Everyone wants a safe place to call home, and your homeowners association should strive to make all residents feel secure. While the HOA board is diligent in its efforts to reduce possible dangers in your community, it can't do it alone. It's up to everyone to pitch in to keep crime rates down. Thankfully, taking a few simple steps can go a long way in keeping theft, vandalism and other felonies and misdemeanors out of the Association.
Know Your Neighbors
Get to know the neighbors on your block, but also the neighbors from other parts of the Association. At the very least, you’ll get a better idea of who actually lives (and in turn, who belongs) here. Talking with your neighbors will also give the Association a chance to find out if they have noticed any crimes or suspicious activity in the community recently so that you can be on the lookout as well.
Consider creating and distributing a list with all members' contact information so that the HOA board and neighbors can alert each other of any problems that arise. Of course, the Board should get your neighbors’ permission to put their information on the list.
Leave the Light on
A good way to deter felons from breaking into homes in your community is to make sure your front porch light stays on all night, even when you're out of town. Not only does it signal that someone is home, it also makes it harder for vandals to hide among the shadows.
If you’re worried that you’ll either forget to turn the light on at night or off in the morning, you can purchase an inexpensive timer that will automatically do that for you every day. Also, if you notice any street lights around the homeowners association that are burnt out, please let the management know as soon as possible so that they can contact a vendor to replace them for everyone’s safety.
If the Association wants to keep unwanted guests out, try not to make your homes within the too community inviting. Even when homeowners are around, it's best to keep all gates, doors and garages locked at all times. It's also a good idea to keep your windows closed and locked when possible, especially if a unit is on the ground floor.
Put on Your Walking Shoes
Taking a stroll around the Association is not just good exercise for the HOA board, it's essential to have eyes on the community. You can casually patrol the community for suspicious activity, as well as swap notes about criminal activity in the area with other neighbors who are out and about. Also, when more residents regularly walk around the Association, it can help scare off hooligans who are afraid of getting caught in the act.
Clean It Up
Picking up litter, removing graffiti and keeping trees, bushes and lawns trimmed not only makes the Association look better, but it also sends the message that your residents are diligent about keeping the neighborhood a respectable place to live. This can help discourage troublemakers from hanging around your community and encourage responsible and involved people to move to the Association.
See Something, Say Something
If you notice a crime or a suspicious activity, regardless of how small the incident may seem, notify homeowners association security if applicable and the police immediately. Of course, only call 911 if it is an emergency; otherwise, contact the police on their non-emergency line.
The HOA Board of Directors has a responsibility to your community to help keep it safe, and incorporating even a few of these tips can go a long way. It's important for the Board to do its part to make the homeowners association a place that residents are happy to call home.