It's been a little over five years since that one billboard first went up claiming that Lubbock is 'The Friendliest City in America.'

That billboard was put up in part by Reagor-Dykes Auto Group. It was an attempt to make the city seem more appealing to outside vendors. Many residents noted some major irony in the statement, and if you don't understand why, then you either didn’t live in Lubbock before 2018, or you don’t follow the news very closely.

In case you don't know: Bart Reagor and some of employees at his auto company were caught in a fraud scandal back in 2018. That's not very friendly if you ask me.

Personally, I think Lubbock feels like a friendly city on the surface level. Not growing up in the south, everyone saying 'ma’am' and 'sir' was very pleasant. Having grocery stores that would bring my cart out to my car for me was definitely something to get used to. However, I don't think these are things that are necessarily specific to Lubbock, nor do they make it the friendliest city in all of America.

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Besides that, it really brings up if Lubbock truly is 'the friendliest city in America.' Let’s take a look at some statistics and you can decide for yourself how friendly Lubbock really is:   

Lubbock is listed at number six on a 2020 list of the 10 most dangerous towns in Texaswith a crime rate of about 57 per 1,000 residents. This is not as high as other Texas cities, and absolutely not as high as some cities throughout the United States.

The Lubbock Police Department released its 2020 annual report, which showed that homicide in Lubbock was up 105 percent from 2019. There were 41 homicides in 2020, which is staggering compared to the 20 homicides in 2019. Along with an increase in homicides, there was an increase of 16 percent for aggravated assault, and an 11 percent increase in calls for burglary of buildings.

Fortunately, there are some positives in the 2020 report as well. Residential burglaries were down 11 percent, there was a 17 percent decrease in rapes, and auto thefts decreased by 5 percent.

Crime rates are not the only thing that can determine how 'friendly' a city seems. It's also good to look at a the citizen's outward image and reputation with being friendly. I took a look at several lists of ‘the friendliest cities in America’ and Lubbock is nowhere to be seen on any of them. Even on a list of 50 cities, it's not there. Two major Texas cities, Fort Worth and Houston, beat out Lubbock on that one. 

Despite the crime rate and a lack of external sources deeming Lubbock a friendly city, it's still widely considered a good city to live in. We have great job growth, good schools, affordable living, and Lubbock is viewed as a good place to raise a family. The city was also ranked the 2nd best city for Gen Z to live well on a budget. I have to agree with all of that. I have really loved my time here, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

So, Lubbock may not be "the friendliest city in America" objectively speaking, but that doesn't mean is a bad place to live. Over 250,000 people call the Hub City their home, and there's good reason for it.

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