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February 15, 2012

Crime, school and amenities data paired with real estate

Real estate search site Trulia now has neighborhood data on crime, schools and other things that aren't real estate but that homebuyers and prospective renters might like to know about before moving in.

The "Trulia Local" option -- here's Baltimore -- offers up a map showing you where violent and non-violent crimes happened, where the schools are (and how parents have rated them) and where you can find restaurants, banks, gas stations and grocery stores. Oh yeah, and the homes for sale along with the recently sold stuff.

What do you think? Does the information look useful? Accurate?

What do you really want to know before you buy or rent?

If you've seen other examples of neighborhood-level data, with or without housing details, please share in the comments.

Here's a link-fest of local resources for crime and school data, if you're in the market for more.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 6:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Real estate online


I live in Hampden and the map doesn't look all that accurate to me -- or at least it indicates I live in a crime-ridden neighborhood. It's not very clear how the individual crimes are weighted. I'd be much more concerned about shootings or stabbings than I am about occasional car break-ins.

The data needs to be normalized by population density - right now the main pattern is that crime happens where the most people live...and cemeteries and parks are the safest neighborhoods. Not exactly informative.

It looks pretty accurate for my neighborhood -- if you click on the black numbered circles, it tells you what kind of crime occurred.

If I was going to move into a new neighborhood, I'd definitely want to know what the place is like in terms of safety. That way, there are no surprises come moving day. Neighborhood data on crime is a great idea, but I agree with direwolfc; unless the information is provided along with details on the place's population, then it will only tell you one thing: that crime happens everywhere. That doesn't really give buyers a lot to to work with when they make the decision to move in or not.

I think it is fantastic that Trulia now offers this type of information to the public. One can only hope that they receive accurate data from each municipality, and not just the stats as to make an area look more appealing.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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