The following article was contributed by Valentine Properties, a trusted partner of Dynamark Security of Richmond.
If you’re thinking about moving to the Richmond area, or even moving to a new part of the city from another neighborhood in the area, you’ve got a lot of things to consider. Everything from the quality of the local schools to the level of traffic on nearby streets might play a factor in your decision-making process. One consideration that might be important is the security of a neighborhood you are considering moving to, and fortunately researching that information is fairly easy thanks to a few free online tools.
Looking up crime rates
Thanks to public records, investigating the crime rates of a given neighborhood has never been easier. In fact, many popular real estate listing sites incorporate crime statistics of some kind. If you want more detailed information, you can use a site like crimereports.com, which also has a mobile app for your phone. Spotcrime.com is a similar service that allows you to sign up for email updates about crime in a specified area.
Although information about crime rates is readily available online, keep in mind that numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Not all law enforcement agencies use the same criteria for reporting incidents, so make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at crime data.
Checking for registered sex offenders
In addition to crime rates, one other thing you might want to check is the national registry of convicted sex offenders. You may not decide to change your plans simply because a registered sex offender lives in the neighborhood you were planning on moving to, but on the other hand you probably would want to know if you were going to be living next door to one. Visit a site like familywatchdog.us to check for registered sex offenders in your area.
Visiting the neighborhood
While there is a lot of information you can access about a neighborhood while sitting in front of a computer, nothing beats actually going to the neighborhood and driving around or walking the streets. Observe if the streets are well-lit, and also look to see how many homes display yard signs advertising that they are protected by security systems. A study by Rutgers University found that neighborhoods with more homes protected by alarm systems tended to have fewer break-ins, so even if you weren’t planning on installing a security system in your new home, you could benefit from neighbors who do use one.
In the end, perhaps the best way to research the security of your new neighborhood is to trust your gut. If you simply don’t feel safe walking the streets at night, then statistics probably aren’t going to change that. However, all of the tools mentioned above can certainly aid in your research and help narrow your options as you plan your move.
About Valentine Properties
We are a residential real estate firm serving the Metro-Richmond area with HEART and SOLD. For more information on our services please visit www.HeartsInHomes.com or call our office at 423-6000. Oh, by the way… we are never too busy for your referrals!