No matter what community you live in, many of us have the same goal: to keep our neighborhood safe. Although you may already be doing your part to elevate the safety and quality of life on your street, there is always room for improvement.
With crime rates and home break-ins on the rise following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to plan and collaborate with neighbors to build a safer environment for all, especially children and the elderly.
“Overall, violent crime was up by about 3 percent in 2020 over the previous year and across the United States, there were 25 percent more murders recorded in 2020 than the previous year. This is a steep rise.”
While you should not be fearful, we encourage you to be proactive towards implementing the forthcoming imperative steps into your lifestyle to improve your neighborhood.
From reporting crime promptly to leaving a porch light on, and everything in between, here is a succinct list of tips to help you make your neighborhood a safe and enjoyable place to live, work, and raise a family.
Report crime ASAP
That old saying, “If you see something, say something,” holds true, especially when reporting crime. Never assume another neighbor has already called the police to report a crime. Do not be afraid to bother the police, sure they may be short-staffed, but it’s best to be the second person to report on the same crime than the crime not being reported or documented at all.
Eliminate the opportunity for more crime
Lessening the opportunity for more crime to take place at your home begins with you. Ensuring that the doors of your home are locked, your vehicle is locked, and never leave valuables in plain sight. It’s also important to meet the front of your home visible and clear of large trees and bushes to eliminate any potential hiding spots for burglars.
“It’s also important to keep your property up to code and the exterior of the home should be maintained properly. An overgrown yard, dead trees, bushes, broken windows, and broken gates can send a message that nobody lives there or that the person may not be able to defend against crime.”
Curtis Wright, Silver & Wright LLP founding partner
Meet your neighbors and youth living on your block
It’s imperative to introduce yourself to all neighbors living on your block. When doing so, you will have the opportunity to meet any children living at each residence and identify who their parents are.
“It is difficult to help form a safe and supportive community for children without the adults and children knowing each other. Even those without children should know to whom the various children in the neighborhood belong. In this way, each adult is better able to help in an emergency and is better prepared to discuss problems immediately as they arise.”
California Association of Code Enforcement Officers
Create a list of neighborhood phone numbers
Creating a list of phone numbers of residents living in your neighborhood will come in handy when a critical incident arises. Having the ability to quickly reach out to your neighbors to address any concerns or problems in the neighborhood will significantly elevate the safety on your street. Here’s a goal to keep – aim to gather the contact information of eight to 12 residences in your neighborhood, then distribute the list of contact information to everyone included.
Follow neighborhood groups online
Some of the most valuable social media applications are those that can enhance the safety of your community, like Next-door and Ring. These two online apps allow you to connect with those in your immediate neighborhood and the surrounding community to address and report concerns. Nextdoor and even Ring has found much success in locating and identifying neighborhood package chiefs by having the ability to upload images, video, and the ability to reach a wider audience.
Leave a porch light on
While leaving a porch light on at night or when you are away from home may be costly, it could also be the one thing that keeps a burglar away from your home. Think from the perspective of a burglar – are you going to break into a home that is well lit and visible or a house that is in the dark?
Leaving a porch light on will also foster a sense of caring, not just for your home but for your neighbors and the community as a whole.
Click HERE to learn more on how to Improve your Neighborhood!