These days, more people are pausing to think, “how safe is my neighborhood?” It’s one thing to look at school districts and the availability of jobs. Families also need to consider the crime rates and overall safety of their residential area. Fortunately, there are several tools that can help people check a location’s criminal activity and more. This guide will share a few apps and websites that can make it easier to find a safe location for raising a family.
Table of Contents
- Top 8 Safe Neighborhood Apps & Websites for Staying Safe
- How Can I Check if a Neighborhood Is Safe?
- FAQ Section
- The Final Word
Crime Statistics by Zip Code: Top 8 Best Neighborhood Apps & Sites for Staying Safe
Even in 2020, the best residential neighborhoods can be plagued by violence, drug use, and other security threats. It’s crucial that individuals keep tabs on what’s going on in their area, and to scope out a new town before moving in. Below are some tools that list crime statistics by zip code.
#1 AreaVibes: Local Report Cards for Safety, Employment, & More
This website invites individuals to find the best place to live and uses a unique algorithm called a Livability Score. The site encourages users to dig deeper into those scores and explore data surrounding murder, theft, burglary, and more. They can also look at things like median household income, average rent, and employment rates.
|How it Works||All a person has to do is visit the AreaVibes website and type a state, city, address, or zip code into the search bar. The results will reveal the overall Livability Score, as well as the population and nearby homes for sale. Individuals can click on the score number to see more details, including separate letter grades for each category. For example, a town may have a B+ in housing, but an F in schools. People can also click on these categories to get further details about grade reporting and community rankings.|
|Features||Overall Livability Score; separate letter grades for Amenities, Cost of Living, Crime, Employment, Housing, Schools, and Weather; national, state, and regional rankings; real estate listings; violence and property crime statistics|
#2 NeighborhoodScout: The Ultimate Investment Criteria Map
This U.S. analytical database is centered on neighborhood safety and has been updating its reporting since 2002. Simply enter a zip code into the home page’s search bar and access a variety of reports. These pertain to real estate, demographics, crime, schools, and trends. Visitors to the site can browse through a detailed assessment of the area’s residents, the general atmosphere, income levels, ethnicities, and more. The report will also list “condition alerts”, which highlight extremes like plummeting employment or incidences of violence.
|How it Works||This service offers several plans which vary in the number of reports they send out each month. Moreover, the nature of the assessments differs in terms of how much detail is involved. The free version reveals ample information, but real estate investors or agents can request more in-depth reports that include market trends, investment opportunities, crime risk profiles, and more.|
|Features||Market trends and forecasts; real estate opportunities; investment criteria and scout maps; crime risk profiles; monthly reports; school ratings; demographics; neighborhood characteristics|
|Price||$0 – $119.99/month|
#3 National Sex Offender Public Website: The Government’s Defense Against Criminals
The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is run by the U.S. Department of Justice. Not only does it allow users to search their own region, but there are safety and education resources on the site, too. Also, it looks through all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and United States territories. Visitors to the site can see the aliases, incidents, addresses, and vehicles connected to felons in the vicinity. There are also external links to Megan’s Law and Amber Alert websites.
|How it Works||When someone visits NSOPW, they can look for data by name or location. The results will pull up a crime map of incidences and offenders, and individuals can choose the search radius (1 mile, 15 miles, etc.) People can comb through the list and click on specific names to see which nearby addresses the felon is associated with. They can also see the offenses under that person’s name, such as assault or contact with a minor.|
|Features||Safety and education resources; search filters; incident reports|
#4 Nextdoor: A Convenient Social Network App for Neighbors
This is a privately-owned company based in San Francisco, California. The app has several investor supporters, including Comcast Ventures. It is meant to gather people in the same town together to share safety tips, news, and services like babysitting. It was founded in 2011 and now has communities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. People use it to look for lost packages or pets, organize a block watch, access information from the authorities, and sell items.
|How it Works||Nextdoor is free, but it requires sign-up. It’s accessible on a desktop computer as well as a mobile device. This is an app that focuses on building stronger communities rather than checking on rates of violence and other crimes in a particular area. Rather, this is the place to find a reputable local business or a trusted sitter for a baby or pet. That said, the app will notify users of any criminal activity in the city, such as robberies.|
|Features||Buy/Sell marketplace; hiring services; crime and safety alerts; neighborhood recommendations; news; socialize with nearby families|
#5 Family WatchDog: A Free Registry of Local Sex Offenders
Family Watchdog is a free platform that shows users a full registry of sex offenders in their community. All they have to do is search for an address, a name, or a school or daycare to see data results on the interactive map. There is also a blog full of family resources and safety tips. Moreover, they can sign up for notifications that are sent straight to their phones.
|How it Works||When someone visits the website, they will see a search bar. They can type in an address, a name, or a school. Then, the site pulls up an interactive map that indicates a variety of offenses. These include rape, incidences against children, and sexual battery. If they want, users can click on a specific indicator icon to see the felon, their offenses, and their home address.|
|Features||FDA alerts; product and medicine recalls; family safety blog; interactive map|
#6 CrimeReports: Look Through Reports From Over 1,000 Departments
This platform doesn’t only allow users to track crime rates by zip code, but it is a one-stop-shop for security resources and tips. It bills itself as the largest collection of law enforcement agencies. Individuals can use this site to submit a tip to police authorities, create a crime alert, or even register a surveillance camera. This allows homeowners and officers to partner together and create safer neighborhoods.
|How it Works||Upon landing on the homepage, an individual can explore the local map or search specifically by name, region, or zip code. This brings up an interactive map with a variety of icons. Each one specifies a different incident, such as assault, kidnapping, homicide, robbery, and sexual offenses. There are also icons for crimes related to properties, drugs, and vehicles. There’s also the option to filter the results based on the day of the week or the time.|
|Features||Camera registration; tips; crime database; mobile app; browse by state; interactive crime map|
#7 SpotCrime: A Collection of Local Listings & Reports
Created in 2007, this organization is based in Baltimore, Maryland, and is owned by ReportSee, Inc. It gathers information from nationwide police enforcements and news reports. Anyone can sign up for text or email notifications and local crime maps. Everything is free to use, and while the site is simple, it does a good job of tracking down news and occurrences.
|How it Works||When visiting the site, the landing page will ask for permission to access the user’s location. Upon granting access, the platform will pull up a map of the region. Zoom in or out to explore the neighborhood and see what kinds of felonies are on the registry. Different icons pertain to specific incidences, including assault, vandalism, and arrests. Clicking on the icons will reveal the address where the activity took place, as well as the date and time.|
|Features||Location tracking; interactive crime map; list of crime reports; date and location information|
#8 MyLocalCrime: Up-to-the-Minute Criminal Reports
This website is where people can look for the crime rate by address. By entering a zip code, they can see the most recent incidents in their area, including vandalism, theft, and robbery. Clicking on the listing will bring up further details as well as the most wanted criminals. What’s nice about this platform is that it reveals the source of information, be it the District Attorney’s agency, the police department, or a citizen.
|How it Works||The site is very straightforward. The first thing that visitors will see is the homepage, which includes a search bar. Enter the particular zip code and check out the crime listings.|
|Features||Email notifications; area’s most wanted; time, date, and location information; daily updates; weekly news; map; tip submissions|
How Safe Is My Neighborhood & How To Check?
Neighborhood crimes can plague any town, be it rural, suburban, or inner-city. While it’s impossible to have total control over what others do, families can take steps to ensure their loved ones’ security. Below are some of the top ways to check on the safety of an area.
1. Use a Safe Neighborhood Apps & Websites (Check Crime Sstatistics by Zip Code)
Any of the websites or online tools mentioned above would be a great place to start. They all allow parents to look at crime statistics by zip code, helping them gauge the overall safety of their neighborhood or any area that they want to move to.
2. Browse Public Records Online
National Sex Offender Website is just one of the agencies individuals can turn to. Most of the other sites in this guide access public records from local and regional police departments, making it easy for families to spot felonies based on geographic location. In 2020, the Internet is one of the best tools for raising awareness and learning about nearby incidences.
3. Analyze the Area’s Real Estate Situation
Simply looking at property listings or talking to a real estate agency in the area can provide a clearer picture of how safe the neighborhood is. Parents aren’t likely to move to a town where the crime rates are high, so a place that has lots of homes for sale could be a bad sign.
4. Drive Through and Survey the Region
Another way that parents can get a feel for the city is by giving themselves a tour of the place. Keep an eye out for run-down homes, front yard in poor condition, or abandoned vehicles. These are signs that the area may be declining in terms of security.
5. Get to Know the Residents
While on that tour, take some time to chat with people in the region. Strike up a conversation with the cashier or watch how neighbors interact with each other. Stop by when school is letting out and see if there are crossing guards and parents waiting to pick their children up.
What is the Best Zip Code to Live in?
There are quite a few lists that track safe neighborhood statistics in the United States. The zip codes that regularly make the rankings include 22201 (Arlington, VA), 10001 (New York, New York), and 20004 (Washington, DC). Other honorable mentions are 94105 (San Francisco, CA) and 77005 (Houston, TX). People must take these suggestions with a grain of salt because the rankings are based not only on crime, but school systems, walkability, climate, employment, and more.
Are Police Reports Available to the Public?
Yes. The tools in this guide obtain some of their listings from police records. Also, sex offenders must have their names listed on the NSOPW. The thing to remember is that the authorities can decide what a public record is and what it isn’t. Some reports may contain “sensitive information” that prevents officers from making them available to citizens. It may depend on the geographic location, so be sure to contact the regional police agency.
How to Stay Safe in a Bad Neighborhood?
If there is no other choice than to live in an unsafe city, consider investing in some surveillance equipment. Cameras and alarms can deter burglars and vandals. Also, never go out alone at night, but try to venture out in groups or with a friend. Always keep doors and windows locked, not only at home but in the car as well. It doesn’t hurt to keep some pepper spray on hand, particularly for women. Finally, don’t flaunt any expensive jewelry or technology in public.
What is Considered a Bad Neighborhood?
In this case, “bad” refers to areas that are especially dangerous and prone to criminal activity. Not surprisingly, these regions also tend to have lower employment rates and under-performing school districts. It is a combination that lends itself to angsty residents and less security. These kinds of places see a lot of violence, including assault, battery, murder, and rape. They are also more likely to have instances of burglary, theft, vandalism, and kidnapping.
What is the Safest City in America?
The 2019 rankings are a bit scattered, and there isn’t one definitive answer. Rather, here are some of the top-rated cities in the nation in terms of security. Lake in the Hills, IL; Hopkinton, MA; and Cary, NC are three high performers. Others include Ridgefield, CT; Harrison Town, NY; Bernards Township, NJ; Franklin, MA; Bergenfield, NJ; and Pleasant Grove, UT. Again, it can be hard to get the same rankings across different sources because they each look at unique data and certain trends.
What is the Safest State to Live in?
Looking at FBI data and resources from some of this guide’s tools, the top three safest states in the country are New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. Interestingly, they center around the New England area. Other contenders include Idaho, Wyoming, and Kentucky. According to U.S. News & World Report, these rankings are accurate and reflect violent and property crime rates based on state population. Rounding out the top ten safest states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, and New Jersey.
Staying Safe Should Always Be A Top Priority
There’s no doubt that parents and families need to look out for each other. In areas where crime is more of an issue, it’s even more important to seek out those safe relationships. Being friendly towards the neighbors and securing the property with alarms or cameras can also help. Hopefully, this guide provided some tips and resources that individuals can use to track criminal activity in their area.