1. Home
  2. Safety News
  3. Is Your Neighborhood Safe? 6 Tools to Help You Find Out

Is Your Neighborhood Safe? 6 Tools to Help You Find Out

Written by | Updated July 23, 2020

Looking to cruise crime statistics before relocating or wanting to find safety initiatives nearby? We researched dozens of online neighborhood safety tools and narrowed them down to these top picks—all of which are free

Neighborhood safety websites and apps can help create community-based safety networks. Whether you’re trying to track down a lost pet or solve missing-package mysteries, you have people on your side.

The tools we cover in this article have large crime-tracking components, but crime monitoring is just one piece of community safety. Learn more about community-building in our piece about staying safe in your neighborhood.

Check your intentions and impacts

Remember that community safety efforts come with social responsibility. Make sure you're not spreading disinformation, and be careful not to racially profile or stereotype people you don't recognize in your neighborhood.

Think critically about how you use neighborhood safety tools. Are you using them to build or divide your community? When you find problems, are you helping fuel solutions?

1. AreaVibes

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.

2. The Neighbors App

At a glance 

The Neighbors App by Ring is one of the newest neighborhood tools on the scene. Created by Ring (known for their doorbell cameras and Ring Alarm home security system), the app aims to be an online neighborhood watch program.

How it works

You don’t have to be a Ring customer to use the free app. It uses reports by people in your neighborhood and local law enforcement to alert you to suspicious activities and crime events in your area. You can also anonymously contribute your own tips.

In addition to its neighborhood safety functions, you can submit or look for information on lost pets.

Unique feature

The unique feature for this app is more of a warning. Educate yourself on your privacy rights and Ring’s history with police partnerships before deciding if Neighbors is for you. Ring definitely has its privacy pros and cons to weigh, but its reputation for quality products also precedes it.

Price

The Ring app is free of cost.

Ring doorbell video camera

Ring Video Doorbell

  • See who’s at the door
  • Talk to visitors from anywhere
  • Get remote alerts
  • Starting at $99*

3. NeighborhoodScout

At a glance

NeighborhoodScout provides 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.

4. FamilyWatchdog

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.

5. CrimeReports

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 your home 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.

Cost

CrimeReports is free to use.

6. SpotCrime

At a glance

SpotCrime maps 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 visually represent crime stats.

Crimes are represented by icons that make it easy to see what type of activity takes place in your neighborhood. 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.

Get updates on safety news, product releases, and deals!
By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Check out our home security checklist to make sure your home is as protected as possible. You may also want to consider a monitored home security system to 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

Share this article.
  • Boxn

    Sure wish I could find a good anonymous reporting app that actually gets results. The things I have seen and had to do as a victim of human trafficking. It sure would be nice to see justice to the people in that neighborhood I had to live in for 30+ years. I want revenge and moving on or providing my name isn’t the way to do it.

    • barbara hill

      Me too. All the ones listed
      Are horrid. Only thing I could get out of them was sex offender!!!!

  • Rme Lewis

    Why do we have to pay to get this info? If I want to move to a new area, how am I supposed to know it it is safe or not?!

    • Kenyatta

      PEOPLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD PRACTICE WITCH CRAFT everyday on the hour.

      • Kenyatta

        People speeding through the streets just now. Non stop

        • Kenyatta

          Someone used my email account address to sign up for this account illegally, I just noticed it.

    • http://merrimackvalleymarealestate.colm Kevin Vitali

      As a Massachusetts Buyer’s Agent, I encourage my buyers to spend time in the area. Go at different times of the day and get a flavor for the street and neighborhood.

      Also Neighborhood Scout give you some crime stats for free. It breaks it down into violent and non violent crimes as well as gives an indication of how your town compares to the state and nationwide for crime.

      Google the address and the street see if there is any criminal activity that has been reported.

      Access to level 2 and 3 sex offenders is free online, for others ask the local police department.

      Do your homework and ask your buyer’s agent for resources to help.

  • Kenyatta

    Sos

  • Kenyatta

    Sos in oaklawn lane.

  • Kenyatta

    Person family building a 50,000$ deck in oaklawn lane.

  • Kenyatta

    Oaklawn lane in va

  • Kenyatta

    They are doing witch craft

  • Kenyatta

    Man doing witch craft in the neighborhood oaklawn lane.

  • Kenyatta

    That guys mustang is too expensive.

  • Kenyatta

    man is doing witch craft.

  • Kenyatta

    Man doing witch craft to me again. Now in oaklawn lane. A witch doctor.

  • Kenyatta

    This man is doing it again now.

  • Kenyatta

    Again doing it

  • Kenyatta

    Witch craft on my house again neighbors man

  • Kenyatta

    ALL RESIDENCE IN DALE CITY IS UNDER THE POVERTY LINE.

  • Kenyatta

    MY MOM HAD WITCH CRAFT DONE TO HER NOW.

  • Kenyatta

    My mom had witch craft done to her now in oaklawn lane by neighbors.

  • Kenyatta

    Did again in oaklawn lane

  • Kenyatta

    Doctors follows me around on the Instagram when I some one calls on me about me

  • Kenyatta

    Police follows me around the neighborhood and they pointed a finger at me.

  • Josie Q

    Neighborhood Scout has nothing for free. :/

  • trusake

    I gotta say, the FBI should have a crime map just like SpotCrime (maybe even work together) to show every crime reported by local agencies, and being able to cycle in date ranges. All crime is already reported to the FBI to begin with, so why can’t they create easy access to the public? I mean, it’s 2020, let’s behave like it!