Unless you can afford a home, leasing an apartment is probably your next best option. Most people that lease pay attention to the price but how many people pay attention to the apartments criminal history?
Luckily, this is a very easy thing to find out. In most cases you can just google the name of your apartment followed by "police reports". This should bring up any relevant information regarding criminal activity for the apartment.
You may also be surprised to find out that the apartment you are looking for has been reported for not being up to code. I don't know about you but I don't want to have to worry about a collapsing staircase.
Don't bother asking the leasing agent about criminal activities. Most of them are not allowed to disclose that information. The internet is you best friend on this one.
Good luck searching -