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How to Check Out a Neighborhood for Safety Issues

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

How to Check Out a Neighborhood for Safety Issues

When moving to a new house or apartment or even checking one out before you Airbnb a place, you need to make sure it's a safe neighborhood. Not all neighborhoods look "bad" or sketchy at first glance, but that is not always a guarantee. There are plenty of neighborhoods that look quite nice--even at night--but are crime-riddled just the same.

The best way to find out if a neighborhood is safe is to find pizza delivery places in the area and call them up later in the evening (after 9 pm) to order a pizza for delivery, giving the address where you are intending to stay. Neighborhood pizza delivery places know what areas are not safe and will refuse to deliver to certain areas in the evening or will request that you come to their car by the side of the curb to get your pizza. If you are told that they do not deliver to your area (despite being within a two-three mile radius) or that you have to make special arrangements to meet the driver elsewhere to get your pizza, you probably don't want to stay in that neighborhood.

Oh, and either way--once you know the neighborhood is one that they do or don't deliver to, be sure to cancel the order at the very end ("Oh, dang, my roommate just texted me to say that he's bringing pizza home so I am sorry but I need to cancel").

Pizza delivery people make easy targets for robbery--even for just the twenty or thirty dollars they carry, and delivering pizza is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. For even the most greedy pizza place owners, the risk of needing to pay for medical expenses (or worse) for a delivery person who is attacked is just not worth the $20-$30 they lose from not delivering to a particular location.