The best way to ensure residents feel at home in their community is to foster a sense of security. In the past, it took very little to achieve this. However, it seems that every night news networks are running stories about thefts, break-ins, and violence. People are now worried about the worst possible situations and expect more from their community leaders to bolster safety and security.
There are many ways to enhance public safety, but they usually fall under two categories: Improving security features and educating community members on safe practices. If you aren’t sure where to start, read on for some neighborhood safety ideas.
A sense of security is not a luxury; it is a necessity. This, of course, is the thesis behind the various locks we use around our property. However, locks should not be your community’s only line of defense.
The following security features are highly effective (and recommended) in protecting your community and easy to implement:
Surveillance and Alarm Systems
Surveillance and alarm systems are huge deterrents to burglars. Traditionally, homeowners have had to purchase and install these systems on their own. However, the rise in popularity of new home features has made it valuable for homebuilders to include these amenities from the start. Products can range from doorbell cameras to motion detectors, both of which alert the homeowner of criminal activity via a smartphone application. Many security companies offer flexible bundles of products so you can meet the security demands of your community.
Landscaping may seem like a bizarre strategy to include in a list of safety ideas, yet it is surprisingly effective. For example, planting thorny bushes under the first-floor windows would thwart most intruders’ plans.
Providing landscape maintenance for your neighborhood has multiple safety benefits. Pruning trees prevents the possibility of branches damaging property or people during storms. Clearing fallen leaves from paths reduce the risk of community members slipping and hurting themselves. And most notably, a well-kept neighborhood tells shady figures that the community is not to be messed with—nor does it provide them shrubbery to hide behind.
The rise of e-commerce has made shopping online easier and more popular than ever. But, deliveries to the doorstep have basically opened the door for porch thieves. Nobody feels safe when packages disappear and it becomes apparent that burglars are lurking right outside homes. Community managers and homebuilders have a new responsibility in ensuring secure package delivery and preventing their community’s packages from becoming easy pickings.
That is why parcel lockers are essential community amenities.
A Parcel lock box is an electronic locker that securely holds delivered packages until their owners are ready to retrieve them. Users can access their package by entering a unique code sent to them via text, email, or app. Parcel Pending’s single-family parcel lockers come with built-in 24/7 cloud-based video surveillance, so they not only shut out porch pirates, but also record potential threats.
In addition to security features, residents should be educated on safety practices. Although technology is advancing, there are still some preventative measures that only humans can implement.
Sending out public e-newsletters, posting on community bulletins, or even hosting seminars at a community center are easy ways to share information. It also builds confidence by showing residential members that their community managers care about their safety and are being proactive about security.
Here are a few tips to share with your community to make sure they stay safe:
- Get to know your neighbors—Putting a name to a face will help you discern between your neighbors and strangers who may be hanging out in the neighborhood to canvas their next hit. By exchanging contact information with your neighbors, you will be able to alert them if you notice suspicious activity around their homes, and they will do the same for you.
- Prepare your homes before going out of town—Burglars are more likely to target a house if they know there is no one home. Before going out of town it’s important to make sure your absence won’t be obvious. You could hire a house sitter or ask a neighbor to keep an eye out. You should also put a hold on newspaper deliveries so they don’t pile up outside your door. A motion-activated porch light is also a must.
- Double check the windows and doors—Ensure your windows and doors are locked before going to bed or leaving the home. Additionally, remember to draw the curtains and blinds at night so that people can’t peer in and see things they may want to steal.
- Encourage reports—People can be hesitant to report suspicious activity. There is a tendency to uphold a sense of optimism in such situations. Some may feel that it isn’t their place to say something or think that someone else will have already reported it. Whatever the reason is, the reality is that many crimes could be prevented if the warning signs had been reported sooner by witnesses. If you see something in the area, say something, whether it be to your neighbors involved or the police.
Peace of Mind
Safety is one of the most important factors people consider when deciding where to live. Nobody wants to live in a community with a reputation of having their packages stolen or problems with break-ins. If you want to increase the value of your local community and improve your residents’ experience, it’s important to be proactive—not reactive—regarding safety.
Security features do require a financial investment and safety education. However, peace of mind is priceless so don’t neglect to enhance your community’s safety. This is for yourself, your neighbors, and your world at large.
Carlberg, A. (2016, February 15). Six tips for improving community safety. Retrieved from http://www.neighborworks.org/Blog/Six-tips-for-improving-community-safety
Vogel, C. (2016). Community Safety: What It Takes. Retrieved from http://www.lisc.org/our-resources/resource/community-safety-what-it-takes
City Of Cambridge. Crime Prevention and Safety Tips – Police Department – City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Retrieved from https://www.cambridgema.gov/cpd/communityresources/CrimePrevention
Iboshi, K. (2019, March 8). We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes. Retrieved from: https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/crime/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/277-344333696