November 12, 2019

When it comes to increasing and maintaining the value of your community, it’s on your plate to make sure safety is one of the top priorities for your Board. However, it can often be a challenge to keep up with each and every one of your neighbours. We’ve rounded up 8 simple rules you can follow that will help you keep track of what’s happening in your community.

1. Make Sure Neighbours Know Your Name

This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day tasks on your condo board. You won’t be able to effectively keep your community safe if you don’t know who your neighbours are, and in turn, if they don’t know who you are.
If you haven’t already, put your walking shoes on and take a stroll around your community. Knock on doors and introduce yourself. When you establish a friendly rapport with your neighbours, they will be able to put a face to the person taking care of several homeowner responsibilities for them.

2. Keep a Close-Knit Community

Now that you’ve met your neighbours, make sure they have the chance to meet each other.
You can help foster camaraderie among your neighbours through fun quarterly events or community block parties. If events aren’t in the budget for your condo, make use of email newsletters or social media groups to keep in touch with residents. Fostering a community brings neighbours together, and friendly neighbours are more likely to look out for each other.

3. Maintain Clean Landscaping

Overgrown shrubs and lawns are signs for burglars that a tenant is out of town, making a home a target. Enforce a safety rule for residents to maintain their shrub and lawn maintenance and help out neighbours who are out of town for long periods of time by taking turns mowing the lawn. Planting thorny shrubs or keeping existing shrubs trimmed eliminates potential hiding places for burglars.

4. Keep your Community Tidy

Clean communities send a message that residents care about their property and will take steps to protect their homes.
Parallel to landscaping maintenance, encourage your residents to keep their surroundings tidy and orderly. On your walks around the community meeting your neighbours, help pick up trash to set an example for other homeowners.

5. Maintain Smart Lighting

One of the keys to keeping homes safe is to be thoughtful about outdoor lighting. It is possible for homes to be too well-lit.
In their quest to prevent burglars from breaking in, many homeowners place lights all around their properties, believing the brighter, the better. In fact, too much light can actually attract the attention of burglars.
Encourage residents to install outdoor motion sensor floodlights and remember to point them down and away from other residents’ windows or eyes.

6. See Something, Say Something

Many property crimes go unsolved because of a lack of timely reporting. Police say the first 48-72 hours after a crime is committed is crucial to solving the case.
Remind your neighbours not to assume that someone else has reported an incident. If residents see anything out of the ordinary, the best thing for them to do is to say something. When residents assume an incident has been reported, it prolongs the time it takes to gather evidence, making it harder for police to do their job when an incident is finally reported.

7. Maintain your Community’s Relationship with Local Police

Many local police departments have a dedicated person or office that serves as a community liaison. As a member of your condo board, find and establish a relationship with this person. Police are often happy to speak at condo meetings. Ask them to provide simple tips on how residents can help keep their community safe.
When residents hear from law enforcement authorities themselves, they will be more likely to follow safety precautions you’ve set in place. If crime-related activities do occur in your community, you’ll also have a contact established at your local police department.

8. Keep Residents Informed

Keep a line of regular and open communication flowing to your neighbours. As a board member, part of your responsibility to your community is to make sure your neighbours know what’s happening around them. Email newsletters and social media are the best ways to quickly share updates with your neighbours. While you don’t have to spam your community with weekly emails and daily posts, small touches of thoughtful communication are enough to make a difference.

This article was originally published WB’s 2019 Q3 – Condo Connection Newsletter. All archived newsletters can be found on our WB Condo Connection page.

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