Just getting crime stats may not tell you much, things have a way of been relative. I like to compare somewhere I know to somewhere I dont.
Here is an example of how I do it:
I want to know what Bluefield. WV is like???
So I try to compare it to towns about its size in Ohio that I know pretty well. For chuckles I then compare it to a much larger city that is usually considered pretty safe for a bigger city. You get a far better picture and a pretty good tip off if a smaller town is coming up with high stats. Yup, usually points to them olde drugs. So then you search for drug activity in the particular town. Usually one will confirm the other. In this one comparison, Bluefield has about the same crime stats to Steubenville, OH which is about twice its size. O' Boy what is that telling me exactly??
Salem, Oh is just about its exact match too in terms of size and population.
Many areas of Ohio will hold there own against any state. Not all places will show up in this particular site's database. Just for chuckles when you complete the picture for Bluefield, you find it has a lot of heroin use. Something like 800 registered users under supervised treatment in that general area of Mercer county which is where Bluefield is in WV. We are talking a relatively small population with a bunch of known users. Has a methadone clinic, O' Boy not the Big-H, I thought it was only Boston that had that problem.
Didn't think it had gotten into that many smaller towns or rural areas. Those H-Boys can really fall off the wagon, few ever seem to really kick it. See if high crime areas also have high incidents of rape or other violent crime. Usually high drug areas tend to have only high theft type data, maybe a higher robbery rate. If they got it all, look out, you could have sex crazed junkies that steal and rob to get drugs and then want sex.
It is then all about what is the data telling you????
There is a lot more to a new place than just how much does it cost? You want to try to discern the entire picture of what life is like there. Good you are checking on crime it is a biggy. Another one a lot of people miss is how much pollution and contamination is in an area. You can also search for that, the scary thing is only the "Official Recognized" sites will show up.
In the Boston area I knew dumping (Some of of a toxic nature) was everywhere, had happened for a long, long time. Fancy condo, homes, etc being built over top badly contaminated areas. The only thing probably saving them was they didn't have to drink any of the local ground water. But it still can be a major source that might kill you. Cancer takes no holiday.
In fact I knew of two sites where they dumped everything but the kitchen sink, yup, lil dirt on top and she became the new fashionable Yuppie area. One of those was a large auto graveyard for years. They dumped it all. Antifreeze, all the lubes, you name it, GOK. Yuppers again, land values rose and them olde developers just could not resist. $400K and better to live on top of a toxic dump. Don't ask (don't tell for sure
) where it all went, you may be living on top of it, dear.
Reason #4 for getting the Hell out of Boston and all of New England.
It does pay to check out a lot more than something to do with economics, schools, crime, etc. You just can't know to much, especially about exactly what is around your house, even the one you are now living in. It is possible to fill in a lot of blanks and connect the dots about a particular area without even going there.