When it comes to increasing and maintaining the value of your neighborhood, it’s on your plate to make sure safety is one of the top priorities for your HOA Board. However, it can often be a challenge to keep up with each and every one of your neighbors.
We've rounded up 8 simple rules you can follow that will help you keep track of what’s happening in your neighborhood.
1. Make Sure Neighbors Know Your Name
This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get bogged down by the day to day tasks on your HOA board. You won't be able to effectively keep your neighborhood safe if you don't know who your neighbors are, and in turn, if they don't know who you are.
If you haven’t already, put your walking shoes on and take a stroll around your neighborhood. Knock on doors and introduce yourself. When you establish a friendly rapport with your neighbors, they will be able to put a face to the person taking care of several homeowner responsibilities for them.
2. Keep a Close-Knit Community
Now that you’ve met your neighbors, make sure they have the chance to meet each other.
You can help foster camaraderie among your neighbors through fun quarterly events or neighborhood block parties.
If events aren't in the budget for your neighborhood, make use of email newsletters or social media groups like Nextdoor and Facebook to keep in touch with residents. Fostering a community brings neighbors together, and friendly neighbors are more likely to look out for each other.
3. Maintain Clean Landscaping
Overgrown shrubs and lawns are signs for burglars that a tenant is out of town, making a home a target.
Enforce a safety rule for residents to maintain their shrub and lawn maintenance, and help out neighbors who are out of town for long periods of time by taking turns mowing the lawn. Planting thorny shrubs or keeping existing shrubs trimmed eliminates potential hiding places for burglars.
4. Keep your Neighborhood Tidy
Clean neighborhoods send a message that residents care about their community, and will take steps to protect their homes.
Parallel to landscaping maintenance, encourage your neighbors to keep their surroundings tidy and orderly. On your walks around the neighborhood meeting your neighbors, help pick up trash to set an example for other homeowners.
5. Maintain Smart Lighting
One of the keys to keeping homes safe is to be thoughtful about outdoor lighting. It is possible for homes to be too well-lit.
In their quest to prevent burglars from breaking in, many homeowners place lights all around their properties, believing the brighter, the better. In fact, too much light can actually attract the attention of burglars.
Encourage residents to install outdoor motion sensor floodlights and remember to point them down and away from other residents’ windows or eyes.
6. See Something, Say Something
Many property crimes go unsolved because of a lack of timely reporting. Police say the first 48-72 hours after a crime is committed is crucial to solving the case.
Remind your neighbors not to assume that someone else has reported an incident. If residents see anything out of the ordinary, the best thing for them to do is to say something. When residents assume an incident has been reported, it prolongs the time it takes to gather evidence, making it harder for police to do their job when an incident is finally reported.
7. Maintain your Community’s Relationship with Local Police
Many local police departments have a dedicated person or office that serves as a community liaison. As a member of your HOA board, find and establish a relationship with this person. Police are usually more than happy to speak at HOA meetings. Ask them to provide simple tips on how residents can help keep their neighborhood safe.
When residents hear from law enforcement authorities themselves, they will be more likely to follow safety precautions you've set in place. If crime-related activities do start happening in your neighborhood, you’ll also have a contact established at your local police department.
8. Keep Residents Informed
Keep a line of regular and open communication flowing to your neighbors. As an HOA board member, part of your responsibility to your community is to make sure your neighbors know what’s happening around them.
Email newsletters and social media are the best ways to quickly share updates with your neighbors. While you don’t have to spam your community with weekly emails and daily posts, small touches of thoughtful communication are enough to make a difference.