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Choosing an area


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Very few people want to move into an area with a high crime rate. The level of crime in an area can have wide ranging effects, from making you uncomfortable walking the streets, extremely wary of who your kids make friends with, to being downright scared in your own home. Crime can rip the soul out of a community and turn people's lives upside down.

Appearances can be deceiving. The tree lined streets that made such a good impression on you as you drove through may play host to a variety of unsavoury nocturnal goings-on. There are obvious telltale signs to look out for - graffiti scrawled on every available wallspace, smashed windows, burnt out smouldering cars, gun-toting madmen screaming on the streets - but crime is not always so obvious in the evidence it leaves behind.

A good way check out the local crime situation (other than sitting outside the police station and monitoring comings and goings!) is to get hold of copies of the local press. These should give you a pretty good and up-to-the-minute idea of what aspects of community life are in the news for the wrong reasons.

Various types of crime will have different effects on your overall decision about an area, though it may be that an overall impression of lawlessness that ultimately puts you off.

High levels of car crime, burglary or street crime can sometimes be linked to wider social problems such as drugs, poverty or unemployment. Remember that situations can change very quickly, for better and for worse. The current climate may not be indicative of recent history or how things will be six months down the line. Try not to take things at face value - think about what the root cause may be and how difficult it would be to remedy the problem.

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