Security is a concern in every neighborhood — regardless of status or ZIP Code. Here are six things you can do to make your neighborhood a safer place.
Know your neighbors
Don’t let your busy schedule keep you from getting to know your neighbors. It’s one of the best crime-fighting measures you can take. Let your neighbors know when you’ll be out of town. Secure packages left on the front porches of your neighbors. Pick up missed newspapers, which would otherwise signal to strangers that your neighbors are out of town. Report suspicious vehicles or persons to the police.
Employ home security measures
Security systems have features we never dreamed of just a few years ago. Using smartphone technology, these systems allow you to view each room in your home and check your front porch when the doorbell rings. Make sure each door to your home is locked and secure. Don’t forget the side doors and basement entrances. Etch a personal identification code onto computers and televisions. Make a video log of your valuables and store in a secure location. Lock your vehicles at all times. If you have a garage, park your vehicles inside at night.
Form a neighborhood watch
Contact your local police department and your homeowner’s association for help with organizing a watch group. Ask the police for a community liaison officer for your area and request a crime-prevention presentation. The National Crime Prevention Council has great information on forming a neighborhood watch.
If the street lighting is inadequate, petition your city or homeowners group for more. Also be sure to routinely check the outside lighting on your home, replacing burned out bulbs as quickly as possible.
Start an online neighborhood page
Form a neighborhood page on Facebook or Next Door. Use it to communicate social gatherings, give support to one another in time of need, and report on recent safety and security concerns. As an added bonus, these sites make it easy to find a babysitter or petsitter, offer items for sale and publicize other vital neighborhood news.
While a move to a private gated community would likely offer some increased protection, these neighborhoods are not foolproof. Since the streets are privately maintained, police may not regularly patrol inside the gates. And unless the gates are manned by a security force, an unauthorized entry would be relatively easy with a security code that has been liberally shared with friends, neighbors, and the host of workers and delivery personnel that enter and exit gated communities on a daily basis.