What can we do?

This cannot be emphasized enough. Know whether they work during the day, whether they have children (and, if so, what they look like), and what their needs are. Do you live next to an elderly couple that stays home, but sometimes needs help? Or is there a teenage driver in the family? Are there small children you need to look out for? Knowing these things helps you be aware of who is in your neighbourhood and what could be suspicious.

Have a way to reach your neighbours if they’re gone and something is amiss in the neighborhood. Feel free to contact them if you see any out-of-ordinary or suspicious behavior around their home or if you’re gone and would like them to check up on your house. You might even help develop a neighbourhood “calling tree”.

A neighbourhood with mowed lawns, flowers, and freshly painted homes looks like it’s cared for, and this alone can help deter crime. A well-kept yard also provides fewer places for suspicious persons to take cover. If there is a certain open lot or abandoned home that is an eyesore, work together as a neighbourhood to clean up weeds, plant trees, and do a bit of fixing up on the exterior.

Talk to your neighbours and arrange for someone to mow your lawn, shovel your walks, or pick up your mail and newspapers. Use timers on your lights, or find a security system that will allow you to turn lamps off and on remotely. If that isn’t  possible then have a neighbour do it for you if possible. When criminals think people are home they are less apt to attempt a break in at your home.

A big screen TV is a less enticing steal if no one knows it’s there. Leaving your blinds open and lights on at night provides a free look into your house, its layout, and the habits of its occupants. And leaving windows open at night or when you’re gone is an invitation for an uninvited guest to come on in.

You don’t have to become a shut-in, but, good coverage of your windows will help prevent the bad-guys seeing what they want. Live as you want, that is freedom, just be smart and protect your assets, you worked hard for them!

Streetlamps are not the only way to do this. Ask that each household turn on their porch lights in the evenings and install motion-sensor lights in the backs or sides of the house so potential intruders don’t have the darkness to hide in.

When positioned correctly, they won’t go off if just a squirrel or cat run by. Motion lights can be a very inexpensive way of deterring a potential robber from accessing your shed tools and the like. Another suggestion would be to keep a lock on your back gate as well and on your shed if it is located in a vulnerable spot.

Go on walks with your neighbours, work in your yards and let your kids play with the neighbours down the street.

Organizing a neighbourhood cookout can encourage people to feel more comfortable spending time out in the neighborhood as well.

Express to them your desire to keep the neighbourhood safe, and notify them of specific ways they can help.

For example, if cars are often speeding through your streets, ask them to patrol the streets. Request that they make a drive-through every night when possible. Keep in mind, making a report is different than making an emergency call. Use the non emergency number if you are just making a report, if you are witnessing a crime or having one committed against you, then of course, always call 911.

The department is going to also assist us in our Neighbourhood Watch program development to ensure we do it in compliance with what helps them too!

Having the support of the OPP is elemental in keeping things safe and on par with their protocols.

In the end, one of the surest options to improve safety in your neighborhood is to get a home security system and use it properly. A 2009 study by ­­­­­Rutgers found that, as the number of home security systems increased in an area, the number of residential robberies decreased in that area substantially.

Our community has those who can provide the service of installation for under $400 inclusive of one year of monitoring and video alerts to your cell phone no matter where you are. This system even allows for you to speak to couriers at your door even if you are at work! See below for more details.

Improving neighbourhood safety is a team effort, but it needs to start with someone and that someone should be you. As you get to know your neighbours, discuss your concerns, and apply some of the ideas above, you’ll find that your neighbourhood becomes not only a safer place to be, but a more enjoyable one.