“In the United States there are over 9 Million violent and property crimes committed each year.”FBI Uniform Crime Report
There are various strategies and techniques used to keep homes, neighborhoods, and communities safe; however, regardless of location or demographic the most powerful factor is the residents themselves. And more specifically, the unity of these residents and their overall commitment for neighborhood safety and security.
The Lack of Neighborhood Unity
An extreme example of a lack of neighborhood unity is easily identified in neighborhoods with chronic issues such as noise, excessive speeding, and gang or drug related crime. Unfortunately, more often than not residents within these neighborhoods are resigned, believing they are powerless to change their situation. They are not!
Your Home, Your Neighborhood
To address this residents must first embrace the concept of personal responsibility. At the end of the day, it is your home and your neighborhood. The safety and security of a neighborhood does not start with the police; it starts with its residents. Keep in mind that a local police department plays a defensive role as it responds to crime, while the residents have an active and offensive role in these issues. When a neighborhood has reoccurring issues, its their active presence and awareness that either thwarts crime, or their observation of it that allows the police to take action against it.
Don’t be Part of the Problem
When you live in a residential neighborhood you must understand that your actions are felt by others. By not speeding, by maintaining your house and property, and being thoughtful about noise levels – you and others like you can set a standard of behavior for your neighborhood to follow.
Report Crime Immediately
Never assume your neighbors will report a crime or that the police already know about it. When a crime is committed your local police department’s response will depend on the crime’s severity. You stand a better chance of a timely response when a crime is reported by multiple sources. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Knowledge is Power
BURGLARY VS. ROBBERY: Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. Robbery is defined as the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.
VANDALISM: To willfully or maliciously destroy, disfigure, or deface public or private property, real or personal, without the consent of the owner or person having custody or control by cutting, tearing, breaking, marking, painting, drawing, covering with filth, or any other such means as may be specified by local law.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: In the State of Texas, Criminal Mischief can be similar to Vandalism and/or be more complicated and inclusive. This can range from a Class C Misdemeanor to a First Degree Felony. In addition, self defense, including the use of deadly force, can be a consiquence of this crime when committed at night.
RAPE, ASSAULT, ARSON, HOMICIDE, ETC.: Violent crimes such as these occur in and out of the home on a regular basis in the United States. A rising concern is a combination of these crimes such as Home Invasion Robbery. Some states define this as an individual crime, while others charge each offense separately.