As we head into the holiday season, take time to reconnect with your neighborhood and identify ways to work together to help keep your families safe. Being a good neighbor not only makes life more comfortable and enjoyable but can also add an element of safety to your neighborhood. Neighbors who spend time getting to know each other and familiarize themselves with work and travel schedules can provide support by keeping an eye out on each other's homes, deliveries, and vehicles. Establishing good relationships with your neighbors also makes it more likely that they will report a crime or suspicious activity. An empty home where none of the neighbors know the owner is an easy target for a break-in, making other homes in the area vulnerable as burglars are likely to revisit areas they've stolen from before. Likewise, a home that isn't cared for and lacks security also puts a neighborhood at risk for break-ins and other crimes.
Participating in a neighborhood watch group is another excellent option to help keep your neighborhood safe and instill an even greater sense of security. Neighborhood watch groups focus on creating a network of neighbors that look out for one another, address safety concerns in their communities, and help deter criminals by reducing opportunities for crime to occur. When monitoring your neighborhood, pay attention to your surroundings as you go about your daily routine. Focus on suspicious behavior as well as context, and think critically about what incidents require police involvement such as:
- An unknown person peering into multiple parked vehicles and trying the door handles
- Vehicles driving slowly and aimlessly at night without lights
- Unusual noises including screaming, sounds of fighting, shouting for help, breaking glass
- Someone claiming to represent a utility or security company without a uniform or an ID
- An unknown person trying to forcibly enter a neighbor's house while they're out of town
- A stranger sitting in a car and stopping to talk to a child
- A display, threat, or discharge of a weapon
If you can identify a specific crime and believe someone is in physical danger, call 911. If there have been incidents in your community that cause concern, such as burglaries, vandalism, and auto-theft, talk to your neighbors and consider starting a neighborhood watch group. Visit the National Crime Prevention Council at NCPC.org/Resources/Home-Neighborhood-Safety/Neighborhood-Watch to learn more.
For more home safety and travel tips, visit, MaricopaCountyAttorney.org/HomeTravelSafety