There’s a lot to consider when you buy a property — is it affordable, does it have all the features you want and is it located close to shops and public transport? But there’s one other question that’s just as important for many property buyers: is it in a safe area?

No matter where you live, you want to feel safe. With this in mind, it’s important to research the crime rate in a suburb before you buy a property so that you can work out whether that suburb is somewhere you want to live — or an area you want to stay far away from.

Information is readily available online when you research different suburbs. From demographics and average incomes to rental yields and annual capital growth, you can learn a lot about a suburb by conducting some online research.

However, if you’re trying to gauge the safety of a particular area, there are several handy tools and resources you can use. The best place to start is with the latest crime statistics. Each state or territory’s police force gathers data on the criminal offences that are committed within their borders, including the numbers of murders, assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, break and enters and incidents of theft.

These statistics are gathered online and can usually be accessed through the website of each police force. You can examine the statistics for different local government areas and suburbs, compare upward and downward trends in the crimes committed, and even look at interactive crime maps to see where crimes have occurred in your suburb or street, how often they occurred and how serious they were.

Some maps even demonstrate areas that are hotspots for particular crimes, for example assault or car theft, helping you form a clearer picture of the risks present in different areas.

Want to take a closer look at the crime statistics in your area? Locate your state government website.

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