Street cops come to know and understand the people on their streets. They eventually know how, when, and where their people interact during different events. Eventually, street cops develop an intuitive feel for their streets that allows them to know when things are not right.
Although neighborhood residents may never develop such a strong intuitive feel for neighborhood security, they should at least learn the names of their neighbors and try to get acquainted with them. To meet their neighbors and to increase their neighborhood awareness, residents can:
- Do outside activities such as yard work, gardening, snow shoveling, and car washing, and, while doing these activities, strike up conversations with their next door neighbors, or with other, more distant neighbors who are passing by in their cars.
- Look out of their windows often, while inside of their houses to increase their neighborhood awareness.
- Invite neighbors to social events such as barbeques.
- Walk their dogs around their neighborhoods at various times during the day.
This neighborhood awareness should be ongoing, because neighborhoods can change. Such changes may occur when:
- Some neighbors move away.
- New people move into their neighborhood.
- Some neighborhood families lose their homes because of foreclosures.
- Some neighborhood families rent rooms of their houses to people who are new to the neighborhood.
By knowing who lives in their neighborhoods and who does not, residents can effectively use programs such as Baltimore’s Operation Crime Watch.
Some neighborhood residents eventually form organizations that allow them to accomplish neighborhood security collectively in a way that they cannot accomplish such security individually. An example of such an organization is Citizens on Patrol (COP).
How well do you know your neighbors? Do you work together with them to accomplish better neighborhood security? Please comment below.