By Lori Melton

Getting to know your neighbors has several advantages. Making new friends is always nice, of course. And, it’s always great to have someone nearby to borrow a tool or a cup of sugar from, or feed your cat while you’re gone for a weekend. But, forming a relationship with your neighbors can also enhance safety and security in your home and neighborhood. Here are some great reasons to get to know the people who are living next door, across the street or just around the bend.

Spare Key Swap

It’s easy to forget or misplace a house key. While hiding a spare key under a mat or flower pot seems convenient, burglars may look in common hiding spots. If you leave a key with your neighbor, it’s easy to run and grab it if you need to. It can also save the money you might spend on paying a locksmith to let you in. Also, if there’s a household emergency while you’re away, your neighbor can go in, check things out and call for help if needed. Swapping keys is great, because then you can return these favors for your neighbor.

Mail and Paper Collection

Piled up mail and newspapers while you’re on vacation can signal a burglar your house is unoccupied. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, you can arrange for them to collect your mail and papers daily while you’re gone and then pick them up when you return. Running next door or across the street would also be faster than picking up mail held at the post office across town.

Emergency Destination

You could go to your neighbor’s house in the event of an unexpected disaster which forces you to quickly exit your house, such as a fire, flood, or tornado. Seeking safe shelter during any of these unforeseen emergencies could ultimately safe your life. You can call 911 from your neighbor’s, once you and your family are out of harm’s way.

Neighborhood Watch

Setting up or getting involved with a neighborhood watch program is a great way to enhance security in your home and in the entire neighborhood. You can rotate doing a neighborhood patrol at different times of the day and night to spot and report any suspicious activity. Also, in today’s social media age, it’s a great idea to create a closed group Facebook page so people in your neighborhood can post about any suspicious activity or share other important information with each other.

Crime Witness

It’s always nice to have another set of ears and eyes just keeping watch on your property, in general. And, your neighbor could potentially be a big help to the police if your house gets broken into or vandalized. They might be able to provide details you didn’t see or hear – especially if you are away when a break in occurs. Plus, your neighbor can call you or the police if they see a stranger prowling around your property, breaking a window, or trying to get into your house. Stopping or catching a thief before he takes off with your valuables is a priceless benefit to having neighbors that look out for each other.

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