Neighborhoods are the building block of any community. You and your neighbors have a vested interest in making your surroundings as safe and pleasant as possible. This includes keeping criminals and troublemakers away from your homes. Following the steps in this post can help you rise to the challenge, making the world a better place for everyone.
Step One: Throw a Party
There’s something about sharing a meal with others that breaks down barriers and builds friendships. So begin your neighborhood safety project by throwing a block party with plenty of food and inviting everyone around you. This is a perfect way to bring everyone together in one place to discuss common concerns.
Don’t want to do all that cooking? Have a potluck supper in which everyone brings a dish. Print and distribute flyers among your guests discussing your ideas for neighborhood security. Invite others to share their comments and ideas. This will form the foundation for the next step.
Step Two: Canvass the Area
Once you’ve got a core group of people working together, do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) assessment of your neighborhood. The purpose of this step is to evaluate your available resources and identify potential security problems. For example, perhaps many of your neighbors are retirees and are able to keep an eye on things throughout the day. On the other hand, your community may contain areas such as abandoned homes or public parks that attract criminals. Make a list of these factors and use them when putting the next step in action.
Step Three: Establish Communications
Your neighborhood watch should include plans for alerting the police and each other should trouble start. According to experts at the Chicago Police Department, this is a very effective way to ensure vital information gets where it needs to go.
Setting up a communications network leads straight into the next step of the plan.
Step Four: Create a Safe House
Every day the news media reports crimes directed against children. Every decent person wants to do as much as possible to protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society. One way to do this is to designate a neighborhood safe house to which kids can go if they suspicious adults approach them. The homeowner can call police and the kid’s parents to alert them to the situation.
The final step in the plan is to improve your neighborhood conditions. Let’s look at ways to do so.
Step Five: Beautify Your Surroundings
Dark, dirty, dingy surroundings draw lawbreakers to an area. You can make them steer clear of your neighborhood by keeping your property neat and tidy and encouraging those around you to do the same.
Perhaps some of your neighbors have trouble doing yard work due to physical conditions or work schedules. If so, then why not offer to help out? Doing so will assist not only them but yourself as well.
A Special Note on Drunk Driving
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, intoxicated drivers kill or injure more than 300,000 Americans each year. So it makes sense to put drunk driving near the top of your neighborhood watch list. Here are ways to protect innocent people from this ongoing menace:
- Know the telltale signs of a drunk driver. These include: erratic braking, driving after dark with lights off, and swerving across the middle lane.
- Educate children and teens about the dangers of drunk driving.
- Intervene if you see a neighbor or someone else in your neighborhood about to drive while drunk. Approach the motorist in a polite but firm manner, offer to call a cab, and, if necessary, take away their keys. Call law enforcement if the person becomes hostile or aggressive.
Keeping our neighborhoods safe is the responsibility of every American. The tips in this post can help you and those around you to live a safer, better life.
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