How to Help Make Your Neighborhood Safe
Every child deserves a safe and healthy childhood and a place where they can play without worries. That’s why it is important that we help each other build a safe neighborhood where kids, neighbors, and friends feel secure. While a perfectly safe neighborhood is a tough ask, it’s a challenge that each of us can do something about. In many ways, it has never been easier to protect your home, neighborhood, and community, and ensure we come together to live safely.
1. Get to Know Your Neighbors and CommunicateAlways get to know your neighbors. Don’t just meet them but really try to get the know them. Have a way to reach your neighbors if they’re gone and something is amiss in the neighborhood. You can start getting to know others by joining your neighborhood association, hosting a yard sale, or pitching in to throw a block party. It is also helpful if you know who is at home during the day and if any neighbors work during the night. Are there kids around? What ages? These tidbits provide information that will alert you if something seems amiss. Communication is a big factor in safety.
FBI burglary data from 2018 showed that 51% of all reported burglaries occurred in the daytime, compared to 32% at night.
2. Enhance Your Home’s SecurityAlways keep your doors locked and keep spare keys with a trusted neighbor or family member instead of under the doormat or near your home. Set timers on lights when you’re away from home, so it appears to be occupied. Illuminate or eliminate places an intruder might hide – the spaces between trees or shrubs, stairwells, alleys, walkways, entryways, etc. Trim back hedges under windows and away from porches and back doors. Invest in a home security system, a doorbell camera, or a combination video/alarm system. Doors and windows with alarms are a crime deterrent and cameras allow you to capture any mischief in real-time. Not only can you see who is on your property, but you can also typically watch for anything that doesn’t seem right within a couple of hundred feet of your home.
3. Keep Your Neighborhood and Property CleanKeep your home clean and orderly and encourage your neighbors to do the same. A neighborhood with mowed lawns, nice landscaping, and nicely painted homes looks like it’s cared for, which can help deter crime. If there is a certain open lot or abandoned home that is an eyesore, work together as a neighborhood to clean up weeds or do a little exterior maintenance care. If you’re away, make sure someone mows your yard, shovels the walk, and brings in any newspapers, packages, or mail.
4. Make it Less Appealing to StealKeep your blinds closed at night so thieves can’t see your belongings, such as a big-screen TV, appliances, or other technology. Also, keep your windows closed when you’re out during the day and at night. If you’re away on vacation, lock up your prescription medication, and don’t let anyone know that you have it. Though these are homeowner safety tips, they also keep criminals out of the neighborhood, as do motion-sensor outdoor lights on each home and working streetlamps.
Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 65.5 percent of all burglary offenses. – FBI, 2018 Crime in the United States Report
5. Don’t Announce When You’re Away on Social MediaIn a Safewise study, 60% of the burglary victims said they were active on social media about when they were away. Posting night-out plans with location tags or live beach shots from vacation is a very bad idea. You’re telling criminals just what they need to know to get in and out while you’re not home. This also puts your neighbors at risk.
6. Get to Know Your Local Police departmentGet to know your local police department and express to them your desire to make your neighborhood safe. For example, if cars are often speeding through, ask them to patrol the streets. Sometimes you can even work with the department to start a Neighborhood Watch program. If you leave on vacation, many police departments have a vacation service where they will keep an eye on your property while you’re away, at no charge. Just contact your local police department’s office (not 911) to ask about the program.
Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses in 2018. The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,799. – FBI, 2018 Crime in the United States Report
7. Learn About Your Nearest School Security Program
Does your nearest school have a security program that includes panic button technology? The SchoolGuard® panic button app alerts law enforcement immediately if there is an active shooter or intruder on campus. The SchoolGuard app also displays a mapped location of the initial alert for situational awareness on all recipients’ devices.
SchoolGuard also has an established police network of over 60,000 officers through Hero911™. This unique feature, found only with SchoolGuard, alerts ALL officers nearby so the closest ones can show up as quickly as possible. Panic button technology is a practical option for your local school that can help safeguard your community.