When choosing a new neighborhood, there are a number of different factors to consider like schools in the area, access to stores, and the availability of recreational activities for kids & adults, and even public transit. Gathering this information can be rather easy by either driving the community or by calling the local community offices. However, what about gathering information regarding you and your family’s safety like crime rates?
One of the best community resources is the local police department. When looking into buying in a new community, calling or visiting your local police department can help give you peace of mind that you are moving your family into a safe environment.
Here are 6 questions to ask your local police department:
1) What are the crime rates for the neighborhood?
As we are all aware, there are parts of every city that are considered more dangerous than others. Ask your local police department for information regarding property and violent crime trends in the given area you are considering. If the police department themselves is unable to talk to you, there is often a community resource officer (or someone of a similar title) that acts as a liaison between the community and the police department that will have this information
If you feel that you still need to gather more information even after your discussions with either the police department or the community liaison, there are online resources such as CrimeReports.com that can help you gather crime reports for a specific area.
2) Is a security system necessary in the neighborhood you are selecting?
Again, there are certain communities that are known to be safer than others. If the police department is unwilling or unable to answer questions in regards to the safety of the neighborhood you are inquiring about, ask a question such as “Would you recommend a security system?”
3) Are there any sex offenders in the nearby areas?
Unfortunately, another factor to consider in the home buying process is the proximity of sex offenders. Fortunately, however, Megan’s Law requires authorities to notify communities of the location of convicted sex offenders. Once you have either chosen a location or you are in the process of choosing between a few different locations, knowing the location of any registered sex offenders can help you in choosing the best & safest home for you and/or your family. If there are sex offenders in the neighborhood you have chosen, be sure to educate your family about avoiding dangerous situations like not accepting rides from a stranger or call 911 if a stranger approaches you.
More information about sex offenders based on your location can be found via Family Watchdog. Type in your address, city, state, or zip code and locate nearby sex offenders.
4) Is there vandalism or any gang activity commonly known in this area?
Although uncommon, certain areas have more gang related activities than others. Ask your local police department if they know of any gang related activity if you are concerned.
5) Are there any questions that I should be asking that I haven’t asked?
The police are professionals of public safety. If there is anything that you should know, they will be able to inform you. Before concluding your conversation, find out what else they feel you should know. They will appreciate the fact that you are concerned over the safety of your family and the community.
6) Where do I go to obtain information about what is going on in a given neighborhood?
If you have selected a neighborhood or are currently living in a neighborhood, find out where the police department recommends you gather information about your specific community. They may be able to provide you with more resources that can provide more information about your area.
When selecting a neighborhood for your family to move into, there are many pieces of the puzzle to collect and complete. Although collecting all of the information that is most important to you and your family may require you to contact a number of different community resources, you will be glad you did!