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Keeping your house secure is something over which you have a lot of control. However, one aspect of home security that can be overlooked is the overall safety of the neighborhood in which you live. When it comes to keeping your home and loved ones from harm, it’s just as important to contribute to the safety and security of your neighborhood as it is to protect your individual house.
Neighborhood safety can feel like an overwhelming task, but there are plenty of simple things you can do to help keep your neighborhood free from crime. At American Alarm Systems, we’re committed to helping you with all aspects of security, including neighborhood safety. Here are three easy actions we recommend to help you improve security in your neighborhood.
- Be Friendly
Not only does a friendly demeanor make your neighborhood a more pleasant place to live, it can also make it safer. Get to know your neighbors. And we mean more than just a wave as you pass one another on the way to school or work. Become the type of neighbors that watch out for one another’s property when someone goes on vacation. Learn routines and pay attention to which vehicles and people belong in your neighborhood so you can spot something (or someone) that doesn’t belong.
If you have a neighborhood association, create a directory so that you know how to reach homeowners if something happens when they are away. For those without a neighborhood association, look into throwing a block party or community rummage sale as a way to become more friendly and to suggest taking a more active role in neighborhood safety. It’s also smart to get to know local law enforcement. Invite them to participate at neighborhood meetings or parties and let them know you appreciate their work to protect your community.
- Combine Security Resources
Not all neighborhoods can afford to put in security cameras, but you can identify which homeowners already have cameras, and determine where the weak spots are on your street or block. Coordinate your security efforts with your neighbors to help look out for the whole community, as well as your individual home.
To deter potential burglaries, consider posting signs that the neighborhood is under surveillance. If a crime does happen in the neighborhood, video can make a big difference in tracking down the bad guys. In 2014, the FBI reported more than 1.5 million burglaries committed across the country, and only 13.6% of those resulted in an arrest. To keep your neighborhood from landing on the wrong side of those statistics, all those with cameras should offer any footage they have to help the police identify and track down the perpetrators.
- Take Pride in Your Neighborhood’s Appearance
Believe it or not, a well kept yard can help keep burglars away. Keep your home’s exterior neat and orderly, and encourage your neighbors to the same. Regularly mowed lawns, nice landscaping, and a clutter-free porch or yard are signals to burglars that these homes are cared for, and the homeowners are present and involved.
On the flip side, overgrown hedges and clutter can give criminals extra cover and even help them break into a home, especially if the homeowner left a ladder or stepstool outside. Keep your eye on any vacant homes or open lots and coordinate with neighbors to keep weeds under control and maintain a neat exterior. Work together to mow lawns or shovel snow when neighbors go on vacation, to help keep up the appearance that the home isn’t sitting empty.
Bonus Tip: Park in the Driveway
We just couldn’t resist throwing in this super-simple tidbit. A Portland, OR news team interviewed 86 people serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections. Overwhelmingly, those burglars stated that they would skip a house with a car in the driveway. Pass this tip along to your neighbors and coordinate with one another to park in each other’s driveways when someone is out of town.
Neighborhood safety is important, but the great news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you haven’t already done so, why not start by getting out and meeting the neighbors? After all, it’s much easier for a group of you to create a safe, serene community than it is for you to take it on alone.