I have lived in Odessa for quite a few years. I have to say besides being the location of Friday Night Lights I could not wait to get out of there. If Texas had an armpit Odessa would be it. The south side of Odessa has always had a high crime rate and being the bad part of town for as long as I can remember. It was a part of town that was on the wrong side of the tracks, you did not go there unless you were looking for trouble. The east side of town used to be a safer area. However with the highest crime rate, I have ever seen in my life there really is not any part of Odessa that is safe anymore. The western side of Odessa is primarily trailer parks and the area's highest hispanic population. Last year Odessa was listed in Time magazine as having the highest crime rate in the USA. 1 out of every 94 residents is a crime victim.
As far as a sense of community Odessa the born and raised residents are extremely friendly. This is a place where manners still matter and neighbors will help each other in a time of need. As far as the public school system, there are a few good schools in the area. However the majority of the schools are behind the schools in other communities. The health care system in Odessa is below par, there is a very limited selection of good medical doctors. I have known several people who have gone in for minor surgery at the hospital and died. The hospital always uses the same excuse, they were allergic to the anesthesia. If I needed any medical treatment I would take my chances on trying to get to Dallas.
WE LIVE IN AN OLDER NEIGHBORHOOD WE ARE A 2 CAR FAMILY AND WE HAVE ONE PAVED PARKING LOT ONLY ...LAST WEEK OUR CAR GOT HIT WHILE ONE OF OUR CARS WAS PARKED IN THE STREET .... A NEIGHBOR ALSO GOT THEIR CAR HIT ......NOW WE WILL RUSH TO GET ANOTHER DRIVEWAY THAT WILL COST US $ 2000.00 OF WHICH WE CAN'T AFFORD ITS EITHER GET THE DRIVEWAY OR GET A 2000.00 FINE SO WE DON'T CONTINUE TO GET OUR CARS DAMAGED ........NOT HAPPY WITH THE CITY OF ODESSA ..... I WOULD RATHER LIVE SOMEWHERE ELES WHERE THEY DON'T HAVE RULES THAT ARE A INCOVENIENCE TO PEOPLE WHO WORK HARD AND OWN THEIR OWN HOMES
I have lived here for 21 years and I have never been more ready to leave! Since the oil boom Odessa has brought in the dregs of society. The crime is horrible, traffic is horrible, housing is horrible, and most of the schools are horrible. The traffic fatalities are outrageous! The streets aren't designed to have so many on the road. It's very over populated! Families are living in tents and hotels because there isn't enough housing/apartments. The schools are having to turn students away because they are over ran. Fortunately my kids go to Reagan Magnet school which has the highest rating of any school in the Permian Basin. It's a fantastic school with a fantastic staff! This has been the only thing that's held us back from leaving Odessa.
Thugs, vandals, and druggies are everywhere here. My house has been broken into 3 times, my car has been broken into and burglarized, my car window has been shot with a BB twice, and my husband was almost mugged yesterday and we live in the safer part of Odessa. This town is ugly and there's nothing to do here. You can't water your lawn when you want because of the drought. The weather is bi-polar and the mall is a flea market! You can't go to Walmart without standing in line for at least 45 mins. Plan on being there for a good 1.5 hrs.
Odessa hasn't always been like this and it's very sad to see it go down! The locals who have been here for 10+ years are some great people and super friendly. Unfortunately, all of this is driving us out of here. I would not recommend raising your kids here or any other town around here. If possible stay away from Odessa at least until the oil boom is down. Which is said to be here for at least 10 years and we are at the beginning of the boom.
I visited Odessa, Texas in January of 2008. My mother grew up in this city, so it was fun to see the places she used to hang out. In Odessa, I was comfortable right away, because of how friendly everybody was. Even though it was January, I found the weather not to be too cold. I also noticed that the weather changes frequently. One minute it can be 80 degrees, the next it can be below six degrees. We went to see the Permian Basin String Quartet at the Ector Theater, and I was impressed. I also visited Ratliff Stadium, and watched a football game! The Odessa Broncos won! I found out that this stadium happens to be one of the largest in the country.
I went and ate at a couple different restaurants in Odessa but didn't find any to be really tasty. They have some Restaurant chains that are located in every other city. I also noticed that there isn't too much of a nightlife. Everybody said that if you want to enjoy really cool clubs in Texas you have to drive to Dallas. Overall, Odessa seemed to be a beautiful, old-fashioned country city.