Tools to Help You Find a Safe, Low-Crime Neighborhood

by Law Guru on October 4, 2013

With the uncertainty of today’s job market, many people find themselves making unexpected moves in order to stay employed. As a result, more people are on the lookout for apartment and home rentals than ever before. After all, it makes sense to rent when you are unsure how long you plan to stay in a new area. Renting is also a logical solution if you are new to an area in which you intend to reside long-term as it allows you to get a feel for the locale before deciding where you want to ultimately settle down.

Image credit: Chris Dlugosz

If you find yourself in this situation of looking for apartments for rent, you may be wondering how you can know that you are moving into a safe neighborhood. After all, you may not have friends in the area who can offer advice, and you can never be certain as to whether or not the

agent or owner is telling you the truth. What should you do? Today’s technology offers some great solutions that provide you with expert advice to ensure you end up in a home where you can feel safe and comfortable.
Visit this website, and you will be prompted to enter a location. Don’t be distressed by the fact that it doesn’t ask for a specific address. You may enter a street address even though it states to search by city, province or postal code. Simply type in the address of the home you are considering, and the site should bring up a map of the area. Icons will show where crime has taken place in the neighborhood. Different icons are used to represent different crimes. While it may not be 100% accurate, it seems to give a fairly good overview of the crime status for a given area.
This is a site that will allow you to select types of crimes and dates of those crimes having been committed. Enter the address in the search bar, then open the advanced search tab that will enable to individually select, by clicking on specific boxes, the crimes you would like to see displayed on the map. Zoom in and out of the area, grab and drag to move across the map as you desire. You may also select fires and other emergencies to view.
This is an application used by police services in metropolitan areas. You can visit their individual records for locations that have utilized this very nice tool. The Edmonton Police Service has utilized this application.

Winnipeg CrimeStat
This has a variety of filters, including sexual assault records, commercial and residential break-ins are broken down, along with several other helpful detailed reports.
This news site made quite a splash with it’s first annual ‘worst cities’ report in 2009. Since then, it’s yearly updated list has garnered the attention of Canadian citizens and visitors alike. Check out their latest stats which have been gathered from municipal police services across the nation. The good news? Overall, according to these statistics, the crime level has declined in the last year or so. Check out the Statistics Canada site’s Crime Severity Index,which is used in Maclean’s report and is linked from their site.
In the US, the sex offender registry is available to the public. This is a handy site to use to look up criminal records, including registered sex offenders and pedophiles. Simply fill in the address information, and the site will pull up a map. Small squares represent places where criminals live. Click on a square, and you should be provided with a picture and the date and nature of the crime.

In Canada, however, the National Sex Offender registry is only accessible to all accredited Canadian police agencies through a provincial/territorial registration center.

Decisions, Decisions
Ultimately, no website can tell you whether you should move into a certain neighborhood. That decision is up to you. While website information can be helpful, you will want to familiarize yourself with the area to see if you do indeed feel comfortable there. If all else fails, do it the old-fashioned way; knock on doors and meet some potential neighbors. Not only will they be able to tell you of other possible homes for sale or apartment rentals, but also, you may be able to determine if the neighbors are people you would like having next door.

Here’s to finding the best home possible in your new area!

Trish MacPherson works at CAPREIT, helping those in need of housing find safe, convenient, and perfectly situated residences.

Law Guru

Law Guru

If it's law related, we're interested and will certainly be writing about it. Just give us time!

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