You might have grown up playing with the neighborhood kids, watching your mom sip coffee with some of the other moms on their porches and getting together for holiday celebrations and block parties. Nowadays, the combination of busy schedules and technology—like garage door openers that allow us to simply drive our cars into our garages and disappear into our homes—have caused some neighborhoods to seem more like ghost towns than friendly gathering places.
Unfortunately, our dwindling knowledge of and reliance on our neighbors will not only make us feel less connected in our own subdivisions, it can lead to an increase in crime. With that in mind, check out the following benefits of living in a neighborhood where most everybody knows your name, as well as tips on how to make it happen.
It helps make the neighborhood safer
Living on a street where everyone knows each other is a great way to keep criminal activity at bay. For example, if you know that your neighbor Bob works an early shift and is never home at lunchtime, seeing an unfamiliar van parked in front of his house at noon may seem suspicious. And because you know Bob, you could give him a call to see if he’s expecting workers or a delivery at that time, or if criminal activity is afoot.
An enhanced sense of camaraderie
While you might not dream of throwing a rowdy party in your backyard that goes past midnight, your teen neighbors may be considering it. However, if you know the teens and their parents and vice versa, the kiddos might be less inclined to disturb the peace. Having a friendly relationship with your neighbors often develops a sense of community and a mutual desire to keep the neighborhood a positive place to live.
Everyone checks on each other
In neighborhoods where everyone knows one another, there is a natural drive to check in and make sure everything is going well. These friendships will also inspire people to watch out for everyone else, without being asked. A great example of this is when you go on vacation. While you might have a pet sitter coming by to watch your animals, your neighbors will also keep a close eye on your place, picking up stray newspapers in the driveway and removing ads from your doorknob—both signs that advertise you are away.
Consider security cameras
While a connected neighborhood will automatically keep an eye out for one another and their properties, it’s nice to have some electronic backup. A great way to do this is to add security cameras. Opt for indoor and outdoor weatherproof security cameras—these devices can help keep a virtual eye on things when your neighbors are at work.
Work on getting to know your neighbors
In order to help reap the benefits of a connected community, you have to get to know your neighbors. You can go the old fashioned route of baking a batch of cookies and bringing them next door or you can catch your neighbors walking their dogs or mowing their lawns and introduce yourself. You can also encourage your neighbors to connect online by starting a community page on a website like Nextdoor.com. The site features a strict address verification process so only actual neighbors can join, and the moderated site is a great way to post questions, introduce yourself and look out for each other.