How to Help Your Community Be a Safer One

Three Methods:Engaging With Others in Your CommunityCreating a Sense of Pride in Your CommunityDoing Your Part For Your Home

Everyone wants their community to be a safe and thriving space to live and raise a family. However, crime and infrastructural issues can prevent your community from being as safe as you'd like it to be. There are community building techniques you can use to engage your neighbors and city officials to improve your neighborhood's safety and appeal.

Method 1
Engaging With Others in Your Community

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    Get to know your neighbors. Even if you’re not the most outgoing person, make an effort to introduce yourself to your neighbors. It can be as simple as greeting them if you pass them on the sidewalk or waving hello when you’re doing lawn maintenance. Developing relationships with your neighbors is mutually beneficial for fostering trust and friendship with the goal of making your community a better, safer place to live.[1]
    • Block parties are a great way to get out and meet your neighbors. Offer to host a cookout or potluck during summer months to bring community residents together in a relaxing atmosphere.
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    Participate in a community building initiative. Building community is important to make sure everyone in your neighborhood is familiar with one another and is aware of the community’s safety goals. Aside from safety, community building can help neighbors build friendship and make the neighborhood a pleasant, inclusive place to live.[2]
    • Community building initiatives like National Night Out, held every August, are great ways to move out into your community to meet and engage with your neighbors and local law enforcement.[3]
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    Get to know your local police. It is helpful to know what initiatives the police are implementing to fight crime in your neighborhood. If your community members can help watch for and report potentially suspicious activity to law enforcement, this builds a relationship between your neighborhood and the police. These relationships help deter crime by employing a “brother’s keeper” strategy for community safety.[4]
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    Spend time outdoors. Simply seeing residents outside and active in their communities is sometimes enough to deter potential criminals. Empty streets with residents who keep to themselves will have the opposite effect.
    • Going for a jog or walk around your neighborhood, reading a book on your front porch, or working in your garden are great examples of how to be present in your neighborhood.
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    Prioritize accessibility for all residents. Don't limit your focus on community safety to only crime reduction. Community safety is a comprehensive goal that also includes accessibility for children, the elderly, and those with disabilities.
    • For example, crumbling sidewalks create a safety hazard for children who ride bicycles on the sidewalks and for those who use wheelchairs to get around on those broken sidewalks. It's important for the safety of these community member that the sidewalk be addressed as a component of community safety.

Method 2
Creating a Sense of Pride in Your Community

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    Implement a neighborhood watch system. A neighborhood watch system is a group of community residents who periodically patrol the community in the interest of the safety and well-being of its residents. These systems help reduce crime in the community as well as foster a sense of pride and safety for neighborhood residents.[5]
    • Neighborhood watch systems are about more than simply catching or deterring criminals. For example, if your group of neighborhood watch volunteers is out for a routine patrol, they might notice a lost child or pet and help get them home. Or, they might notice smoke coming from a window of a home and alert the fire department.[6]
    • Many police departments are happy to offering training or conduct a meeting with neighborhood watch groups to offer tips and training. Contact your local police station to see if they offer these services.[7]
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    Check out local businesses. When you spend money locally, local businesses thrive. When your community has a thriving business economy, there are fewer vacant buildings and lots, which can be havens for criminals. A thriving local business scene also helps foster a sense of community pride. [8]
    • Instead of defaulting to a chain store or restaurant, try out your local coffee shop or cafe and get to know the owner. Not only will you be cycling money back into your local economy, but you’ll be promoting safety and a sense of community by getting to know others who work in your neighborhood.
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    Make sure the community appears well-maintained. It’s difficult to take pride in your community if it looks run-down. As much as possible, work to maintain and improve the appearance of your community. Encourage residents to maintain the exteriors of their homes and complete routine lawn maintenance. Develop community green spaces like parks or gardens, if possible, as these are great crime deterrents.[9]
    • A great way to improve and invest in your community is to Start a Community Garden. Community gardens have been shown to increase neighborhood property values and build a sense of community among participating gardeners. They also deter crime by reducing the number of abandoned vacant lots.[10]
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    Speak with your city or district counsel about community safety measures. Sometimes neighborhood maintenance goes beyond what residents can do for themselves. At this point, it’s appropriate to involve city or district council member to discuss how to implement community safety measures.
    • For example, if your neighborhood has poor lighting, this is a safety hazard on multiple levels because criminals feel safer committing crimes in the dark, and residents out walking in the evening might not be seen and could be struck by passing vehicles. The city will have to install better lighting because it’s a major improvement project not suitable for individual residents to do themselves.
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    Request community improvements formally. Attend city council meetings and bring a formal list of requests with you or your community's representatives. Having your requests in writing gives your local city governance something concrete to work with. Be sure to detail the ways in which your requests will better your community by making it safer, both in terms of accessibility and decreases in crime.
    • Depending on your community’s needs, examples of community improvements that your neighborhood might request from local officials include the repair or creation of well-marked bike paths, youth centers, or accessible and safe playgrounds for neighborhood children to use.

Method 3
Doing Your Part For Your Home

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    Invest in a home security system. These systems deter break-ins and crime because they offer a direct line to emergency services from inside your home, whether you are home or away. If burglars notice that your home is equipped with a home security system, they might pass on your house and move on to an easier target.[11]
    • Only share your home security code with individuals whom you absolutely trust. If you think someone untrustworthy has obtained the code, change it as soon as possible.
    • Choose a home security system with a lighted motion sensor. When these systems detect movement, they turn on flood lighting, making it easy to see what or who is approaching your home.[12]
    • Some home security systems involve cameras. Be sure to invest in a high definition camera, so that if your home is ever burglarized and the cameras capture photos or video of the perpetrator, the images will be clear enough to give a good picture of the burglar.
    • Don’t give burglars the opportunity to hide or lurk outside your home. Keep bushes and shrubbery trimmed and leave your porch light on, if possible. You want your home to be as uninviting to criminals as you can make it.[13]
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    Install window coverings for privacy. While everyone loves a bright, airy space, window coverings are important to install so that your belongings aren’t on display for potential burglars. It’s especially important to keep your window coverings closed at night when it’s easiest for prowlers to look into your home for things they might want to steal when you’re gone.[14]
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    Lock your doors and windows. This is a basic but very important safety precaution. Before you leave your home or go to bed for the night be sure that all your doors and windows are locked, including your garage door, if you have one.[15]
    • This applies to your car, as well. Be sure that all your windows are closed and any valuables are out of sight or locked in the trunk.
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    Install timers on your lights and TV. Timers help you control when your lights and TV turn on and off when you aren’t home. This gives the illusion of someone being home and can help deter potential home break-ins.[16]
    • Many timers can be programmed remotely with your cellphone and some even have a battery backup in case of a power failure.[17]
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    Remove your name from your home’s exterior. Offering personal information on your mailbox or exterior of your home invites stalkers and burglars to learn who lives at your address. For safety and anonymity do not advertise your name on the exterior of your home.[18]
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    Let your neighbors know when you’ll be out of town. If they keep an eye on your home while you’re gone, ask them to watch for any suspicious activity. Authorize them to report any strange activity or suspicious individuals to police or the neighborhood watch group in your absence.
    • If you’ll be gone for more than a week, consider having the post office hold your mail and hire a teenager in the neighborhood to mow your lawn. An overgrown lawn with packages piling up at the front door is a dead giveaway to criminals that no one is home at your house. Make it a priority to have your home appear to have someone at home so that potential criminals will be deterred.


  • Remember that a safe community involves more than simply stopping crime. It encompasses accessibility of services, crime deterrence, and personal safety for community residents.


  • Do not use a neighborhood watch team as a substitute for the city or district police. The neighborhood watch should work in conjunction with the community police, but for safety purposes, trained authorities should take over in potential dangerous criminal situations.

Things You'll Need

  • Home security system
  • Window coverings
  • Timer for lights and electronics
  • Volunteers for Neighborhood Watch Group

Article Info

Categories: Volunteer and Community Service