You really need to visit the area for yourself and speak to "unbiased" people about it. A Realtor is bound by law not to be biased and someone who has rental properties in the area of course is going to say it's a good area because that is their business.
That being said, there are certain blocks in the area that are "safe" and some that are not. I have a family member that owns a rental property in Maplewood. It is still an attractive area, yet it is a high percentage of non-owner occupied homes. The schools are decent and that is why many renters from not so nice areas want to move there so they can put their kids in the schools.
There are some truly beautiful houses in the area. Sadly, there is bias in the area as well. We currently have friends desperately trying to sell their GORGEOUS house in Maplewood because the wife was sitting on her porch asking the neighbors to turn down the loud rap music and she was attacked. A visitor of the neighbor threw a rock at her, hit her in the head and she landed in the hospital for days! These people are of German descent and have been the victims of racism for a number of years. They are heartbroken because they absolutely love the house, but the area is too dangerous for them.
So, it depends on what your comfort level is, but you really should check out the area before making a decision or getting locked into a 1 yr lease or a purchase offer.
Best of Luck to you!