When you decide to look for a new home, whether a rental or to purchase, your decision will not only be about the house itself. The neighborhood where the property is located will be of equal importance. When searching for a family-oriented neighborhood, low crime rates, and proximity to community centers, sporting fields, and schools will be among your priorities.
The perfect home in the perfect neighborhood may be elusive, but certain security considerations should be factored into your evaluation of whether a neighborhood is secure or not, and crime statistics are not the only indicators of neighborhood security levels.
What Level of Security Do You Want?
Neighborhood conditions are a practical indicator of general safety in any area. Well-maintained properties generally indicate a safer area while rundown properties with overgrown yards may indicate a less safe area. Property maintenance indicates that residents care about their homes and consequently work for a crime-free neighborhood.
Neighborhoods that include abandoned properties or businesses are usually a red flag for dropping property values and higher crime rates. A lack of grocery stores in the area may also be indicative that the area has a safety problem. Neighborhoods, where businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, or bookstores thrive, are a positive sign.
Neighborhood watch groups also indicate that residents care about their community and are invested in keeping it crime-free.
The Gated Alternative
For those who place a premium on security, gated communities are a potential solution. A gated community will not only offer access control but an increased level of privacy. They offer management of visitors, tradesmen, and service people and will generally have security personnel onsite 24/7. Controlled access points keep unauthorized and undesirable visitors from entering the gated community.
When determining the type of neighborhood you want to find a property in, it’s essential to determine if you prefer a secluded, large property, or if you prefer an area where homes and neighbors are visible and easy to interact with.
Neighborhoods with family amenities can make a significant difference not only in security but also in expense. Shared neighborhood parks, playgrounds, dog parks, tennis courts, a pool, and basketball courts are attractive benefits, but they may raise not only HomeOwners’ Association dues but property value taxes as well. Community programs, farmers’ markets, or festivals can all point to a stable community.
Location can be everything if you hope to enroll your children in a specific school or are interested in extracurricular activities such as music lessons, dance, or sports activities. Community activities such as block parties aid neighbors in getting to know one another.
Children playing outside is one of the best indicators of a safe neighborhood. When considering or visiting a neighborhood, look for children out and about. This shows that parents feel the area is safe enough to allow children to play outside.
A neighborhood that invites and promotes community engagement is bound to have better security. Neighbors that work together and say something when they see something whether suspicious cars or porch package theft can automatically increase area security.
Neighborhood Security Tools
An essential factor in neighborhood security is the mindset of the people that live there. If the community as a whole wants to help each other, this is the basis for sound security. Several tools are now increasingly found in secure neighborhoods. These include:
Cameras placed at entrance points can offer a record of who enters and exits as well as function to dissuade bad actors from entering and planning activities in monitored neighborhoods. LPR or License plate reading cameras can contribute significantly to identifying criminals. Parking lot security systems and cameras will not only protect property, but residents as they enter and exit their vehicles.
Gates at Access Points
Gates increase overall security, however, their installation is expensive. They are not foolproof if deliberately left open at certain times of the day.
Security Personnel and Patrols
Neighborhood patrols can be organized by watch groups or security companies and off-duty police officers may be employed. The employment of professionals can be cost-prohibitive for many neighborhoods, unless quite large with equally large budgets. A security patrol may dissuade criminals from visiting your neighborhood, however, they do have a limit that they cannot be everywhere at the same time.
Improved Residential Lighting
Criminals may look for neighborhoods with less residential density. When selecting an area that prioritizes privacy and some degree of seclusion, make sure spaces are well-lit. Street lights, property lighting, and motion detector lighting can make a difference by preventing potential dark hiding places.
Neighborhood Safety Apps
These apps are designed to function as online watch programs. The app will collect reports from residents in the neighborhood as well as local law enforcement to alert neighbors about crimes in the area as well as any suspicious activities. Apps may also allow for anonymous tips to be collected. These apps can also be used in the event of natural disasters or emergencies.
Security in today’s world is a priority, especially for families. Whether you opt for the security offered by a gated community or select a neighborhood that actively engages residents, the safety of your loved ones is essential when choosing your new home.