Some neighborhoods experience less crime than others, but no neighborhood is crime free. Even quiet, historically safe communities are apt to face a crime threat at some point.
Whether your neighborhood is experiencing criminal activity or you want it to remain safe, here are five simple ways to team up with your neighbors to accomplish your goals.
1. Get to know your neighbors.
First things first, you need to meet your neighbors. This can be as simple as baking a big batch of cookies and going door-to-door to introduce yourself. It might seem silly, but if you haven’t met them, today is the day!
If you aren’t comfortable doing something face-to-face, use a site like Nextdoor.com to meet your neighbors. Nextdoor is a private online environment designed specifically for the purpose of helping neighbors connect with one another. Nextdoor has a strict address verification process so you can be sure your neighbors are legitimately your neighbors. Nearly 45,000 U.S. neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to connect, collaborate and help keep their neighborhoods safe. Search for your neighborhood here.
2. Invite law enforcement into your community.
Now that you know your neighbors, it’s time to get organized. Arrange a neighborhood meeting and talk about your concerns. A representative from your local law enforcement agency is probably more than happy to meet with the group, offer crime prevention tips and inform you what crimes have been occurring in the area. They can also suggest ways for residents in your neighborhood to work together to protect one another.
3. Find out who has video surveillance cameras.
While you have a police officer on hand, find out which neighbors help protect their homes with video surveillance cameras. Burglaries, hit and runs, petty thefts, and other neighborhood crimes may picked up by video surveillance cameras in your community. Police can use this information to help track down criminals.
3. Form a modern day Neighborhood Watch.
A Neighborhood Watch program tells criminals your community is serious about keeping crime at bay and it’s a great way to work together to solve a range of neighborhood challenges.
Learn more about forming a Neighborhood Watch program and then consider boosting your crime fighting efforts with the Neighborhood Watch app. Endorsed by the National Sheriff’s Association, the sponsors of the national Neighborhood Watch program, the app helps you report suspicious activity to law enforcement and Neighborhood Watch block captain. If you choose to, you can report your concerns anonymously.
4. Keep up on crime trends and spread the word.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to fighting crime. Keep up with crime trends in your area by using community sites like SpotCrime to help you stay one step ahead of criminals.
SpotCrime collects crime data from police reports, news accounts, and member information and then plots it on an easy to view online map. Sign up for SpotCrime so you can have crime alerts sent to your phone, email, or social media account. These emails are an excellent way for you and your neighbors to share valuable crime data. Currently, the site sends out more than five million alerts per month.
5. Consider security cameras.
If crime becomes a problem, or your neighborhood wants to step up security before trouble starts, you may consider pooling resources and purchasing high-definition surveillance cameras. Post cameras at the entrance to your neighborhood so it can track the day, time, and license plate of any car that enters your community.
The Scott Creek neighborhood in Fremont, California was frustrated with the number of burglaries their community was experiencing, so they installed home security cameras. After this, they only experienced one burglary over the next 18 months. The tactic was so successful the Fremont Police Department now allows residents to register home security cameras with the department.
Neighbors who work together to help keep their communities safe enjoy the advantage of recognizing and solving small problems before they morph into more serious ones. Investing in a professional monitored home security system is another way to help protect your family from a range of dangers, including carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, and burglaries.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more