How To Find Crime Data About Your Neighbourhood

Residz Team 4 min read

Everybody knows when a wailing police siren goes past their house. However, we wager most of you won’t know the true extent of crime in your suburb. How many assaults or drug offences (for example) have been recorded around your home in recent years? Since Residz made it easy to discover these things, it’s become one of our most popular features.

Looking at crime data

It’s fascinating to look at crime data for your local area and elsewhere in Australia.

A quick Residz.com property search shows publicly available data on offences near your address. Below, this Australian suburb (details withheld) has recorded property and deception offences at four times the state average in 2019 - but trending down since 2010 (dotted line).


In the same suburb, “crimes against the person” offences were significantly above the state average and trending upwards.


If this address is yours, or about to be, you could decide:

  • Not to stay (or buy) if the crime data concerns you. You may choose a safer neighbourhood.
  • To stay (or buy), even if the crime rate is a concern, placing weight on other factors, such as affordability or lifestyle benefits.
  • Or to pause any decision while you do more research.

Of course, even highly desirable locations will experience some crime. Hip and expensive Melbourne suburb Fitzroy, for example, had 116 bike thefts in 2020.

Buying opportunity from crime data

The other attribute to crime statistics is the trend line: are the crimes increasing, decreasing, or changing patterns? A decreasing trend line in what might be a less than desirable area, could indicate it is changing to a more desirable area - thereby presenting a buying opportunity.    

What crime data is available?

A range of crime data relating to your area can be found online.

Here are some of the types of crimes that may have statistical significance in your suburb or region.

  • Crimes against the person - e.g., murder, rape, and assault.
  • Property and deception offences - eg. insurance fraud, falsifying receipts, and  engaging in investing scams.
  • Malicious damage to property - eg. defacing, marking, removing or breaking property.
  • Incidents of theft - eg. burglary or housebreaking, stealing from a person or vehicle.
  • Drug offences - eg. offences around prohibited drugs like cannabis, cocaine, MDMA, GHB and others.
  • Public order and security offences - eg. offensive language or conduct, custody of a knife in a public place.
  • Justice procedures offences - eg. resisting or hindering the directions of police or justice officials.

If you’re in an attractive area with little crime it may help your sale price to show buyers this evidence. However, again be aware of low crime levels beginning to trend upwards.

Crime rates of areas far away

Most people will check out a house and its surrounding neighbourhood before they buy it.

But a unique combination of FOMO (fear of missing out) in a hot market, plus COVID-19 lockdowns, has fueled a trend in buying sight-unseen.

According to a survey by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association and Property Talk Australia 30% of respondents said they would take the risk to buy a house without physically inspecting it.

While the association labelled this alarming, and the risks are very real, buyers at least now have sophisticated online property search platforms to help in their research.  

Safety first, family and friends second

Surveys in WA, Vic and NSW show a “safe neighbourhood” is the most important attribute when choosing where to live, ahead of “easy access to work.” Across age, income and household type, residents in one survey chose feeling safe as more important than:

  • Being near family and friends.
  • Easy access to preferred schools.
  • An attractive neighbourhood.

Benefits of choosing a safe neighbourhood

Whether you rent or buy, feeling safe in your home and neighbourhood is important for health and wellbeing.

You experience:

  • Less stress.
  • Better sleep.
  • A greater sense of freedom.
  • A greater sense of connection.
  • Less reason to up and move.

Once they buy, Aussies do like to stay in the same house for a long time.

Grattan research shows a quarter of Australians have lived in the same house for 15 years, even if their household needs changed over time.

If you live to 80 years old, that’s nearly 19% of your life.

Given the benefits of feeling safe all those years, it’s surely worth a few minutes of your time to type in your home’s address and look at the neighbourhood crime data before you sign that contract.  

Sussing out the neighbourhood

Before you buy or move, research prospective neighbourhoods through “safety goggles”:

  • If lockdowns allow, drive around the area you’re looking at.
  • See if bins are put away, mailboxes emptied, roadsides cleared of rubbish.
  • Talk with neighbours and shopkeepers.
  • Assess the look and feel of the neighbourhood.
  • Note if shops and homes are fitted with security grilles or doors.
  • Go to Residz.com and type in the address to view the property (Google Street View). Do a virtual drive around the neighbourhood looking at the state of gardens, cars, etc.
  • Stay on Residz.com and look at the property’s demographics, crime, and dozens of other data points.
  • Speak to a local buyer’s agent or real estate agents.  

Summary

Crime may not be obvious in a neighbourhood. But we know that most people would prefer to live where it’s safe. According to the ACCC, real estate agents must “disclose all information relevant to the price of the property” but that doesn’t include any dodgy neighbours. So, get to work. Do your research. If you’ve already bought or are renting, crime data is interesting to know. And when it’s free and easy to do so, why wouldn’t you?  

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