Crime and Brisbane real estate
How much do you know about your neighbourhood? Not the location of shops, bike paths and the dogs that yap all day. But how many break and enters did police investigate in your street last month? Were there any assaults in the suburb this year? Any local drug offences or murders in the past decade?
If you’re selling or even renting your property, there’s now a chance your buyers and tenants know this info. The Queensland Police has launched a new website making public some details you might prefer they kept shush about. “The application provides members of the public with access to crime statistics for their street, suburb, postcode, local government area, neighbourhood watch area or police region district or division in a matter of moments.” The site includes offences up to just 1 week prior, and has 13 years history.
So how much knowledge is too much?
When a similar site was launched in the UK in 2009 there was widespread fear that it would wipe thousands off house prices. Queenslanders don’t seem to have taken much notice since our version was launched last month. So what do you think? Would you be scared off a home if it was in a break and enter ‘hot spot’ on these maps?
Or what if you knew the neighbourhood was home to a registered sex offender or paedophile? In the USA they’ve had this info since 2004 when California enacted “Megan’s Law”, requiring publication of an offender’s location. Megan’s Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge.
Most US states have similar laws, so how does it impact their home prices? Realtor and blogger from St Paul Minnesota, Teresa Boardman, wrote this: “This can be taken into consideration when purchasing a home but the offenders move around and they have cars and another can be released from prison or supervision at any time. There isn’t any place on the planet that is safe from all types of crimes against persons and against property.”
Maybe they feel safer because they all own guns…
But back here in Brisbane we do wonder how many people will actually take the time to visit this new police website. Two and a half years on from a severe flooding event we’d guess very few home buyers bother to visit Council’s flood mapping pages. Few seem to know about them, much less use them.
At a recent training session for our property management team the Police Service briefed us on identifying and reporting meth labs in rental homes. It’s a massive problem for police with home-cooked drugs easily manufactured in small, cheap set-ups. And the most surprising aspect was how easily this goes undetected with neighbours blissfully unaware.
Meantime in Ascot a new Neighbourhood Watch has been formed after locals identified from this new police website that they’d had more than 40 crimes in the area in 3 months. They’ve got involved to fight crime. Maybe if we connected with our local community a little more we’d make it safer in the process. With or without the websites.
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