So, I got asked a question yesterday while meeting a customer for the first time. It was interesting, and I didn’t have the answer for them at the time, so I did a little research.
They were concerned about “crime rates” in a specific community, and what it would be like for raising a family. I had seen some articles on the subject, but no underlying data, so all I really knew to start with was the community’s reputation and my lifetime in the local area. After a few questions, they admitted that their concerns were also based mostly on friends’ perception.
Crime statistics are hard to translate into valuable comparisons because of jurisdictional differences, underreporting issues, and differing legal definitions of crimes, among other things. The most consistent, reliable, and comparable data comes from violent crimes, because they are more highly reported and clearly defined across jurisdiction. I feel okay with using that data as a comparison point; it makes sense. When it comes to where I raise a family, I care if people are getting burgled, but care a lot more about homicides and assaults.
I won’t post actual data about actual neighborhoods because I don’t want to influence where you choose to buy a home, but I will always help you inform yourselves.
Between the two major U.S. data collection programs, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey you can find comparable state level data and national averages on even unreported crimes. For more local data here in Idaho, the most valuable resources I have found are the links through the Idaho State Police Citizen’s Resources site.
To close, my further research shows positive trends in the community, and my new clients are a lot more excited about a home they can afford in an area that is only suffering from a dated perception problem. As always in real estate I recommend hiring a full time professional that you trust, but in the meantime… arm yourselves!