When it comes to our homes, nothing is more important than feeling safe. We want to know that our kids can ride their bikes, we can walk the dog at night, or go on vacation without wondering what will happen while we’re gone.
Although many believe that high-tech systems and private security firms are the only way to achieve those goals, there are a number of simple, common sense approaches to safety that can also be effective.
Above all else, a safe community is a community that knows itself well. “Look back to the 1940s and 1950s when neighborhoods were safer places,” says Matt Peskin, executive director of the National Association of Town Watch. “It was because everyone knew their neighbor. People looked out for each other. They hung out with the cop that walked their beat.”
Get to Know “Normal”
Knowing your neighbor doesn't mean people should be spending their days spying on their fellow HOA members. “But you should at least know their first names,” says Sgt. Michael Lawrence, crime prevention officer for the City of Shelton Police Department in Connecticut, and understand a bit about what constitutes “normal” activity at your community association. Lawrence cites an example of a person who saw a moving van pull up to their neighbor’s residence, wondering how they hadn’t known they were moving. It turns out they weren’t—someone was stealing the contents of their unit.
In the event you spot an individual appearing out of place or suspicious, "Never approach someone on your own," says Peter V. Christiansen, president of Protection Plus Security Corporation, a company which services New York and New Jersey. "Call the police or your on-site security team. If you can get a basic description of the person, exactly where they are being suspicious and any vehicle description, this will all be helpful to the police when they arrive. There is safety in numbers so retreat to an area where there are people you know. "