Home and neighborhood security are important topics for most homeowners. This is because residential crimes, such as burglaries and home invasions, are very real threats not only to one's property, but also to one’s personal safety. People want their homes to be their safe havens, where they can relax and feel secure. The best way to achieve this sense of security is to take every step possible to ensure the safety of their home environment. This is accomplished when people implement specific security measures that will protect their home and make their neighborhood a safer place to live.
Securing one's home can protect them from thieves who are interested in stealing personal property, and from criminals who may have more sinister and dangerous intentions. Deadbolt locks on all doors and securing garage doors with padlocks are two basic methods of home security. Installing a home security alarm system is a popular solution for deterring break-ins. Home security systems work by startling intruders and alerting occupants to someone attempting to enter the premises. Removing shrubs from nearby windows deters thieves by making it harder to hide while breaking in. Motion sensing lights are effective because they turn on when someone comes near the home. Dogs are another potential deterrent, as their barking can alert residents to the presence of intruders.
A safe neighborhood directly lends itself to a safer home, although it cannot guarantee it. Having a safe neighborhood depends on a number of factors. Most of these factors involve the people who live within the boundaries of the area and have a personal stake in keeping it safe. Familiarity amongst residents is important for a safe neighborhood. When people know their neighbors by name and frequently interact with one another, they are more likely to recognize and pay attention to suspicious activities. Residents of the community should stay alert and report things that may attract a criminal element, such as non-functioning street lights. As with home security, keeping the homes in a community well-lit will also increase the security of the area. Additionally, keeping the streets clean, maintaining the yards, and removing any signs of vandalism are also helpful measures. In some areas, people living near schools or where children frequently play should consider purchasing and placing signage on yards to encourage drivers to slow down when children are present to improve safety in the streets for pedestrians and kids.
Starting a Neighborhood Watch Program
Homeowners and renters can take neighborhood security up a level by forming Neighborhood Watch programs. These are crime prevention programs in which residents within a community actively and voluntarily participate in reducing crime. They do so by working with law enforcement to conduct home surveys, report suspicious activities, and implement security precautions. A successful neighborhood watch program requires the active participation of members of the community. Those interested in starting a neighborhood watch program will want to recruit as many committed neighbors as possible. When approaching neighbors with this idea, discuss how such a program benefits everyone in the neighborhood. If there is interest, plan a meeting to further discuss the details of the program. The meeting organizer should contact local police and request that an officer attend the meeting. If this is not an option, local law enforcement can often provide relevant reading material. The initial meeting should be a forum in which people can ask questions, create a crime watch plan, share phone numbers, and select a captain and co-captains. It is the responsibility of the captain and co-captains to track any changes to the neighborhood in terms of residents leaving and new residents entering. Captains are also informed of any criminal activities in the community.