You want to live a healthy life and to bring up your children to do the same. A safe community gives you the freedom to walk around outdoors and let your children play outside. Living in a secure place helps you sleep more soundly at night, and it lets you dream about and work toward the future instead of being fearful about the present. You can be friendly with the neighbors and visitors instead of suspicious of them.
A healthy and safe community does not happen by accident. You can take a leading role in building a safe community by securing your home, building ties with your neighbors, and strengthening bonds with other community members.
1. Secure your own home.
Your home is one part of the community that you can control completely. Protect it with a home security system to deter intruders and alert you if one is present. If possible, select a wireless system so criminals cannot cut the wires and disable the system. The system can include sensors such as for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and radon gas to detect these harmful substances.
Another part of your home security system includes security lights to light up your property and make hiding more difficult. In addition, cut back all hedges and bushes that could hide a person. You can also install video monitors so you and your security system company can watch your home when you are away.
2. Work with your neighbors.
Make an effort to meet your neighbors and share your vision for a healthy and safe neighborhood. Hopefully, most will agree with your goals and strategies. Once you know your neighbors, you can watch each other’s homes when away on vacation, and do other favors such as parking in each other’s driveways and taking out the trash when one of you is away.
A community watch program can bring you closer to your neighbors, as well as decrease crime to make everyone feel safer. When starting one, work with your local police officers, who may have suggestions or helpful materials. Select a few officials to run your program, and hold regular briefing meetings to keep everyone up to speed.
3. Keep the neighborhood clean.
Keep your property clean to deter vandals. Maintain your house and front yard so that they appear to be cared for and so potential troublemakers know you keep close watch over your property. Also, you and your neighbors should keep common areas, such as sidewalks and curbs, clean. Fix broken windows, paint over graffiti, and pick up trash, even if it is not yours.
4. Protect your children.
If children live in your neighborhood, discuss ways to keep them safe. Their parents may appreciate all of the neighborhood adults enforcing a rule not to play in the street, for example. All adults can also play a small role in supervising children when they are playing outside the other adults’ homes.
Regardless of the rules, accidents do happen. Children may play in the street, or run after a ball that has rolled out into the street. If fast-moving traffic is common in your neighborhood, consider contacting local officials to find out about installing warning signs. Lowering driving speeds by 10 miles per hour can dramatically decrease the mortality rate from being hit by a car.