How Can I Check if Neighborhood is Safe

How to Check Crime Rate Before Buying a Home?

When you’re buying a home, one of the most important factors in that decision is the safety of the neighborhood. This is especially true if you have a family with small children. Luckily there are several online resources that will report crime rates and statistics with information displayed in easy-to-read maps.

Types of Neighborhood Crime Rate Statistics

  • How many robberies have occurred near a home?
  • How many assaults have occurred?
  • How many thefts have occurred?
  • Are there any registered sex offenders in my neighborhood?






Websites to Check if Neighborhood is Safe

Neighborhood Scout

Neighborhood Scout’s Color Coded Crime Map Allows you to search crime rates by address, zip code or city. This site will provide a map of criminal activity in a color coded density grid so you can quickly identify neighborhoods with high crime vs those with lower crime.

Further down the page it will tell you via text charts the total number of crimes for the area you searched on. If further breaks the crimes down into property or violent crimes and will classify the violent crimes to help you determine if the neighborhood is safe enough for you and your family.

One of the nice features of this website is that it ranks the area with a safety score from 1-100 indicating the overall safety of the area. 100 is the most safe rating. If your location’s score is 62, it means that the area is safer than 62% of all other cities in the country.

It also allows you to quickly see other relevant neighborhood data such as:

  • school ranking
  • demographics
  • and home prices

Summary: Neighborhood Scout is a great site to quickly check the overall crime rate in a specific city and give other quick neighborhood statistics. When scouting for areas you may want to buy a home, this is a great starting point to help you determine areas that are safe for you, but because of the area-based crime reporting, it is not ideal for getting details very close to a specific location.

CrimeReport.com

Crime Reports map feature is very cool. It provides a quick way to see exactly how many crimes have occurred in a specific city by placing little icons on the map.

The icons tell you what the crime is at a glance. Ring icons represent theft from home, cars are theft from cars, a fist represents an assault, a pill means possession of drugs, etc… If you click on the icon, you will get a window that shows you all of the details of the crime with an address and description.

Crime Reports
CrimeReports

In cases where there a multiple crimes within a given area, the icon will show a number indicating how many crimes are in that vicinity. Clicking that number reveals what each of the crimes were and allows you to get details of each crime. So if your potential new home is right next to a high-crime home with several crime occurrences, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

Summary: This site is ideal for when you have found the home you want and want to check a neighborhood crime rate before buying a home. How many houses were broken into on your block? This site will tell you. Drug bust across the street? You’ll get that too. One of our favorite sites to check if a neighborhood is safe before buying a home. However, it does not report on the general crime rates within a given area. So if you’re looking for number of crime rate per 100,000 people, it’s not the site to use.




SpotCrime.com

Spot Crime as one of the nicest graphical interfaces of all the sites. It is very intuitive to interpret. The information is similar to Crime Reports above.

Spot Crime GUI

The only negative about this website is the overall layout of the page is a bit confusing. There are ads and such. I’m not against ads, businesses need to stay in business, but the layout isn’t clear what is an add and what is not. One wrong click and you’ll be downloading spam filled software to your computer.

Summary: Good, current information with a nice graphical interface for checking is a neighborhood is safe, but be careful can don’t click anything if you’re not 100% certain what it does! Like CrimeRates above it is not good for finding the general crime rate in a area before buying a home, just the specific crimes that have occured.

Community Crime Map

Community Crime Map
Community crime map is a national search database that is also map and icon driven to easily see crimes in a specific area.

It is the Cadillac of search results for a specific area because of its incredible search filters that the above sites don’t have. This is our top site for specific neighborhood search results.

Search filters available.

  • The ability to select a date range (show me only the last 3 months).
  • The ability to select a radius range (show me crimes only within 1 mile of address)
  • The ability to filter by specific crime (show me burglaries only)
  • The ability to show or hide sex offender addresses within the specified search area (with photo ID of the offender)

Summary: Great for street level results (check the crime rate before buying a home in a specific area), and you have the ability to see registered sex offenders within the same search results as crimes puts it above the rest. Not good for general crime rates within a larger area or city.

National Sex Offender Public Website

If you have children this will certainly be the most important research site you can use prior to moving into a new neighborhood.

The simple search menu does require that you specify a valid address before performing search. So you won’t be able to start using this until you’ve got a candidate or two for your move.

Sex Offender Search Results
You can specify your search up to a three mile radius of the input address but it will return results that are outside of that by a bit. This site will return an icon on a map for every location a sex offender lives.

One thing I really like about this site is that it returns photos of every registered offender in your area and by clicking on any of the icons in the map, you will get the photo of the offender at that specific address.

What I don’t like about this site is that they do not tell you what the offense was. For some people, there may be a difference between someone arrested for child molestation (Class 3) or an 18 year old arrested for relations with a minor (Class 2). So you do not know the severity of the charge.

You can get more detailed information on various other sites, but those sites are more local in nature. You will need to search for them at a local level. For example, search “sex offender map Mesa, AZ” if you live in Mesa to get resources that are close to you. Here in Arizona there are several sites that will give you more detailed information such as the nature of the crime, the class of the crime and provide a photo.

Because I cannot possible include all of those, the above will get you started quickly. If your area is clear, there is no need to go further than that.

In Closing

You can’t avoid crime all together but you will be able to make smart decisions based on your desires that will allow you to choose the best location for you. Researching for potential neighborhoods by using crime reports is a great way to narrow down which neighborhoods you want to look consider when looking for a new home. Once you have found a home(s) you like, you can use detailed websites that will dive down into the neighborhood crime using exact location data for detailed reports.

Once you’re in that new home, your local locksmith can help make sure that the home is as secure as possible. Check out our 7 Easy and Cheap Security Tips that every homeowner should do as soon as they move in. These cheap and easy items will help make sure that your home is as secure as possible.

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