I always advise home buyers to do their due diligence if they’re concerned about crime activity around a property or in a particular neighborhood. Car theft/break-ins, muggings, assaults and burglaries are unfortunately incidents that happen in all areas.
But some areas do have higher crime rates than others, and you should be aware of the nature and frequencies of crimes in the area you choose to call home in the future. I’m often asked, “Is this a safe area?” by my clients, and really, what’s safe for one person may not be the case for another. The best resource is the San Francisco Police Department’s CrimeMapping Web site.
Once you’re on the site, type in an address and you’ll see a map that pinpoints that address. You can then explore crime types and date ranges, and see all nearby crime incidents mapped accordingly. You can select up to a two-mile radius, but that’s a pretty wide berth for a city that’s 7×7. Up to a half a mile will probably give you more of a sense for your immediate neighborhood.
It’s best to do this research during the disclosure review and pre-offer stage, as you can avoid wasting a lot of time in submitting an offer if you ultimately won’t be comfortable with what’s happening in the area.