My husband started his degree in criminal justice a while ago. I was amazed when he came home and said that lights have been proven to lower crime in a area significantly. I can't remember the exact number but 30% percent comes to mind. Your probably wondering what this has to do about renting. Well actually it is a big part of choosing a home, not just an apartment.
Drive by the property at night. My husband I would make a habit of getting our yearly drive through meal (well for him it is yearly) on a Saturday night and roll the windows down and go find a parking spot in the complex we were thinking of renting. If there are a bunch of drunks you can hear them. If there are creepy people running around, your gonna feel creepy. If there are kids causing mischief you'll notice at about 11pm on a weekend. You'll get a feel if this is the place for you or not.
Another good idea is to drive by during your lunch break during the week. Think if you were going to rob a place is this an easy target. Is it completely deserted during the day? If you were home sick would you feel like nobody noticed? This could be easily fixed with a security guard or an alarm system. You might want to check on the cost in your neighborhood, to see if your ready for that investment.
How about the bushes. Right around sun up or sun set you should walk around the property. Walk to the mail boxes and the rent drop or to the end of the drive way. Look for dark shadowy areas that somebody could be hiding in. Then see if you can need to talk to neighbors to get bushes cut down. Possible get a light to shine away the shadows. How much of an investment and hassle will it be to make it impossible for someone to hid on you property.