Tuesday, July 2, 2013


A potential client recently asked the following:  "Is the area around 1080 Potrero Ave. safe?"

Here's the essence of my response:

This is a tough question to answer not just about this particular address but in general. Your definition of safe is not likely to be the same as mine.  Your background and circumstances will define what you consider "safe" as much as crime statistics.

And, compared to what? What's your frame of reference?  Do you currently live in San Francisco or the Bay area.  Are you moving here from elsewhere?  Urban, suburban, rural?

There are several tools available on the web that try to characterize and/or quantify the level of crime in a particular area.

Trulia has one under "Community Info" that's a good start:
(Plug in the zip code for the address in question.)

There's also another great tool: http://www.crimemapping.com 
(Plug in an address or just click away. You can see what's been reported to the local police department around an address.   Then look at a different address for the same time period.)

Here's some other ideas to consider:

  • Spend some time in the neighborhood.  Visit at different days of the week and hours of the day, evening and night.
  • Talk to the local police station staff.
  • Contact the San Francisco SAFE organization that works with the police department to organize neighborhood watch groups.  Ask if there is a group where you're considering moving and, if so, have them put you in touch with them. 

And keep this in mind:  real estate agents are generally reluctant to give an opinion about the safety of a neighborhood because it's all too easy to run afoul of the Fair Housing Act which requires us to avoid "steering" buyers away from or toward a neighborhood based on race, color, or other protected categories.  This is a situation where you really need to do your own research and reach your own conclusions.

No comments:

Post a Comment