Resident safety and crime prevention in HOA communities shouldn’t be left to chance. The perception of homeowners’ safety and the security in HOA neighborhoods directly affect property values. Thus, it’s on the HOA board to directly act to ensure resident safety in an HOA community. Let’s look at the top tips to prevent crime and boost resident safety in your community.
Tips on How to Improve Resident Safety in Your Neighborhood
The HOA has an important role to play when it comes to resident safety. That said, the board alone can’t keep the whole neighborhood safe. It’s a community effort. Can police enforce HOA rules? No, but their presence goes a long way towards deterring crime, so does maintaining a clean and well-organized neighborhood. Let’s look at the different ways you can help law enforcement keep an eye out for your homeowners.
Make It Difficult for Criminals to Hide
If a neighborhood does not have enough lighting at night, the likelihood of crimes could increase. It’s up to the HOA to make sure there aren’t many dark corners and alleys where miscreants can hide.
HOAs need to be sure that there are enough light fixtures evenly placed around the neighborhood so that is never pitch black anywhere. Also, HOAs need to be sure that light fixtures are regularly repaired in common areas of the neighborhood.
Multiple broken streetlights are a sign of neglect. If residents feel that these basic items are not being maintained, they might question whether their HOA is utilizing their member dues effectively. The HOA board needs to make sure residents have peace of mind. One way they can do it is by keeping the neighborhood well-lit at all times.
Make sure to enforce landscaping regulations that promote safety in your community. Bushes and hedges should not be allowed to grow above a certain height. Also, certain trees and some types of privacy fences can provide concealment for criminals. Make sure your residents are regularly trimming their bushes and hedges before they become hiding spots for burglars.
Establish Safety Protocols for Residents On Vacation
An important reality that communities have to be aware of is that there are robberies during the vacation seasons. Many burglary cases involved homes that are unoccupied. Thus, it is wise for your HOA to prepare for holiday seasons by establishing safety practices.
Neighbors can help others by dealing with the tell-tale signs of homeowners on vacation. Thus, it’s a good idea for residents to ask their neighbors to pick up their mail while they’re away. If a neighbor can park one of their cars on the vacant home’s driveway, it will make the home look occupied.
Work with Security Professionals and Volunteers To Improve Resident Safety
Inspecting the safety of your community should be a regular activity. The HOA can accomplish this either by hiring security professionals or asking for security volunteers or even both.
Depending on the size of your community, it may be appropriate to outsource this service to a security vendor to make your residents feel safer.
Your local police departments will also be willing to help you audit the security of your HOA. They can provide pointers on how to improve resident safety in your neighborhood, as well.
Having a neighborhood watch is an excellent way to get your residents involved in the community. It also helps the HOA with common safety issues that tend to arise within communities. It is usually best to start your community neighborhood watch at the beginning of the year to enable residents to plan their schedules accordingly to be able to participate.
Keep the Community Connected and Informed
One of the common elements of the most successful communities in establishing a close community. Today, it is uncommon for neighbors to be as friendly as they once were. This burden falls upon the HOA to be sure that there is room in the budget for social events that will enable neighbors to be friendly to one another. By having a close community, it will be easier to establish protocols to keep the neighborhood safe.
If your HOA has a social calendar, it is quite easy to integrate safety talks into the events that you are already hosting. This will be an easy way for you to reach more residents that you need to inform about various new safety regulations or recent crimes that have occurred either within your community or in the area where your community is located.
Keeping your residents informed is paramount. It will cause your residents to respect your HOA more and also encourage a close community amongst your residents.
To keep your community safer, your HOA should invest in having a digital monthly newsletter about various important events that are occurring in your community. For example, if there have been local crimes in your area, then it is important to make your residents aware of these crimes.
By having tips in your newsletter to have pertinent tips about how to maintain safety, your residents will be better prepared on how to keep their families and other members of your community safe.
Enforce Safety Regulations, and Prepare the HOA for Legal Issues
Many HOAs assume that residents will automatically follow their regulations. Certain regulations are important for the overall safety of the community. Residents need regular reminders of current regulations and any changes to them.
At times, residents may relocate to and from your community. As a result, HOAs need to be considering how they are going to make their safety regulations accessible to residents to avoid potential issues.
Your HOA may also find itself involved with legal proceedings in the event of a crime. Your HOA must have a clear understanding of what its legal obligations are and how to deal with any potential lawsuits that may be brought by residents.
If a member of your HOA board has legal experience, then it is wise to consult them on the various legal risks that your HOA is susceptible to. However, if you do not have any members of your HOA board that have legal experience, it is wise to seek outside counsel so that you can be aware of your risks and do everything that you can for your HOA to mitigate those risks with your residents.
Can Police Enforce HOA Rules?
Crime is one thing, but how about HOA violations? Can you call the police on someone breaking association rules? The answer depends on the legality of the behavior. Is someone doing something illegal? Then yes, by all means, call the police to stop an ongoing criminal act.
In any case, it’s important for you to have some form of proof. Otherwise, the police can’t start an investigation. Or in the case of HOA violations, the association won’t issue a violation letter just based on an anonymous tip, either.
Make Resident Safety A Community Effort
Resident safety is not just the responsibility of the HOA. There’s always something that a resident can do to help keep the community safer. Leverage the power of community effort by equipping your homeowners with the know-how on how to keep your HOA safe and crime-free.
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