Top Real Estate Sites Remove Crime Data and Their Excuses Couldn't Be More Disingenuous

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Over-the-top corporate political correctness is one thing. (See: BLM apologist Roger Goodell and the NFL.) Over-the-top corporate political correctness dishonestly dressed up in excuses is another. Case in point: Two top real estate sites will no longer include crime statistics for neighborhoods in which they list homes.

Online realtors Redfin and Realtor.com have both announced they would remove neighborhood crime data from their sites. While they explain their respective reasons a bit differently, their excuses are blatant in their similarity. Like putting lipstick on two different pigs — but the dishonesty is the same.

In a statement on Realtor.com titled An Invitation to the Industry: Address Fair Housing Together, CEO David Doctorow begins with an innocuous statement:

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.

Okay. But isn’t simplifying the process an objective for most realtors, particularly those that market homes to first-time homebuyers?

Ah, but there’s more (emphasis, mine).

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. 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.

At virtually every step of the way, too often people of color find hurdles in their path, making it difficult to turn their dreams of homeownership into reality.

Wait — how does removing neighborhood crime statistics make a home purchase more affordable for anyone, regardless of color or ethnicity? It doesn’t — it’s nonsense.

Then, this:

These challenges also afflict people by virtue of their gender, sexual orientation and religion. Whatever the root cause, more must be done to level the real estate playing field for all. We at Realtor.com have been working to break down those hurdles.

For example, earlier 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.

Call me crazy, but if I’m considering buying a home, I want to know about neighborhood crime statistics. Who would not, including people of color and members of the LGBTQ community?

“In the weeks and months ahead,” Doctorow wrote, “We plan to examine closely what neighborhood safety means [huh?] 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 [data is data; it is not driven by political correctness] 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,” Doctorow said. Of course, they’re collaborating with advocates.

Redfin’s “Chief Growth Officer,” Christian Taubman, at least came closer to honesty — with the operative word being closer. 

Under the title Neighborhood Crime Data Doesn’t Belong on Real Estate Sites, Taubman wrote:

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.

So removing crime data helps people know whether they’ll feel safe, how? Again, call me crazy, but it seems the more data I have relative to potentially safety — or lack thereof — the more informed decision I can make for me and my family.

Then Taubman just went for it.

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.

That is illogical insanity at its politically-correct “best.”

It gets better (worse). Hilariously so.

People are interested in safety, not crime.

As it relates to neighborhood safety, the less crime the safer, Einstein. More hilarity:

One big thing we learned through our research is that there’s real variety in how people define and evaluate safety, and that it doesn’t line up very well with purely crime-based data.

“Reported crimes may not accurately reflect actual crimes,” Taubman argues, because racism or something. As Taubman contends:  “Crime statistics risk including racial bias.” [Rolling-eyes emoji]

This is a quintessential example of the ridiculous race-centric nonsense gripping much of this country right now, and frankly, I see it getting far worse before any sense of honesty and or reality returns.

Meanwhile, be careful with your next home purchase.

Your family’s safety is totally on you.