Guest writer: Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and self-defense expert.
September 28 is National Good Neighbor Day. Not only is being a good neighbor polite, it is also safe to know who’s living in your community. Increasing social activity and community helps create a safer and more enjoyable home environment.
Here are three big ways to be a better neighbor while increasing your personal safety:
- Always welcome new neighbors
It’s great to be the new kid on the block. It’s even better when you have nice neighbors. Dropping by your new neighbor’s home is a great way to make a friendly first impression. You never know when you may need a little help, get locked out of your house, or find yourself in a medical emergency. Being part of the community is a great way of building a local support system. Good neighbors always have their eye out for you and your family and are willing to lend a hand if need be.
On the other hand, it’s also a great way to know who’s living beside you. It always amazes me when there’s a tragedy and the predator’s neighbors never seem to suspect anything off about their neighbor. It’s OK to ask a lot of questions and find out more about your neighbor’s past and present life.
Don’t be shy! There are plenty of ways to welcome a new neighbor. It’s customary in many traditions to bring a welcome gift. These include but are not limited to a pineapple, a candle, a plant, flowers from the garden or a home baked treat.
- Start a neighborhood watch program
Watch groups are the foundation of community crime prevention. There are plenty of online communities already in existence that help neighbors connect and report crime, suspicious sightings or events going on in the neighborhood.
I use this neighborhood site: www.nextdoor.com.
If this doesn’t exist in your hood, you can start your own. You’ll need to get the neighbors on board, so start by electing a captain or group leader who will help disseminate the information. You can hold monthly or quarterly meetings or organize monthly emails. The point is for all members to be on alert and look out for each other. In my neighborhood emails I read when there are people stealing postal packages off lawns, so I know to make sure I collect mine quickly. Or I will bring in my neighbor’s packages if I see them left out too long. I hear of break-ins in cars and that reminds me to always lock mine and not leave valuables inside. Recently, I saw a man holding his phone up to a woman’s bedroom women and I immediately reported it to the police and let her know. These are simple ways we can all create a safer community.
- Have travel buddies
Your home should always look as if there is someone living in it so you don’t invite burglars looking for an easy target. Have a neighbor keep an eye on your home when you are away. They can take in your mail before it starts to pile up. Or you can put a hold on your mail delivery by contacting www.usps.com.
You should also have lights on a timer, so they turn on automatically at dusk and turn off at bedtime. I also suggest having some type of home alarm. Many home alarm systems can be very expensive for the average person. SABRE’s home security system, on the other hand, is an affordable way to protect your home while you travel or any day, when you leave for work or play.
We want to hear from you. What ways do you look after your neighbors?