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Creating a Safe Community Takes Everyone Working Together

Most of us live in some sort of community, and yet, many of us don't know our neighbors or those living around us. Especially since the pandemic, but even before, people have become increasingly isolated. This is one of the causes of the Epidemic of Loneliness, and other social problems as well.

It is so easy just to stay inside your own house and disconnect from what is going on around us all the time. We lack the sense of community that was present in generations past, where people gathered on front porches in the evenings, and kids were safe to play in our streets.

According to MdE, fostering collaboration between public agencies and the people they serve can create safer communities:

Think about all those involved in ensuring our communities are safe: law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, social workers…the list goes on. Now imagine these professionals actively engaging with citizens – listening to their concerns, understanding their needs, and working together towards common goals.
This collaborative approach not only promotes efficiency but also fosters trust between residents and safety agencies. When people feel heard and valued by these institutions, they are more likely to cooperate with them – making everyone’s job easier.

Communication is key to creating safer neighborhoods again. When you see something going on in your neighborhood, it is important to raise awareness of issues such as drugs, gangs, violence or any other social problems. You can start by talking to friends and neighbors, and reporting incidents to professionals.

You don't have to be a law enforcement professional to advocate for safety in your own community. Right now, I am living in an extended-stay hotel (which is a lot like an apartment building) we are encouraged as residents to report any dangerous or suspicious activity to the management. This allows all of us to take ownership of the safety of the space where we live.

By becoming involved in your community, getting to know your neighbors, and being on the look out for any suspicious activity going on, we can all play a powerful role in creating a safer community for everyone. Caring about our neighborhoods, and everyone in them, helps to foster a sense of caring between neighbors and build bonds of friendship.

According to Chase Real Estate, here are 15 ways you can make your community safer:

  • Form a Facebook group

  • Leverage Nextdoor

  • Create clean-up groups

  • Start a neighborhood watch

  • Secure your own space

  • Problem-solve using SARA (scan, analyze, respond, assess)

  • Host regular meetings or touch-base sessions

  • Warn people of suspicious activity

  • Host a self-defense course

  • Share tips for safer landscaping

  • Coordinate community events to reclaim spaces

  • Document your strategy and analyze your results

  • Teach social media safety

  • Give neighborhood tours for kids

  • Set boundaries for where your children may go

The more we can all get to know our neighbors, even in a virtual manner such as on FaceBook or Nextdoor allows us to make meaningful connections with those around us. You can make friends with people in the neighborhood this way, and connect with people with same age kids, for example.

As communities become more integrated and involved, everyone begins to feel a sense of belonging and pride in the community. Things like a clean up or neighborhood watch program can help to bring people together to strengthen connections as well, in a more formalized way.

If everyone is more aware of what goes on in the community, then it will be easier to spot any activity that is out of place, too. For example, strange cars driving by which could potentially be a risk to children or property.

Getting to know our neighbors was something that everyone did in older generations which has become lost as people move more, and get so busy with our own individual lives. Even if you just introduce yourself to a couple of neighbors when you see them outside, this can develop into a positive relationship over time.

Safety is one of the most basic needs that everyone of us has. By coming together in community where we live, we can provide a greater sense of safety for everyone. It can be like in the old days, when moms would look out their front doors and kept an eye on all the neighborhood kids.

The more we stay inside and isolate ourselves, the greater possibility that we are going to be alone if there is some kind of threat. However, if you know someone close by that you trust, then you will have someone to go to for help when it is needed, too!

Check City tells us that,

Facilitating a strong neighborhood community is important for many reasons. It can help you have a support system as a neighborhood when problems arise like power outages or natural disasters. It can help you take care of each other as a community when someone is injured and needs help getting their groceries. And it can help your community come together to face neighborhood problems like an unruly neighbor or local legislation. But most of all, building a community in your neighborhood can help you feel part of a group of people who care about each other and support one another.  

Being a part of a supportive community is beneficial to everyone involved. People are social animals, and we function best when we are part of a group. Not only can we feel safer in our neighborhoods when we know people better, friendships can have benefits for our physical and mental health as well.

You don't have to do everything on this list to start building community, but if you make an effort to at least start saying "Hi" to your neighbors on a regular basis and showing them a friendly face, it can lead to more down the line as those people start to do the same with others.

Do you know your neighbors where you live? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and if you have questions that I can address in a future article!


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