This Is the 1 Way You Can Tell If Your Neighborhood Is Safe From Burglars and Other Criminals

Whether you’re looking to move to a new area, or you’re just suspicious that the neighborhood you’re in is heading in a bad direction, it’s important to know what to look for when it comes to whether your neighborhood is safe or not. Read on to find out the No. 1 way you can tell if your community is safe from burglars and other criminals.

7. There are kids playing outside

happy schoolkids looking through dome climber at school playground

Children playing is a good indicator of safety. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

A good way to tell if your neighborhood is safe is if kids are frequently playing outside. If just being outside could put them in danger, chances are, you probably wouldn’t see children playing very often, or at least playing without being heavily supervised. But if when you leave your home you’re often greeted by the sound of children laughing and playing, your neighborhood’s probably pretty safe.

Next: If your neighborhood has this quality, it’s usually considered safe. 

6. The local businesses are doing well

Restauant open sign

Customers pick the safe parts of town to shop. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Most customers typically prefer not to shop in bad parts of town. SafeWise says if your neighborhood is filled with thriving local businesses, you’re probably in a pretty safe area. “Businesses prosper when people shop. If you notice a variety of shops around your neighborhood, like family-friendly restaurants, bookstores, and coffee shops, it could be a good sign,” says the site.

Next: Are there healthy food options nearby?  

5. Restaurants and grocery stores are thriving

Fresh organic farmers market fruit and vegetable

Impoverished areas tend to lack stores that sell healthy foods. | Elenathewise/iStock/Getty Images

According to the American Nutrition Association, the parts of the country that have a shortage of “fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods” are typically impoverished areas.

“If you find yourself scouting the neighborhood for a grocery store and instead see a row of fast food places, you might want to reconsider the location,” says SafeWise.

Next: Neighborhood watch programs actually do help reduce crime. 

4. There’s a neighborhood watch

Neighborhood watch sign

Residents monitoring their community help to deter crime. | josefkubes/iStock/Getty Images

“There is some evidence to suggest that citizens monitoring their communities can reduce crime,” says NPR. If your community has a neighborhood watch program, it’s safe to say it’s a proactive community that thinks of safety as a priority. According to Unicorn Security, burglars will even go out of their way to avoid neighborhoods with neighborhood watch signs up.

Next: Sorry, apartment dwellers.  

3. There are more homes than rental properties

Beautiful House

More criminal activity takes place in rental markets. | USGirl/iStock/Getty Images

According to this study conducted by the University of Virginia, criminal activity is more likely to take place in rental properties than in homes. The university goes on to say that this issue is partially a matter of statistics. If a neighborhood is filled with apartment buildings, there are many more people occupying the area than if a street were just filled with houses. The chances of some of those people partaking in criminal activity goes up, simply because there are more people.

Next: How many police do you see in a day?

2. Minimal police activity

Blue police light on top of a police car at night.

Lots of police activity is a sure sign something’s wrong. | Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images

Seeing a police car drive through your neighborhood every now and then isn’t considered frequent police activity. But if you see police officers knocking on doors in your neighborhood a couple times a week, there might be more crime around your home than you initially anticipated. “If you notice cops responding to calls multiple times a day, it might be time to move or take extra safety precautions,” says SafeWise.

Next: The best way to check if your neighborhood is really safe or not. 

1. Low crime rate

police tape across a blurred outdoor landscape

Check the crime statistics. | Larry W. Smith/Getty Images

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the best way to tell if you live in a safe neighborhood is by checking the crime rate. How do you check the crime rate of your neighborhood? You can use sites like NeighborhoodScout, CrimeReports, and SpotCrime. You can also check if there are sex offenders in your neighborhood using sites like FamilyWatchdog and The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.

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