This is a guest post by: Drew Smithfield, a freelance safety and security writer.
Some of the best security advocates you can find are just yards away from your home – they're your neighbors. Introducing yourself to your neighbors and establishing a relationship with them not only helps deepen your ties to your homeowners association community but also helps increase the security of your family and home.
Having a trustworthy neighbor, someone you can count on to keep an eye on your home when you're not there, gives you added peace of mind. Plus, you can return the favor and build an increased sense of safety and camaraderie throughout your neighborhood.
Easy ways neighborhoods can increase safety
There are plenty of ways good neighbors can work together to look after one another and make their communities safer.
- Spend time socializing — After you meet your neighbors, organize periodic get-togethers at each other's homes or hold a function for the whole neighborhood, like a cookout or a block party. These gatherings will establish trust by letting you spend time with your fellow residents in a social setting.
- Learn routines and habits – This will help you become more aware of your surroundings and better able to notice if something seems suspicious or just out of place.
- Do small favors for each other – Pick up the mail when they're on vacation, wheel their garbage carts out to the curb and back on trash pickup days, offer to watch each other's children and pets and so forth. These good deeds build trust, not to mention goodwill.
- Form a neighborhood watch – Remember the saying about strength in numbers. Your local police or sheriff’s department can share information and resources to help you get started.
Keeping an eye on things while you’re away
If you enlist the help of your neighbors to look after your home when you’re out of town, have them take precautions including:
- Picking up your mail and newspapers
- Parking their car in your driveway so it appears that someone is home
- Keeping an interior and exterior light turned on for the duration of your trip
In addition to relying on your neighbors, there are other ways you can safeguard your home and monitor what's going on when you're away.
Security systems with home automation features give you the ability to control lighting, adjust the thermostat and access the alarm system using smartphones and other mobile devices. Knowing that you can check on your home’s status just by pushing a few buttons will help you stop worrying so that you can concentrate on enjoying those vacations and weekend getaways.
Take a community-oriented approach
Good neighbors can be good company, and more importantly, they can help provide an extra layer of security for you, your family and your home. Practicing being a good neighbor makes for a safer and more cohesive neighborhood and homeowners association community.