Forget going to the police station and hanging out at meetings, that's not an efficient use of your time. You can find all the info you need for this and surround cities by going here: http://www.city-data.com/city/Hazel-Park-Michigan.html
The one good suggestion that has been made: When you're looking at the your house, don't be shy about going up to the neighbors who are outside and asking them how they feel about the area, the percentage of renters, etc.
My personal opinion: This area is reasonably safe, particularly the areas further north of 8-mile. The crime here is mostly limited to minor property crime and some auto theft, and because it's such a small community, I think the index make it look worse than is. The area overall reputation of the city could be better, but from talking to about 10 people I know who live here currently and say they are happy and feel the reputation is not deserved. Additionally, I talked to the neighbors in the houses I was considering in that area, and they said there were few incidents. As I mentioned before, areas can change rapidly a couple blocks over and definitely on the Detroit border. I don't have kids, but from what I've heard the school system is average. Functionally, there is no difference between the north end up Hazel Park and the areas south of Lincoln Ave in Madison Heights (even the price difference in the homes in negligible in most cases). I live in MH now, and have canvas these areas extensively.
First, and the most obvious one, go directly to the local Police Department (the Hazel Park Police Department in this case) and inquire about the statistics.
Second, pick up a local paper (the Madison Park C&G Paper in this case) and look at the â€œPolice Blotterâ€. You could also check them out on line.
Finally, pick an area that you are interested in and drive through it at different times of the day. Do you feel comfortable? Maybe, while you are driving through, stop when you see one of the residents out and simply ask them what they have to say about their community.
I hope that this information has been of value and good luck!
I live in a small town of 1000 and everyone knows when someone steps out of line. Pretty awesome to know you could ask most people for help at 2am and they'd come!