Homebuyers make their purchases based on many factors. But surveys have shown that the most important factors to them are the safety and quality of the neighborhood, followed by the performance of the school district.
Even if you believe statistics are a bunch of hooey, think about why you bought your home. Maybe it's closer to your office or in an area where you could afford an extra bedroom, but I bet you looked pretty hard at the safety of the neighborhood. And once you expend the substantial energy it takes just to find the right house in a neighborhood you feel comfortable in, you need to get involved to keep it the safe environment that attracted you.
Make it difficult
Preventing crime in your neighborhood begins with securing your home. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, approximately 60 percent of successful burglaries involve the perpetrator gaining access to a property through an unlocked door or window. Put sturdy locks on your doors and windows and use them. Criminals focus on easy targets. Using the locks on your doors is a good start, but you also want to trim bushes and trees to eliminate places for burglars to hide and install lighting in entryways, porches and alleys.
Talk to your neighbors. Spend time chatting over the fence, and find out what their concerns are about the neighborhood. You don't need to become best friends forever with the people next door, but it's human nature to look out for people you know. If you go out of town, they'll pick up your mail, take in your trash barrels, and make it look like you're home. Host an open house and invite everyone on your street. Even if you've lived in the same area for years, the homes around you may have changed hands several times. Take the time to get to know your neighbors and discuss your concerns about the neighborhood and community.
Join a neighborhood watch program. You receive training in crime prevention and agree to look out for each other's safety and property. There will be periodic meetings of participants to share information. If there's no watch organization in your neighborhood, start one with help from the police department Every year, there's the National Night Out that encourages people to get out and meet their neighbors. Take advantage of it.
Fix broken windows
If you don't care about streetlights working and parks staying clean, no one else will either. That kind of collective apathy attracts criminals who wonder what else you don't care about - watching out for your neighbors? Locking your doors? Call the city to fix broken lights, mow green spaces, and repair street signs. Work with law enforcement, civic groups, schools, local businesses, community agencies, churches and service clubs to clean up abandoned lots, boarded-up buildings, and other community eyesores. If you're having trouble getting something fixed in your area, contact local politicians and let them know your concerns. It's their job to help constituents solve problems and neighborhood issues. Remember that those who make the most noise get heard. For all kinds of expert advice and information about owning, buying, or selling a home, contact a Realtor and visit www.HAR.com.
For more information on buying or selling property in Texas, I invite you to visit http://www.texasrealestate.com/ or http://www.har.com/ and for all of your Pearland TX and Northern Brazoria and Galveston County real estate needs, please visit my site at http://www.danfrankrealty.com. Danny Frank is a local Pearland Real Estate expert.
This column was published in the 08June08 edition of the Galveston County Daily News.