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Freeside is a filthy slum which provides shelter for anyone who cannot afford to enter The Strip. If you find yourself in this situation it would be worth the caps to hire a body guard to protect you. The main reason for this is the gangs of thugs who mug and kill any wealthy looking travellers who stray into their territory. However, recently there has been a spate of vicious attacks on tourists, so that bit of extra muscle could just save your life. Beware of some guards though, not all are completely reputable.
While in Freeside, you would do well to stay close to either the Kings or the Van Graffs. These two groups control the entire area and manage to keep order fairly well.