Redfin and Realtor websites won't provide crime statistics for neighborhoods when homebuyers search for houses to avoid 'racial bias'
Two major websites used by homebuyers to search for properties to move into have decided that ignorance is bliss when it comes to crime statistics. As noted by Stacey Matthews on Legal Insurrection, Realtor.com and redfin.com decided on the same day that providing crime information on neighborhoods would promote racial bias. Helping families avoid moving to a house or condo in a dangerous crime-ridden neighborhood is far less important to them than virtue-signaling their trendy "anti-racism."
Apparently, they both have forgotten the ancient maxim "caveat emptor" — "let the buyer beware." I am not certain how to render "let the buyer be anti-racist" in Latin, but that is the replacement philosophy for these real estate marketing geniuses.
For connoisseurs of P.C. doubletalk, the statements issued by Realtor.com CEO David Doctorow and redfin.com's chief growth officer, Christian Taubman, are worth a look.
[E]arlier this month, we removed the crime map layer from all search results on Realtor.com to rethink the safety information we share on Realtor.com and how we can best integrate it as part of a consumer's home search experience.
In the weeks and months ahead, we plan to examine closely what neighborhood safety means for buyers and renters who use our site so we can reimagine how we integrate safety data on Realtor.com. Our goal is to ensure we are providing consumers with the most valuable, fair and accurate neighborhood data so they can make informed decisions about where they want to rent or purchase their next home.
We've also been collaborating with impressive advocates who have decades of fair housing experience.
I wonder who those "impressive advocates" are? BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, perhaps? She knows a lot about real estate, having laid out $3.2 million for four houses, including one in lily-white Topanga Canyon.
Chief Growth Officer Taubman was not to be outdone. Consider this doubletalk:
We recently decided not to add neighborhood crime data to Redfin.com. We were considering this because we're very much focused on answering all the questions people have when they're considering a home purchase, and we know that one of these questions is whether they'll feel safe in a given home or neighborhood. But the data available don't allow us to speak accurately to that question, and given the long history of redlining and racist housing covenants in the United States there's too great a risk of this inaccuracy reinforcing racial bias. We believe that Redfin — and all real estate sites — should not show neighborhood crime data.
He contends that crime data don't really tell you about safety.
Even if you narrow down to crime as an indicator of safety, there are reasons to doubt the usefulness of the data available. The most straightforward source of crime data is the Uniform Crime Report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which collects reported crimes from police departments across the country. Most crimes in the U.S. go unreported, however, and most reported crimes go unsolved. The fact that most crimes are missing creates a real possibility that the crimes that show up in the data set skew one way or another. And the fact that most reported crimes go unsolved means that some of the crimes being reported in fact may not be crimes. If you're extracting data at the neighborhood level, the risk of these gaps leading to inaccuracy becomes high.
Do you buy that? I don't. And I won't be using these websites when and if I dump California and move to a free state. I really want to know what the crime stats are when considering purchasing a house.
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