If you’re looking to buy a home, and you research various cities and neighborhoods to determine what might be a good fit for you and your family, be advised that complete information may no longer be presented to you – thanks to political correctness.
Realtor.com has removed crime data from its website, and Redfin has decided not to add it out of concerns that it could perpetuate racial inequity.
David Doctorow, the CEO of Realtor.com, said in a company update this week that the crime map layer has been removed from all search results on the website “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.”
Doctorow said the removal was part of a company effort to “level the playing field” and scrutinize what safety means to buyers and renters so that it can “reimagine how we integrate safety data” on the platform. Realtor.com has been collaborating with fair housing advocates as part of the initiative.
“At this time of complexity in real estate, our team has been energized by our purpose to simplify real estate choices, especially for first-time homebuyers,” he wrote. “Yet we keep bumping up against one very old and persistent problem: the ability to afford and own a home can be unjustly limited by one’s race, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics.”
“As a relative newcomer to the real estate industry, I’ve been struck by how entrenched this problem is,” he continued. “Stories abound about Black, Hispanic and Asian homebuyers receiving unequal treatment, starting with their ability to see whatever homes they like, and continuing through to the appraisal and mortgage processes.”
On the same day that Realtor.com announced that it was removing its crime data, Redfin came out with a full-throated denunciation of crime data being included on real estate websites. Redfin’s chief growth officer Christian Taubman announced that, after consideration, the company would not be adding crime data to its own platform.
Taubman said that Redfin had been weighing whether to add information about crime because one of the metrics that consumers consider when looking for a home to purchase is how safe the area around that home is. The company concluded that available crime data doesn’t accurately answer 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.”
There’s more at the link.
The trouble is, the “inaccuracy” referred to by both organizations is not inaccurate at all. Official Federal government figures, published for decades, consistently confirm that the distribution of offenders is disproportionate among races, and disproportionate in locality. As a former prison chaplain, I can confirm the reality of those official figures “on the ground”, where I had to deal with some of the most hard-core inmates in federal and state prison systems.
I don’t have time to go into the subject in a short blog article, but if you’re interested, examples of the official figures (interpreted and collated) may be found at these sources:
- Estimated number of arrests by offense and race, 2018
- Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees, 2018
- Race and Crime in America
- (from Wikipedia, therefore politically correct) Race and crime in the United States
Go read them for yourself.
What makes me angry about Realtor.com’s and Redfin’s stance is that it deliberately denies to prospective homeowners important information that they’ll need to take into account in selecting a new neighborhood or city in which to live. Those companies are saying, “We don’t want to give you all the facts, because those facts aren’t politically correct, so we’ll simply deny you information that could affect the safety and security of your family. Sorry, but that’s your problem, not ours.”
And if a member or members of your family are victimized, or injured, or even killed, because you lacked that information? Realtor.com and Redfin will deny any responsibility at all. “You should have done your own research!” The fact that both companies are primary sources for such research, but are actively denying you the information you need, is obviously neither here nor there as far as they’re concerned.
It’s enough to make you spit. I can only suggest that you look for information elsewhere in future when you plan property purchases.