My normal routine when I get up in the morning is to drink my coffee and scroll through the news on my iPhone – looking for the major things that happened in the world but sometimes I find the absurd.  I was scrolling through this morning and found an enticing headline, “Funniest Reviews on Amazon”.  Now, I’ve written reviews on Amazon and I’ve read a lot more.  I don’t recall any being particularly funny so I think, “I could use a laugh” so I scroll through.  Not funny, not funny, not funny.  I’m ready to give up, but then I come to one that’s funny for a myriad of reasons.

Since the image is almost impossible to read, click the image which is a link to see it on Amazon.


So what does this have to do with real estate you might think? 


I have clients looking for homes they want to buy as buy and hold investments, homes for their kids, or homes for themselves and one of the questions they often ask is how safe is the neighborhood?  One of my clients (thank you Graeme Black!) turned me on to a great feature on Trulia.  I just didn’t know about it and maybe you didn’t either so, I’m going to share it with you.  It’s called Crime Maps which allows you to view, explore, compare, and comment on the data it shows you.  I love this stuff because I have a background in Data Analytics and this heat map is a great way to understand and explore volumes of complex data in a way that is super easy and efficient because we are viewing it the way we want to see it, in a map of a neighborhood versus in a table of data.  Trulia pulls its data from multiple sources:, and which in turn pull data from police agencies, crime feeds, and news outlets.  So type in your zip code or address and take a peek.  Be aware that data such as shoplifting heats up the map so areas around a shopping mall may look deceptively bad.  Bad for business, maybe not so bad for homeowners.


Here’s where it gets even more interesting, when you’re working to create meaningful ways to depict data, patterns start to emerge.  Trulia found that:


·         Thieves typically strike when people are at work.  Most thefts and burglaries are reported once people go home for lunch or after work.


·         Vandalism is typically reported in the morning around 9-10am when it’s easier for people to see criminals in the act.


·         Violent crimes such as assault and robberies typically happen at night around 9-10pm while people are out on the town or on their way home from event.


Information is power.  Use it. Be vigilant.  Be safe.