Whether you have children, pets, or simply want the security of knowing you are living in a safe neighborhood, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a neighborhood is truly safe just by visiting it a few times. You already know that you need to research a house in order to make sure it has a clean history and is going to be a safe place for your family to live—but what about the neighborhood? Here are five signs to look for:
- Crime maps – There are plenty of websites that create maps of not only how much crime is in a neighborhood, but what type of crime occurs in that neighborhood. Keep in mind that no neighborhood is going to be completely free of crime. Even very upscale, gated neighborhoods that are considered very safe are going to see a few break-ins a year.
- Look at the sex offender database – If you already have children or are considering having children while you live in this home (or if you simply do not want to live near a sex offender of any kind), taking some time to look at the sex offender database, which will show you a map of where registered sex offenders live in your area, can help you decide whether or not your neighborhood will be safe for your children.
- People aren’t moving out – A mass exodus from a neighborhood is a good sign that people who live there do not like living there. While it is common to have a few houses for sale even in great neighborhoods, if every other house on the street is for sale, this is a good sign that there’s something wrong with that neighborhood.
- You feel safe when you walk – There’s a big difference between how you perceive a neighborhood when you drive around it and how you see it when you walk around it. If you see kids playing in their yards, those yards are well-kept, the neighbors are friendly, you’re probably looking at a safe neighborhood.
- No vandalism – No area is completely immune to vandalism, but areas with high rates of vandalism, not just on public buildings, but on private homes, too, are more likely to have high violent crime rates. Very safe neighborhoods will not have very much, if any, signs of vandalism.