Living in a gated or non-gated neighborhood can be a tough decision for some people in the market for a new home. There are different opinions on both ends of the debate which are completely pro or against one or the other, but what are the real advantages and disadvantages to a a gated neighborhood?
Many people think that there are strong benefits to raising a family inside a gated neighborhood. Some who live in gated areas say they feel more secure or are not afraid to be home alone or leave their kids alone in the neighborhood. Often, people who live in the gated neighborhoods feel a sense of safety that they don’t think they would feel in a non-gated neighborhood. Another reason some homeowners prefer a gated neighborhood is the perceived added prestige.
No matter the reason for choosing to live in a gated neighborhood, the biggest question surrounding gated vs non-gated is safety. The major question that is asked of gated neighborhoods is “Do they really keep crime rates down?” The short answer is, not really. In most cities, some forms of crime such as car theft is reduced initially but the long term crime rates are only marginally better at best. The trend is that crimes against people tend to go down because “outsider” perpetrators initially prefer not to go into areas with which they are unfamiliar and it may be more difficult to escape. Typically, crimes such as burglary drop within the first year of a new gated community but then rise back to the same levels as non-gated neighborhoods.
Does living in a gated neighborhood give a false sense of security? This is what many people believe; gates are more of a marketing tool and fad than serving any true benefit or purpose. For example, in neighborhoods with unmanned gates, codes to get into the gates are given to many people who don’t live there but visit frequently. Often, friends who don’t live inside the gated neighborhood can become irritated with having to remember the code or contacting you for the digits each time they visit. “Outsiders” who get the code not only include friends but also food delivery persons or other individuals providing services to people living inside the gates. Think about all the contractors, landscapers, house cleaners, dog walkers, pest control providers, etc. who enter on a normal basis and consider the level of security coded gates truly provide.
Despite the statistics showing no significant decrease in crime in gated neighborhoods over time, the number of these communities continues to grow. While research shows that the “old school” neighborhood watch programs prove to reduce crime if properly run by the community, often these are forgone in a gated community due to the sense of security from the gates and walls alone. Whether living in a gated or non-gated neighborhood, homeowners should always rely on providing their own safety and security first. Locking doors and windows and keeping the garage shut are the most basic forms of safety and other home safety devices or home security alarm systems can always be installed for added measures.
At the end of the day, living in a gated or non-gated community really just comes down to personal preference. There are pros and cons to living in a gated community. The added security is debatable, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a popular choice for families across the country.
Call us to view homes for sale in gated and non-gated neighborhoods. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477