered around catering to men who could spend all of their pay in a few days. Recalling the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692 that caused it to sink into the sea. There was another earthquake in 1907, which destroyed the rebuilt parts.
Tortuga Island in real life was, for some of its history, very much as depicted in fiction. At worst, every second building was a brothel, the rest being taverns. One attempt to create a more normal lifestyle for the inhabitants involved importing over a thousand prostitutes, so the sailors would stop raping everyone in sight and turn to consenting professionals. (Yes, it was so bad that filling it with whores was considered an improvement.)
The picture for this trope is inspired by the city of Bath in the south west of England, which in the Georgian period was an aristocrat's seasonal playground. Whilst the city was good if you were rich, the poor lived in... well, look at the picture.
The picture is titled Gin Lane and was drawn as contrast to Beer Street, showing pleasantly mellow people chatting and discussing politics, to comment on the problem of cheap gin in England at the time. Gin was seen as being as corrupting as crack today. Considering just how cheap it was (the tax code of the time made it much more profitable to turn the grain into gin instead of bread, so overproduction followed and prices plummeted to absolutely ridiculous levels) and how prevalent abuse could get, it wasn't an exaggeration.
It was also interpreted as a Stealth Insult, because part of the implication was that all the business going to places like Beer Street was what helped caused the poverty and wretchedness of Gin Lane in the first place. Though it's true that the author hated gin.
Speaking of 19th century England, the Whitechapel of Jack the Ripper and Soho when Mr. Hyde had his flat there qualify.
After the murders ended, the public realized how absymal the living conditions were and the worst parts were demolished and then rebuilt.
Modern Whitechapel STILL qualifies. Riddled with half-derelict buildings and the filthy run-off of street-markets.
Finnish language word huithapeli, "schlemiel", "no-gooder", "wastrel" is a corruption of Whitechapel.
Another reason for the living conditions was that the Police Are Useless trope applied. In addition to Interservice Rivalry, they were also under-trained. Reforms were introduced to improve the reputation and effectiveness of the London police forces. London has two police forces. One is for the city, the other is for the administrative division.
Soho remained something of a Wretched Hive until relatively recently, due to its position as London's Red Light District and the large element of organised crime. It's become more gentrified over the past twenty years or so, though.
Yoshiwara, now one of the prefecture of Tokyo, was allowed legal prostitution/slavery by Bakufu and Imperial government until end of WW2.
Allegedly the statistical shame of Japan for crimes committed per capita, at a jaw dropping 3 in 10000, is Osaka. Though most of it is pickpocketing. note Other "high crime" cities in the US have a rate typically in the hundreds.
Shanghai in the pre-WW2 years was called "the largest brothel in the world" and its unofficial mayor was a Triad crimelord. Shanghai was known as many things, especially as the "Whore of the Orient", for high rates of corruption and vices such as prostitution (especially of American Caucasian women) and drugs. In particular, this was the case during the fall of the Qing dynasty and warlord-era China, when China was divided into rival bickering gang-politicians warlords. Shanghai dealt with drugs as opium, and was a major hub for human slavery. To be "Shanghaied" still means being kidnapped for unwilling labour; for men often as sailors, or for women as prostitutes. Violent crime was rife, while at the opposite end of the danger scale people had to contend with theft and professional begging. Contemporary Shanghai also tackles with these issues. Many censored movies deal with issues regarding vice, and the difficulties adapting experienced by young Chinese, especially migrant job seekers from rural China.
Before Portugal handed it back to China in 1999, Macau had a reputation as a stronghold for the Triads. But it was a really pleasant place to live, work, or visit, as long as you kept out of the politics around the gambling industry.
Some parts of Hong Kong didn't have a much better reputation, especially the Kowloon Walled City (an old Song Dynasty fortress that specifically wasn't leased to the British during the whole Hong Kong deal). In a postwar building boom, the area grew expansively, aided by the fact that Hong Kong authorities couldn't enter it, because technically it was a foreign territory and the Mainland authorities would complain to the Ninth Heaven. From World War II to The Seventies, it was completely controlled by the Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, drug use, and black market medical care. The movie Blood Sport starring Jean Claude Van Damme was set here, including the Kumite (Darwinistic martial arts tournament run by Tong druglords). Fluorescent light illuminated the narrow alleys as the crowded ghetto blocked out the sunlight. Rogue electrical engineering drained power from the city, and made life for the residents unsafe. Yet at the same time, it had many genuinely hardworking people who just wanted a decent life, thus formed tightly-knitted groups to protect themselves. In the early nineties, the Walled City was completely demolished, and now it houses a City Park.
While hardly a posh district, at no point in time was the Walled City completely wretched or a real slum. Most of its 33 thousand-strong population were artisans and tradesmen who lived there simply because it was a cheapest accomodation in Hong Kong: as the land belonged to no one, no one paid taxes on it and rent was the lowest there. Even the gangs tried to limit their impact: after all, it was their base, NOT feeding ground. In short, it was little different than a lot of poor neighborhoods around the world, its only defining character being its questionable legal status. But even then, since the mid-Seventies there was a tacit agreement between the mainland authorities (to whom the area ostensibly belonged) and the British, that allowed British police to operate within the Walled City. This radically brought down the crime activity and increased the quality of life, as the utilities could come there as well.
Singapore for a better part of the 19th Century was also known derisively by the rest of The British Empire as "Sin Galore," due to the prevalence of corruption, prostitution, gambling dens, and Triad activities. This reputation was in part due to the British East India Company either neglecting what was going on in the settlement or actively collaborating with its malcontents. It was only after the transfer to official British rule by Queen Victoria that the colony and future city-state began to improve its image as an international trading hub.
The Favelas of Brazil: they house some of the worst poverty in the world and the drug gangs are so heavily armed and violent that they killed almost 600 cops in 2007 alone.
On the flipside, the favelas also contain some of the nicest illegal housing in the world. Most of the housing has electricity, running water, and TV connections. There is even an internet cafe, restaurants, shops, and a bank in Rio de Janeiro's Rocinha.
Try the whole country. It looks a festive Arcadia in commercials, but it's filled with blatantly sociopathic and corrupt politicians and law enforcement, Insane Troll Logic laws and lives in Breads And Circuses so people will keep voting for the same inept, corrupt parties and continue living barely decent lives, because everything, even basic rights, are overpriced because of senseless taxes, the politicians alone having obscenely large salaries. The Favelas are just the byproduct of it, and are used to breed more criminals so the government can be a Villain with Good Publicity. Oh, and if you group up with others to speak against it, the police and government will decide they're the Galactic Empire and the Stormtroopers and curb the protests with extreme violence, as well as kidnapping and killing people, as well as making away with their corpses.. When you get down to it, Brazil is a Crapsaccharine World that's actually North Korea Expy, and its people are cowed or brainwashed into acting as if it's normal.
The townships of South Africa, particularly the big ones like Khayelitsha outside Cape Town. Soaring murder, drugs and violence rates, cheap ramshackle homes, and fluctuations between highest and second highest poverty rates in the world (competing with Brazil's Favelas). And yet, in the nicer areas, it's not entirely unheard of for one to find a corrugated iron shack housing a working widescreen television set...
Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities remain absurdly dangerous places despite the nominal "end" of the Iraq War. Urban bombings and gun massacres with double-digit death tolls are literally a daily occurence; more than 8,000 Iraqis died in terror attacks in 2013 alone, and the sectarian violence shows no sign of abating.
The CNMI, specifically Saipan and Rota. http://www.saipansucks.com/about.htm Yes, they are US territories ... and a testing lab for corporate corruption and political corruption. As well as having limited health services, no potable tap water, police brutality out the wazoo...
The coastal town of Eyl in Somalia: the base of operations for pirates who prey on oil tankers and civilian boats in the Gulf of Aden.
Somalia has been a Wretched Hive since the government was overthrown. Most of the country is now divided between two anarchistic factions who kill each other off on a daily basis. There's a reason why people are warned against visiting there.
A running joke among people who live in the United States is for all of New Jersey to be portrayed and talked about as if it's this. In reality, it's nowhere near Wretched Hive levels. For more info, see our page on it. Most areas are actually nice; there are suburbs that are normal and streched of land. Then again, there are cities residing here that have the worst crime rates in the nation.
Two reasons why Joisey has its terrible reputation are two cities very close to New York City: Newark with its sky-high crime rates and Elizabeth with its industrial pollution. New Yorkers who venture past these wretched hives are often surprised at how pleasant the rest of the state is.
There's also Camden on the other side of New Jersey, which is a terrible city even by global standards. Wracked by poverty, it has the highest crime rate in the United States, and looks about as inhabitable as the surface of the moon. Naturally, just like Newark and Elizabeth form an unnatural barrier to New Yorkers seeing anything but hell in New Jersey, Camden is across the river from and colors the state's general impression in Philadelphia.
Not that some areas of Philadelphia are much better. The overall city has seen a lowering of crime rates in recent years, but the economic decline, unfettered poverty, and gang activity of North (and parts of West) Philadelphia has earned it a reputation as a slum. World-class colleges like University of Pennsylvania and Temple University are known for having beautiful, top-notch campuses while the areas directly outside or around them are crime-ridden neighborhoods that have definitely seen better days. The Temple University Police department is the largest university police force in the United States for this exact reason. And The Mafia is still a force to be reckoned with, although they're a lot quieter and less visible about their "business" nowadays.
Detroit likely qualifies as a Wretched Hive. Not only are violence and poverty extremely prevalent (for example, a dead man was once found frozen in several feet of ice in an abandoned basement), the city has also been noted as being in a state of mass exodus, with its citizens fleeing to greener pastures. It doesn't help that, like many hives in Cyber Punk, Detroit is also dominated by a few of the biggest and most industrial corporations in America.
Following General Motors' infamous mass shutdowns of the town's factories in the 80's, Flint, Michigan has become one of the poorest towns in the US, and in 2012 was declared the most violent city with a population of over 100,000.
New York from the 1800's until about the 1940's is famously one, although in other countries it had the image of a land of milk and honey, even though most poor immigrants left slums and went into even worse slums in New York.
Washington, DC, the capital of the United States. It has very high crime rates for its population. Since the nineties, it has dropped in the rankings for both violent crime and property crime. However, crime in D.C. still receives more media attention than does crime in cities with higher rates, simply because D.C. is D.C. and those other cities are not.
It doesn't help that mayor Marion Barry was caught on tape in a hotel room smoking crack with a hooker.
It's unclear whether this says more about the people of Washington D.C. or about the other candidates for Mayor, but after he got out of prison for the above debacle, Marion Barry ran for Mayor again and WON.
People who visit Los Angeles often come back citing the city to be this. TV and movies only really portray the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, when in reality, most of it is decadent, scruffy, unkempt, and drowned in smog. The usually high-temperatures don't help this, either.
And even then, they're most likely visiting the western or southwestern parts of the city. Pretty hard not to notice the de facto racial segregation that's made the entire area surrounding Downtown (except for a few choice gentrified bits) famous for virtually unlivable crime levels (at least, until recently) and gang activity. There's a noticeable drop in road, air, and housing quality once you get into the industrial areas east of....well, everything anyone would bother seeing.
And it seems that the places the tourists do see are the most decadent ones, not the perfectly normal neighborhoods.
Cleveland, Ohio: the Mistake by the Lake, a town where the river used to regularly catch fire due to industrial pollution.Here.
Gary, Indiana, quickly went this way once the steel industry it was founded upon collapsed in the 60s. The streets are lined with closed down retail businesses, the scent of industrial pollution fills the air, and the crime rate is even worse then that of Chicago's South Side. Admittedly, the city has improved in recent years, but it still has a long way to go.
The Tenderloin district of San Francisco has increasingly become a dumping ground for street drugs and prostitution, largely because the rest of the city has become increasingly gentrified. Tourists who make a wrong turn from nearby City Hall and Union Square have been known to run away screaming.
ALL the Russian cities during infamous "Rough ninenties" — period of poverty, chaos, banditism, and corruption. Now it's certainly better in big cities, while life is still bad for small towns and rural zones.
When Milwaukee is portrayed in the media (fictional or otherwise), it’s usually as this. It’s also the way the rest of Wisconsin tends to view the city. While Milwaukee does have a few individual neighborhoods that could reasonably be described as this, it also has some very nice areas such as the Lakefront, the Third Ward, and Brady Street, which are rarely seen or referenced in the media. In fact, much of what is said in the media about Milwaukee in the local media (where many get their perception of the city) could easily be seen as evidence of outstate Wisconsin being a Type II Eagleland.
Ciudad Juárez, a Mexican City on the border next to El Paso, used to be this until a couple of decades ago (and is starting to fall back into this category, not so much now as a town of lowly pleasures but as a murder metropolis). How bad is it in Juarez you ask? Local business owners are requesting UN intervention!
Also from Mexico: Culiacán (and while we're at it, most of the state of Sinaloa) is equally violent due to the drug cartel's violence. Because the city is a main hub of the drug cartels (and Sinaloa being the birthplace of most of Mexico's own drug cartels with a few exceptions), a day where there is not a shootout on the streets for really pointless reasons - such as someone honking at the person in front of him, or just looking funny at a cartel gunman - is practically unheard of. Made worse with the Red Cross scared to death about attending shootout victims, the Human Rights Watch Commission acting like a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card due to blatant Loophole Abuse, the people in general being defenseless against the drug cartels because the federal gun laws forbid civilians to bear anything stronger than a .22 rimfire, and the rampant police corruption.
This is actually bad enough that one police chief fled to the US out of fear for her life and another town's entire police force resigned for the same reasons. One regional governor was also murdered by cartel gunmen, who apparently were able to waltz into his office and shoot him dead without anyone trying to stop them.
Tijuana has been infamous for being this long before the 2006-ongoing "Drug War". Mostly because of the drug cartel activity, but also because just like Ciudad Juarez, it serves as the perfect destination for US teenagers to get booze and "entertainment." Also: during a nation-wide area code renumbering, Tijuana had been given the area code 666. The Mexican Comms and Transportation Secretariat had to change it after lots of complaints from Tijuanans.
Tepito. The biggest flea market in the world is also the best place to find drugs and weapons (and graffiti).
In Israel: formerly Ramlah, now Lod is mostly notorious for this. The police had a huge operation to swipe tonnes of illegal arms and still didn’t get most of it. People there are used to falling asleep to the sound of guns. Netanya also has such reputation, but it’s mostly negative media representation.
There's a joke about how much better the new train model is compared to the old one: It only shakes while approaching Netanya...
Somewhat significantly—and not coincidentally—Lod and Ramlah are home to large concentrations of Israel's traditionally disenfranchised Arab population. Decades of poverty and discrimination do more or less the same thing everywhere you go.
Ditto the Gaza Strip.
The so-called deep web is commonly regarded as this by those who know it. Now, the term deep web refers to every part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines, often because of technical limitations. A lot of it are academic databases or even results of other search engines, which are anything but dangerous. However, it also contains websites with the ending .onion, which are only accessible via Tor, and these sites can be quite sick. It is not easy to get reliable sources as to the content of the sites, but some (unverified) examples include: guides on how to rape and torture people, human experimentation sites, marketplaces for drugs and arms, child porn, classified content from intelligence agencies and the military and sites where you can hire assassins. The simple reason for this content is that .onion sites are located on hidden servers, and that Tor greatly increases your anonymity on the internet. However, the deep web is not immune to trolls and government agencies are still able to monitor what goes on there. Also, many download links and a lot of the content, which is often described as being magnitudes better and bigger than the content on the surface web, is complete and utter useless crap.
Grozny, the capital of Chechnya has been this way for over two decades now, since the Soviet Union fell, and Chechnya has been through war after war. The country has officially been at peace for several years, but Chechen Rebels and Russian Mafia still have major presences in the city.
The particular combination of sectarian ill feeling, poverty, drug dealing, alcoholism, knife culture, and if we're honest, a city lost in its own legend means that Glasgow is still the official murder capital of Europe (new Europe included).
New Orleans, Louisiana is infamous, even within its own state, though local governments do their best to hide this fact from tourists. The police were notoriously corrupt (at one point, they even carried out contract killings), people were warned not to stop at red lights at night, the local population was poverty stricken with Projects the size of neighborhoods, it was once a center for the Mafia, and some neighborhoods were so bad that even the police dare not venture there, ever. The murder rate was so high, that it was a strong contender for the title "murder capital of the United States". And all of this was before Katrina hit. It's started to get a bit better since then, but it's still ahead of anywhere else in the U.S.
Part of the reason for the high crime rate was the influx of illegal weapons. Also, the police did sometimes go into the bad areas; but always with a SWAT team.
The Ancient Greek city of Corinth. It was well-known as a Red Light District, and to "live as a Corinthian" was to have no morals whatsoever.
The (now quiet holiday destination town) of Russell in New Zealand was known as "The Hell Hole of the Pacific" in the days following British colonisation for being lawless and full of prostitution.
Cervantes said of the Indies: "The shelter and refuge of Spain's desparadoes, the church of the lawless, the safe haven for murderers, the native land and cover for card sharps, the general lure for loose women, and the common deception of the many and the remedy of the particular few."
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — A.K.A. "Stabmonton" or "Deadmonton". Orginally, the prejorative Deadmonton was used to describe Albertan capital Edmonton's lack of a social or cultural life despite it being reknowned for its vibrant Summer festivals (one specificically honouring multicultural and ethnic diversity), a Golden Age in The Eighties which lead to the "City of Champions" slogan (for among other reasons the five Stanley Cup titles by the Edmonton Oilers of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier), and "Royal" fine arts institutions, a giant mall (which had a accident that killed several people in the 80s), host of the Universades (Olympics for university students), a statue to world peace (dove) dedicated for Pope John Paul II's visit, and Michael J. Fox. The contemporary usage of "Deadmonton" is derived from a wave of murders. Initially in 2005, Edmontonians were terrorised by a murder spree that helped them win another "Championship" (Murder Capital Of Canada) with 39 murders, and again in 2011 with 48 victims. An amateur film maker/Edmontonian heavily inspired by the Dexter book Darkly Dreaming Dexter intended to produce a series of snuff films based on Dexter themes, he was caught with one victim. A murder over a Christmas tree, triple homicides twice in the same place (a nightclub that changed names), an elderly Chinese woman sexually assaulted, a young Chinese man dismembered using the same modus operandi as the film 'Gangster Number 1". The most recent was a gun fight at the University of Alberta's peaceful HUB mall which left three dead. A website entitled "Deadmonton: Last link to the left" is an online memorial and desperate cry for help.
A good example of how bad things are: in 2004, fellow Alberta metropolis Calgary saw its Flames reach the Stanley Cup finals. The Red Mile celebrations became most famous for plenty of ladies taking their tops off. Two years later, as the Oilers also made a miracle run for the SCF, their "Blue Mile/Copper Kilometer" also had flashing but was more prevalent for violence.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. More accurately, the Downtown East Side, especially the area around the intersection of Main Street and East Hastings, Vancouver. Located within blocks of the Vancouver Olympic Village, the area is one of the poorest neighborhoods in North America. Vancouver Police filmed the lifestyles of habitual heroin users in a documentary called Thin Blue Line; there is a reason one of Canada's few real-life superheroes has taken this area as his "beat." A portion of Granville Street and the streets just off it could also qualify. Unusually, Granville is neither run-down nor out of the way; it is a major downtown traffic artery.
Another Canadian example could be the downtown core of Hamilton, Ontario, especially after the steel industry all but abandoned the city. High poverty rates, absentee landlords running borderline slums, abandoned buildings, and a host of other associated problems. That said, low real estate prices has resulted in a high number of young entrepreneurs and artists moving to the city, which has resulted in some neighbourhoods improving significantly.
Same applies to the North End of downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thanks mostly to this district, Winnipeg and Edmonton are the big Canadian cities that jockey for the country's highest homicide rates year after year. The North End also tends to kick off "deadly house fire" season in the River City every year, and the victims are disproportionately First Nations or Métis.
Every city has its areas that seem like this. In Greater Sudbury, Ontario, the downtown core, as well as the neighborhoods known as the Donovan, the Flour Mill and the West End tend to be this. While there isn't as much violent crime or gang activity here as there may be in other cities, if you have stuff, people will steal it. Add that to the drug culture, prostitution, seedy bars and hotels and general grimy look of the area, and you've got your Wretched Hive.
Anywhere in Baltimore that isn't the Inner Harbor neighborhood. While it's not quite as bad as it was in the 90's and early 2000's, you still don't want to be caught out on the streets alone at night.
The Charlestown neighborhood of Boston was this up until the late 1980s. In addition to the garden-variety hooliganism associated with a working-class Irish community (as well as a strangely-disproportionate population of bank robbers), the local Irish Mob used the town as a base of operations during their feuds with other local gangs. Charlestown was infamous for its "Code of Silence" during this period, where many murders went unsolved due to a lack of witnesses. Conditions have improved significantly since gentrification took hold in the 1990s, but "the Town's" reptuation still lingers.
A lot of small towns can easily devolve into this. More than a few small towns can be built around a single industry (such as a coal mine or a lumber mill, or a specific factory), with a large number of the working population having their livelihoods tied to it. Eventually, the natural resources (like the coal mine or forests for lumber) might dry up or technology could march on and leave the factory obsolete. If this happens, this could cause an economy to collapse. Some towns are able to recover, a lot of them aren't so lucky. The ones that don't recover wind up experiencing large population drops as the people who can leave do so, along with widespread business closures. The new central economy of the town can be summed up as "welfare and the occasional manufacture and sale of drugs", and with it comes widespread alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, child abuse, and other problems that plague impoverished areas.
Online forums/message boards can become this trope. If trolls plague the place and they are hardly reprimanded for their actions or the moderators or administrators side with them, then the site becomes a place where anyone can do and say anything they want without being stopped as the forum devolves into massive flame wars.
West Palm Beach, Florida (seven miles away from that Palm Beach): 100,000 residents, 160 gangs. The gang members call it "West 'Nam".
Stockton, California has been described as being the "most miserable" US city, largely as a result of the steep drop in home values, its low employment rates (20%), and the long commute. It also has huge amounts of often violent crime, exceptional numbers of illiterate or obese people, and has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in the country.
To give a better picture of the city's situation, like many other examples on this list, the high crime rate exists primarily in a few select areas, namely, downtown, the east, and the south; as there are a number of quite affluent neighbor in the city. What makes the city's crime rate so notorious is the high disparity between the neighbors. Stockton's rising crime rate can be attributed to the influx of people moving from the Bay Area to Stockton at the turn of the millennium, bringing along some of the crime with them. Unfortunately, the rush to Stockton created a large boom for building homes, which eventually added to the housing crisis. Stockton is considered to be one of the "ground zeroes" for the housing crisis in California, let alone the United States.
Schools can also be a wretched hive if it's bad enough. Unless you're a popular student, a student with many friends, or have a staff that are competent in their jobs, then you can expect groups of people harassing you and making fun of you for any reason they can think of while the teachers and faculty do little to help you or will punish you if you try to defend yourself from others. Since students are required to stay in their specified school districts, any student who are having their lives made miserable will have to endure the torment for years.
Mogadishu, (theoretical) capital of Somalia has had a reputation as the single deadliest city in the world for about twenty years. Somalia's civil war tore the city apart and became something close to a Real LifeForever War until mid-2011 when the government backed by the African Union finally managed to root out Islamist militants and restore some approximation of order. Despite this, bombings and shootings are still an almost daily occurrence.
France has a whole department acting as one : the department number 93, Seine-Saint-Denis, also called "neuf-trois" ("nine-three"). Used as an unofficial "dumping ground" for the massive immigrant population looking for work during The Sixties and The Seventies, the place was slowly but surely left behind with time. Today, it's a breeding ground for gang violence (usually just big fights between two or three rival groups, although shootouts and drive-bys are becoming all too common) and illegal commerce (mostly stolen goods, arms and illegal workers/prostitutes for former Communist countries and drugs) and, for glory hound-like politicians, an endless mine of arguments about what's wrong with France. There are decent places to set up shop if you live on the outskirts or the south, but God help you if you live in the north. Things are so bad that, for companies with offices in La Plaine (a business-only neighbourhood of Saint-Denis, one of the biggest and worst cities of the department), company policies either forbid employees to leave the neighbourhood for their safety except for going to or leaving work or outright decline every legal responsibility if one of their employees is attacked during work hours, all due to fear of revenge if someone press charges and gives the gangsters trouble.
The Parque das Naçőes in Lisbon (and then, also partially in neighbouring Loures) was, in the 80s before the construction of the EXPO '98 (its original name), a declining area of the city, a heavily polluted area with containers, slaughterhouses and other polluting industries, as also a den of prostitution. Today, it's a highly developed and one of the safest areas of Lisbon.
Even Scandinavia isn't immune to this trope. Södermalm of Stockholm used to have a sinister reputation, as did Kallio district in Helsinki. The street Vaasankatu has even today a morbid nickname Puukkobulevardi (Knife Boulevard) as a legacy of the years past.
Józsefváros ("Joseph Town"), the eight district of Budapest is extremely infamous for its crime rate - among others it includes the Magdolna (Magdalena) street and its surroundings, a ghetto even cops refuse to enter after dusk and the Józsefváros Market which is essentially the physical embodiment of the black market. The buildings not located on the major streets are generally in a state of disrepair between "looking like ruins" and "are actually ruins". There are some rehabilitation efforts going on but it gets less and less effective the farther an area is from the inner city.
Western Sydney is notorious amongst Sydneysiders as wild ganglands:
Cabramatta during the '80s and '90s, back when it was the stomping ground for Vietnamese gang 5T, was a major example of this trope. Drugs were sold openly on the streets and in railway stations (the Cabramatta Railway Station was nicknamed "Smack Express"), people overdosed and died in public toilets and even politicians were murdered.. Ever since the 2000s, however, the situation has since improved, and the suburb has become much more liveable.
Nowadays, the worst suburbs of the west are Guildford and the neighbouring Villawood. Most gang violence is situated around here, and gunmen have been known to walk into shops and shoot business owners dead. The amount of homes that actually look liveable can be counted on one hand. Fairfield and Liverpool both come as a close second.
Even the eastern suburbs of Sydney have this reputation. King's Cross, Australia's red-light district, is synonymous with drunken violence and drugs. Recently, there's been an increase in deaths, whether they be stabbings, shootings or king hits. The situation was actually even worse roughly 20 years ago.
Seattle's White Center suburb, which was home to a large number of Samoan and later Southeast Asian("boat people") immigrants, was notorious for its high level of gang activity and violent crime for a long time.
Roebourne, a collapsed mining town in the North-West of Western Australia, is gaining such a reputation. The population is mostly Indigenous, having been originally settled into the area as cheap labour and remaining after the rest of the town left due to the end of the gold rushes. Roebourne struggles with serious social issues. There is an epidemic of alcoholism; the amount of alcohol drunk a year per person is three times the national average, and over 600 alcohol-related hospital incidents between 2006-2008 (in a town of 857 people). The town is a hotbed of crime, to the point where committing a burglary is considered a Coming of Age. There is usually about 15-20 people living in each house, and the rate of school attendance and education is among the worst in Australia.
Naples, despite being a popular touristic location, has quite a bad reputation in Italy, what with its high crime rates, gang activity, police corruption, waste management problems, widespread poverty and parking violation.
As hard as it is to believe, most of Hawaii (or at least on Oahu) tends to be this, with widespread poverty and rundown neighborhoods, homeless and welfare issues, drug problems, political corruption, and much more. Tourists never truly do get to see the bad areas since they spend their time in designated tourist spots like Waikiki and hardly venture elsewhere. It also doesn't help that most media and the tourism industry are the ones playing off on the "Hawaiian Illusion" while deliberately ignoring the majority of the residential and urban places. Unemployment is also a major issue due to lack of jobs (considered the worst business state in the nation), low wages, high cost of living and anything else in general, and the overall relaxing atmosphere. Again, tourists never know this.