The first thing is to set up some time to view all properties around your price range. I would pull anything from $125 - $175. I know that $175 is more that your desired price range but we may come across someone willing to negotiate. If you are not doing so already with an agent, I would set aside a few days for us to go together to each neighborhood and you can view them and take notes about your likes/dislikes. After you have narrowed down your list, I can provide you with links and resources for you to do more home work! Crime stats, offender databases, you can look into all of that and decide what things are most important to you. Whenever I am out showing property, I usually see residents of the neighborhoods out and about. There is nothing wrong with you, as a buyer, asking them questions. As a real estate agent, it would be unlawful for me to tell you which area is safe or not safe (that's why you won't get some of your more specific questions answered here). If you would like to talk more about what is on the market and set up a day or two to get that initial list of neighborhoods started, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 719-3986.
Either way, best of luck and try to enjoy your home search. Rates are great, prices are negotiable and the benefits for first time home buyers are better than ever.
Good luck and I'd love to work with you!