Due diligence is a smart approach. It is always prudent to review the issues foremost in you mind before moving into any community. You can contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to ascertain the crime rate in a given neighborhood, and you can go on-line to identify any known sex offenders within a specific radius.
There are numerous school reports available on-line as well. As far as utilities are concerned, that could vary from property to property: I would make a call to the local electric, gas and water companies and request rates based upon usage. Once you hone-in on a property, you can request usage for the most recent months.
By the way, driving through a community at different times during a 24-hour period can give you a snapshot of how busy or quiet things are at a time most important to you.