Is This a Safe Neighborhood?
I cannot answer that question if I don’t live in that neighborhood. So how do you make a wise decision on the safety of a particular neighborhood? Call the police department and ask about police reports filed within the last year or 6 months for the specific address or block you’re looking at. Try searching on websites such as crimemappers.com. If there’s a neighborhood watch group in the area they can also provide you with statistics.
Google Megan’s Law for that neighborhood and you’ll get information on location of any sex offenders.
Look at the layout of doors and windows. In an apartment building a top or bottom floor are more accessible to intruders. Do you need a ladder to climb in the windows or are they easily accessible from decks and roofs?
Once you’ve made a decision that an area is relatively safe and decided to move in, how can you protect yourself? You have many common sense and low cost options. Ask your landlord to rekey before you move in. Exterior lighting of parking areas, walkways and outside doors is a good deterrent to crime. Trees and bushes should be trimmed so that no one can use them for concealment. Make sure all your windows have locks. Install a peephole in your front door so you can view any guests before opening the door. If your landlord permits pets, you might consider Man’s Best Friend. If you work long hours or travel consider putting lights on a timer. Alarm systems run from do it yourself models such as wireless cameras trained on your door to professionally installed systems complete with monitoring. Keep in mind that if you do install a system it will stay with the rental when you leave.