There are few things more disconcerting than finding out too late that your neighborhood is a hotbed for crime.
In this day and age, we all expect that there will be some crime in urban areas, but there is an important distinction between violent and non-violent crime. When we first move into a neighborhood, it can be difficult to see the warning signs. For instance, let’s say we see a lot of police patrolling the neighborhood, as well as Neighborhood Watch signs and possibly security cameras, this could lead one to believe that the neighborhood is positively ravaged by crime- whereas a neighborhood where few people are seen outside and there is little noise might be perceived as a peaceful, low-crime neighborhood.
It is important to note that these perceptions could be absolutely wrong. For example, neighborhoods who employ the Neighborhood Watch Program are usually filled with pro-active, concerned residents who want to save the area BEFORE it goes downhill. So signs that say a Neighborhood Watch Program is in place are actually a good thing. Likewise, a presence of police patrol may only indicate that active residents have a positive rapport with the police department, and have requested increased patrols to ward off crime.
Conversely, the “quiet” neighborhood may be anything but safe and peaceful. Thieves know to target areas where people work regular daytime shifts, so if there is no one at home, criminals may consider the area ripe for the picking. Even worse are the areas where people are at home, but hide inside because they don’t feel like the area is safe for their children to play outside, or for neighbors to congregate.
Then there is the question of the degree of crime. One might hear about an area where property crimes are high and think it’s a very dangerous neighborhood, but there is an important distinction between the neighborhood with teenagers who sometimes get unruly on weekends and commit small-scale vandalism, versus the area that is plagued by theft, burglary and crimes specifically intended to destroy property, such as arson. If you would like to find out about the specific crimes in your neighborhood, one great tool is a crime mapping website. There are multiple websites such as this, and one of the current ones being promoted by the Neighborhood Watch Program is the following-
If you would like to start your own Neighborhood Watch Program, the following is a helpful link.
On sites like this, you can specify what type of information you want to receive and how often you’d like to get it. You can ask to be alerted to all types of crimes on a daily basis, or specify violent crimes and only be alerted once a week. Either way, knowledge is power and sites like this help us all to make our neighborhoods safer.
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