How to Know if the Neighborhood Where You’re Buying a House Is Safe

By
Real Estate Agent with Morrie Mages Property

Evaluating a neighborhood before moving there is something all homeowners should do. This is the place where your family will be living and where family or friends will come to spend time with you.

Making sure you feel safe in your neighborhood is of the utmost importance. Keep in mind that a community can look nice, but it could be next door to a neighborhood that is not safe. The following are a few tips to ensure the neighborhood you are considering is a safe one.

Crime Mapping is Vital

The internet offers homebuyers crime mapping tools. There are reliable sites, such as CrimeReports or MyLocalCrime that gather crime reports and allow you to see those reports using an address or a zip code.

You can choose the radius so that you can see not only the small community you are considering but the neighboring communities. Remember that if there are bad communities next door, you will probably have to drive through them to get home.

It is important that you pay close attention to the dates of the crimes that took place in the community or near it. There are times when communities improve, and you should take that into account. Remember that crime happens, even in the best cities, so don't skip a community because you see a few crimes.

Talk to the People

This one is going to feel strange, and it is probably going to be hard for you to try it, but you should try to talk to the people in the community. Yes, you are not living there just yet, but you're thinking about it.

Talk to them about security measures they might be taking, such as installing residential Smart cameras. Residents will use these not because there is a lot of crime but to make sure criminals know this is not the kind of neighborhood they should terrorize.

A conversation with people can tell you a lot about the community. Individuals could tell you if they feel safe in the neighborhood or if they have any regrets about moving to the location. Try to be upfront with those you talk to, and be sure to talk to a number of people to get a feel for the area. As strange as this might seem, most people are willing to give you some advice, so do not skip this step.

Local knowledge is also great for finding out where you can find secure storage during the move, get details on the local locksmith and similar services who may be able to help you gain peace fo mind if you decide to move into a new and unfamiliar neighborhood.

Check out the National Offender Site

If you have young children, you may want to check the available registers of sex offenders in the town you are moving to.

If they have not committed an offense over a certain number of years you won't find their offenses on the sites mentioned earlier, so you'll have to visit the US Department of Justice to see if there are registered sex offenders living in your community.

Offenders on this list have already done their time and paid their debt to society. In essence, these individuals have been rehabilitated, but that does not mean you shouldn't be cautious. 

There is no telling if these individuals could pose a threat to you, your family, or guests. Hopefully, none are found in the community you are considering, but it is better to know than to wonder.

If there are offenders, exercise your judgment, and talk to your family to see if everyone is willing to stay in a community that is near a sex offender. Perhaps you can establish rules to keep your family from engaging with this individual.

Try a Little DIY Investigation

Be sure to investigate the neighborhood on your own, and look for signs of a good community, like top-notch security systems, such as the cameras just mentioned though there are more signs.

For example, you want to see a community that is comfortable hosting neighborhood events, such as block parties or farmer's markets. These types of events tell you the community has little reason to be afraid. Another good sign is kids playing outside. Sure, there will be parents watching them, but seeing neighborhood kids playing outside tells you the residents trust the community enough to let their children outside.

Seeing signs of a growing local business industry tells you that families in this community are not only willing but are comfortable enough to invest in the neighborhood. Seeing an active neighborhood watch is also something you want to see.

Now, you know how to find a great community. Let these tips guide your choice; just make sure you leave enough room for your heart because you'll know when you have found the right community.

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