How safe is your neighborhood?
Moving? You’ve probably got all sorts of things on your mind, from the type of apartment you want to have to what part of town you’d like to live in. One thing you should think about that might not be first on your list is the safety of your new neighborhood.
Crime rates can differ significantly even within the same neighborhood. Conveniently, new online resources exist for you to get detailed and up-to-date information about the safety of any potential residential area.
Here are some of the services you should check out:
Crimereports.com is an address specific incident finder that has you enter an address. You’ll be able to see data for any registered sex offenders living nearby or report criminal activity in a neighborhood.
Propertyshark.com allows you to get information about the address and the title deed holder. It won’t give you the names of other tenants, though.
Neighborhoodscout.com gives you the skinny on nearby public schools, in case you have kids or are planning to have them in the future, as well as crime index scores on a scale of 1 to 100 (safest).
Policymap.com if you prefer Census data to computer algorithms, Policymap takes its numbers straight from the latest available U.S. Census figures. You can find out specifics about the demographic makeup of any neighborhood, political registration, even annual income figures.
Criminalsearches.com is more of a back grounding tool – you’ll need someone’s name to plug in to get information about them. But if you want to check out a new neighbor, landlord or property manager, it’s a lot less expensive than hiring your own private investigator.
By the way, don’t forget to ask the person showing you a prospective new apartment for neighborhood safety info, even anecdotal. You’ll always get the best sense of things from your own instincts and any first-hand stories about what it’s like to live there. And be sure to purchase renter’s insurance, no matter where you live and how safe the neighborhood is. It’s always important to be prepared for the unexpected.