by AINSLEY LAWRENCE
There is a reason why many Southern cities like Oak Ridge, Tenn., and John’s Creek, Ga., are considered the safest in the nation, and much of it comes down to Southern pride and a general appreciation of everyone in the community. It is a mutual understanding of most Southerners that the best way to maintain a safe town is by watching out for one another and coming together for the betterment of their neighborhood.
These days, our world has become a bit more hectic and it can be easy to forget those positive values that we need to remember to keep our communities moving on a proper and safe track. As Southerners ourselves, we wanted to share some tips and reminders about how we can work together to create that positive atmosphere that allows us to all live in happiness and peace.
Know Your Neighbors
It is not uncommon for Southerners in the suburbs to want to meet new neighbors and make them feel welcomed into the community from day one. Not only does doing so promote the friendliness that the South is famous for, but by knowing who lives around us, we can help each other out in times of need. At a minimum, your neighbors can help keep an eye on your house when you are out of town or alert you if they see suspicious behavior around your property.
The peace of mind provided by friendly neighbors is one of the reasons why so many people are moving from the city and into smaller towns, and it doesn’t have to end there. You can take this sense of community to the next level by creating a community page on social media where everyone in the area can talk about anything from crime statistics to announcements when a pet goes missing or a package has been delivered to the wrong home.
You can go even further with this idea by forming a neighborhood watch group, which would consist of volunteers from the community who help to keep an eye on the town and notify law enforcement if anything suspicious occurs. Assign several block captains who can keep an eye on a set number of residences and create a schedule of who should patrol and when. Everyone in the community will sleep better at night knowing that their neighbors are always out watching their backs.
Educate The Kids
Another reason why the South has continued a trend of safety after all of these years is that parents here are always teaching their children how to promote friendliness and protection of their communities.
At a young age, children should be educated on the value of knowing their neighbors and showing the same kindness to others as they would like to receive themselves. Kids should also be taught the value of a buddy system so they always have a companion when they are walking home from school or to a friend’s house at night. This could also be a buddy that your child could call and depend on in the case of an emergency.
While you are speaking to your kids about friendship, you should also talk about the dangers of bullying and how they should never hurt someone else or make them feel bad just because they think they are different or because they disagree. Instead, children should be taught the value of talking out problems and coming to a peaceful resolution so they do not have to resort to violence.
As the kids get older and learn to drive, parents should instill positive values and teach the right lessons about safety behind the wheel for the health of the community and other drivers. Teach them about the dangers of distracted driving and that they should never take their eyes off of the road to look at a phone or tablet until the car is stopped and parked. All drivers should also be aware of safe driving practices during the winter months, especially if this time of year brings snow and ice. If caught in a storm, drivers need to slow down and call for help if necessary.
Tech In The Neighborhood
When talking about safety in your community groups, it is a great idea to bring up the idea of using tech to protect your separate homes and the neighborhood as a whole. For starters, talk about the importance of installing security systems and how if everyone in the community installs a similar system, they can all be protected. Once the systems are installed, place signs or placards in your front yards to advertise the security system and deter potential criminals.
Along with alarm systems, good security also includes having cameras posted around your homes. Not only will visible cameras scare criminals away, but if a neighbor is robbed or their house is damaged, everyone in the community can talk to one another and review each other’s footage for proof of wrongdoing or to provide evidence to the police.
Perhaps the best deterrent to potential thieves and crooks is a well-lit neighborhood with plenty of street lights. Criminals don’t want to be caught in person or on camera, so they will generally try to avoid bright places. If the street is darker than you would like, then you and your neighbors can petition the city council to place more lights on the street. At a minimum, neighbors should be encouraged to keep their porch lights on at night and install motion-detector lights to deter potential crime.
Most Southerners will agree that maintaining a safe community is not only the right thing to do, but it is also our responsibility as neighbors. Consider the tips discussed here and continue the tradition of safety and security that we are known for here in our neck of the woods.