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A WATCHED HOUSE IS A SAFE HOUSE: PROTECTING YOUR HOME THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

By: Veronica Henderson, Attorney

As we enter the holiday season, it is very important to protect our homes from thieves and other criminals. One of the best approaches is to get to know your neighbors. Even better, developing a neighborhood watch program may make criminals think twice about targeting your neighborhood. Although there are resources and materials that can be obtained or purchased to formalize such a program, it can be as simple as having a neighborhood gathering in a park or in one of the residents homes, to exchange phone numbers, email addresses, or other contact information. Then, neighbors can notify each other when they will be out of town so that other neighbors can keep watch over their home. Leaving lights on and having neighborhood kids water plants, take in newspapers and mail, and the like will also serve to thwart would-be criminals.

In addition to forming a neighborhood watch program, many cities are starting to set up websites, where neighbors can find their neighborhood on the website, join as a member for free, and post and read other posts about what is going on in their neighborhood, to include yard sale advertisements, lost animal notices, and reports of criminal activity. One such web platform is www.nextdoor.com.  According to the website, “Our mission is to provide a trusted platform where neighbors work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities, all over the world.” Although would-be criminals may not be deterred by a website, neighbors knowing about the problems occurring in their neighborhoods may develop greater consciousness about safe-guarding their homes and being more aware of common crime problems that are being experienced by their neighbors.

Package delivery increases over the holidays, and this is another potential attraction for thieves. Do you have packages delivered during the day when no one is home? Perhaps a neighbor can accept the packages for you, or a written instruction can be posted by your door asking delivery services to hold your packages for pick-up.

Although it is sad that not everyone has a giving spirit during the holidays, the season will be more joyful if we all take care to keep our neighborhoods safe.

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