My parents moved our family to Kerman (rather than Fresno) almost 20 years ago. Although I am now in the Sacramento area, my family still lives in Kerman and are now raising the next generation of our family there.
Kerman is a good place to live and raise children. And yes, there are very good deals out there because just like many other places, the builders built WAY too many homes and Kerman has its share of foreclosures. As far as crime, there is no comparison to Fresno. And unfortunately there are drug labs scattered throughout the whole central valley. If you have any specific questions about the area, schools, etc, feel free to reply. I lived there many MANY years and will actually be visiting Kerman this weekend. Good luck Catherine.