Security is often viewed as a personal responsibility: secure your house, your things, your family. Like most things, though, security benefits from teamwork, and the best defense is prevention. While it’s a great idea to secure your home with a smart security system, an important next step is to make your neighborhood safer for everyone. After all, the benefits of a good neighborhood watch extend beyond simply reducing crime: they also help build relationships among neighbors and can build awareness for all kinds of safety issues beyond criminal activity.
How to start a neighborhood watch
If your neighborhood doesn’t already have a watch plan in place, it’s easy to get one up and running, though it will require a little legwork. Approach your neighbors (or neighborhood association) and ask who would be interested in forming a watch. Start with neighbors you already know. You can also print flyers explaining the idea and leave them in people’s mailboxes if you don’t feel comfortable knocking on doors. If some people are resistant to the idea, remind them that many insurance companies (roughly one-third of them) offer reduced premiums to homes that participate in a neighborhood watch, making it even more affordable to equip your watch with modern equipment.
Meet with a law enforcement professional to get an accurate map of the area and to identify the most common types of crime in your neighborhood. The local law enforcement will also have good suggestions on ways to organize your group and to handle threats. They may be able to provide you with a kit with decals and signs for your neighborhood. These can help you warn would-be criminals that your neighborhood is on high alert.
High-tech neighborhood security
One of the very best ways to improve the effectiveness of your neighborhood watch is to simply have security cameras in as many yards and homes as possible. High-tech security cameras not only help prevent crime, but in the unfortunate event that something does happen, a high-definition camera can help you and your local law enforcement identify the perpetrator and provide positive identification of suspects.
WiFi-enabled cameras allow you to monitor the video feed from your mobile device. A system like Xfinity Home will send alerts to your smartphone if alarms are triggered, even at night. And with live video monitoring, you can always have a watchful eye on your property. When multiple neighbors have their own security systems in place, you can create a sort of neighborhood video surveillance, and any unusual activity is bound to be detected. If a string of neighbors are getting alerts—you have power in numbers.
Of course, neighborhood security is about more than just crime. Continuous, live monitoring from your neighborhood security cameras can also help you and your neighbors keep an eye on children, monitor the aftermath of a big storm, and more.
Cameras should be installed high up, to get a wider view, and should be in places where they are plainly visible. Cameras in plain sight are a better crime deterrent as they make it clear to potential lawbreakers that they will be caught. Make sure that you have enough neighborhood security cameras to ensure good coverage—ideally, the view of each camera should overlap with another camera so that there are no blind spots. Have your system professionally installed to ensure the best coverage.
Xfinity Home can help you and your neighborhood boost your safety and security. Here’s what you need to know to get started.