Real estate websites will not include crime data on property listings, claiming they include “racial bias.”

Redfin and Realtor.com both announced on Dec. 13 that they would avoid including neighborhood crime data from property listings on their websites.

A blog post by Christian Taubman, director of growth for Redfin, said that a data source the company was considering using for crime data was the Bureau’s National Crime Victimization Survey. of Justice Statistics, but said such surveys risked including “racial bias.”

“To work around the discrepancies with reported crimes, the other primary data source we considered was the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey. As an investigation, it has the advantage of being able to capture both unreported crimes. However, also due to the fact that this is a survey, if there is racial bias in respondents’ responses, this will be reflected directly in the data, ”the ad said.

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Sign for Realtor Redfin on a house for sale in San Ramon, Calif., September 17, 2019 (Photo by Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images) (Photo by Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images / Getty Images)

Taubman added that the crime data does not “accurately answer” the question shoppers have about safety in a given neighborhood, and said there was “too great a risk that this inaccuracy would reinforce the racial prejudice “.

“But the data available does not allow us to answer this question precisely, and given the long history of restrictive and racist housing covenants in the United States, there is too great a risk that this inaccuracy reinforces prejudice. We believe that Redfin – and all real estate sites shouldn’t be posting crime data in the neighborhood, ”he said.

Moreover, Taubman asserted that people are interested in “security” and not in “crime”.

He said people define security in different ways and asserted that it “doesn’t fit very well with purely criminal data.”

“When we ask people what they want to know about a neighborhood, they define safety in different ways: people say they care if there is garbage on the street, they only care about the violent crimes or worry about whether they’ll frequently see the homeless, ”Taubman said.

House for sale

FILE – In this April 1, 2020 photo, a “For Sale” sign stands in front of a house that is being sold in Monroe, Washington, outside of Seattle. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson, file) (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson, Dossier / AP Newsroom)

On the same day, Realtor.com announced it had removed crime data from property listings on its website in early December, and said the change was made to “level the playing field in real estate for everyone.”

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David Doctorow, managing director of Realtor.com, said the move was made in an attempt to “rethink” the security information shared on the website.

“For example, earlier this month we removed the crime map layer from all search results on Realtor.com to rethink the security information we share on Realtor.com and how best to get it. integrate as part of a consumer’s home search experience. Doctorow said.

He added that Realtor.com would be working to “take a close look” at what neighborhood safety means to consumers so that the website can “reimagine how we embed safety data on Realtor.com.”

SEATTLE, WA – OCTOBER 31: A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house for sale on October 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle has been one of the fastest and most competitive housing markets in the United States throughout 201 ((Photo by Stephen Brashear / Getty Images for Redfin))

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Doctorow also encouraged the real estate industry as a whole to rethink how neighborhoods are characterized, saying the industry uses metrics that penalize communities of color.

“Historically, our industry has valued neighborhoods using metrics that unfairly penalize communities of color. We can all do a better job of explaining the facts in a way that doesn’t unfairly penalize neighborhoods, towns and cities. cities, ”he said.