A great resource to compare neighborhoods http://www.crimereports.com
Choose an area like Palo Alto ( or like that are considered "safe") then compare to the neighborhood you are looking at. All areas have some level of activity. But I agree with Joanna, walk the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors and then you will have a real sense of what it is like. I provide my clients with a question sheet that they can take to scout out neighborhoods. If you want a copy, just message me.
Anyway the neighbors have been wonderful! Stopping by to chat about the house and the neighborhood.
I always suggest to my buyers that they do some checking. First walk around the neighborhood and talk with the neighbors! You will be living next to them! Also you can check with the police departments to see what has been reported.
Good luck in your housing search!
Joanna Bateman DRE 01792532