How can I check the crime and safety levels in an area I want to move to?
Of course, if you’re buying a property in an area that you know well, I expect you know where the bad areas are within your own town.
But, this isn’t the same for people buying out of town or areas that they’re familiar with.
The thing to do there is to walk around the area yourself, different times of day, so that should be first thing in the morning, last thing at night. Really if you can, everything in-between. Just to see if the character of the area changes when, for example; it starts to get dark – do you still feel safe there? Does it seem like a good area?
The other thing I would check is local businesses, do they have shutters on the windows? Lots of alarms and locks and that kind of thing? That could indicate that there is a higher level of crime than other areas.
Check for things like graffiti as well, that can make a difference to an area also. There are websites you can go on that tell you statistics, so www.police.uk.
That website will tell you the level of crimes and the different types of crimes that have been reported over a set period. But, I think in general these statistics are just that really, statistics that you can’t really read anything into and they can be quite frightening reading when you look at them as well.
So, for me, just getting a feel of the area by walking around it at different times is the best way of finding out whether you feel safe there or not.