Tuesday, August 1 is National Night Out. Thousands of communities in all 50 states will mark the police-community partnership sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. It's a great way to shed a light on on crime prevention awareness, local anticrime programs and police-community partnerships. But what happens on Wednesday? When the block parties are cleaned up, what's a community to do to keep the metaphorical porch light on?
If you've ever had a bike stolen or expensive sunglasses snatched from an unlocked car you've been the victim of a crime. Recently, in Denver a young boy was hit by a driver who fled the scene. Police and neighbors leveraged social media and the woman was spotted and arrested within a few hours. Thankfully, the victim is doing well but his injuries were severe. In light of this, neighborhood folks are considering hiring off duty security. Whatever the crime, as a victim, there's a feeling of anger, annoyance, and dread. But you can reclaim a sense of security and calm.
There are powerful tools that harness the power of technology. License Plate Recognition software, for example, is extremely accurate, and can scan an image in low light in just 3 seconds.
Guards and gates aside, HOAs and property managers should also make a habit of staying in frequent contact with residents. Especially that one person. The woman or man who everyone knows. She is not a busy body, per se but she knows what's going on with everyone. You know this person's name. She's an influencer. Grab coffee with her and let her know you want to get residents more looped into what's going on. Encourage her to attend HOA meetings and events. Neighbors will follow.
Of course there's also the new Texas law that takes effect in September. HB 1935 allows for adults to openly carry knives, including daggers, spears and machetes (yes, machetes) with blades longer than 5.5 inches. But if that's not your modus operandi, then taking advantage of software that allows for text message blasts and email notifications is a good first step. Then when, someone reports a suspicious vehicle in the area, people can keep their eyes peeled. In fact, the FRONTSTEPS consumer market study showed that 7 in 10 residents want their HOA to promote community involvement.
In the meantime, check the National Night Out map to see if your community is participating.