Reports show that the safety of your neighborhood directly correlates to the value of your home. A study published in Journal of Housing Research found that falling rates in violent crime in New York City over a ten year period raised property values by about 8 percent. Another study in American Economic Review found living within 0.1 miles of a sex offender could drop the value of your home 4 percent on average. None of this is groundbreaking—who would want to live next to a sex offender? However, using this information to your advantage can bring you personal and financial gains.
Choosing a Safe Neighborhood
Agents say the first rule in real estate is location, location, location. But, a realtor won’t comment on the safety of the location in which you’re looking to buy a home or rental property. They can’t. Doing so violates the Fair Housing Act and could cause them to lose their license. You must determine the safety of your potential neighborhood on your own. Fortunately, you can do this fairly easily with a little research.
Check Crime Statistics
Check out crimereports.com. It will show you a map of any area and mark the locations of crimes reported by local police departments. It will also show you where any registered sex offenders live in the area. You can click on the marker icons for more details. Also, see if your potential neighborhood ranks among the state’s safest cities on SafeWise.com. SafeWise bases its rankings on an aggregate of FBI crime data, along with other factors.
Get to Know the Neighborhood
When you tour a house you’re looking to buy, take a walk around the neighborhood as well. You can learn a lot just by looking for signs of activity in the area. Are there parks nearby? Are there businesses near the parks? Do residents keep their property in order? Is the street clearly visible from the houses’ windows? Are people outside in the evening? Affirmative answers to these questions signify an engaged community and a safe neighborhood.
Your real estate agent can’t legally help you determine the safety of an area, but with some research and legwork before you buy, you’ll find a safe neighborhood and give yourself a good start on your home investment. If you’ve already purchased a home, you can still take steps to improve your home’s value by improving the safety of your neighborhood.
Improving Safety in Your Current Neighborhood
Homeowners can help improve their home’s value by engaging in their communities to create safer neighborhoods. According to the National Institute of Justice, community engagement strategies, like Operation Ceasefire in Boston, have reduced gun assaults by as much as 25 percent.
Engage in the Community
Community engagement can involve a lot of different activities, but the main idea is to have a lot of eyes on the street. The most obvious form is a Neighborhood Watch program, but you can also engage your community in other ways. Organize a neighborhood barbeque at the local park. Invite everyone to a block party. Encourage your neighbors to get to know each other. Increasing safe activities on your neighborhood streets will decrease unsafe activity.
Engage in Local Government
Getting involved with local government can also help improve your neighborhood’s safety. Your influence may help get the funding to upgrade the infrastructure in your neighborhood or give your street the vote it needs to get the new coffee shop. By voicing your opinions to local government, you can inspire action and give value to your community. That value manifests in your home.
By engaging with the people and businesses in your area, you can turn your neighborhood into a community. The sense of camaraderie developed inside the community will help keep the streets safer—protecting your family or tenants, and your property value.
Invest Your Time to Protect Your Money
You are responsible for choosing a good home in which to invest. Your real estate agent is bound by the law. But, whether you are in the market for a home or rental property, or if you are already an established homeowner, you can take steps to improve on your investment by pursuing a safer neighborhood. Taking the steps to protect your investment will also protect the home’s residents and create a better community—giving you double the peace of mind and a higher net worth.
This advice comes from Elli Bishop at SafeWise, a company that’s on a mission to help keep your home and community safe. SafeWise collects hundreds of reviews from home security customers and uses those results to help you discover the ideal security system for your home and family.