Question: How do I tell if this is a safe neighbourhood?
Answer: This has become a really important question in the current climate.
You can check local crime figures on websites like www.police.uk, but statistics can be misleading.
If your postcode includes a high street, for example, it could well be that a lot of the crimes reported are shoplifting, pickpocketing, and pub fights. Oxford Street, for example, has one of London’s highest levels of thefts, but far lower numbers when it comes to violent crime, burglary, and car and bike thefts.
The best way to truly assess the safety of a neighbourhood is to spend as much time there as you can. “Walk around at different times of the day and night to make sure you feel safe in your potential new neighbourhood,” said Lynda Clark, CEO of First Time Buyer Group. “Speak to the local community and ask them how they find living there, visit the local shop and catch the bus or train into town.”
Fenton agrees: “There is no better way to find out than spending some time after dark in an area to see its true colours,” she said. Its also worth finding the area’s local Facebook group to ask people whether they feel safe walking around at night.
Commonly asked first-time buyer question sent in from Jonny Dyson, director of Winkworth’s Ealing and Acton office.