How to Make Your Neighborhood Safer
Nobody needs an expert to tell them that the average community is less safe now than it was 20 years ago. An astonishing 75% of U.S. homes will be burglarized within the next 20 years. One of the top community safety tips is to start a neighborhood watch program. When everyone looks out for each other, neighborhoods become a less appealing target for criminals. But is a neighborhood watch really the best option for keeping your community safe?
Keep reading for tips on how to make your neighborhood safer.
The Importance of Neighborhood Watch Programs
Neighborhood watch programs are a proven way to reduce crime in your area. Remember, most criminals are searching for easy targets, and they typically scope out areas multiple times before committing a crime. As part of any community safety initiative, neighborhood watch programs bring people together to create a greater sense of security. Fear of crime takes its toll, but if you know your friends and neighbors are looking out for you, you can rest easy at night. Before deciding to implement one of these programs, let’s examine the neighborhood watch programs’ pros and cons.
Pros of Neighborhood Watch Programs
There are inherent benefits for safety in the community when neighborhood watch initiatives are established. There’s a reason why most neighborhood crime prevention tips mention the importance of a watch. Here are some reasons why neighborhood watches enhance community safety:
- Less Crime – There’s no disputing the fact that areas with a neighborhood watch experience significantly less crime than those that don’t. Criminals tend to avoid these neighborhoods as a rule.
- Strengthen Community – Communities are less tight-knit than they used to be. Starting a neighborhood watch helps to strengthen the feeling of community and brings people together.
- Create Law Enforcement Relationships – Successful neighborhood watches have strong relationships with local law enforcement agencies. In many cases, local officers will even support and encourage these watch groups.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the sense of security and a feeling of calmness. Life is easier when communities look out for each other.
Cons of Neighborhood Watch Programs
Like anything, there are drawbacks to neighborhood watch programs. Keep these cons in mind if you’re responsible for managing and coordinating a neighborhood watch:
- Vigilantism – Neighborhood watches are not vigilante groups. While self-defense is important, violence is not the way forward. Never allow a neighborhood watch to descend into the depths of vigilantism.
- Law Enforcement Conflict – Incidents have occurred where members of a neighborhood watch have come into conflict with law enforcement operations.
- Internal Division – When a conflict occurs between two volunteers, it risks dividing the neighborhood. Leadership and reconciliation is the key to any successful neighborhood watch program.
Figuring out how to make your neighborhood safer is an admirable quality, but like with all neighborhood watch safety tips, you must exercise caution and deference to the law at all times. Everyone wants to be a hero, but when watches are not managed correctly, they can do more harm than good.
How to Make Your Neighborhood Safer
Neighborhoods have changed dramatically in recent years, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, neighborhood connections have severely diminished. This lack of physical activities and community contact might cause safety issues. After all, if you have a tight group of neighbors working together to build a safe, comfortable community, burglars will seek out other more convenient sites to conduct burglary and property destruction.
Nobody should live in fear in the place they call home. Everyone has a part to play in community safety. Follow these neighborhood safety tips to help deter criminals from making your community a statistic.
Make Friends with Your Neighbors
Friends look out for friends, and building a connection with your neighbor across the street can be the difference between having someone watch your house while on vacation or coming home to a break-in. Neighbors building a safety net by joining together is one of the best community safety tips that can keep criminals out of your area. Make it a point to meet each and every one of your neighbors. Bring them dinner, take them on a stroll, arrange for an outdoor play date with the kids, and so on. Getting to know your neighbors can make the community safer, especially if you have children.
Secure Your Yard
Believe it or not, keeping your yard clear and maintained is one of the easiest ways of implementing security measures in your neighborhood! A tell-tale sign that someone is out of town or doesn’t practice good security is when their yard is overgrown and unruly. Keeping your yard in good order is not just a great way to maintain safety, but it also makes the neighborhood look nicer. Burglars often observe houses before breaking in, watching your activity and planning out the break-in. By keeping your yard in good order, you’ll make it harder for them by reducing the number of hiding spots for burglars who may be “casing” your home. Close all of your curtains and windows when it becomes dark. This will restrict entry to your property and prevent burglars from viewing the floorplan of your home as well as any valuable objects you may have inside.
Implement a surveillance system on the inside and outside of your home, if you haven’t already. Criminals will be discouraged from acting, and if they do, you will be notified. Residents who are members of an HOA should retain an open channel of contact with their neighbors.