Before investing in a new home, you need to take a serious look at the demographics of where you and your family will be living.
After checking schools, shopping and hospital locations, it's time to find out if your future neighborhood is a safe investment.
Check crime reports.
Whether auto theft, break-and-enters, vehicle burglaries, gang crimes, hate crimes or vandalism, you need to know what kind of criminal activity is taking place in your future neighborhood. Your police department will be able to supply you information on the types of crimes that affect your selected neighborhood.
Scope out location of crimes.
Your police department should also be able to supply you with location maps that pinpoint specific neighborhood crimes. These maps show the latest crime statistics and which area they occurred in. Neighborhood crime statistics are usually updated monthly and are available for the general public to view.
Check trends in crimes.
You should always check the neighborhood trends in crimes. Whether it's an increase in car break-ins or home break-and-enters, you should make it your business to find out what your future neighborhood crime trends are. You may be thinking about an area where there is an increased rate of vehicle theft. If so, does your future home have a locking garage where you can safely park your vehicle?
If break-and-enters are on the rise, make sure you add the necessary locking hardware to make your home more secure before moving in. With identity theft on the rise, does your new neighborhood have secured postal facilities? Are door-to-door sales scams a problem in your prospective area? Keep in mind that many burglaries and thefts go unreported, so the statistics may be worse than police reports suggest.
Check neighborhood feel and street safety features.
Make sure your future neighborhood has well-lit streets and wide sidewalks. Take a walk through the neighborhood, looking for general upkeep. Well-kept, tidy properties indicate a pride in ownership and will help keep the area's resale value high. Check out vacant lots that could be zoned for commercial use or undesirable development.
Look for alleys or public buildings with graffiti. Graffiti could mean there is gang activity in the area.
Drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day, checking for activity, which may include everything from heavy vehicle traffic to loud parties at 2 a. m.
Check out the latest development proposals at City Hall, so you know what may be coming in the neighborhood.
Check whether there's a Neighborhood Watch Program.
Make sure your future neighborhood has a Block Watch program set up with the police department.
These free community help programs are based on a simple philosophy, “neighbors helping neighbors. "
They are designed for anyone living in a house, apartment, condominium, townhouse complex or mobile home, and were specifically developed to help reduce break-ins to homes and vehicles.
Frank Fourchalk is widely recognized for his sustained commitment to education in Home and Business security throughout North America as a result of his syndicated newspaper columns. Mr. Fourchalk has written for several daily newspapsers including the New York Post. For more information on your home security check out http://www.yourhomesecurity.ca