The Rich Miser

House-Hunting: The Best Way to Find Out Crime Levels

No one wants to live in an unsafe, high-crime area. That’s why it’s always a good idea to find out the crime leves in the area where you’re considering buying or renting. So how do you do that?

One way is to look up the local police department’s crime statistics. But that’s next to useless, for several reasons. First, it’s not easy to tell what specific area you’re looking at. For example, here in Miami, you have the City of Miami, as well as Miami-Dade County, and many other cities, like Coral Gables, South Miami, and Miami Beach.

Second, looking at a bunch of numbers may not be very useful. If you know that there were, say, 10,000 assaults in Los Angeles last year, what does that tell you? Is that a lot, is that a little? How do you even define “assault” versus, for example, “battery”?

Credit: Giphy

It’s one big mess, unless you use a tool that makes the data easy to see and analyze. Enter Trulia Maps.

What It Is

Trulia is a real estate listing website, kind of like Zillow. But the genius feature I’m talking about here is its maps, which show crime and other statistics in a color-coded overlay map of cities. This lets you see relative crime levels for different city areas, block-by-block. Of course, it’s only as good as the crime statistic reporting it feeds on, but it’s still mega-useful.

How It Works

You can find it by either Googling something like “trulia maps crime Los Angeles”, or by first going to the Trulia website and then choosing a particular city. Then, go to “Local Scoop” and then “Crime”:

Click on “Crime” within “Local Scoop”

New York City

This will then bring up the legendary maps, within a page of statistics. There, I recommend you expand the map, like so:

Click on the circled icon.

Once expanded, you can just zoom in to the location you’re considering, in order to compare it with other neighborhoods (or even blocks). Take a look at a few examples:

NYC, medium zoom. Beware those red zones!

NYC, block by block.

Los Angeles. Most of it looks pretty safe.

The Magic City (Miami). Not bad!

Bottom Line

So there you have it, dear readers. Crime and safety data, in a format that’s actually useful and easy to read. Stay safe!


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4 thoughts on “House-Hunting: The Best Way to Find Out Crime Levels

  1. Dreamer in Chief

    That is an awesome tip!

    You said something that bears repeating: itโ€™s only as good as the crime statistic reporting it feeds on.

    Many years ago, a local TV station reported on how crime-ridden my city was compared with the neighboring city. (Our city was in a “donut hole”, basically surrounded by a larger city and officially part of the unincorporated area of the county.) Turns out the county PD statistics were being scraped by this website, but the stats for the surrounding city were not. At first blush, my area was a ghetto war zone. So it pays to dig deeper into the stats if you’re using the information for a major purchase or move!

    1. The Rich Miser Post author

      Thanks! What I like about the maps is that they show you relative crime levels. That way, you known which neighborhoods are safer, compared to others in the same city.

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