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Using crime statistics in your home search

Jan 16, 2013   //   by Rory Gill   //   All Posts, Real Estate, Tips  //  No Comments

A cautious real estate won’t discuss with you crime rates in a particular community.  That’s because they don’t want to violate any antidiscrimination laws or professional regulations.  It’s also because nobody truly knows the likelihood for crime in any given area.

Every intelligent person knows that crime could happen anywhere.  Despite this truth, crime rates remain an important consideration to a homebuyer.  Without encouraging unproductive overreaction or reckless apathy, I encourage homebuyers to take the following steps.

1. Research neighborhood crime statistics.  The City of Boston publishes a very detailed crime map that illustrates reported crimes.  Other communities may offer this same information.

This map will likely prove my first point – crime does and can happen anywhere.  You may notice, however, specific hot spots within a specific neighborhood.  Use this information carefully.  Don’t write off certain neighborhoods or select certain areas solely based on this info.  Instead, use this data as the start of further inquiry.

2.  Get a sense of the area before buying.  If you are considering relocation to a particular neighborhood, pay it a long visit.  Drive the commute, walk the streets, and watch your surroundings.

3. Use the crime data and your observations to identify the specific risks within an area.  Instead of only noting the volume of crime, understand the type of crime common in an area.  That information should guide how you protect your home, your car, and your personal safety.

Where crime is concerned, there is no perfected method to predict the future or to rate neighborhoods.  Enlist your common sense and make use of the wealth of information available.  Most importantly, wherever you settle, take reasonable precautions with your property and your safety.

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