Keeping Your Community Safe and Sound: Steps You Can Take As an Individual
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No matter where you live, safety issues can (and do) arise. From car break-ins to speeding drivers, there is no neighborhood that is immune to crime and careless behaviors. And while most individuals are passionate about preventing safety issues within their communities, it can be challenging to know how to do so as an individual.
Here are some top tips that you can use as an individual to keep your neighborhood safe and sound.
Start an online crime watch group for your neighborhood.
One of the best ways to deter crime is through an active neighborhood crime watch program. In the past, these programs involved in-person meetings. However, with so many neighborhoods now having private Facebook groups, many communities now report incidents or suspicious behaviors in these online groups.
If your neighborhood does not yet have one, lead the movement to begin a crime watch program. In an afternoon, you can create an online group that is dedicated to looking out for and reporting safety issues and suspicious behavior. You can even contact local law enforcement for recommendations on how to effectively run a neighborhood crime watch program.
If you are starting a private Facebook group for your community, you may want to create an eye-catching banner on your Facebook page for any important announcements or to call out in-person meetings. Creating a banner is easy when you utilize an online banner creator which you can customize to your needs by adjusting the colors, font, size, and copy.
Report physical safety hazards.
Crime isn’t the only potential safety hazard in your community. Large potholes, broken equipment in shared spaces, and malfunctioning locks and security cameras are just a few issues that can lead to serious injury or property damage.
If you live in a shared housing complex, you’ll typically be a member of a homeowners association (HOA). Make sure to contact your HOA if any repairs, grounds maintenance, or security issues need to be attended to so that you can prevent problems.
Get to know people throughout your neighborhood.
Another highly effective way to prevent crime and reckless behavior is by getting to know as many of your nearby neighbors as possible. Not only will you potentially meet new acquaintances and friends, but your friendliness can reduce the risk of safety issues on multiple levels.
First, when you know who is in your neighborhood and who is not, you can more easily spot non-residents. Should a safety concern arise, you will be more likely to give a better description of the individual to others. Additionally, when neighbors get to know each other, they open up a line of communication. In general, they become more accountable to others in the community, which can reduce the likelihood of engaging in unsafe behaviors (such as speeding down residential roads). When you help foster a community-centric attitude, people will be much more likely to look out for one another.
Report suspicious behavior and dangerous drivers.
Although it may sound obvious, always report suspicious behavior and dangerous driving to your crime watch group and/or the local authorities. In many neighborhoods across the country, scammers are getting even more clever with their tactics. Individuals seeking to commit a crime will often pose as a representative from a company to gain access to homes, as well as sensitive personal data. If something doesn’t look or feel right, mention it to someone. While the situation may turn out to be nothing, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Reckless driving is another crucial thing to report. One careless ride through the neighborhood could cause serious injury or worse. If you find someone driving fast and/or recklessly, take a picture of their license plate and report it to the proper authorities.
Even when working solo, there is so much that you can do to help protect your community. Between assembling online crime watch groups and reporting suspicious behaviors and safety hazards, your actions can prevent injury, harm, and crime.
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Daniel Sherwin, a single dad of two, created Dadsolo.com with a goal to help equip other dads with resources regarding single parenthood. He considers raising his 10 year old daughter and 7 year old son both an adventure and a blessing.