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Keeping your Community, Home, and Self Safe this Summer
As summer approaches, more people are out and about in Chicago to enjoy every bit of the warmer weather. Though the temperatures are rising, some may have concerns that the crime rates in their neighborhood will also rise. We put together this list of suggestions because whether you are living by yourself, with roommates, or raising a family, feeling safe in your community is the most important priority.
Say hello to your neighbors
Have a conversation with your neighbors. It will help build a relationship and provide another set of eyes on your property. This can be as simple as baking some cookies and heading over to your neighbors to introduce yourself or saying hello and introducing yourself as your cross paths. If you’re not comfortable with face-to-face conversations there are sites online to help.
Facebook Groups – Join or create a facebook group specific to your neighborhood or community. Use the facebook search to find your neighborhood before creating one. If there isn’t one, create one using an approval method. Invite your neighbors and have them spread the message to invite other neighbors. Have some restrictions on approving members, and type of posts members are allowed to post. Continue to moderate the group as it grows as it is helpful to avoid any spammers or intruders. Facebook has over 1 billion active users, and we’re sure a percentage of your neighbors are also active.
Nextdoor – Nextdoor is a private social network for your neighborhood. Nextdoor has a verification process so that your neighbors know you are real. Over 45,000 U.S. Neighborhoods are using Nextdoor to connect, collaborate and help each other keep their neighborhoods safe. Joining is easy – search for your neighborhood with Nextdoor.
Patch – Find your “Patch” to read top stories, recent news, attend upcoming events, support businesses and see what’s on the bulletin board.
EveryBlock – Get up-to-date news from your neighbors. Find civic information readily available for your specific neighborhood. An iPhone app is also available to download.
Create a Neighborhood Watch
Here are some quick tips to start your group that we compiled from the National Crime Prevention Council.
- Have a person or a group of neighbors committed to starting the Neighborhood Watch.
- Create an initial list of issues that need to be addressed in your community
- Find a public place to have a meeting.
- Post signs around the neighborhood with the date and time.
- Make a meeting agenda to ensure progress is being made.
- Provide facts about crime in your neighborhood.
- Provide brochures or other printed documents that may interest the group.
- Post neighborhood watch signs around the community.
- Work with existing organizations such as housing authorities or tenant’s and citizen’s associations.
Attend local social gatherings or organize your own
There are many ways to be creative with your neighbors. Collaborating with your neighbors helps everyone get the support and services when needed, live in a neighborhood for their families to thrive in and a place to feel safe with endless opportunities and services provided. Here are some ways to get started!
- Neighborhood Watch Meetings
- Community Gardening
- Block Parties
- Yard Sales
- Neighborhood/park clean-ups
- Repairing broken equipment on playground
- Planting flowers and trees
Get to know your local police department
Get in contact with your local law enforcement and have them attend a neighborhood meeting. They can provide safety tips and offer assistance to help. Call or report to 311 about street lights that are out or cars that are speeding down a residential area. You may also want to start a neighborhood watch program with them.
Keep up with crime trends and share
Watch and read your local news. Follow your local station on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter for quick new updates. In a Pew study, about 62% of Americans now get their news from social media. Here are some sites to follow up-to-date crime reports.
SpotCrime – On SpotCrime you can sign up for email alerts in your neighborhood. The data shown is generated by users, police reports and news outlets with up-to-date time, time and location.
EveryBlock – EveryBlock is currently only available in Chicago, Fresno, Hialeah, Philadelphia, Houston, Boston, Denver, Medford and Nashville. Use EveryBlock to get all the news through their website or by downloading their app.
Family Watchdog – Family Watchdog locates nearby registered sex offenders in your area. You can also sign up for notifications to be updated with offenders who move in and out of your area.
Be sure to share this information with your neighbors and online community groups!
Don’t brag about your upcoming vacation on social media
As exciting and tempting it may be, you are setting an intruder to set your home up as a target for a burglary. Some intruders use Facebook to determine when people are away and allowing them to plot the perfect time to burglarize homes. Keep your home safe while you’re away by sharing your vacation photos after you’re back home.
Ask for a helping hand
If you’re out of town for an extended period of time, don’t hesitate to have a friend or neighbor stop by your home to pick up mail so it doesn’t accumulate in plain sight, which can tip-off potential intruders. Additionally, you can set up timers for lights or ask someone who is watching your home to turn them on occasionally. Finally, you could offer your neighbor or friend to park in your driveway or parking place to have it look like someone is home.
Don’t forget to celebrate
It’s great to see neighbors working together towards keeping their neighborhoods friendly and safe, so don’t forget to celebrate any small or big victories.