How to Prevent Crime in Your Neighborhood
We all want our family, home, and neighborhood to be safe. No matter where you live, you can take steps to make your community a safer place to live. Your neighborhood may also have programs to help you and your neighbors in your mission to keep your community secure.
Because we believe everyone should feel safe in their community, the ASecureLife team put together some quick tips you can use to help prevent crime in your community.
1. Know your neighbors and your surroundings
Get to know your neighbors and talk about how you can help each other keep an eye out for anything suspicious. The more pairs of eyes you have on your community, the safer it will be. And by getting the facts about crime in your neighborhood and talking to your neighbors, you can put a stop to rumors and exaggerated info that increases fear and suspicion.
If you want to get more involved with your community and regularly working with your neighbors and law enforcement appeals to you, join a Neighborhood Watch program.
Finally, help clean up your neighborhood. Studies have shown that fewer vacant lots and abandoned cars reduce crime in those areas. In one study by Penn Tools, 58% of residents reported feeling safer and citing fewer incidents after neighborhood cleanups. Whether you get a group together to watch the neighborhood or clean it up, improving the area you live in will likely reduce crime.
2. Learn how to recognize suspicious behavior
One of the best ways you can help to prevent crime in your neighborhood is by being aware of your surroundings so you can keep an eye out for anything strange. This is why it’s important to get to know your neighbors—if you see someone who you don’t recognize loitering in a parked car, looking in windows, or entering a neighbor’s house or garage, these could indicate suspicious behavior.
It’s not always easy to identify which behaviors are suspicious. One that’s easier to identify is a common scam: Some criminals will come to your home acting as a representative from a utility or similar company. They approach people about entering their houses to do maintenance or complete a service in order to gather information about a neighborhood or to scope out homes to target. Talk to your neighbors about anyone who seems to be going door-to-door claiming to be from a company but doesn’t have the correct credentials.
3. Report dangerous behavior to the police
Keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior within your community can make you more aware of criminally dangerous activities in it. If you see someone doing something that could endanger people in your neighborhood, like driving drunk or threatening violence, contact your local police department.
If you’re around others when the incident happens, designate someone to reach out to the authorities–don’t assume someone else has taken care of it. This communication prevents multiple people from reporting on the same issue, or worse, no one calling because they thought someone else would.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see a life-threatening situation that requires the police, the fire department, or an ambulance.
When reporting something to the authorities, make sure to note key details like the place and time of the incident. This information can help authorities notice any patterns within your community for when suspicious people may plan to commit a crime. The more information you’re able to give authorities, the better.
4. Don’t be a target
In addition to keeping your community safe, you can learn what things can make your own home a target of theft so you can reduce your chances of a break-in. Using strong locks on your doors and windows is your first line of defense. Some would-be thieves will walk through neighborhoods checking doors to see if they’re locked or not.
Keeping blinds closed and curtains drawn keeps potential thieves from seeing where you keep your valuables, which rooms are regularly unoccupied, and how often you’re away from home. Keeping valuables and potentially dangerous items locked up where they can’t be seen can help prevent your home from being targeted.
We also recommend that you don’t post on social media about leaving on vacation. While it’s tempting to post that classic picture out the airplane window detailing your vacation plans, it’s best to wait to brag about your adventures on social media. Potential thieves will watch social media in order to see when people are out of town and their houses are vulnerable to break-ins.
To be ultra prepared, get a reliable home security system that’ll alert you or the authorities if something goes wrong at home while you’re away. You can also install timed lights to make it look like someone’s home when you’re away, and motion sensors that will alert you of movement around your house.
5. Get involved
Being an active member of your community can go a long way in keeping your community safe. If you’re a dog owner, check out the Dog Walker Watch Program. Millions of Americans are dog owners.That’s a lot of people out walking their dog regularly. If you’re one of those people, you can sign up to help keep an eye on the neighborhood while walking your pup. If your area doesn’t have such a program, work with your community to start one.
Your community should also have a Neighborhood Watch Program, which lets you join your neighbors in preventing crime in your community. If there isn’t a program in your area, you can start one by gathering some neighbors who want to participate and reaching out to your local law enforcement.
As you become an active member of these community groups, it’s important to stay informed and communicate. This is where smartphone apps like McGruff Mobile and Nextdoor come in. These apps help you to stay informed, communicate with neighbors, and keep an eye on suspicious activity you see in the community.
Another way you can get involved is to volunteer. Sign up with a local community organization or become a mentor for young people. Or you can volunteer to adopt a school, establishing drug-free and gun-free zones.
You don’t have to become a vigilante to improve your neighborhood—volunteering and building a stronger community can prevent crime and create a better environment for everyone.
By following these safety tips, you can help prevent crime and transform your community into a safer environment. It’s important to develop a plan and be aware of what to look for to help prevent crime and create a safe, welcoming neighborhood.
We created this printable checklist to help you prevent crime in your neighborhood. Feel free to print and share it at a local community event or keep on your fridge for quick reference.
For more information on keeping your community safe, check out these additional resources.