Before people move into a new area or neighborhood, one of the first things they consider is safety. In fact, it can be the single most important factor for some, especially for growing families. It won’t matter if the house ticks off all the boxes or if there are good schools and parks nearby if the neighborhood has had a bad safety record.
Of course, people have varying requirements when it comes to safety. For parents, they would be concerned about having sex offenders within a five-mile radius. For some, it would be theft, robbery, and shootings. Others would look for a neighborhood that’s accepting of people from all walks of life. There would even be those who would religiously research about risks of natural disasters and the presence of fault lines.
But there is hardly any ideal and completely safe neighborhood in any corner of the world. However, as individuals, there are things we can do to make wherever we live a safer place for everyone. After all, safety is a community effort. So here are simple things you can do to add to your neighbors’ peace of mind:
1. Get to know your neighbors
Gone are the days of close-knit communities where neighbors watch each other’s backs, and kids play together outside. Parents are increasingly getting paranoid of their neighbors and for valid reasons. But while it’s good to cautious, fear of crime can sometimes make neighborhoods less safe. Making friends with neighbors can, in fact, do more good than harm. For one, if you build a trusting relationship with neighbors, you can count on them to watch out for your family or even check your home from time to time when you’re away.
2. Join or register a neighborhood watch
A neighborhood watch is basically an organized group of individuals who assist law enforcement authorities and their communities to reduce crime. The rules and goals vary across neighborhoods, but the common goal is to help keep people safe and set up measures to prevent all sorts of crime. If your area has a watch, feel free to join it. If it doesn’t, you may register one with your local council.
3. Install a residential alarm system
Installing a residential alarm system like EZ Switch can keep your home and family safe. When your alarm goes off, it will send a signal to the authorities and wake your neighbors so that they can keep an eye out for you. More than that, a security system could also benefit your neighbors. For example, the CCTV cameras you have outside your house can help catch crimes going on next door or provide clues.
4. Maintain your yard
Your yard can be a source of harmful chemicals and debris which could pollute your neighborhood during heavy rains or a flood. For example, if you fertilize your turf using strong chemicals, this could leech into the groundwater. Runoff or floodwater can also bring mulch and other debris to neighboring properties. This is why it’s important that you keep up your yard. If you have a tree that grows out into the sidewalk, make sure to prune the branches, especially before thunderstorms.
5. Keep an eye on each other’s homes
One thing you can do to prevent crimes in your area is to keep an eye on each other’s homes. If your neighbor is away, stay alert and report any suspicious activity. Likewise, if you’re going away, be sure to inform a neighbor you trust so that they can look over your house as well. This simple act of camaraderie could be life-saving.
6. Improve lighting on your street
Malicious individuals thrive in dark or dimly-lit streets in quiet neighborhoods. Protect your neighbors by improving the lighting on your street. This way, a neighbor walking along would feel safer, and prowlers won’t feel too confident.
7. Employ a buddy system
Most violent crimes happen to people who are alone. You can suggest the buddy system wherein kids and vulnerable individuals should have at least one companion whenever they step out of the house, whether it’s just to play on the street or walk to school. A buddy will also serve as a contact or point person or just someone who can ensure your kid comes home safely.
Employing these simple safety measures can significantly impact your neighborhood, not just in terms of safety but also for everyone’s peace of mind. If your neighborhood falls short of these things, lead by example and inspire them to do the same. This way, your worry about everyone in the community can lessen.