One of the things most people ask before they move into an area is, “How safe the neighborhood?”
Would-be and current residents have some tools available to help them assess and address security concerns in their neighborhood. One such tool is SpotCrime Crime Map, a crime data aggregator. It features an interactive crime map you can browse to see the crimes in any given area. Crime is indicated by various icons on the map at the location where the crime occurred.. When the user clicks on the icon, it provides type, date, and time of the crime are all listed.
The reason you want to know the types and frequency of crime in your neighborhood is so you can keep your eyes open for those types of incidents and take extra cautionary steps to prevent the crimes that are common in your area.
You can have SpotCrime data alerts delivered to your email, Facebook, or other platform. (You can even check it out on the Apple TV app!) so if a crime happens within a few miles of your house, you’ll be alerted.
Fair warning: not all police departments are transparent.
A little history of the Phoenix area: prior to 2007 when Spot Crime began collecting data, the Arizona Republic newspaper campaigned actively for police transparency with regard to crime data. The Phoenix Police Department responded in an encouraging and positive way by making that data available. However, as the internet has become more popular and The Arizona Republic has lost some of it’s social clout, both the Phoenix Police and Scottsdale Police departments have scaled back a bit.
Having said that, there are things the City of Phoenix will do to help with your neighborhood security. For example, you can ask for an additional street light here of find out about bulk trash pickup here.
Besides lighting and local crime awareness, here are some other ways to improve your neighborhood:
Meet your neighbors!
Some neighborhoods have block parties, community yard sales, Block Watch, or other events. Even when the kids get together and play ball, that strengthens the safety of a neighborhood because it’s a way to form bonds. These are the people who are going to watch your house while you’re on vacation. You want them to be friendly enough to call if they see a moving van back into your driveway the day after you leave for the coast.
Neighborhood pride and maintenance scares thieves away. But, sometimes, the eyesore isn’t your own yard. There will always be elderly, disabled, and single people who don’t have the physical capacity or resources to keep their yards as nice as they’d like. Neighbors who periodically help one another promote both goodwill and security with a minimal about of effort. When I was young and lived in a small town, the VFW, church, and local bar were often home to impromptu meetings where the decision is made to help out neighbors or remove graffiti. You don’t need a bar. You need gas for your own mower and a friend with a rake to help the old lady next door.
Use Local Businesses
Empty offices and storefronts promote graffiti and crime. One of the nicer towns in Arizona took a downturn after the local residents, most of whom commuted, didn’t utilize the local businesses. The turnover of businesses resulted in empty storefronts and a rise in crime due to vandalism. As a result, property values went down.
If You See Something, Say Something
The Golden Rule is very much a part of being a good neighbor. If you see something that doesn’t look safe, that seems out of place or even a little unusual in your neighborhood, it’s okay to ask about it. Maybe your neighbors don’t know their window is broken, need help repairing it, or have had a break-in unbeknownst to them.
Being a good neighbor goes a long way to promote security in a neighborhood.