Comparing neighborhood crime statistics can be important when deciding where to invest money to buy a family home or investment property. It makes sense to presume the best neighborhoods to live, on average, would be the ones that have the lowest levels of crime. The question: where should a person go to find accurate neighborhood crime statistics? My answer: the local police service. For the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Police Service issues a ‘Neighborhood Crime Statistics Report’ on an annual basis. As an example, open the link below to review the May 2009 Edmonton Police report:
< Open Link to view Edmonton Police Crime Statistics Report - May 2009 >
From this report, I have selected a total of 240 Edmonton neighborhoods to use in my analysis. Below are the top 25 established neighborhoods (in order) with the best crime statistics records:
Quesnell Heights; Donsdale; Ogilvie Ridge; Richford; Tamarack; Grandview Heights; Carter Crest; Chambery; Charlesworth; Windermere Estates; Brookside; MacTaggart; Mill Creek Ravine; Rhatigan Ridge; Rio Terrace; Schonsee; Aspen Gardens; Bearspaw; Westbrook Estates; Blue Quill Estates; Brander Gardens; Cameron Heights; Elsinore; Falconer Heights; and Hodgson / Leger.
[Note: with crime statistics data, there is not a large difference between the top 25 and the top 100 neighborhoods so if you know your neighborhood is safe but do not see it within the top 25 there is a good chance it will be within the top 100].
Conversely, below are the bottom 25 established neighborhoods (in order) with the worst crime statistics records:
Downtown; Oliver; Boyle Street; Strathcona; Summerlea; Westmount; Alberta Avenue; McCauley; Central McDougall; Eastwood; Garneau; Spruce Avenue; Inglewood; Queen Mary Park; Belvedere; Glenwood; Montrose; Parkdale; Empire Park; Britannia Youngstown; Bonnie Doon; Queen Alexandra; Ritchie; Calder; and Canora.
[Note: South Side areas including Strathcona, Bonnie Doon, Garneau, Queen Alexandra, and Ritchie are all adjacent to Whyte Avenue and with the many annual visitors to Whyte Avenue this could be a reason for spikes in crime statistics relative to other nearby adjacent areas].
When analyzing Edmonton by dividing the City into six major sections, below are the large zones (in order) ranked in order of having the best to worst crime statistics:
West Edmonton; Southwest Edmonton; Southeast Edmonton including Millwoods; Northwest Edmonton; Northeast Edmonton; and Central Edmonton.
[Notes: there are several assumptions I have made when assessing the validity of crime statistics data including but not limited to the following: (a). All people who have been inflicted by property crime have chosen to file a report with the police (this would obviously not be the case, but it is assumed the random difference between neighborhoods for non-reporting would be negligible); (b). All neighborhoods are the same size and density (again, this is not the case, and in fact some neighborhoods such as Downtown and Oliver can be several magnitudes of size and / or density larger than other neighborhoods so a better crime statistic would be ‘reported case per neighborhood resident per year’ that would take into account the differing numbers of residents when comparing neighborhoods – unfortunately this statistic is not part of the current Neighborhood Crime Statistics Report for the City of Edmonton); (c). Industrial and major commercial areas without residences were omitted for this analysis; (d). For the purpose of this analysis all violent crimes, robbery, and property crimes were all treated equal but this is of course not the case – depending on the situation some crimes are definitely more serious than others and for a true comparison these differences would need to be weighted according to their seriousness which would vary in importance and difference for each individual; (e). The variance from the previous year is not that important compared to the most recent year. If someone is buying a property at the current time, I believe the most current year’s statistics are the most relevant because it indicates what is happening in the neighborhood right now compared to other neighborhoods. Neighborhoods will definitely improve or worsen as time progresses and only by analyzing trends over a longer timeframe (e.g. five years, ten years, or longer) can any sort of conclusions or extrapolation be drawn as to what may happen in future years.]
In summary, when making a decision between properties to buy a family home or investment property, in addition to reviewing past sales and understanding market trends, it is a good idea to ask your REALTOR® for opinions on how good or bad a reputation that a particular area may be to live in, relative to other neighborhoods, from a quality of life perspective. It is also a good idea to check out neighborhood crime statistics that can be an indicator of potential problems which might help to favour one neighborhood over another.
[Article written and ©2009 by Kelly Grant, M.Eng., ABR, NCSO, P.Eng. - REALTOR® at Maxwell Devonshire Realty in Edmonton, AB]
Disclaimer: for those readers not currently represented by another licensed REALTOR®, to obtain more information on this topic and / or if you are serious about selling or buying in the Greater Edmonton Area, call Kelly at 780-414-6100 (pager) or send Kelly an email to SOLD@KellyGrant.ca to schedule a confidential appointment.