Home Neighborhood Security: Steps to Achieve Community Safety

Neighborhood Security: Steps to Achieve Community Safety

Local communities and police departments are increasingly adopting technology that helps improve neighborhood security in new ways. Methods that link CCTV camera networks together greatly enhance their reach and scalability.

This helps to identify any criminal or irregular activity better and improve access law enforcement agencies have to evidence when trying to catch criminals. Recent developments in ‘smart’ technologies help to make this all possible.

Smart Security Considerations

The System Type – So what makes a security system smart? The key difference is in the system’s infrastructure, or the way it makes the video feed accessible. Modern systems are primarily Internet Protocol (IP) cameras and recorders. These systems transmit over CAT 5 Ethernet cables, the same cables you use to connect your computer to the internet.

By comparison, older systems are either HD-CVI or analog and transmit video over coaxial cable, the same kind of wire as cable television.

Depending on the model, smart systems may have other advantages, like access for viewing on any computer or mobile device via the internet. A setup like this is also better in logging security events, making it easy to review specific footage for incidents.

How to Improve Neighborhood Security

Your neighborhood security all depends on who’s living in the area and how much they care. If you have a community full of people — or even just a handful of very motivated individuals — who really want to make the area more secure, it will be much easier than just one person trying to do it alone.

Since most modern CCTV systems enable remote viewing via computers, as well as cell phones and tablets, you’ll want to make sure that you choose one of these types and that it’s compatible with the systems your neighbors are using. This way, any trusted neighbor with access to the network can benefit.

1. Choose The Right Device for the Job

The right device may vary from person to person and property to property, but you should keep a few things in mind when browsing for new security products. First, consider smart devices that will be most effective in your location.

While CCTV cameras provide real-time footage beneficial for peace of mind and recovery in the event of a theft, there are also products like LED Floodlights, which are cost-effective in deterring intruders (atlantalightbulbsdotcom).These can be extremely useful if you don’t have landscaping or decorative lights around your home.

Smart locks work with security systems to let certain guests inside while keeping the building secure, and are great for those with dog-walkers, extended family who often stop by, rentals on Airbnb, and can even be used to let people in at certain times, depending on the lock or app you have. There are also options like motion sensors that will notify owners of unwanted activity through real-time alerts.

2. Set up Your Phone

Your phone is an indispensable tool in community security. It has been since home phones were first installed and have continued to evolve and improve since with the advent of smartphones. Now, in addition to calling your neighbor, you can monitor your front door and other areas of your home, depending on the devices you have.

Using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular networks, connect your security device to your smartphone or tablet (cctvsecurityprosdotcom). This will ensure that you can manage security alerts and video feeds in real-time. Be aware that if your phone is not connected to a network, the smart devices’ information may be delayed.

In addition to linking your new devices with your phone, be sure to save their contact information. Having a network of individuals in your area, all looking out for each other can be extremely valuable and helpful in safety and security situations.

3. Select Security Apps and Stay Connected

Choose apps on your smartphone or tablet that align with your security goals. While most companies that offer a security device include a complementary app, a growing marketplace of third-party apps can provide you with even greater peace of mind. Streety is one mobile app that aims to increase neighborhood safety by allowing neighbors to view each others’ video footage through a trusted, private network. Another app, called Neighbors, allows residents and business owners to connect to local networks, share media, send texts, and receive alerts from the local police department.

Some neighborhoods are finding these apps so effective that they pool money together to rent cameras and the software to service them. Should a crime be committed, residents have the option of sharing footage and other information with local police departments. Typically, a more involved resident in the community’s security or acts as the neighborhood watch leads the initiative.

4. Place Deterrents

Most criminal acts are crimes of opportunity; they’re often unplanned. When an unscrupulous person sees an opportunity to steal something without getting caught, they may make the jump from law-abiding citizens to criminals. The trick as a homeowner in your neighborhood is to make crimes as risky as you can for criminals.

neighborhood watch area sign

This might start with a neighborhood watch sign placed prominently at the entrance to your neighborhood. These signs get visitors thinking about the neighborhood security, priming them to see deterrents they might not otherwise notice. You’ll want to use these together with other strategies for the greatest effect.

Dogs make an excellent deterrent to burglaries and home invasions. If you have a dog, adding a “beware of dog” sign to your property enhances this effect. Even if you don’t own a dog, a “beware of dog” sign can still be effective.

Surveillance signs and stickers work similarly. When visitors know they’re being watched, they’re more likely to be on their best behavior.

5. Consider Local Crime Tools

Apps will provide you with considerable information on the security of your property and neighborhood. But you may want to consider other information that local authorities use to track crime. Using tools like CrimeReports can even help you understand how effective smart security systems are. Reports provide detailed analysis on which types of crimes are most prominent across neighborhoods. These insights provide a great foundation to determine which types of smart devices and monitoring techniques are most effective, given the type of crime you are trying to prevent.

One often-overlooked local crime tool is social media. Consider creating a custom group on Facebook or inviting your neighbors on to NextDoor. If your neighbors aren’t particularly tech-savvy, a group text message will work fine too. These platforms make it easy to call out and document potential neighborhood security threats. When something looks suspicious, the decision to speak up can be the difference between a crime prevented or a crime carried out.

Neighborhood Security Safeguard

Technology can be an excellent partner in helping catch criminals and even deter it. If communities don’t band together, their overall safety will never be as good as possible. So even as smart homes develop and community security evolves, continue to talk to your neighbors and get to know them.

Some of the most effective neighborhood security methods are the most low-tech.

  • If you see a vehicle in your area strangely driving slowly or parked, post a photo of it. Take note of the license plate number along with the make, model, and color. Then add a photo of it to your neighborhood’s social media page or group text chat.
  • Watch for signs of damage or disturbance to your neighbor’s property. A broken window or door left open is a sign worthy of giving your neighbor a call or sending a text message.

Using All of the Tools Available for Safety

Choose smart systems and employ smart strategies that empower your community to collaborate as a new digital neighborhood watch. At the end of the day, looking out for your neighbor is still the single most effective way to protect your neighborhood from crime.

Image Credit: AdobeStock

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Brad Anderson
Former editor

Brad is the former editor who oversaw contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase.

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