In these days of increased security concerns that are increasingly linked to load shedding we are all very stressed. We need to be responsible and help create a more harmonious environment for ourselves and your neighbours.
Whether your first home or you have been in your neighbourhood for awhile, keeping good relations with the neighbours can make a big difference in your quality of life and to security. Here are a few etiquette tips to reduce friction and keep the peace with your neighbours and enhance neighbourhood security.
- Say hello. A friendly smile and wave to a neighbour when you go out and get the mail can go a long way toward creating a pleasant atmosphere.
- Turn your music down. This is a simple peacekeeper, tried and true. If you plan on entertaining and having music, let your neighbours know ahead of time and keep it to a reasonable volume.
- Close your garage door. Avoid the habit of leaving it open because you plan on going back out in awhile. This is especially important if it’s messy. Not only is this a security issue, that can attract unwelcome attention it’s also an issue of extending common courtesy to your neighbours who may not wish to regularly get an eyeful of your collection of boxes and cans etc
- Do not let your dog bark incessantly in the yard. Leaving your dog alone to bark all day—or even worse, all night—is a sure way to strain relations with your neighbour or possibly violate a city noise ordinance. If your dog stays in the yard while you are away at work, ask a neighbour who is at home during the day if they ever hear your dog. If there is a problem, fix it.
- Reach out. Invite a neighbour over for a drink or a meal. Or invite a few neighbours over for a braai. Investing some time in getting to know the neighbours will help keep relationships harmonious and make it easier to handle any problems that arise.
- Maintain your garden. At a minimum, meet the basic standards of maintenance by mowing, weed-whacking and doing your best to keep your front area looking decent. Hire someone if you can’t seem to get it done yourself. Neighbours get cranky at the thought of their property values going down because of a slob next door.
- Position outside lights with care. Make sure your security light doesn’t shine into your neighbour’s bedroom.
- Don’t leave toys and temptations out in the front garden. Whether it’s yours or your children’s toys, yard equipment, or car parts, it’s bad policy to leave items on your front yard or driveway. Put tools away when you’re done with them and reduce opportunistic thefts.
- Be a good driver. Don’t treat the neighbourhood streets as your personal racetrack. Always be mindful that there are kids, dogs, walkers and bikers out on the street. Also, when driving through your neighbourhood, turn the volume on your car stereo down. Your neighbours shouldn’t associate your comings and goings with a thumping bass and rattling windows.
- Discuss problems in person. If a problem arises, talk to your neighbour in person first. Approach the situation in a pleasant way, “You may not have realised this, but …” Start here rather than resorting to a nasty note or a call to the police that will be sure to permanently strain your relationship. Also, use good judgment in identifying real problems: a party on a special occasion is one thing; a continuous stream of parties that interfere with your sleep on a regular basis is another.
Please use the attached cards to complete your details and swap this with your neighbours or if they are not at home pop them into their letterboxes. Keep them somewhere convenient so that you can use them if there is a security issue or emergency. Pay attention to their comments and requests. When it comes to security it is better to not assume the best! A healthy suspicion of strange persons and events should be acted upon!
If you have an idea to add to this list please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Good neighbourhood security is linked to being a good neighbour