Bernal Heights is a great neighborhood and very family-friendly! However, it is a big district so it really depends on the exact location and block.
We work in Bernal quite a bit so if you'd like more specific information, let me know. Best of luck with your plans!
We get questions like this on Trulia all the time, and it's really hard to answer subjective questions like this. As Michael points out, crime occurs everywhere. Best things for you to do are:
1. Check out the SF Police crime stats website - http://www.sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=1618
2. Speak to someone at the local precinct for context.
3. Spend some time there at different times of the day/night
4. Talk to people who live there.
This will help a lot. We are very familiar with the neighborhood if you want some help.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
As a Bernal Heights resident since 1983, we've seen a lot of changes on the hill. Banks Street is on South side of Bernal Heights. You're probably looking at the homes closer to Crescent. This was the last place to 'turnover' so you will find more 'diversity' than on the NorthWest slope...
That being said my best bet is for you to point your browser to SF Crime Stats - But BEFORE you put in the property address - PUT YOUR OWN ADDRESS or that of a Friend's who lives in San Francisco and BE SUPRISED. Very suprised that even in the most bucolic neighborhoods there are crime reports of every type.
This is a subjective issue and you must feel comfortable. If you don't feel comfortable going back to the property during the early evening to take a walk around the block then perhaps you shouldn't be buying there.
Check out the link by reading the verbiage, scrolling down and clicking on the "I Agree" - AGAIN enter an address you know day and night first and be SUPRISED - SUPRISED - SUPRISED. I sure was and I live on the 'quieter' NW Bernal Slope. (In the olden days when I bought we just called the precinct captain... He told us about the abandoned cars and occasional break-ins in 1983.)
Mike Ackerman, CRS, e-Pro, SFR
Zephyr Real Estate