While homeowners should be vigilant year-round about keeping their home and neighborhood safe, the holidays are often a time when many communities see an increase in crime activity. Being alert to your surroundings and reporting anything that seems suspicious can go a long way, but there are other steps HOA communities can take to enhance safety and reduce crime risk as well.
- Increase Lighting: Brighten things up with streetlamps or motion-sensor flood lights. Not only does this keep homeowners safer by allowing them to see what’s going on around them, it can be a deterrent to anyone trying to break in or cause trouble. Trim or remove shrubbery from around buildings, homes, or other areas that could create dark spaces for people to hide.
- Install Security Systems: Do all community amenities have security systems in place? Do members need an FOB or passcode to enter? This can help keep out strangers and alert law enforcement if someone does set off an alarm. It can be a good idea for homeowners to protect their homes with security systems as well. The HOA may be able to negotiate a group rate for the community from a reputable security company.
- Lock Up: Remind residents to always keep doors locked, even if they are at home. They should also lock their vehicle every time they get out (or even when they’re inside!), even if they’ll just be gone a moment. Make sure that no valuables are left in the car and anything that may attract attention is hidden in the truck or locked in the glovebox.
- Create a Neighborhood Watch: Neighbors looking out for neighbors is a great way to enhance safety. Have a team that periodically patrols the neighborhood and looks out for suspicious activity, and encourage homeowners to be aware of what is happening in their area.
- Partner with Law Enforcement: Get to know the officers assigned to the neighborhood and invite homeowners to meet them as well. This can create stronger communication and build trust. Make sure that members know who to call if they see something out of the ordinary or feel unsafe.
- Be Proactive: If homeowners are going to be away, it can be a good idea to put a hold on their mail and alert neighbors so they can check in on their home and property periodically. Ask someone to pick up any packages that are delivered so they don’t draw attention or become an easy target for theft.
Protecting the HOA community is everyone’s responsibility. Members should feel comfortable speaking up if they see something suspicious and know that security measures have been put in place such as video surveillance, gated entrances, or patrols by local law enforcement. While it’s impossible to eliminate all risk, being alert and taking basic safety precautions can help curb problems. Kuester assists HOA communities in putting plans in place to keep neighborhoods safer and protect homeowners.