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How Safe Is Your Neighborhood? Use These 5 Tools to Find Out

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It’s important to be proactive about your safety, especially when it comes to choosing a place to live. After all, the safety of your neighborhood impacts everything from your happiness and sense of security to your home’s resale value.

Fortunately, there are several online tools that can help you check neighborhood crime rates. Whether you want to learn about crime statistics before you relocate or you want to learn about safety in your current location, you should to read on.

We’ve researched dozens of crime-tracking tools and chosen five that stand out from all the rest. Each website offers unique features that help you answer the million-dollar question, “Is my neighborhood safe?” We encourage you to bookmark these websites and share this article with any family and friends who also care about neighborhood safety.

1. AreaVibes

At a Glance: AreaVibes helps you find the best place to live based on the factors you deem important.

Enter a state, city, neighborhood, or address into the AreaVibes search box and the website instantly plots the location on a map and provides you with its livability score between one and 100. The site also maps and ranks nearby areas according to their scores and compares your area’s livability score to state and national averages. AreaVibes also assigns locations a letter grade from F to A+ for each of seven livability factors, one of which is crime.

Unique Feature: AreaVibes’s custom search function sets it apart from similar tools, allowing you to sort locations by livability factors, such as crime, amenities, education, and housing. If crime is most important to you, AreaVibes is a great way to quickly and easily compare the crime activity in several cities at once. Not only that, it breaks crimes down by type, number of reported incidents, and crimes per 100,000 people. The site also provides statistics about the area’s crime trends and shows how it compares to state and national crime statistics.

Cost: AreaVibes is free to use.

2. NeighborhoodScout

At a Glance: NeighborhoodScout provides crime statistics and other important local data to help you decide if a neighborhood is right for you.

Using NeighborhoodScout, you can compare neighborhood overall crime rate, violent crime rate, and property crime rate to the rates in other cities—as well as to the state and national average. Users can also outline a specific crime search area, whether by the distance around a city or by miles from an address. Plus, NeighborhoodScout can tell you what the chances are of becoming a crime victim in your neighborhood, and compare that with the city and the state odds.

Unique Feature: NeighborhoodScout allows you to create a custom search for your new neighborhood. You simply identify a community that meets your qualifications, and it will find comparable neighborhoods in any state you choose.

Cost: NeighborhoodScout charges a fee for detailed data and reports, but much of the information on the website is free.

3. FamilyWatchdog

At a Glance: FamilyWatchdog maps the addresses of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.

Type a location or address into the website’s search box, and FamilyWatchdog generates a map pinpointing the address of nearby registered sex offenders. Color-coded icons correspond to various sex crimes, including crimes against children, sexual battery, and rape. Click the icon and you’ll see a picture of the offender, learn their aliases, and find out what sex crime they’ve been convicted of. If you’re looking for a specific individual, you can search for them by name.

Unique Feature: Through the website, you can sign up to be alerted when a registered sex offender moves in or out of your neighborhood. In addition to detailed information about offenders, this online tool offers personal safety tips, facts about sexual abuse, and a comprehensive blog and newsletter.

Cost: FamilyWatchdog is a free service.

4. CrimeReports

At a Glance: CrimeReports maps crime data from more than 1,000 participating law enforcement agencies.

Users can search CrimeReports by region, address, zip code, or law enforcement agency name to see a map with icons identifying recent police activity. You can narrow down the search area to a specific neighborhood and you will see icons that signify different types of crime. When you click on an icon, you will reveal a range of details about the incident, including type, location, date, and time. Filters allow you to narrow your crime search by date range, day of the week, time of day, and incident type. With CrimeReports, you can also sign up for periodic crime alerts, submit a tip, and register your home security camera. 

Unique Feature: If you zoom out of your neighborhood, CrimeReports will show you incident trends, which are easy-to-read graphs stating the number of crimes that have occurred in an area over the last fifteen days—broken down into violent crimes, property crimes, and quality-of-life crimes.

Cost: CrimeReports is free to use. 

5. SpotCrime

At a Glance: SpotCrime maps crimes and delivers crime alerts via email, Facebook, Twitter, and several other platforms.

SpotCrime gathers data from law enforcement agencies, news reports, and user tips to plot crimes. Crimes are represented by icons that make it easy to see what type of activity takes place in your neighborhood. For instance, vandalism is represented by a spray paint can and arson is noted by a flame.

Clicking the icon provides the crime title, when and where it took place, and a link that directs you to the source SpotCrime received the data from—typically, this is the law enforcement agency that handled the incident. Additionally, you can search SpotCrime by state and follow links to a city’s crime maps, most-wanted page, and daily crime reports.

Unique Feature: SpotCrime isn’t as robust as some of the other sites on our list, but we appreciate that it’s user friendly and highly visual, giving the viewer a quick look at crime in their neighborhood. Plus, it allows users to report a crime or crime tip anonymously.

Cost: SpotCrime is free.

Use these helpful websites to become more informed about possible criminal activity in your future or current neighborhood. Then use our Home Security Checklist to make sure your home is as protected as possible and consider installing a monitored home security system to help further protect your loved ones and valuables.

Alexia Chianis

Find out more about Alexia, here.

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