I agree with most of what's below. For any area, safety is VERY subjective so our answers will only take you so far. Visit the area at different times of day/night, weekdays/weekends.
My own "starter home" was a condo on South Van Ness around 19th Street so I know the area very well! I still spend a lot of time in the Mission after living there for about 6 years...
Personally, I don't like to walk by myself at night anywhere in the City. For me, it's not so much that it's a city but rather than our City is so quiet at night! I'd rather walk in NYC where you're never alone!
This is a very fun and convenient area to live near. Great restaurants, cafes, bars, public transit abound. If you like sunshine, the weather rocks!
I talk to my clients about their lifestyle. It is important to find a home in an area that will match the quality of life you are looking for... Do you want to be "in the mix?" Do you want your home to be an oasis of peace and quiet "away from it all?"
When it comes to buying a home, there are many things to consider beyond # bedrooms and square footage....
Best of luck with your seach and let us know if you'd like some help.
Danielle Lazier, San Francisco Realtor
Zephyr Real Estate
danielle (at) sfhotlist.com
Reading police reports is a worthwhiel only if you are looking for more bad news. It is a chronicle of the high cost society pays to deal with the stupidity of some.
Safety is so relative to each individual. When I moved to the Mission from my upper middle class neighborhood I believed I would have to be prepared to fight, I'm not a fighter. It never happened. The only way for you to know about a neighborhiid is to go there and hang out at different times of the day and night.
Some may believe that 19th and South Van Ness is scetchier than 19th and Valencia. You have to decide. 18th Street has become one of the trendiest streets in the City. BiRite, Delfino's, Tartine Bakery, Farina.
The area is heavily populated currently by the young, politically involved, bike riding set.
Go to dinner enoy a few drinks in the local bars and ask the people you see how it is. It is a great and very vibrant area now.
Although our offices are in the Financial District, I live in the Mission. The location you are talking about is very convenient to some of the best parts of the Mission - BART is a few blocks away, as are many great restaurants and nightspots - Medjool, Brunos, etc... and there are tons of these kinds of places at the 16th and Valencia corridor.
You have already been given the police website to look at crime statistics, but you are going to see a lot of crime anywhere in the Mission. The Mission, as much as anywhere in the city, goes from good to bad on a block by block basis. The main concern for me, especially if I had a family, would be if a particular block is a known hotbed of gang activity, as there are some blocks that get taken over at night.
I don't believe this is one of those areas, but I would call the Police Department and doublecheck with them, and as suggested here walk the area at night to get a sense of how it feels for you. Typically you will get more bang for your buck in the Mission, and we have some of the best weather in the city.
If you are not yet represented and would like a no-strings consultation our contact info is below, otherwise your Agent should be able to help you with this
Lance King/Managing Broker
It's a bit pedestrian with respect to usability, but you ultimately can type in a specific address or intersection, and request to see reported crimes within a mile of the address, and for up to 90 days prior. The Police Department launched the site several years ago, and it's a surprisingly up-to-date and helpful tool.
I represented a client several years ago who bought a loft at 20th & South Van Ness. He has since gotten married and I assisted them in the Fall in buying a TIC around the block on Shotwell at 20th. So that is a testament to how much they like it there. They are expecting a baby this year, as well. That being said, there is definitely more street activity, and gang incidents in the area. So it is really a matter of personal tolerance. I drive down South Van Ness multiple times a week to go to my gym, and it can be a busy street. The ideal situation in the Mission would be for you to purchase a property on one of the side streets--not the main thoroughfares.
If you're considering a property in this area, I recommend making a visit to the neighborhood in the evening to get a sense of these details. If you're working with a Realtor, you may also consider going door to door and visiting a few of the neighbors. Neighbors are a great source of information about the nuances of a neighborhood. This is a standard practice for me when I'm working with buyers.
The Inner Mission still has it's negative issues but it's only been getting better over the last several years, with a fantastic selection of restaurants and shops. There are developers & buyers who believe in the neighborhood as million dollar, high end condos/townhouses have been recently constructed & purchased.
Lastly, this is one area of S.F. with the warmest weather!