The days of leaving your doors unlocked or letting the kids play in the streets unattended are long gone. Many are concerned now about the threat of rising crime in their communities. A lot of neighborhoods today are lacking the close-knit feeling that was so prominent back in the day. Here are seven simple steps you can take to help improve the security of your family and your neighbors.

1. You must know our neighbors
Meeting them is a priority, whether you invite them over for a BBQ, or use social media. This will help with opening a line of communication between everyone and finding out who’s home during the day, what families have children, etc. Being comfortable communicating will really help when reporting suspicious behavior and keeping a well-kept community.

2. Install a Home Security System system
From doorbell cameras to home security apps on your phone, the advancements in home security technology over the last few years has been great. This is one of the most important steps you can take. It has never been easier to have peace of mind whether you’re sleeping or at work.

3. Lighting up your street or neighborhood
To help keep places away for criminals to hide, you can streetlights in your neighborhood, or motion sensor flood lights on your house. Also make sure to shut your windows and blinds at night. Leaving them open provides an enticing target for criminals who can not only see you but all of your belongings.

4. Keep up with the cosmetics
Well-kept yards and flower beds leaves very few places to hide, and shows homeowners spend time outside. Freshly painted and kept homes look cared for, this alone can help deter crime. Taking pride in your surroundings and encouraging your neighbors to do the same is an easy way to get everyone involved.

5. Make sure your house is secure when leaving town
Make sure all doors and windows are securely locked and your security system is set. Check with the neighbors to make sure they can keep an eye on your house while you’re gone. Be sure to check all your outdoor sensor lights and security cameras to help the neighbors keep a watch out.

6. Encourage outdoor activity
Go on walks with your neighbor, work in your yard, and let your kids play with the neighbors down the street. Organizing a neighborhood cookout can encourage people to feel more comfortable spending time out in the neighborhood as well.

7. Get to know your local police officers
Not only can you let them know about what concerns you have for your neighborhood, but also get an inside line of what to look out for and current crime trends.