Safety is one of the most important things to consider when relocating to a new city, buying a home, or even doing research on your current community. Since safety encompasses everything from your peace of mind to your home's resale value, it's vital you have access to local crime information.
Luckily, there are online tools available that help you determine how safe a neighborhood is. These invaluable resources make it easier for you to choose a home, identify crime trends in your current community, or if you plan to relocate, find which cities are the safest to move to.
The resources we found are easy to use, come with a bevy of unique features, and most don't charge a fee to use them. With these things in mind, these are the websites you should use when learning how safe your neighborhood is.
How Safe is Your Neighborhood? - In This Guide
NeighborhoodScout is a one-stop resource for all your community research needs. With it, you can use its search bar on its homepage to type in an address or city you live in now or are considering moving to. From there, NeighborhoodScout compiles over 300 data points including crime stats, public school reports, appreciation reports, popular neighborhoods, and more.
This resource also gives you the ability to use its map to click on a specific area of a city. Once you do this, you can access detailed crime data such as property and violent crime comparisons relative to the city and state level. It also has a feature where you can see what your chances of becoming a victim of crime in that community are.
If you love the community you live in now and want to find a comparable one if you must relocate, you can use its match feature. How this works is you type in your current address, and then enter the city and state of where you plan to move. NeighborhoodScout provides you with a list of communities in your new city that most match what you are used to.
You can access most of NeighborhoodScout's features for free. The website also has a subscription based service where you receive total access to localized crime data, public school quality ratings, and more for as little as $15.99 monthly.
2. Family Watchdog
Family Watchdog is a website dedicated to locating sex offenders who live in your area. The website is easy to use in that you visit its homepage, type the address where you live now or are considering moving to, and then the website pulls up a map of your area with pins specifying where sex offenders live relative to your home.
You can learn more about sex offenders living near you by clicking on the location pin. When you do this, you'll receive access to a picture of the offender, their age, their crime(s) committed, and their current address.
Along with locating sex offenders near you, Family Watchdog has a notification service where it will email you when offenders move in or out of your area. It also has a safety section, giving you access to FDA alerts, and food and product recall information.
Family Watchdog makes all of its services free to use.
AreaVibes is a great resource to help you find a community that aligns most with your needs. How it achieves this is by using an algorithm, which takes over 100 factors into consideration such as nearby amenities, employment, weather, crime rates, and more to create a livability score between 1 and 100.
You start by visiting its website and typing in your current address or the area you are interested in moving to. Next, AreaVibes compiles the local data and comes back with the best neighborhoods near you.
It breaks down neighborhoods to show you the ones with the highest livability score first. When you click on one of the neighborhoods, it assigns grades from A to F for a variety of factors including crime, education, cost of living, employment, housing, and more.
AreaVibes give more detail on each point of interest. To demonstrate, for crime stats not only does it provide a grade, it also shows how well the neighborhood fares relative to its state and nationally.
Furthermore, you have access to detailed crime reports specifying reported incidents and how many daily crimes occur in the area per 100,000 people. Best of all, AreaVibes provides all these resources to you for free.
SpotCrime aggregates crime data, plots them on Google Maps, and delivers alerts via SMS, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. Using information from local police departments, news reports, and other avenues, it aims to provide the most accurate crime data.
SpotCrime's website has some unique tools to help you identify crimes happening in your area. How you find this is by selecting your state then browsing through until you have your county of residence.
Once you click on the crime map, SpotCrime has unique icons denoting specific crimes. To illustrate, it uses a clenched fist for assault. You can click on an icon to learn more about the crime such as what address it happened at, the date of the incident, and more.
This website offers a plethora of other tools such as daily crime reports and you can access the most wanted by county. It also has a section where you can report a crime tip or crime.
Overall, while the website is free to use, it does take some time to become acclimated to it.
CrimeReports partners with over 1,000 law enforcement agencies to provide crime mapping. You can access its maps by city name, region, or zip code.
Once you enter in your local data, the website populates a map with the latest crime data, specified in the last two weeks. If crimes have occurred in this time span, it will denote them using applicable icons. You can click on these icons to see details of the crime including where and when it happened. The website even allows you to submit a crime tip for specific incidents.
Another unique tool it uses with mapping is its incident trends. You can browse crimes that have occurred by violent or property categories. CrimeReports also has a filter tool where you can see how many crimes have happened in an area as far out as six months; you can browse by the time of day as to when incidents happen, and even locate sex offenders near you.
CrimeReports also makes it easy for you to partner with local law enforcement agencies in solving crimes by allowing you to register your security cameras. If a burglary or other crime was to happen on your property, your registered camera(s) could help police identify the perpetrator.
Nextdoor is unique in that it is a social networking application for neighborhoods. When using this app, you can find local babysitters, learn more about events in the community, and most important, become familiar with any recent crimes that have occurred nearby.
The website is easy to use in that you type in your address and then go through its verification process. How this works is you can have the service call you, you can verify using your credit or debit card, or you can receive a postcard with a code.
Once verified, you can access community forums including crime and safety. On this forum, you can see any crimes that have occurred recently near you, learn if any neighbors have had similar experiences, and pertinent details of the incident.
Not only does this provide you with more information on crime trends happening in the area, it can create a safer neighborhood through shared information and community policing.
To illustrate, if there were a string of break-ins and each victim remarked seeing the same car near the scene, it can help you and other neighbors be more watchful and report any suspicious behavior that aligns with what you read on the crime forums.
Nextdoor is free to use. You can use its service through a computer or download its free mobile application in Apple's app store or via Google Play.
Ultimately, these six resources are excellent methods to obtain the information you need on a neighborhood. If you plan to move or relocate, these websites help you identify the safest communities close to your new city.
In addition, you can use mobile apps like Nextdoor to gain a feel for a community. As part of this, you'll receive access to information on local events and the latest crime incidents.
Along with using these resources, it's important to be proactive in protecting your home. You can find the best home security systems to provide you and your loved ones with another layer of protection against thieves. Sometimes the sound of an alarm is enough to scare off a potential burglar. If you're interested in a quick, easy way to keep your home safe, then take a look at our review of the best home alarm systems.