The first three weeks of March have been circled on the calendar for months. This is the first family vacation of the new year, and you’re elated to get to the beach in the middle of the winter season. You have home security equipment, and you’ve safeguarded the house against intruders and most dangers. But you still feel like there could be a remaining resource to help and protect you while you’re away.

And there is, the resource is your neighbors.

Neighborhood watches are known throughout the country. They’ve even been portrayed in media and television. But even if you don’t have a neighborhood watch group in your community, you can still utilize your neighbors as a resource for home security, and you can do the same for them. (Though teaming up with neighbors is the best way to reach the goal of a safe community. Our guide to starting a watch group.)

How Do Neighbors Help?

Neighbors are an extra set of eyes and ears on for a community. They have the pulse and understand what’s happening in the neighborhood.

The people that live in your community will also be as invested as you in home security, because if your house gets broken into, that means their home might be vulnerable as well.

Whenever you are gone on vacation or simply out for the day, neighbors are the best resource to alert authorities of an emergency, and even help with simple clean up tasks.

Reminder: we aren’t suggesting to substitute an all encompassing home security system with a neighbors or a watch, but that your neighbors will aid you and are an important resource that you should take advantage of.

Quick Ways Neighbors Can Help

  • Water outdoor plants
  • House sit or feed pets
  • Park cars in your driveway
  • Help with lawn maintenance
  • Pick up newspapers, mail, and other deliveries

Reciprocate the Help

It’s important to remember that no community is ever crime free. Even those that are known for having minimal crime are still prone to having an incident. It isn’t good to assume that just because you’ve been out of town a number of times without an incident the same trend will follow.

A social network and app called Next Door allows neighbors to connect with each other online. The sign up is strict, so it ensures that only neighbors that are actually from your community can sign up.

You can get to know your neighbors by throwing a party to meet them, or just have them over for dinner. You never know when you’ll be able to come through for them and them for you.

Encourage your neighbors and community to install home security systems. Everyone in the community should be protected. Arrange a meeting with the community with the intention of starting a neighborhood watch, or simply communicating with each other about thoughts, concerns, intentions, and strategy. Law enforcement are often willing to attend meetings, and sometimes even team up with neighborhoods to create watches

But most importantly, remember that protecting the neighborhood is a community affair. If you’re neighbor reaches out to help you, help them too! Always reciprocate. Like the adage says,”two heads are better than one.”