The majority of Americans cannot afford to live wherever they’d like. The realities of home costs and finite paychecks mean that we must pick a home and neighborhood that is the best possible, and that means settling for less than perfect. Sometimes, we choose to settle for a home despite the neighborhood being less than ideal safety-wise. If this is the case, consider what you and your neighbors can do to ensure that your neighborhood is safe.

Get to know your neighbors

Living among strangers is never ideal. Safewise lists several ways to improve the safety of your neighborhood, and being in touch with your fellow residents is high on the list. There are many benefits to familiarity with your neighbors. For one, knowing them will allow you to judge their character, even on a superficial level. Becoming close with them will also mean getting to know their daily routine and lifestyle, and vice versa.

Being familiar with neighbors’ routines will make it easier to spot any suspicious activity around their home. Plus, it may allow you to be aware of any teenage drivers who – let’s face it – can tend to be reckless even in a quiet neighborhood. Rochester’s Neighborhood Resource Center recommends getting to know the youth on your street by name, and addressing them specifically when you come in contact. A teen who knows their neighbors – and knows that they are watching – will be less likely to drive recklessly. Being in touch with their parents should allow you to nip any problems in the bud if they ever arise.

Guard911 adds that joining an existing neighborhood association (or forming one of your own) is one way to make a neighborhood watch a bit more official and coordinated. Such an organization maintains a commitment to spotting suspicious vehicles and activity, as well as monitoring door-to-door salespeople that may be canvassing whether a home is vacant for malevolent reasons, according to the Better Business Bureau.

When neighbors become a threat

A tight-knit neighborhood will often host social events. Especially in large communities, as the booze starts flowing, it’s often the case that one or more neighbors will head to their cars despite being unfit to drive, even to a home just down the road. Neighbors who are truly friendly may be able to approach someone who is about to risk their safety and others’, persuading them not to drive.

Without being condescending and avoiding confrontation, a neighbor can offer a ride themselves or suggest that they make the short walk home, retrieving their car in the morning. The LA Times details one specific story that offers advice on how to prevent somebody from driving drunk without being abrasive about it. Deterring a neighbor from making a poor choice is much easier if you have already established a rapport as two members of the same community.

Tips for making a neighborhood safer revolve around familiarity. When it comes to the welfare of your own family, you can add floodlights and a security system to your home, but to make where you live the most secure, it’s important to protect your entire neighborhood however you can. The easiest way to accomplish this is simple – establish familiarity and cooperation with all of your neighbors.

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