One of the most common issues home buyers struggle with when they are looking for their next home revolves around safety.
I spent the 5 years working primarily with people relocating to St. Louis. They would pick out homes they saw online and would want to know if they were located in areas that were safe. Even local residents will ask if a particular neighborhood has a problem with crime.
As a general rule, real estate agents try to avoid answering questions about safety. There are fair housing laws that prevent agents from steering clients to or from particular parts of town, and discussing crime often becomes cover for really trying to find out about the racial or ethnic makeup of an area.
The result is that real estate agents are trained to refuse to answer any questions about crime. We are told to direct our clients to the local police department to find out if they are comfortable with the crime levels in an area.
Even if we were allowed to discuss crime, I still wouldn’t do it. The problem is that different people define “safe” and “unsafe” differently.
Consider an urban neighborhood with low violent crime rates, but problems with car theft and having items stolen from parked cars. I know plenty of people who would consider these neighborhoods as having normal levels of crime and would feel completely safe, even walking the streets at night. I also know a lot of people who wouldn’t dream of living in these same neighborhoods.
Every area has crime.
Every family has a different threshold for the type and level of crime that they can tolerate.
One of the best ways to decide for yourself about crime levels and if an area is safe is to look at crime maps.
St. Louis City is an independent city, separate from St. Louis County. Since the entire city is run by a single government and police department, the crime map has complete information about crime in the city. The city also publishes monthly statistics for the city’s 7 police precincts.
Note: this map requires the use of Internet Explorer.
St. Louis County is made up of 91 municipalities and unincorporated land scattered throughout the county. The area is served by multiple police departments include St. Louis County Police.
The dark gray areas on the map are areas served by a municipal police department which does not report statistics to the county map. The light gray areas are areas which have agreed to report their statistics, but have not yet done so.
Crimereports.com has crime statistics on 3 of the St. Louis County municipalities that don’t report data to the St. Louis County Police Department map – Kirkwood, Maryland Heights and Hazelwood.