You need to investigate the areas in person. Go in the daytime, nighttime and even later at night (10-11PM or maybe even 2AM). Talk to people in the neighborhood and even small business owners in the area. Go to the local police precinct and find out the crime statistics. You can Google "crime statistics" with a zip code or neighborhood and see what comes up.
I would also add that the place where you have the most friends and know the most people would probably be the best place for you safety-wise!
If I can be of further assistance, please let me know, good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783