Making a decision about crime rates and where to live: I get asked quite a bit to tell a citizen if they should move to a particular neighborhood or apartment complex. Although I am not permitted to steer you to or from a neighborhood, apartment dwelling, a businesses or particular service provider, there are ways that are publicly accessible to help you with your decision making process. Following this web site is one recommendation, as you will get a general overview of property crimes in this APD Area Command, which is generally from Eubank to the open space areas, and Kirtland Air Force Base to Paseo Del Norte. If you are reading this web site regularly, you are already getting a sense of what types of crimes occur during seasonal times, where they occur, and hopefully utilizing trends and tips information to apply to your own situation.
One of my recommendations is to log on to a crime mapping site, where you can learn about crimes that occurred resulted in police reports being written. Most of these sites allow you to list the address and then draw a radius from that address from 500 feet to up to 2 miles from the address you input. You can also select the types of crimes you are interested in knowing about and select a date range. Most of these types of sites will offer you an email sign up to receive alerts to your email if a crime in your selected area has occurred. You need to know a few things about these types of crime tracking sites: they do not tell you about factors, such as density, or if there are major attractions in those areas that may bring in thousands of people day by day (schools, businesses, etc.). There can be a time lag with some, such as a citizen’s police report generated online may have a time lag in showing up within 24 hours. I also recommend keeping the radius fairly tight to the location you are considering to narrow the focus.
When you are making your decisions, check the area several times on different days of the week and times of day. You may assume you are moving into a quiet location if you do your preview/house or apartment shopping on a day in the middle of the week when people are at school and work, only to be unpleasantly surprised after you’ve made an offer or lease commitment to find out it’s a raging party zone on Saturday nights. Check the area and walk the area and tap into your senses: do you feel safe at night if you had to run out for a quick errand, or at an apartment dwelling to do a load of laundry or get a newspaper or use the fitness facility? Are lights on, in working order, and no dark spots or hiding places? Are there people in the general area milling about with no apparent legitimate reason for being there? These may be significant red flags in your search.
Online review services like Yelp and similar ones may be helpful, but take these with a grain of salt — some reviewers may be compensated to submit glowing reviews, or someone may have a grudge and be posting negative assessments, or a competitor in the same market area could be posting negative reviews to drive traffic to their own location. There are also sites for neighborhoods, like Area Vibe and the like. You will need to keep in mind what criteria is used in order to get a great assessment.
Ultimately, the decision is yours, but you have tools out there to help you. Once you do make a selection about where to live, I recommend getting active in the community whether you are purchasing a home or renting. You are a stakeholder! Meet your neighbors, community leaders, local police representatives, elected officials and attend those apartment safety meetings, Neighborhood Association or Home Owner Association meetings and other community meetings where you can get engaged and help be a decision-maker on things affecting your neighborhood. Get to know a few neighbors and exchange contact numbers in case an emergency occurs. Think about starting a Neighborhood Watch group on your block. Neighbors who care about each other have more tight-knit networks, a built in support group if there are issues to address and can be extra eyes and ears for one another and local law enforcement.
I hope you have some extra tools now if you are considering a move, and if not, that you may check out a few of the sites or let me know if you have a preferred site or way to gauge a safe neighborhood.
Property Crimes Reported in the Foothills Area Command on Thursday, August 10th:
1 Robbery/Commercial: 13600-block of Copper NE.
4 Stolen Vehicles: 10800-block of Arguello Trail SE, 11000-block of Cochiti SE, 800-block of Pawnee St NE, 1700-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE.
2 Commercial Burglaries: Two incidents at the same address on the 11900-block of Central NE.
3 Residential Burglaries: 12000-block of Skyline Rd NE, 13300-block of Fruit NE, 13300-block of Mountain Rd NE.
5 Auto Burglaries: 1800-block of Christine St NE, 3300-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE, 3000-block of Jane Place NE, Elena Gallegos parking area, 4400-block of Morris St NE. Entries into vehicles by breaking a window, damaging a door lock and the rest were not noted at time of research. Items stolen? Checks, amplifier, sub-woofer, wallet, driver license, credit cards, tools.
Have a safe weekend!
Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, NCPS – APD, Foothills Area Command