What is the crime rate? How do I find a “safe” neighborhood?

March 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the things that is frustrating to both clients and Realtors is that we are prohibited from commenting on whether or not a neighborhood is “safe” due to Fair Housing Laws. (See article “What Real Estate Agents Won’t Tell You.”)  The web, however, fills that void nicely with a variety of tools, and now there’s a new one that looks very useful: CrimeReports.com. Just enter the address and the map populates with recent crime data, including police calls and arrests.

The site had its inspiration in a local Arlington County resident, and is not without its own controversy around privacy and other matters. Nonetheless, it’s a valuable tool for buyers investigating potential neighborhoods.

It doesn’t appear to have Virginia data yet (the site has a form where you can request the data from your local police department); DC and Montgomery County, MD are already online.  Another valuable tool as you narrow the search?  The local police department — just give them a call and get the rundown on crime.

One more useful  site as you are getting to know the area is the sex offender registry.  There is no requirement in our area that sellers disclose that a sex offender is nearby, so do your homework! Here is the link for the DC registry, and Virginia registry.

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