I work with a lot of investors and have found the following key signs to look for when looking at a neighborhood:
Neighbors house. Is it maintained, How are they taking care of their flowerbeds and can you notice any defered maintenance? anyone who doesn't take pride in their house will not keep the kids in check
Cars on the street: are there any clunkers sitting out? anyone who doesn't take care of their car most probably won't take care of their house and family.
Hang-out factor: are there kids hanging out in the evenings? If there are kids just hanging out and not doing anything this usually lead to trouble.
Is there any Graffiti? if so, just run
Litter Factor: is there any litter in the streets up against the curb? people who don't clean up normally don't believe in the pride of the neighborhood and won't get involved it there is trouble brewing.
Call the local police department: get a list of the 911 calls for the neighborhood
Hope this helps,
The Kim Tokar Team