Many believe that the safety of a home hinges on the neighborhood in which it is located. It’s easy to see why this notion holds water. Living where you feel happy and secure can make a huge difference. For one, you might feel comfortable leaving your doors and windows open on pleasant days without worrying about break-ins.

At any point, you’re assured of a strong sense of community, coupled with neighborhood watch programs that deter criminal activities and beef up security. Take Lewisboro Town, for instance. It is rated the safest city in the U.S. by SafeWise, so much so that in 2022 there were zero records of violence and property crimes despite its 12,000-plus population.

Even though you might not live in such a city, there are a couple of signs to look out for to give you an idea of the kind of neighborhood you can call home. In this guide, we will explore such.

What Factors Influence Neighborhood Safety?

Neighborhood safety goes beyond not getting mugged on the block. It’s about how much you trust the environment to ease your living experience and pride in owning a property in such a location. For example, if you’re worried about limited access to essential services like fire departments or hospitals, that’s a clear sign of potential safety issues.

This isn’t just speculation; plenty of evidence shows how factors like access to resources, community unity, racial disparities, income gaps, and crime rates impact a neighborhood’s livability. Research from the National Library of Medicine even suggests that perceptions of safety in a neighborhood can affect people’s health in terms of social connections, support networks, and unity.

Signs That a Neighborhood Is Safe

If you’re still thinking about a safe place to live, especially if you’re planning to move soon, here are five signs to look for in a secure neighborhood:

Low Crime Rates

The most common way to ascertain the safety of a neighborhood is to check for crime rates. If there are frequent reports of criminal activities and violence, your well-being may be affected. Cities like St. Louis, Missouri, or Baltimore, Maryland, where there are 18.6 and 13.7 gun-related injuries per 10,000 residents, are generally considered unsafe, as your safety may not be guaranteed by any measure.

On the other hand, according to Nuwber, Glen Gove, New York, and Santa Clarita, California, are considered safe, with crime rates of 8.38 and 9.9 crimes per 1,000 people respectively.

Less Police Presence

A neighborhood with access to police departments and other security agencies provides a higher degree of safety to residents, no doubt. But then, you don’t want to be in a community where you’re constantly reminded of the law enforcement presence. The sight of police officers at every corner is most likely a sign of insecurity, which might mean that some crimes are on the rise. In fact, statistics have shown that residents in places with higher policing feel less safe than their counterparts.

Increased Presence of Grocery Stores and Restaurants

Ever wonder why some communities have little to no presence of local grocery stores, dining spots, and other essential facilities? The reason isn’t far-fetched; such places are more prone to looting, theft, and other forms of vandalism, threatening local businesses’ sustainability. Thus, very few business owners are willing to take the risk. On the other hand, a thriving, secure community will have high business activities, making it safe to live there.

Strong Community Programs

For a neighborhood to be labeled safe, you should feel like you belong. You should want to feel part of the community, which helps to promote a better sense of living. A community with active resident associations, social programs, neighborhood watch teams, and other local initiatives is usually the most appealing and safe to reside in. The higher sense of unity felt in these engagements is often borne out of increased cooperation, which is a building block for trust and safety.

An excellent case in point is the National Night Out (NNO). This annual U.S. event encourages residents to interact with local law enforcement officers and officials to foster a safer environment for all.

Strong Presence of Homeowners

The ratio of property owners to renters in a neighborhood is worth considering if you want to know its safety. Statistics indicate that communities with a high number of homeowners are more stable and safer to live in than those with an increased number of renters.

Since the latter don’t own their houses, there’s a reduced sense of responsibility or stakes in the well-being of the vicinity, hence lower chances of them advocating for improvements. In contrast, owners are likely to be more active in making the neighborhood better by organizing community-building activities.

How to Determine Neighborhood Safety

Now that you know what factors make a place conducive for you and your family, let’s check out some of the resources and ways to ascertain their availability:

Visit Crime Mapping Sites

Crime mapping is a form of police report that provides details of activities in a certain community, allowing residents to assess the level of security in that neighborhood. The FBI, for instance, regularly updates crime statistics for cities and states on Crime Data Explorer, making it an excellent reference point. You could also consider websites like and

Run Background Checks on Residents

If you’re looking for a place to live in, knowing the residents in such vicinity is a good starting point. This can be done by asking around, but if you want to be discreet, you could consider running a quick people search on your potential neighbors. These searches generally include background checks that could reveal potential crimes they have been associated with, thus helping you to identify red flags or suspicious activities.

Take a Tour of the Neighborhood

While online research has its perks, you can’t ignore the power of a first-hand experience. For this reason, you might need to find a way to visit the neighborhood at different times and across several days to fully understand what it feels like living there. If possible, speak with some residents about their experiences, including security concerns.


A safe neighborhood is a top consideration for many residents, especially when moving or choosing a property to rent. However, if you already live in a community and believe it’s unsafe for you and your loved ones, you could take a proactive approach and do your bit to keep things safe. Remember, a strong sense of community matters a lot.

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