Making Your Neighborhood a Safer Place
We share a lot of articles here that can help to strengthen your home security but the security of your neighborhood should also not go forgotten.
If you fail to address weak points in your neighborhood security, you are increasing the weak points in your home’s security and in turn, putting your family’s safety at risk.
We should all be able to feel safe in our own homes but it takes everybody working together to make it work. Because communities are no longer as close-knit as they used to be, crime waves are happening everywhere.
We have some simple tips here to help to create a safer neighborhood for all.
- 1 1. Get to Know Your Neighbors
- 2 2. Establish a Neighborhood Watch
- 3 3. Keep the Community Clean and Tidy
- 4 4. Raise Concerns Over Empty Buildings
- 5 5. Improve Lighting
- 6 6. Discuss Home Security Systems with Your Neighbors
- 7 7. Make Sure Your Neighbors Understand Basic Security
- 8 8. Report any Suspicious Activity
- 9 9. Start Recording Everything
- 10 10. Watch Outside Workers
1. Get to Know Your Neighbors
This is one of the most important steps for making your neighborhood a safer place. Getting to know your neighbors goes far beyond knowing their names. You should know whether they work during the day, whether they have children (how many and what they look like), and what their needs are.
Do you have elderly neighbors that are house-bound and needs extra help at times? Are there any small children you need to look out for? This may all seem to be a bit trivial but they all help to make you aware of who is in your neighborhood and what could be suspicious.
Once you know who your neighbors are you will need a way of contacting them if you see something suspicious when they are not home.
2. Establish a Neighborhood Watch
If your community has a neighborhood watch program, join it and, if they don’t, start one. The idea of these watch programs is to help keep everyone in the community safe and have home security at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
We have already mentioned that it takes everybody working together to make it work and a neighborhood watch program does just that. Starting one up is as simple as visiting your neighbors and asking them to join.
Related: Security Tips for Places of Worship
The kinds of things that neighborhood watch groups do include:
- Observe and report any suspicious behavior.
- Work with the local police.
- Put up signs to let would-be criminals know the community is being proactive.
- Inform others in the community about criminal activity so that all residents are prepared.
You can set up a community watch group by contacting your local police authority who will be more than happy to offer advice.
3. Keep the Community Clean and Tidy
Gather members of the community for a clean-up event to help get rid of graffiti, overgrown trees, and litter. If trash and graffiti are around, this actually attracts criminal behavior. Overgrown bushes are also easy places for criminals to hide out of sight.
- Choose a day and time when you and a group of your neighbors will be free
- Come up with a plan. Work out which areas you want to target first. You can start as small as you need, with just one park or street at first
- Gather together the supplies you will need such as trash bags, gloves, any cleaning products, and so on
- You could even choose to organize a neighborhood clean up day where you tackle several tasks together one morning or afternoon.
4. Raise Concerns Over Empty Buildings
Empty buildings are another area in the community which can attract criminal activity. It will go unnoticed while it is happening in the empty buildings but it is a different story when it spills out into the surrounding areas. Contact the building owners or local government with your concerns.
5. Improve Lighting
Poor lighting can hide all kinds of suspicious activity. If your street lights are inadequate, contact your homeowner’s association or local government for safer lighting. Encourage local businesses and residents to set up motion-activated outdoor lights as well.
Also, encourage your community to invest in security lighting that makes their driveways, yards and all walkways visible at night.
6. Discuss Home Security Systems with Your Neighbors
While many people nowadays already have home security systems installed in their homes, there are still many that don’t. Try to convince them why it is a good idea as criminals are less likely to target neighborhoods where every home has a working alarm system, surveillance cameras and the like.
7. Make Sure Your Neighbors Understand Basic Security
If they are going to be out of the house during the night, make sure they know to use timers to switch the lights on and off, so it appears that someone is home. Make sure they don’t keep a spare key under the doormat or anywhere where a burglar can find it. It might be a good idea to gather the community together for a meeting to discuss smart safety measures, or hand out fliers to help your neighbors understand how to keep their homes safer.
8. Report any Suspicious Activity
It seems common sense that you should report any suspicious activity but many fail to do so. Too often, we see strange things, but if they don’t apply to us we talk ourselves into minding our own business. This kind of thinking doesn’t just put your own security at risk but also the whole neighborhoods security.
Related: 33 Tips for a Safer Home
If you see something suspicious, pay attention and get a good description such as what they look like, what car they’re driving, how long they stay at the house and how they behave, in general.
9. Start Recording Everything
Almost everyone nowadays has a smartphone which means that they are carrying a good quality camera in their pocket too. If you notice something or somebody that looks out of place, pull your camera out and start taking photos or recording video. Share these visuals on your group’s social media site and also at future neighborhood watch meetings.
10. Watch Outside Workers
Whether performing individual maintenance or working with full construction crews, keep a close eye on temporary workers in your neighborhood. You don’t have to hawk their every movement, but do watch for those who may trespass on a neighbor’s property or who show any signs of unusual behavior. As well, make a mental note of company names, vehicle makes and colors just in case workers are actually criminals in disguise.
All of the tips above will help to build a community that looks out for one another and each other’s property. It may be impossible to make a community completely safe from criminal harm but we can look after each other and minimise the risk. Neighborhood security must be a team effort. You must all work together for the common good of one another by taking community security into your own hands.