A few months ago a client was talking about moving and wanted my input on "safe areas of town". I advised him to visit the neighborhoods he was interested in at various days and times so he would get a feel of the neighborhood - as in the daytime many folks are at work - and kids are at school - all looks peaceful and quiet. I also recommended that he check any particular address, for a home he was seriously interested in buying, with the local police department.

Yesterday, I heard an ad on the radio for a program or product that would tell you if your neighborhood was safe. As the announcer went on, he referenced that this program used Uniform Crime Reporting data. Woo hoo - sounds pretty classy right? Do you even know what UCR data is?

UCR data is the reporting system used by the FBI to track what they refer to as "index crimes". These typically have not been ALL crimes, just those that they have chosen to monitor and the reporting is voluntary. You can learn more about the system here. From their website they list, "The UCR Program collects statistics on the number of offenses known to law enforcement. In the traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS), there are eight crimes, or Part I offenses, (murder and nonnegligent homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson) to be reported to the UCR Program. These offenses were chosen because they are serious crimes, they occur with regularity in all areas of the country, and they are likely to be reported to police."  Yes, you do not want ANY of these in your neighborhood here but they note, these are SERIOUS crimes.

My point here is that if you rely on these programs or products that only use UCR data, you are missing out on many of the crimes and incidents that may just make your new neighborhood a nightmare. Have you seen that 20/20 show about Neighbors from "you know where"?

The police departments keep logs of their calls for service for particular addresses and neighborhoods. These will usually include ALL calls for service, including reports of lesser crimes, and those annoying other things that can add up to frustration. What would those be? Hmmm, let's see.....

Barking dogs, vandalism, abandoned motor vehicles, noise complaints, repeated calls for EMS and Police (sirens at night and dangerous situations), and code violations to name a few. And don't let me forget that you should check your sex offender registry sites in your current area as well as any new areas you are considering.

A few minutes and possibly a few dollars at your local police department can be a big help. If you would like us to, we routinely order reports from the various police departments and would be happy to request one for you. Please email us or call us 480-588-0511.