Home Buyer 101: Is Your Dream Neighborhood Safe?

We were recently asked for some tips on how to determine if the neighborhood where you’re thinking of purchasing a home is safe. There are a lot of different ways to go about this, but here are some suggestions to get you started:

• While it’s not meant to be an overall indicator of a neighborhood’s safety, the crime maps available through the Honolulu Police Department’s Web site (www.honolulupd.org/statistics) can give you an idea of the kinds of calls the police department has received in a particular area. The crime maps, which are displayed by districts and do not identify specific locations, are based on calls for service for reported burglaries, thefts, auto-thefts, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and graffiti. I also find it helpful to click on the report link, which opens up a PDF that contains the same information, but in a table format.

• Also worth checking out is the online sex offender database, which is maintained by the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center. The database lists the offenders’ temporary and future addresses as well as the street name of their employers. http://sexoffenders.ehawaii.gov/sexoffender/welcome.html

• Find out if your desired neighborhood participates in the Honolulu Police Department’s Neighborhood Security Watch program, which involves citizen participation in a “self-help cooperative battle against crime.” Residents who care enough to start these groups are generally the kind of neighbors you want.

Got a suggestion? Send it to us at realestate@honolulumagazine.com.