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By VIKTOR CHONG firstname.lastname@example.org
EVERYBODY wants to live in a neighbourhood that is free of crime.
When it comes to raising children, parents will go to great lengths to make sure that their young ones are not influenced and affected by any form of negativity, both psychological and physical.
Here are a few things you could do to find out more about a particular neighbourhood before deciding to move there.
Tour the area
Damage to public property paints a picture of the community that is living there. Broken lampposts, busted seats at the bus stop, graffiti on the walls of private property and shattered glass are signs of a violent society.
You should also take into account the amount of abandoned developments in the vicinity because these places attract homeless people and drug addicts.
Desperation and poverty will usually pressure these people into committing undesirable activities.
A well-kept neighbourhood, on the other hand, should be filled with neat houses, tidy lawns and beautiful gardens.
Check out the nightbirds
Time factor plays a vital role when it involves crime.
Revisit an area when it is dark to find out more. Note the presence of teenagers in groups or any gang of motorcycle riders in the area.
Illegal motorcycle and car racing usually commence when darkness sets in. The presence of undesirable elements will give you an idea of the number of delinquents in the neighbourhood.
Visiting the neighbourhood once isn’t enough for you to form an opinion on whether it's a suitable housing area. Tour the place a few more times at different intervals to gain a better understanding of the events that occur there.
It may sound tedious, but a quality environment is important if you intend to raise your children there.
Speak to the locals
As Malaysians, we understand that the local 24-hour Mamak restaurant is a treasure trove when it concerns political gossips and other local issues.
Choose an appropriate time to strike a conversation with the workers, best if it is a few hours after breakfast.
The shop owner will be more than happy to kill time by telling you about the goings-on in the area.
Better still, introduce yourself to your potential neighbours. You could ask them about the recent crime that occurred around there. Ask their opinion if this is a suitable place for your family.
Threat from local wildlife
If you are planning to raise your children in a more traditional setting, it would be advisable to consider the local wildlife. A rural village in the jungle should not be too far from a hospital.
Access to quality medical treatment is vital when faced with the threat of poisonous snakes and wild animals. The native folk could give you information on the presence of any deadly predators that roam the area.
Not unlike abandoned developments, discos and bars attract drunk people and drug peddlers.
Entertainment outlets should not be too close to residential units to avoid loud music as well as unruly people.
A quick check using google maps will help you understand more about the surrounding area.
Gated with security
The location of the property in a gated community with security is a bonus. Being near a police station will also be beneficial. The frequency of police patrols and vigilance from the local Rela community should be known.
Signs of labour flight
Are there many houses in the area that are left unsold? A surplus of unsold property may be an indication of a downturn market or the residential area being far away from amenities and facilities.
The shift of labour to the cities will create unemployment and result in a demographic exodus. A neighbourhood that is too quiet will attract crime.