Yes, that's a concern of mine too. I would love to purchase a home of some sort somewhere near San Francisco, but everyone says most areas around San Francisco are unsafe these days because of crime. It seems that the only "safe" areas also just happen to be very expensive neighborhoods, and I suppose one of the reasons they are very expensive is probably because of the lower crime rate(?), but I would love to get some sort of objective idea of just what the crime rates mean in real terms. Is it high enough to truly be a concern, or is the actual number of crimes insignificantly low, even though they may be statistically higher than other places?
What I mean for example, is that in all the various places I've lived (mostly in Southern California) I have never personally experienced any sort of crime firsthand at all -- zero, and naturally I hope it stays that way, but if I double the crime rate that I personally have experienced it is still zero (two times zero is zero!), so is the absolute number of crimes actually high enough to worry about in places like Pittsburg, CA, Bay Point, Oakland, and other areas? I've seen stories of people posting on the Trulia Q&A forums about crimes they personally have experienced, but are these anomalies, or are they commonplace? What do the crime statistics mean in real life?