When I was planning my move to the mile-high city, the most important thing for me was researching Denver’s various neighborhoods to decide where I wanted to live. I grew up in suburban Des Moines, and went to college in a small Iowa town, so I expected that Denver, no matter where I lived, was going to be a big change. I had to decide whether I wanted an urban/downtown location, in proximity to great restaurants, shops, and other neat sites and places, but maybe also with more crime; or if I wanted to find a more quiet suburban neighborhood.
Hunting for an apartment long distance before moving, I thought it could be fun to live in a downtown location, but I was also a little concerned about crime and my safety, especially as a young single woman who would be living alone. I like to take walks and I wanted to live in a neighborhood where I would be comfortable doing that. I used the Denver Crime Map to do quite a bit of research about the different neighborhoods. With this map, you can change the date range to see the number of crimes that took place within a specific range of time. You can also select which types of crimes you do and don’t want the map to show. For example, if you want to see crimes like burglary and assault, but not white collar crimes, you can select and unselect the types of crimes accordingly. All big cities have something similar online and I highly recommend taking a look at the crime statistics before deciding which neighborhood will be your new home.
That being said, if at all possible, definitely visit the neighborhood and apartment that you are considering renting before signing the lease and moving in. If there’s one thing I learned from my apartment search, it’s to trust my gut. I have found from my co-workers that even in areas of higher crime, there are some great places to live. A few of my co-workers are roommates who live in such an area. Until just a couple weeks ago, they lived in an apartment right across the hall from a drug dealer. They did not feel safe living there, and couldn’t wait until their lease ended so they could move. Even so, they still live in nearby —they just found a much safer area within the neighborhood to live in.
If you visit a place, and you feel comfortable, great! But if you visit a neighborhood or an apartment and you just don’t feel quite right about it, maybe move on to the next place. Remember, this place will be your home for the next several months, if not longer—you want to make sure you are comfortable living and being there!
I ended up selecting an apartment in a suburban neighborhood. The neighborhood is relatively new, so the entire community has been developed mostly within the last ten years. Lots of families live here, as well as quite a few young couples and singles. There are some great dining options and neat shops, and even a yoga studio, a cross-fit gym and a movie theater. I’m within easy walking distance of a grocery store, and can easily bike or drive to the library (one of my favorite places). I feel safe walking around any time. My bike was stolen about a month after I moved here, but that was kind of my own fault because I left it outside. That is the only crime I’ve ever experienced around here. And I’m still only a ten to fifteen minute drive from downtown!