*this is a helpful collaborative post, with some tips on neighbourhood safety*
We all want to feel and stay safe. That is why we install alarms, locks and video surveillance in our homes. This helps, but keeping your neighbourhood as safe is also vital. Here are seven simple ways you can make the area you live in a safer place.
Support your local neighbourhood watch group
If you live somewhere that has an active crime watch group, put up neighbourhood watch signs. The more obvious it is to would-be criminals that people are vigilant and watch out for each other the less likely it is that they will target you.
Knowing your neighbours really helps. It can help you to spot something out of the ordinary. Enabling you to call the police or speak to your local neighbourhood watch group.
Take precautions when you go away
Do your best to make it look like there is someone still at home when you are out or traveling. Invest in some timer switches for your lights or install smart lights. It is an easy job that will take you less than an hour and not cost much.
Consider asking a neighbour you can trust to take a set of keys. That way if the worst should happen and you get broken into; they can get in and arrange to have any broken windows or doors boarded up.
Do your part to keep your streets clean
According to John Morton who is the World Bank’s Senior Urban Environment Specialist disorderly streets are a sign that the people who live there do not care. This makes it more likely that home invaders and vandals will commit a crime in those areas. It is an indication to them that nobody will bother to notice or report their activities. Not littering and making sure that if you have building work done the rubbish is cleared away promptly are just two examples of how you can help.
Keep your yard clean and tidy
Cutting your lawn regularly and helping your elderly neighbour with their yard work will also make a positive difference.
Quickly report issues to the authorities
If you see something amiss on your street, report it to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Doing so will stop things from getting worse.
Ask for vacant lots to be greened
Vacant lots can easily turn into dumping grounds and places where undesirables hang out. So, speak to your neighbours and submit a petition to have them greened.
A recent initiative carried out in Philadelphia, in the USA, has shown that grassed and fenced vacant lots stay cleaner for longer. The neighbourhood also benefits from having green spaces. If you can, get the lot owner to plant a tree or two as well. These will cleanse the air and provide a habitat for wildlife.
In addition, planting trees can play a role in reducing the crime rate. A study carried out by the University of Vermont showed that a 10% increase in the tree canopy results in a 12% decrease in crime.
Hopefully these tips can help make your neighbourhood feel safer for everyone who lives and visits there.