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April 01, 2016

 

When looking for a new home, the quality of the neighborhood must always be a consideration. You want to enjoy a good sense of home security and family safety to reduce the stress of moving the entire family to a new location. Most visits with a realtor to a prospective house happen during weekday working hours which will not always give you an adequate idea of the area’s safety. During these times most neighborhoods are quiet and relatively empty.

Visit your prospective new house and neighborhood a few times

Visit the area as often as possible. Time your visits differently to get a broader idea of the level of activity at different hours. If your prospective home is distant, consider scheduling an overnight trip.

Visiting at night when most crimes happen will give you much needed information. Evaluate the nighttime activity on the street. Is the street lighting adequate with even coverage? Are the properties in the neighborhood well-lit by security lighting? Is there a disproportionate number of houses completely dark? Too many vacant homes can draw burglars or be a sign that the population is moving away from the area.

A late afternoon or evening visit is ideal to get a read on the neighborhood’s activity levels. Are there children playing in yards or riding bikes? Are people outside doing yard work or jogging? Do the local stores have good foot traffic?

Other Clues to a Neighborhood’s Quality

• Do businesses and residences in the area have bars on the windows and security gates on the doors?

• Are there too many people around? Too much activity in a neighborhood can keep residents from recognizing their neighbors- who belongs and who doesn’t belong?

• Have neighborhood watch signs been posted? Do they look recent or old and faded?

• Trees and shrubs add to the beauty of a residential area, but too many can provide ideal hiding spots for criminal activity.

• Are the majority of homes well maintained? Run down houses in an area are a definite cause for concern.

• Do the surrounding roads look safe for foot traffic? Will children have routes to schools and parks that are safe from cars?

• Are there schools or churches in the immediate area that will result in traffic problems?

Get to know your prospective neighbors

The best way to get a feel for a neighborhood is to talk to the residents. Most residents will be more than willing to share their opinion on the area. How safe do they feel walking around? Do they avoid going out at night? Visit any local stores and talk to the merchants. Have there been any robberies in the area? Do the store owners and managers live in the same area as their store?

Research the Area

Just about every city and town these days boast their own web pages. Do a web search and look for sites that end in .gov. These sites often have sections devoted to crime rates, reporting and statistics. Look for a section discussing relocation resources as well.

Ask your real estate agent for crime statistics for the area. Websites such as Trulia and Zillow both have comprehensive crime data available for each neighborhood.

Visit websites for the local TV station and the local newspapers. Check them over a period of at least a few days or a week. Does your neighborhood get mentioned a lot in crime stories? Check the newspaper’s section on arrests and police activity.

Crime statistics are also available from a number of online crime websites. With them you can view a map with locations of recent crime labeled. Use this information with caution as not all incidents are reported to these sites. Two top sites are NeighborhoodScout and CrimeReports.

New Home Crime Prevention

Regardless of how safe your new neighborhood is, consider these tips for increasing your family’s safety and your overall peace of mind.

• Install your Kuna home security system. You can move your Kuna from your old home to your new one. That way you can continue to pro actively monitor your family’s safety from anywhere at anytime. Be mindful that you may need extra units if there are more entrances that need protection. Remember to apply for a discount off your insurance rates because of your Kuna security system.

• Change the locks before you move in. You don’t know who has been given a key to the locks over the years. Have a professional install Grade 1 deadbolts on your main doors. Have security plates installed that will help prevent doors from being forced.

• Ensure your insurance coverage is comprehensive. Many low price policies or policies purchased by the mortgage holder will not cover theft, only property damage.

• Improve lighting. Install security lighting at your entrances and pathways. Lighting improvements are shown to decrease your chance of being targeted by criminals. Motion detecting security lights linked to a security camera are ideal for front and back doors.

• Talk with your neighbors. Get to know them and let them know you will keep an eye out and ask them to do the same. They won’t be able to spot someone who doesn’t belong if they don’t know you and your family.

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We recommend you install Kuna  at all major entry points to your home so you’re never caught off guard when someone comes to your door. You can add multiple cameras to the Kuna app and your recordings will show footage from each of these camera.

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