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How to Find Out if a Neighborhood is Safe

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Determining whether a neighborhood is safe is usually a top concern for anyone looking for a place to live. Your livelihood and happiness are largely dependent on how secure you feel in your home, and also greatly impacts its resale value, if you’re looking to buy. There are many ways to judge if a neighborhood is safe to your standards. Online tools are an easy way to check area crime rates, and they’re typically free.

Online Crime Data Resources

Crimereports.com and spotcrime.com are two services that collect crime data to help you find out what incidents have been reported in any particular neighborhood. Crimereports.com maps crime data collected from more than a thousand law enforcement agencies and shows what police reports were filed according to zip code, all the way down to a specific neighborhood. Plug in an address, and it will show what police reports were filed in the last ten days, including the time and address of the incident.

Spotcrime.com delivers daily and weekly crime reports and analyzes crime trends in a neighborhood. Both services are free.

Checking the National Sex Offender Public Website is also a great way to gauge the safety of a neighborhood, especially if you have children. The site is a database of registered sex offenders managed by the U.S. Department of Justice. You can plug in any address in the U.S. and find out how many registered sex offenders live nearby.

Evaluate Real Estate Trends

Anyone trying to judge the safety of a neighborhood should also consider how home sales there are trending. A large number of homes on the market could be a reflection of residents leaving because of rising crime. Vacant homes can often attract criminals looking for places to make, sell or buy drugs, or conduct prostitution. Homes long left vacant can also draw in homeless individuals that often lead to a slew of vagrancy problems.

Tour the Neighborhood

Touring the neighborhood is a given for anybody considering moving there. The general condition of homes can be a reflection of a neighborhood’s safety. Residents who take care of their homes and take pride in their surroundings often look after their neighbors, and keep an eye on what’s going on. Criminals who case areas looking for targets are often aware of the places they can roam unnoticed. Look for signs of overgrown yards, houses that appear run down, and broken fences or windows. The best way to really find out if there are any issues is to talk to people living there. Introduce yourself, and ask them if they have any issues or concerns about safety.