Community Safety is an important concept that is concerned with maintaining a positive state of well-being among people with social and physical environments. Each one of us wants our community to be a safe space to live and raise a family. This makes it very important for us to work hand-in-hand with our neighbors to uplift community safety standards. Given below are some of the tips that we can follow at various levels to ensure community safety.
A. At Personal Level
We need to ensure that we are safe at our personal level before moving forward to working with the community. Listed below are some of the measures we can all take for the same:
1. Know Your Neighbors
- Keep on good terms with your neighbors, learn about them and their kids, and tell them about yours. A probable friendship with your neighbors would be a really good idea.
- Host block parties, this is one of the most common ways of getting to know them.
- Simple gestures like waving at them when doing lawn maintenance or greeting them when you cross paths with them go a long way.
- Keep a watch out for their home safety when they are out of town. Any suspicious activities should be informed to them likewise.
- Be the neighbor you’d like to have. Respect your neighbor’s privacy and don’t intrude in their family conflicts unless absolutely called for
2. Beware Of Identity Theft
- Remove your full name from the exterior of your home. Maintain safety and anonymity to not make your identity obvious for any strangers.
- Disposals having paperwork like home address proofs, bank details, credit card information, phone number, etc should be shredded properly before throwing them away.
3. Safety During Answering Phone Calls
- Never say your complete name when answering phone calls. Don’t give your number just because the caller asked for it.
- Any abusive phone calls should be reported to the local police department.
- Never give away private information on the telephone. It is one of the easiest ways of scamming the person on the other end of the phone.
- Don’t share information like your name, address or phone number over the phone.
4. Measures To Take When You Go Out Of Town
Don’t post your location and vacation plans online. It gives the intruder a better exposure about your whereabouts and this can lead to safety issues of your home.
Keep your neighbors informed about your vacation plans. Make sure that they have your back regarding the safety of your house when you aren’t home. Ask your neighbor for small favors such as mowing your lawn and picking up your mail and newspapers. This ensures that the perception of your presence in the house is created.
5. Stay Updated With The Crime Trends
You should know about the crimes that are taking place around you. Proper knowledge of the neighborhood can help you learn about the plausible crimes happening around you.
Report any suspicious activities going on in your neighborhood. Keeping an open eye for the unnatural occurrences happening in your locality and reporting them will help even the local police stay informed.
6. Know Where The Local Police Department Is
Always make the effort of knowing the location of the local police department. Have a good rapport with them, and involve them in your community meetings and parties. Any nuisance such as a speeding car, an abusive phone call or a suspicious truck should all be reported to the local law enforcement in your community.
7. Spend Time Outdoors
Get your kids involved with other kids in the neighborhood. You can sit on your lawn and read, or start a healthy conversation with your neighbors.
8. Be Aware Of Your Kids’ Whereabouts
Always ask them where they are heading to before leaving them alone. If the kid is grown up enough to be on his/her own, you might consider handing over a cell phone to keep in contact with them when they aren’t home.
Make an effort to get to know your children’s friends. Remember their names and save their contact information in your phone. Make sure your kid sticks by them when they’re away. Teach your kids problem-solving skills, such as, if they are in an argument with their friends, teach them how to resolve it instead of resorting to violence.
B. At Our Home Level
A community is made up of homes and if anyone home is vulnerable, it creates an idea that the community isn’t safe enough. So, listed below are some ways through which you can keep your home safe:
1. Install A Home Security System
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A good home security system can go a long way. Install a good alarm system like Fortress Security StoreFortress Security Store (TM) S02 that will go off instantly during a forceful break-in.
2. Lock Your Doors And Windows Before Sleeping
Make sure to double-check all the doors and windows before sleeping. Several attempted burglaries can be stopped only through this small step. Your garage or garden sheds should also be locked, especially if they have a connecting door to the house.
3. Keep Your House Well-Maintained And Clean
A clean, well- mowed house is less likely to a target place for the burglars since they always prefer an area with covers like bushes and tall plants and grasses. Hence, always keep your house well-maintained and clean.
Dead trees and the pile of dry leaves can cause a fire hazard, which can also be avoided by keeping your lawns and garden clean and trimmed. Even community green spaces can be encouraged by involving your neighbors and developing areas like parks and gardens.
4. Use Window Blinds And Curtains To Help Keep Your Privacy
Keeping your window blinds shut is the best way to avoid any stranger’s attention to your possessions and valuables. Especially while going to sleep, don’t forget to pull your window curtains to keep your house away from the burglar’s list.
5. Don’t Keep Your Spare Key In An Easily Accessible Place
The doormat, the flower pot, and the mailbox are some of the most common places of hiding a spare key, which isn’t at all difficult to access. Making your home key accessible to everyone can end up in a situation of theft.
6. Install A CCTV Camera In The Front Door Of Your House
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7. Install Motion- Sensitive Lights In Your Porch
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8. Get A Guard Dog For Your House
Dogs not only make great pets but also can act as great community members. Burglars and thieves tend to stay away from the houses that have the ‘Beware of dogs’ sign on their gates. Don’t think of them as a replacement for your home alarm system. Rather, they are an addition that can intimidate the intruders and alarm the family members of any possible break-in.
C. At Our Community Level
Working with our community is the most important aspect of keeping our communities safe. If everyone comes together, it will create a huge difference in the upliftment of community security. Listed below are some steps we can take at the community level:
1. The Roads Should Be Well-lit
You can help build a safer environment by improving the lightings of your street. You can also ask your neighbors to install proper porch lights that may or may not be motion-sensitive so that the area outside their homes are well-lit.
2. Give Neighbourhood Tour To Your Kids
Organize a kids-friendly neighborhood tour for the kids in your neighborhood that will also involve parents. It is important to let them know about their neighborhood. Take it as a chance to introduce them to kids of their age and make friends.
Let your kids have an idea about the locations of hospitals, fire stations, playgrounds and parks in the neighborhood. They should be well-versed with the location of the police stations as well, to avoid any emergencies.
3. Start A Neighborhood Watch Programme
Neighborhood Watch or Home watch is a program where all the community members come together and help prevent crime to make their neighborhood a safer place to live.
You can join a neighborhood watch program in your locality, and if there isn’t one yet, you can even start one. These programs are very useful when it comes to keeping an eye on any doubtful or suspicious activities that may happen in your neighborhood. You can get your local police department involved.
4. Host Regular Community Meetings
Regular community meetings where the concerns and problems of the neighborhood are brought in light are very important. Hence, host such regular community meetings where everyone can pitch in their ideas for a better and safer neighborhood.
Community meetings are also a great way of getting to know your neighbors better. Hence, if you are still in the process of learning about your neighbors, hosting a community meeting would be a good idea.
5. Host Some Regular Community Programmes
You can host a self-defense class, where some cop in your local police department can explain about the importance of self-defense and demonstrate some basic defensive moves that you can use during situations of emergency.
Talk to your neighbors in the community about the SARA method of problem-solving instead of resolving to inter-house disputes.
6. Understand How To Tackle Anti- Social Behaviour
It is very important to note that there might be conditions when someone from your neighborhood might be creating problems for other people by displaying some anti-social behavior. During these conditions, you should be able to tackle such situations carefully and wisely. Report the matter to a local cop if things start going out of hand.
Children should understand the difference between playing and bullying. Teach your kid to stand up for himself/herself, and even stop anyone from bullying other kids. They should be asked to report such patterns of a kid’s behavior immediately to the elders.
7. Pitch In The Idea Of Increasing Security In The Community
An entire community pitching some bucks to increase neighborhood safety isn’t a new concept. Talk to your neighbors and ask them if they are willing to pitch in for appointing a security guard in the locality to keep a look-out, or for installing CCTV camera systems.It is important to present these ideas in the community meeting in a completely legal procedure. Follow the steps and the processes correctly.
Although crime rates have significantly decreased in the past few years, safety and security are still a matter of concern for most of the households. Hence, it becomes very important to work hand-in-hand with our community and help keep our families safe.