We live in a time when people don’t really get to know their neighbors. This can be especially true for people living in apartment buildings. Since the residents of apartment buildings seem to change yearly, they may not feel the need to invest much time or effort into getting to know each other. But getting to know your neighbors can be the first step to building a safety alliance together.
Not sure how to start? Here are a few tips!
First, get to know each other.
It’s human nature to be more protective and respectful of people with whom we have a connection. If you introduce yourself to your neighbors, make small talk, get to know them and let them get to know you, your neighbors are bound to care a little more if they see someone suspicious lurking around your unit. They know you, you’re friendly and they care about your well being. That means they’ll notice when anything strange is up.
Grab loose mail for neighbors you’re friendly with.
While each unit likely has its own mailbox, UPS, FedEx and even the general mail person often drops items off in a public bin by the boxes. This means personal documents like financial statements, as well as things you bought online, are up for grabs. If you see items in the public bin or outside of mail boxes, grab them and personally deliver them to each unit. Create an environment where you look out for each other. Your neighbors will greatly appreciate this and may start doing the same for you.
Lock the laundry room.
Put up signs in the laundry room asking that people please lock it each time they go in and out. Leaving it open can mean that vagrants can enter, and strangers can walk in and steal laundry. Let your neighbors know that if they accidentally ever lock their laundry room key inside the laundry room, they are free to knock on your door and have you open it for them. The same goes for residents who have temporarily lost their laundry room key. This will discourage people from leaving the laundry room unlocked when they don’t have a key.
Petition for motion sensor lights.
Speak to your neighbors and ask them to agree to petition your landlord to put up motion sensor lights. Having motion sensor lights in the back alley can discourage criminals from loitering, selling drugs or doing other illegal activities. Having motion sensor lights in the parking spots can prevent criminals on the run in the neighborhood from hiding between vehicles if the police are looking for them. Motion sensor lights in the corridors in front of the unit doors can stop prowlers from attacking residents when they are entering their apartments at night.
Look out for each other’s children.
If you ever see one of your neighbor’s children talking to a stranger, go up to that stranger and introduce yourself. Stand with the child and let the stranger know you’re keeping an eye on that child. When you do see the child’s parent, tell them about the incident and describe the stranger so they can determine if that was somebody they know, or someone they need to worry about.
Help the single units.
If there are any men, women or elderly individuals who live alone in your building, let them have your phone number. Tell them that if they ever feel unsafe—say when there is a reported criminal on the run in your neighborhood—they can call you and even get together if they don’t feel comfortable being alone. If an elderly person lives alone, offer to meet their private nurses and vet them to make sure they aren’t trying to take advantage of their patient.
An apartment building that sticks together can better prevent crime and take themselves off the target list for prowlers assessing the neighborhood. You may even find that you really enjoy getting to know your neighbors!