Simple Ways to Make Your Neighborhood Safer
Crime can happen to anyone. That said, danger does not have to originate from your neighborhood. There are simple things you can do alone, and as a community, to improve the safety of your neighborhood.
Take Care of the Outdoors
Studies have shown that neighborhoods that have well-kept lawns have lower crime rates. This may be because the criminals might think it is a high-end neighborhood or that there are very few places for suspicious people to hide if all the lawns are well-kept.
Abandoned houses are good places for suspicious people to hide so if you have one in your neighborhood, it would be best if you fixed it up, locked it and checked it from time to time.
Know Your Neighbors
Knowing your neighbors allows you to identify suspicious people very fast. Find out:
- Their names
- Their routines
- If they have visitors who visit often
- If they have kids, and if they do, how many they are
Having such a close-knit community also makes it easier to share information on suspicious people in your neighborhood. For this, it would be a good idea to have their contact information including their social media information.
Be Careful When You Go Out of Town
It is very easy to become a victim when you are out of town. If you need to go out of town:
- Let your neighbors know when you will be going and how long you will be away
- Check that all your windows and blinds are closed
- Engage your security system if you have one
- Lock the door and check that it is actually locked
Close Your Windows and Blinds at Night
One of the reasons why so many homes get broken into is because they do not close their blinds and windows at night. It is hard to see into a house when it is bright outside, but as soon as everything in the house is illuminated when you turn the lights on, people can take an inventory of your house. This could be the initiation they need to come into your house.
Improve Your Street Lighting
Improving your street’s lighting can:
- Improve the safety of your neighborhood
- Expose areas where malicious people could hide
Adding street lamps is not the only way to do this. You could also tell your neighbors to turn their porch lights on in the evening. Another good idea would be to install motion-sensitive lights in backyards so that intruders have nowhere to hide.
Establish a Community Watch
Establishing a community watch is one of the best ways to get the whole community involved in keeping the neighborhood safe. The community watch group can:
- Report to and work with the police
- Put up signs that show the community is taking proactive steps towards crime prevention
- Observe and report suspicious behavior
- Alert others about criminal activity so they are vigilant and prepared
Ensure that you get in touch with your local police department when setting up the watch group. This is so that they are able to help you set these groups up and be willing to help whenever you need them.
Intervene in Those Doing the Crimes
If those who commit crimes in your neighborhood are known, intervention might get them to stop and make your neighborhood safer at the same time. Click here to learn more about youth intervention as a prevention measure as well as other ways of reducing crime.
Take Care of Your Home
Homes are harder to break into if their windows and doors are in good working condition. Once in a while:
- Go around the house checking the doors and windows
- Call an expert to assess if there are any weak points in your house.
When taking care of the home, you can also decide to add an alarm system. This will ensure that you and your neighbors are alerted immediately should there be any unauthorized entry into your home.
If there are neighbors who cannot make repairs, or keep their homes in good condition, consider asking your community group to help them out.
Install Security Cameras
This is a no-brainer if you want a safer neighborhood. Cameras:
- Deter would-be criminals
- Provide vital information to the police in case of a crime
Install good outdoor security cameras and ensure that they have a good offsite backup in case anything happens to the neighborhood. You could also set them up to stream data to people’s devices so they can see what is going on in the neighborhood at work or when at home.
Hire a Security Service
A private security service can patrol the neighborhood every minute of the day which the police cannot. They can also respond quickly to any suspicious activity. The only thing that would stand in your way is that a private security firm might be a bit expensive to hire. You could fundraise in the community to come up with the funds needed.
Rent Out Your Driveways
Most neighborhoods have people who work away from home. Because of this, burglars just look at the driveway to see if anyone is home, which makes their homes a target. When you rent your driveway:
- It gives the appearance of someone being home
- It increases traffic in front of your house which might deter criminals
- You make a little money on the side
Before you do this, ensure that you have followed all the local laws so you do not get into trouble. Also, check with your neighbors or neighborhood association if this is ok because most of the people you will be renting to might not live in your neighborhood.
Take Classes on Basic Safety
Some people may not know how to be safe. Taking classes will help bridge that gap. Some of the lessons could be:
- Using timers to switch lights on and off to show someone is home even if they are not
- Not keeping extra sets of keys under doormats or other places a burglar might guess
- How to install and set up a security system properly
If your neighbors do not have time, you can always hand out fliers.
Keeping a neighborhood safe is everybody’s work. The tips above are a good place to start to ensure that your neighborhood is always safe.