High Crime Rates Steal from Your Wallet
Of course, a high crime rate makes you feel personally vulnerable, but do you realize how much it can affect your personal finances? Burglars don’t have to physically steal your stuff to cost you money. Think losses from theft, falling real estate values, and higher insurance premiums.
Insurers look closely at crime rates when calculating premiums, drilling down from state to city to neighborhood, even street-by-street crime statistics. For example, homeowners in Glendale, AZ pay the highest insurance rates in the state due to the city’s high crime rate as compared to the rest of Arizona.
Crime rates influence car insurance costs, homeowner’s insurance premiums, renter’s insurance, and even housing costs. As crime goes up, home values tend to drop; as insurance costs increase, landlords may raise rents to cover the extra expense.
Look before you leap into a lease or purchase agreement.
How to Check Neighborhood Crime Rates
The local police or sheriff department should be your first stop for current crime information. Many departments post the information online. If you need more information, check out these three online services.
- Crime Reports. Use this free service to search actual law enforcement crime records for over 1,000 departments. Enter your search – ZIP code or street address – to see incidents located on a map of the area. Click on each to view specifics like date and offense.
- Spot Crime. This free service allows you to search for incidents by ZIP code or street address. Incidents are shown on a map with specifics available as well. You can also register to receive email or SMS alerts to crimes reported in your area.
- Neighborhood Scout requires a paid subscription to access full information. The free version allows you to access violent and property crime rates in an area and compare them to state and national averages. The free version doesn’t list individual incidents. Additional benefits with a subscription include demographic information about the neighborhood. It’s more of a holistic neighborhood information tool than simple crime reporting.
Neighborhood crime rates matter: they can turn your dream home or apartment into a nightmare. Check them before you move, and take steps to reduce your risk.
How to Increase Your Security – Wherever You Live
Crime rates are important, but, for most people, budget and job location are the main considerations when looking for a place. Once you have a list of likely homes/apartments, evaluate each to determine how welcoming it is to burglars.
A home security system helps protects your personal safety, property, and bank balance. Depending on your home’s location and features, consider some of the optional add-ons to the GetSafe Starter Kit:
- Flood monitoring: The drip, drip, drip of a small leak can quickly equal a large repair bill for structural damage and ruined furnishings.
- Motion detector camera: Watch what’s happening inside your home (and record it!) with your smart phone app.
- Digital locks: Many landlords don’t routinely change locks between renters. Do you really know how many people have a key to your apartment? Our optional home automation tools work with Nest and your SmartHub.
- Smoke alarm monitoring: Our smoke detector emits an audible alarm even if the SmartHub is disabled.
- Monitored home security: Most insurers only offer discounts for monitored systems. Even more important, our USA-based operators are on the job 24/7. You can take a break from the phone and let us handle the security.
Even though many people associate crime mainly with urban life, rural neighborhood crime rates are higher than you might imagine. Without close neighbors, there’s nobody to hear the sound of glass breaking or notice smoke pouring out of the roof. A monitored home security system is even better than a nosy neighbor: it never sleeps or takes a vacation.