I was a cop. LAPD – honorably retired. It was an awesome career choice. I enjoyed my time there and made a lot of lifetime friends. I also met people and arrested them as a result of an observational situational arrest and radio calls.
There were certain neighborhoods that I worked which had a higher incidence of crime than the others.
I was not shy to tell those asking, what I thought and how I formed opinions by direct exposure and by working those neighborhoods.
When you hear someone advise you to contact the cops when wanting to buy real estate, I mean this.
As we direct all of our real estate clients to do, call the local law enforcement agency, speak with the desk officer and ask them if they have a particular officer or detective responsible for (insert the address of the home you are buying).
In most cases there is something called a “senior lead officer” – LAPD has this title. Or potentially a desk officer that keeps track of crime in a particular section of any city.
The person who is monitoring the local crime for the specific neighborhood where the home you are buying is located, is the person you want to speak to.
After you connect with them, and they will call you back, if not step up your request to a supervisor, ask them these questions:
What types of crime do you see happening around where I’m buying a home?
Would you buy a home at (insert address of the home you are buying)?
If they say there are several crimes involving domestic violence, there is not much you can do to control that. If you see a particular home, and that home is located directly next yours, where the police are frequently called to regarding domestic violence, that gives you something to think about.
If the detective tells you that there is a high incidence of Burglary from Motor Vehicle – BFMV – there maybe a solution in process which the local cops are working on. see how close they are to solving that issue. If they look at you as if they were deer caught in the headlights, you may want to re-think the location of your purchase.
Most of the localized crime, like people breaking into cars, comes from apartment clusters, residences on main streets with many exits, and drug treatment centers in close proximity.
Another thought is to check on where you are going to be doing most of your shopping. Think groceries. That is another good question for the local police official. Ask what of crime surrounds that particular shopping center, just to be aware.
If they are constantly seeing purse snatches being reported and narcotic transactions – you may want to re-think shopping there.
Don’t forget the neighbors
Knock on the neighbors homes surrounding the one you are buying. Ask them about the neighborhood and see what they say and how they look. You can tell a lot about people by seeing how “helpful” they might be. In most of these events, you will eventually find the person who will tell you more than wanted to hear – that is good, take it all in and add it to your pros/cons list.
When we lived in Burbank, renting, I was a cop at that time. I used to see the walking dead walking down the street and our cars had been broken into several times. Low and behold there was a Methadone clinic around the corner. So much for my spidey sense.
A call to the BPD got us some extra patrols and them stopping by the clinic, putting a hault to the BFMV’s in our neighborhood.
David Marshall, he was the local 5150 in our Burbank Neighborhood. If I would have consulted with BPD before renting the home, they would have told me about David Marshall being on their radar.
I first noticed him every day at 12pm(sharp) – he would leave his home wearing a thick set of large welding gloves(summer or winter). About 15 minutes he’d come back holding a Super Big Gulp in both hands with the gloves on returning home. During the night We’d hear screams and the police would come take David away for threatening to kill his mother. This went on and on. Until one day David was put away for a longer time due to a direct assault on his mother.
While this type of “neighborhood issue” may not have directly impacted our renting in this Burbank Neighborhood, it would have been nice to know about. Especially after my wife told me of an event concerning David where Paris looked up to see him standing nose to glass at our kitchen window one sunny afternoon.
We instruct our real estate clients, when buying, to consult the local law enforcement to check on their neighborhood. We also have them contact the neighbors on all sides, in person, with their entire family, by door knocking and introducing themselves.
There are “crime apps” online that can show you crimes concerning public informational reporting. Some are more accurate than others. However, that being said, there is something quite different when calling the local officer responsible for a particular area and getting their opinion.
I’m Connor MacIvor and I’m here for you when you are ready to start your real estate journey – whether buying or selling.