What’s your vision of the ideal neighborhood? Is it picturesque white picket fences surrounding gingerbread homes? Kids running in a park with kites trailing behind them? Bicycle races down a nearby hill? Or couples out walking their dog at sunset? What comes to mind when you think of where you want you and your family to live?
Some people say affordability is the key to choosing a neighborhood. Others say it’s the schools, and still others insist that they want to live in a neighborhood where there are lots of children, because they have kids of their own. But one universal key to choosing a neighborhood is safety, and when driving around a neighborhood safety is not something you would necessarily see from your car.
The good news is that there are ways to find out just how safe a neighborhood is. It can be your current neighborhood, or one that you’re planning to move to. It’s done by using different online tools and searches that provide you with access to school performance, shopping, crime statistics and more. Still other online tools offer you information on how many ex-felons live in a specific area, or how many vehicles are stolen each month. Want to know how many homes were broken into? There’s a tool for that as well.
To help you find out about the safety of a neighborhood, we’ve listed the 5 key tools to use in your search. Here’s hoping that the neighborhood you’re looking at is deemed safe.
Tool #1: SpotCrime
As the name implies, SpotCrime helps you spot the types of crimes that have occurred in your neighborhood, or one you’re looking at. And you can get information about any neighborhood in the country. To make it easy for you to understand, SpotCrime is a map-based visual tool that provides you with an overview of both the type of crimes that have occurred as well as the amount of crimes that happened in a designated neighborhood.
SpotCrime retrieves data from various law enforcement agencies and additional validated sources that are then placed on a Google map. You can also do a search for crime data that happened near a specific address or location. You’re able to receive email updates on either a daily or weekly basis on various crime stats, making SpotCrime’s information both current and accurate.
Tool #2: Nuwber
When it comes to online tools that help search for people living in a specific neighborhood or area, Nuwber is the one go-to tool that many people turn to. Nuwber is a people search site that compiles data on U.S. citizens, providing key information like address, phone number, email address and many other key information.
Because it’s an in-depth tool, Nuwber also provides background information on people that includes police records, any social media profiles available and more. You’re able to search the site by a person’s name, address, phone number, email address and more.
Tool # 3: Family Watchdog
No, this isn’t about finding a German Shepherd or Dobermann Pincher to guard your home. Family Watchdog helps you find information on ex-felons or sex offenders who may be lining in your area. Their website provides you with a free record search that shows any registered sex offenders living in or around your neighborhood.
For your protection, a convicted sex offender must register and list their current address when released from prison, as well as notify law enforcement officials whenever they move in or out of a neighborhood. You’re able to view their location and type of sexual offense, as well as whether or not they live near schools, parks or shopping areas. You can use that information to let family members, especially children, know what areas to stay away from.
Tool #4: AreaVibes
For research on the safety of a specific neighborhood, AreaVibes is a good tool to use. Their website offers crime information about a neighborhood, as well as key information about housing, education, area amenities and more. They also rank neighborhoods based on the amount of different crimes that include robbery, assault, rape, property crimes and others.
Once a visitor enters a zip-code, AreaVibes provides a “neighborhood livability” safety score that ranks the neighborhood on its safety ranking. That allows viewers to compare various neighborhoods with one another in terms of safety, helping find the one neighborhood that meets a family’s specific standards.
Tool #5: Nextdoor
Nextdoor is a private social network website offering key information about a specific neighborhood. You have to join the site to participate, but it allows you to chat in real-time with neighbors who live near you. It even offers a personal alert system to its members. Members often provide various neighborhood crimes, like package thefts from porches, recent area break-ins, assaults and more.
You’ll also find community news and items that are available to purchase. The only caveat is that the site doesn’t vet the information that people enter, so you could end up chatting with someone that isn’t who they claim to be. If you want to verify their identity, you could use Nuwber to find their true identity. Next Up: Protect your kids online