Checking neighbourgood

If one is investing out side one’s own marketplace how can one check the neighbourhood for a given address?

What tools stats are available online to do this? what metrics to look at?

How can one quickly get n touch with folks who know about the good and bad neighbourhood in an area?

I enter the zip in Yahoo yellow pages and start looking for professionals to tha local area I can call. I hit a lot of title companies as I am usually using them for the serach anyway,but you can call pizza deliver places, convienece stores, relator and the police station to ask what a neighborhood is like and how property values have been.

If it is large enough, I use to find out the demographics of the area.