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Relocation & Home Security-How to Research Crime Data for a New City or Neighborhood Before You Make Your Big Move

There’s a lot that goes into moving and finding a new place to live in a new city, including a great deal of research. One of the most important factors that many residents often forget to look into ahead of time is the city’s crime rate.

This article will cover the various resources available for obtaining crime rate data for cities and their local neighborhoods. Important home security tips for your new residence will also be discussed.

Resources for Obtaining Crime Rates for Cities and Local Neighborhoods

No matter where you live, there is going to be some level of crime. With a little research, however, you can better determine the best place to establish your new residence prior to moving. 

When researching crime data, it’s important to understand both the prevalence and types of crimes the city and its corresponding neighborhoods experience. As you will discover, some regions of a city may experience more or less crime than another. The types of crime can also vary. With this information you can build a solid home security plan for your new residence.

There are a variety of resources for obtaining crime data for various cities and neighborhoods across the United States. The following are what many home security experts use:

  • UCR Publications: The FBI collects and publishes a variety of crime data for the United States each year. Their Crime in the United States publication provides detailed data on the prevalence and types of crime by state, county, and city. The FBI also offers a research tool called the Crime Data Explorer. This interactive tool makes researching crime data by specific regions very easy. The FBI’s UCR publications are considered the gold standard when it comes to crime data in the United States. 
  • Local Resources: One of the best resources for obtaining crime rates for various regions within a city is the local City Hall. A visit to their website will usually provide you with what you need. Police departments and real estate agents may also provide data on crime within the city’s communities. When working with a realtor, it is important to remember that they are in the business of selling or leasing a home to you. Therefore, the safety of you and your family may not be their priority. When it comes to deciding where to live, your decision should be based on your own crime data research.
  • Other Online Crime Data Tools: There are a variety of online resources you can use to research crime in specific cities and neighborhoods. One such tool is NeighborhoodScout.  With this tool you can compare neighborhoods by crime rates and types of crimes, including property crimes. Another useful resource is Patch.com. This is an excellent place for obtaining the details on crimes that get reported within the city’s regions.

Home Security Tips For Your New Residence

In addition to reviewing the crime data in your new community, it is also important to consider the features of your new residence before deciding which property is safest for you and your family. The following are some important features to consider during your search for a new residence:

  • Landscaping: The landscaping around a residence can help beautify a property; it can also serve as cover for criminals. When reviewing prospective properties, assess the layout and location of shrubs, trees, retaining walls, and fences. Is there anything near the residence that would allow easy access to a window or balcony on the second floor? Are there any bushes near ground-floor windows that an intruder can hide behind? If you spot anything that poses a security risk, take the necessary steps to remove or decrease that risk. If it isn’t feasible to modify the landscaping, be sure to reinforce your home’s windows and entry doors (see the below home security tips for more information).
  • Outdoor Security Lights: The lighting around the exterior of a home is very important. Whereas a steady stream of light can give an intruder easy viewing of the residence’s entryways, a poorly lit property can provide dark areas for a person to hide in. A home that has bright wireless motion-activated securing lights is a great feature to have, as such lights can help startle and deter burglars and other criminals. If your new residence is not equipped with this essential home security device, be sure to have some installed. The brighter the light, the more effective the device will be at startling potential intruders. 
  • Home Security System:  A home that is equipped with a security alarm and/or wireless surveillance system will be a great addition to your home security plan. Though such systems cannot stop an intruder from breaking into your home, they can deter criminals as well as serve as an early alert for you and your family of an intruder. To keep the bad guys out of your home, it is important to fortify the security around your windows and doors. Entry doors should be equipped with heavy-duty deadbolts as well as a quality security door brace. To protect windows, line them with security-grade glass protection film. Each of these home security devices is specifically designed to make breaking in through an entry door or window very difficult. At the very least they can slow an intruder down, giving you and/or your family time to call 911 and seek safety. 

Do Your Research Before You Move

Even the safest cities in the U.S. experience some level of crime. Educating yourself on the types of crime the city you are planning to relocate to experiences will help you make better decisions about where you live and the home security measures required to protect your family and your home against them.