Gone are the days of knocking on a neighbor’s door to borrow a cup of sugar, or the neighborhood kids playing together every night until sundown. With folks being busier than ever and technology keeping families inside more, many of today’s neighborhoods just don’t have that close-knit fabric that neighborhoods of yesteryear once had.
Experts say that one consequence of not having close relationships with your neighbors is the safety of your neighborhood as a whole. According to safewise.com, the U.S. has more burglaries than any place on the map, with one break-in happening every 15 seconds.
Pretty startling numbers.
However, there are steps families can take to help ensure their neighborhood — and homes — stay as safe as possible by teaming up with neighbors.
The FBI reports that 60 percent of burglars get into homes by way of force. Shockingly, though, 30 percent do so through a window or door that is not locked. Needless to say, it is important that your doors stay locked as much as possible, even when you are home. It’s also a good idea to close your windows and blinds at night (after all, you don’t want to outright show potential burglars what is inside your home). Further, well-kept yards have been shown to deter crime and offer fewer places for burglars to hide during a break-in.
If you don’t already know your neighbors, you may want to begin introducing yourself and building a relationship with them. It is helpful for neighbors to be aware of one another’s general schedules (e.g., if they work during the day or at night) and if there are any children or elderly folks that may need extra looking out. Simply being aware of who your neighbors are and what their normal activity is can help you spot any suspicious activity.
Further, it’s smart to share contact information, particularly for when someone goes out of town. You never know when you may need to be notified of something that is happening. You may even wish to take getting to know your neighbors a step further by organizing a get together, such as a block party. This can help build camaraderie and help folks feel more comfortable spending time outside in the neighborhood, which can further deter burglars.
Staying connected virtually with your neighbors is also essential in today’s tech-forward world. During the 2014 earthquake in San Francisco, neighbors and local agencies heavily relied on social channels to share information and communicate about safety tips, damage and more.
You might consider starting a Facebook group for your neighbors in order to privately share updates on everyday happenings, events like parties and garage sales, as well as any safety and security info. Be sure to keep the commentary open and updated, and be sure to remember your non-Facebook neighbors, as well, when sharing information. Additionally, private social networks like Nextdoor offer another platform for staying on top of the happenings in your neighborhood.
Studies have shown that most burglars check out whether a home has an alarm system prior to invading it. In fact, convicted burglars have even admitted that they avoid homes with security measures in place, and flee target houses if an alarm goes off.
Suffice it to say, it is vital to take steps to secure your home by investing in a tried-and-true security camera system. A security camera with key features like high definition picture quality and a rugged build to withstand any weather and potential vandalism is the best bet.
The bottom line is this: A closer-knit neighborhood is a safer neighborhood. By joining forces with your neighbors, you can work as a team to prevent crimes from happening on your block.