Zillow-owned Trulia on Tuesday revealed plans to remove crime data from its website beginning next year, following the lead of two other portals that last week said they too would not include crime data on their sites.
A Trulia spokesperson revealed the company’s plans to Inman in a statement that said the site “is committed to providing consumers with tools, services and information to help them make informed decisions about real estate.” The statement went on to note that Trulia displays a variety of publicly available data so as to “ensure accuracy, equity, and transparency.” However, it won’t be including crime data in the future.
“Public safety data is defined and measured differently across communities — which may perpetuate bias in real estate and present challenges with providing accurate crime data from our vendors,” the statement continues. “Because of this, Trulia will no longer display crime data on our site as of early 2022. We will continue to develop tools and publish information that can help serve as a starting point in a consumer’s home buying process.”
At present, Trulia offers crime data as an available map overlay for listings on its site. Users who turn the data on see a kind of heat map that shows areas of high and low crime.
However, such data has become a major point of debate in the real estate industry recently, with some critics arguing that such information can reinforce racial stereotypes and biases.
Last week, Redfin and realtor.com — both competitors to Zillow and Trulia in the portal space — announced that they would not include crime data on their sites. Realtor.com had previously included such data but said it had dropped it from listings. Redfin never displayed crime data, a policy it had considered changing but ultimately decided to stick to.
In a blog post, Redfin Chief Growth Officer Christian Taubman wrote that “given the long history of redlining and racist housing covenants in the United States there’s too great a risk” of the data’s inaccuracies “reinforcing racial bias.”
Redfin also called on other real estate websites to abandon crime data.
Like Redfin, Zillow does not currently include crime data on listings.
However, Trulia — which Zillow bought in 2015 — was a holdout among major portals to include information related to neighborhood crime. Tuesday’s announcement brings it in line with the other big portals, and indicates a consensus on the issue has formed among companies that display listings to consumers.