We’ve heard many neighbour’s say ‘I can’t even let my daughter take the dog for a walk, it’s just not safe’ or ‘I will not allow my nanny to go and take the children out to the park’. Crime has definitely gone up and we can sense the stress that it brings. However what can be done? For one, it does not require throwing money at the problem. We as neighbours all need to be a part of the solution and own our neighbourhood’s again. Collectively change can happen.
Here’s how we can start making a difference today.
Get to know your neighbours. Keeping our neighbourhood safe is a team effort. You are going to become partners in watching activities on the block.
Look after your neighbour's house when they are away, and ask them to look after yours. This includes collecting mail, newspapers and other deliveries which would indicate at a glance that no one is home.
If a house or a car alarm goes off nearby, don’t ignore it, go check it out and/or use your Watch group to check if your neighbours are OK.
Keep your curtains closed at night, to keep potentially tempting household items out of view.
Trim bushes, shrubs and trees and any overgrown vegetation that could provide a hiding place for criminals.
Be sure not to draw undue attention to your home by discarding empty boxes (of electronic or other items) on the pavement with your rubbish.
Don’t put your bin out the night before, rather put it out on the morning of the collection, as your bin can be used as a tool for crime.
Having good exterior lighting on a timer helps, but a motion sensor floodlight is even more effective.
Keep an eye out for suspicious persons, and report immediately to your Watch group or the Police. Providing detailed descriptions on the person's appearance, their activities and the direction they were last seen heading in is helpful both to Group Captains, Patrollers, Security and the Police.
Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles in the neighbourhood and report them immediately to your Watch group. Take note of the number plate, colour and make of the vehicle. If a vehicle you spot is on the suspicious vehicles list, do not approach, rather let those who are trained (Police or Law Enforcement) to do so make contact.
Join your local Neighbourhood Patrols Program and volunteer at least 15 minutes of your time per week and watch out for your neighbours.
When out and about and playing games such as Pokemon Go or just taking the dog for a walk, be sure to be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes on your surroundings and not on your phone.
If you are going to be out of town, share such info with friends, family or neighbours as opposed to your security company. Also if possible, find a trusted person to care for your home while away. They can be added temporarily to the local Neighbours and Watch WhatsApp groups.
Team up with your neighbours to acquire Cameras for your street or block.
Keep the front of your home clean and tidy. Show you care about your home, your neighbourhood as well as your personal security.
Organise a Block Party for your block or street; it shows outsiders our neighbourhood is organised and connected.
Put up your Neighbourly Membership Board, this indicates you are part of an organised and united group of neighbours.
Take a walk or drive around the neighbourhood contrary to your normal routine. Keep an eye out for those who are loitering or acting suspiciously.
Memorize the neighbourhood watch number, that one number for all important security/ police numbers.
Visit the local “Coffee with a Cop” event and get to know the local Police Officers.
Attend the local Town Hall for the neighbourhood. You’ll be better informed as to what is really going on in our neighbourhood as well as future plans.
The above are 21 tips you can start applying today to protect yourself, your family and your neighbourhood. Share with your neighbours. It may seem so simple but it all starts with getting the basics right. If you have any tips, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep safe and remember, ‘United we Prosper’.
Cover Image Credit: Alex Blajan