6 Ways to be a Happier and Safer Neighbor

Family and Friends Having a Good Time

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Mr. Rogers, beloved TV neighbor of yesteryear, was the kind of welcoming, warmhearted person who people wanted in their own neighborhoods. In the days since Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, what does it take to be a good neighbor? Not too much, actually. In fact, there are several simple ways to make your own neighborhood a happier and safer place.

Know Your Neighbors

The first step to being a good neighbor is finding out who your neighbors are. Many of us may not know the names of the people living down the street. Some may not even know the names of their next-door neighbors. If this sounds like you, tackle this task first.

Knowing your neighbors’ names is just the beginning. Tell your neighbors about yourself, and hopefully they’ll share, too. Offer to help them if they need it, especially if you have some certain skill or tools, like if you’re good at fixing cars or you own a snow blower. Your neighbor may need your help one day, and in return, you may get help in the future, too.

The benefits of knowing your neighbors goes beyond making you look good: It helps keep you—and others—safe. If you know some basic information about the people living around you, you’ll be better able to spot suspicious behavior if it occurs.

Avoid Being Annoying

No one likes a noisy neighbor, so don’t be one yourself. Limit noises from stereos, motorcycles and power tools to daytime hours when you won’t be disturbing your neighbors while they sleep.

If you live in an apartment, condo or townhome, take extra care to limit your noise. Sound can travel easily through a building’s floors and walls, so keep loud noises to a minimum. If you do receive a noise complaint, don’t be defensive. Acknowledge the concern and talk about the issue calmly to find a resolution.

Although we recommended getting to know your neighbors better, don’t be too nosey. You don’t need specific details about your neighbors’ relationships, religion or politics. Just be friendly and offer to help if they need it.

Keep a Clean Exterior

Something that irritates many neighbors is a messy, unkempt yard. If you have a lawn, keep it trim and free of weeds and junk. Trim back any trees or shrubs that grow over into neighbors’ property. Plant flowers or do some simple landscaping to give your home a cared-for look.

In addition to looking nice, a well-kept home exterior might improve your safety, too. Criminals may be less likely to break in to homes that look like people care about them.

Go Outside and Get Connected

Don’t stay cooped up indoors at all times. Make it a goal to go outside as often as possible for walks, jogs or other activities. Taking a regular walk can help you get to know the layout of your neighborhood and provide opportunities to meet your neighbors.

If you’re a person who likes to plan, organize a neighborhood party, potluck, sporting event or other activity. Or, if you have the writing and technical know-how, think about creating a neighborhood newsletter. Bringing people together is a great way to add joy and trust to the group.

Be Safe When Out of Town

Having a good relationship with your neighbors means you’ll have extra eyes and ears on your home when you’re away. If you’ll be gone for an extended period, it’s a good idea to ask someone to do some of the upkeep for your home, like mowing the lawn and collecting your mail. This way, you won’t give the impression to would-be intruders that your home is unoccupied.

Consider installing a home security system. It’s an effective way to deter burglary, and some systems even allow you to remotely access your lights and security video feeds. Having a home security system may also be a good way to save on home insurance.

Know Your Local Police

The last defense in case of serious problems in your neighborhood is your local law enforcement. If you’re worried about speeding or crime, get to know the police officers who frequent your area and ask them to patrol the streets. Some neighborhoods have neighborhood watch programs, which are an opportunity to keep your homes safe and build relationships with your neighbors.

Try a few things on this list and see if your neighborhood relationships improve. Or, if you have your own ideas for being a good—and safe—neighbor, share this article on social media with your neighbor pro-tip.