Many of us don’t know our neighbours. We come and go quietly and at best might acknowledge them with the wave of a hand but seldom do we take the time to go over, introduce ourselves and act neighbourly.
The downside of our more insular and isolated society is that neighbours who know each other and work together offer each other much needed extra security in addition to possible friendship. Neighbourship is a team effort so:
1. Get to know your neighbours.
Find out whether they work during the day, whether they have children (and, if so, what they look like), and what their needs are. If you live next to an elderly couple that stays home they might need help from time to time. Perhaps they have small children you need to look out for. Knowing these things helps you be aware of who is in your neighborhood and what could be suspicious.
Have a way to reach your neighbours if they’re gone and something is amiss in the neighborhood. Feel free to contact them if you see any out-of-ordinary or suspicious behavior around their home or if you’re gone and would like them to check up on your house. You might even help develop a neighbourhood WahtsApp group.
2. Maintain your garden and property and encourage neighbours to do the same.
A neighborhood with mowed lawns, flowers, and freshly painted homes looks like it’s cared for, and this alone can help deter crime. A well-kept yard also provides fewer places for suspicious persons to take cover. If there is an open lot or abandoned home that is an eyesore, work together as a neighborhood to clean up weeds, plant trees, and do a bit of fixing up on the exterior.
3. Improve lighting in your street.
Streetlamps are not the only way to do this. Ask that each household turn on their porch lights in the evenings and install motion-sensor lights in the backs or sides of the house so potential intruders don’t have the darkness to hide in.
4. Close your windows and blinds at night.
A big screen TV is a less enticing steal if no one knows it’s there. Leaving your blinds open and lights on at night provides a free look into your house, its layout, and the habits of its occupants. Leaving windows open at night or when you’re gone is an invitation for an uninvited guest to come on in.
5. Be cautious if when you are out of town.
Talk to your neighbors and arrange for someone to mow your lawn, shovel your walks, or pick up your mail and newspapers. Use timers on your lights, or find a smart security system that will allow you to turn lamps off and on remotely.
6. Install a security system.
In the end, one of the surest options to improve safety in your neighborhood is to get a home security system and use it properly. Studies show that burglars tend to skip homes that have security systems. Contact our Security and Armed Response teams to help you evaluate what security system will work best for your home.
Improving neighborhood safety is a team effort, but it needs to start with someone and that someone should be you. As you get to know your neighbors, discuss your concerns, and apply some of the ideas above, you’ll find that your neighborhood becomes not only a safer place to be but a more enjoyable one.