When people are asked to think of a “beautiful neighborhood,” many envision a picturesque depiction of a Norman Rockwell type painting, That includes tree-lined streets, kids riding bikes with their hair blowing in the wind, other children playing hopscotch and still others pulling little tykes in a classic red wagon. What a wonderful place to call home!
But beyond that iconic imagery, there may be some unseen dangers lurking in the shadows that would make some neighborhoods the last place you’d want to live. It all comes down to safety, because everyone wants their family living in a safe neighborhood. Which brings up the question that is in the title of this article, “how safe is your neighborhood?” Whether you’re looking at your current neighborhood or one you’re considering moving to, using these tools will help
Fortunately, there are ways to find out. Tools are available to use to determine the safety of any neighborhood, and they’re not complicated or hard to use. We’ll share them with you so you can get the answers you’re looking for, and gain peace-of-mind knowing learning whether or not your neighborhood is considered safe. Best of all, they won’t cost you anything.
How Safe is Your Neighborhood? Use These 5 Tools to Find Out.
Tool #1: SpotCrime
SpotCrime is a map-based website that visually shows where crimes have occurred in almost every neighborhood around the country.. All types of crimes are included, from simple property theft to assaults to drug use and many others. It will provide you with a complete overview of the type and amount of crimes occurring in your specific area.
SpotCrime makes it easier than ever to check on criminal activity in a specific city, neighborhood or zip-code. It provides daily crime maps and stats on all types of property crime and criminal activity like assaults and shootings, and is available at no charge in the hopes of promoting police transparency and public safety.
Tool #2: Nextdoor
Nextdoor is a private social network that you can join to learn more about your neighborhood. You’ll have to sign up, and you can only belong to one neighborhood at a time. The best thing about Nextdoor is that you can join conversations in real time with neighbors who live near you. It’s personal, and it’s the only tool that offers you a personal alert system.
Group members often are the first to report crimes, like packages being stolen from in front of homes, break-ins of vehicles in the neighborhood, recent robberies and so much more. Many Nextdoor members around the country form Neighborhood Watch groups. And while Nextdoor provides a variety of community news, items for sale and people who offer services, they also provide a way to filter out everything on their site except for crime statistics and crime news, so it’s really easy to use.
Here’s a word of caution when exploring your neighborhood and using tools to determine whether your crime stats and crime reports are valid. When you have tools like Nextdoor, for example, you’ll be chatting or communicating with people you really don’t know. Are they who they say they are? Do they really live in your neighborhood, or are they looking for classified information about you and your private data? The best way to find out is to verify their identity using Nuwber, an online tool that lets you reveal the true name and address of a caller just by entering their phone number or other information. If their name and/or location don’t match what they’ve been telling you, you’ll be able to end all communication with that individual.
Tool #3: Family Watchdog
When sex offenders are released from incarceration, they are required to register as sex offenders and list their address, and alert authorities when they move in or out of a neighborhood. Family Watchdog will provide you with current information on the person, the nature of their sexual offense (battery, rape and crimes against kids). They use color-coded pins on a map to reveal the nature of their sexual crimes.
Just be sure you don’t limit your search to the area surrounding your home. Look further, to parks, shopping areas, schools, restaurants and other area attractions to find out if the former felon is living close to those areas. That way you can alert children and other family members about their whereabouts and locations they have proximity to.
Tool #4: AreaVibes
While safety is a main focus of AreaVibes, it also offers a unique glimpse into neighborhoods you may be interested in. People post first-hand info about housing, education, amenities in the area, and of course, crime. It ranks neighborhoods based on various factors while providing the number of criminal incidents like robbery, rape, assault, property crime, vehicle break-ins and others.
By entering a zip-code, AreaVibes provides a “livability” score that ranks the neighborhood in terms of safety and other factors. You can use this to assess and compare neighborhoods in determining which one is best for you and your family.
Tool #5: ADT Go
Once you choose a neighborhood that meets your safety criteria, you can use an app called ADT Go. You’ll have to be an ADT customer, but the ADT Go app lets you monitor family members with various safety features that include:
- An SOS emergency response button family members can push to summon help
- Family location sharing: this lets you monitor family members on a map to see where they are in the neighborhood, showing you when they arrive at home, school or work
- Crime stats: the app shows current and past crime statistics, with a crime history of up to one year
All of these ADT Go tools can help you assess specific neighborhoods for both your family’s safety and livability,
Knowing about the crime statistics of a neighborhood can provide you with a guide regarding the safety of a particular neighborhood, helping you decide where living would be best. Just be aware that the various tools available are only a guide, and an in-depth look at specific neighborhoods will help in your decision-making process.