HomeSafety News How Safe Is Your Neighborhood? Use These 5 Tools to Find Out
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 youcheck neighborhood crime rates. Whether you want to learn about crime statistics before you relocate or you want to find out about safety initiatives in your current location, we’ve got the hookup to the answers you’re looking for.
We’ve researched dozens of crime-tracking tools and chosen five that stand out from all the rest—and they’re allfree. 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.
At a Glance:AreaVibes helps you find the best place to live based on the factors you deem important.
How It Works: 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’ 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. 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.
New Resource Alert!
The Neighbors App
The Neighbors App by Ring is one of the newest and most progressive safe neighborhood tools on the scene.
You don’t have to be a Ring customer to use the free app, and it uses reports by people in your neighborhood and local law enforcement to alert you to suspicious activities and crime events in your area.
At a Glance:NeighborhoodScoutprovides crime statistics and other important local data to help you decide if a neighborhood is right for you.
How It Works: NeighborhoodScout helps you compare neighborhoods based on overall crime rate, violent crime rate, and property crime rate. You can measure your neighborhood rates against those in other cities, as well as the state and national averages. 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 odds throughout the entire city and state.
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: While most of the information on NeighborhoodScout is free, the site charges a fee for detailed data and reports.
At a Glance:Family Watchdog maps the addresses of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.
How It Works: Type a location or address into the website’s search box, and Family Watchdog 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 for alerts whenever 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: Family Watchdog is a free service, but you’ll be sent off-site to a subscription service if you want detailed background reports about any offenders.
At a Glance:CrimeReports maps crime data from more than 1,000 participating law enforcement agencies.
How It Works: Search CrimeReports by region, address, zip code, or law enforcement agency to see a map with icons identifying recent police activity. You can narrow down the search area to a specific neighborhood to reveal icons that signify different types of crime. When you click on an icon, you get 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 yourhome security camera.
Unique Feature: If you zoom out of your neighborhood, CrimeReports will show you crime incident trends, which are easy-to-read graphs showing 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 (like barking dogs and vandalism).
Cost: CrimeReports is free to use.
At a Glance:SpotCrimemaps crimes and delivers crime alerts via email, Facebook, Twitter, and several other platforms.
How It Works: 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. When you click on an icon, you get the crime title, when and where it took place, and a link that directs you to the source where the data came from. The source is usually the law enforcement agency that handled the incident. You can also 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 how user-friendly and highly visual it is, giving the viewer a quick look at crime in their neighborhood. Plus, it allows users to report a crime or tip anonymously.
Cost: SpotCrime is free.
Use these helpful websites to become more informed about possible criminal activity in your current or future neighborhood. Then use ourHome Security Checklistto make sure your home is as protected as possible. You may also want to consider amonitored home security systemto help protect your loved ones and valuables.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more