Everyone has a different idea of what it means to be neighborly, and not everyone desires close friendships with their neighbors. However, when it comes to the security and safety of you and your home, building relationships with your neighbors can be much more useful than just being able to borrow a cup of sugar.
When you are away, and your house is totally empty, all or most of your worldly possessions are left behind in one place. How are you going to protect them? In addition to a good security system, informing your neighbors of your plans can be a critical component to the safety of your home.
Neighbors who know you are out of town can keep an eye out for anything that appears problematic and can stop trouble before it starts, or keep it from getting worse. If you alert your neighbors to your absence, they can notice things like:
- Lights being on or off when they shouldn’t be.
- People on or around the property who don’t belong there.
- Damage following a storm.
- Excess and unusual water that may be from a broken pipe.
An informed, aware and alert neighbor can be in a position to call the authorities, or a professional that you designate to keep a negative issue from becoming exponentially worse.
Not only is it important to convey your schedule to your neighbors, it is also important to give them any and all contact information they might need not only for you, but for other family members or close friends who may live nearby (but not within sight distance), and also professionals that are familiar with your home.
Neighbors can also help with small things that can have a big impact such as, taking in your mail or picking up your newspapers – especially the various advertising flyers that you often can’t stop. If your mailbox is overflowing, or anything is piling up on the driveway, you might as well put out a sign that says, “No one is home.”
In addition, in many communities, police welcome it when residents inform them that they will be out of town. If an alarm in your home goes off, they know there is a higher likelihood that there is a real emergency. They can also make more frequent drive-bys of your home – and they are the experts when it comes to sensing things that are out of place.
And it’s worth mentioning, when you forge relationships, they can go beyond just looking out for your home. If neighbors know you’re not away, but see something that doesn’t look right, they may be the ones who get you help when you can’t get it for yourself.
So, reach out and get to know your neighbors. A small connection may end up paying big dividends when it comes to your safety, security and overall well-being.