Two Prominent Real Estate Search Engines Get Rid of Crime Data in the Name of “Racial Equity”

According to Zachary Halaschak of the Washington Examiner, Realtor.com took down its crime data from its website, while Redfin opted to not add crime out of concerns that it would allegedly perpetuate “racial inequity.”

David Doctorow, the CEO of Realtor.com, stated in a company update published on December 13, 2021 that the crime map layer has been taken off 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 claimed that the removal was part of a company campaign to “level the playing field” and re-interpret what safety means to buyers and renters in order to “reimagine how we integrate safety data” on the platform. Realtor.com is working with fair housing advocates as part of this “racial equity” 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 stated. “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.”

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“As a relative newcomer to the real estate industry, I’ve been struck by how entrenched this problem is,” he added. “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 made its announcement about removing crime data, Redfin published a harsh critique of crime data being featured on real estate websites. Redfin’s chief growth officer Christian Taubman made the decision to not publish crime data after extensive internal debate.

Taubman claimed that Redfin mulled over whether to add crime information due to how it’s one of the metrics that consumers factor in before purchasing a home. Safety is a chief concern of prospective home buyers.

The company came to the conclusion that the available crime data doesn’t precisely shed light on 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.”

Redfin stressed that there is an alleged difference between crime and safety, which it determined through its research. According to its findings, people defined safety in multiple ways. Taubman claims that the available data, specifically the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, deals with reported crimes and does not feature information about crimes that go unreported and crimes that are unresolved. He believes neighborhood data could create an inaccurate perception of crime.

“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 stated. “And the fact that most reported crimes go unsolved means that some of the crimes being reported in fact may not be crimes.”

The two real estate search companies’ announcements came during a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are largely being embraced by major corporations.

The Right needs to stop glorifying corporations and emphasizing the passage of legislation that benefits large corporate entities. There are no good reasons to be giving further tax breaks and other pro-growth policies to entities that work to undermine the Historic American Nation.