Realtor.com and Redfin are taking a stand against crime data being listed on their websites. The real estate companies have removed the data due to growing concerns that it could perpetuate racial inequity.
Realtor.com announced that it has removed its crime map from all search results to “level the playing field.” It is reassessing what safety means to buyers and renters and what information they decide to share about it going forward on realtor.com.
Redfin also came out against crime data being included on real estate websites and said it felt, after surveying consumers and evaluating research, that crime data does not accurately answer the question about how safe an area around a home is. Also, “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,” says Christian Taubman, Redfin’s chief growth officer.
Taubman also notes that crime data is mostly culled from the Uniform Crime Report from the FBI that reflects reported crimes. It excludes information about unreported crimes or those that 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,” Taubman says. “And the fact that most reported crimes go unsolved means that some of the crimes being reported in fact may not be crimes.”
Realtor.com® says it plans to examine closely what neighborhood safety means for buyers and renters who use its site to “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.” David Doctorow, CEO of realtor.com®, said in a company update this week.