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Moving to a new neighborhood can be an incredibly stressful experience. You have to sign leases or mortgages, pack up all your belongings, take them to your new home or apartment, and set everything back up.
If you’re moving a long distance, you might have to learn to adapt to new weather and learn about the culture.
One of the most important things to think about, however, is the safety of your new neighborhood. If you want to make sure you and your family are safe in your new home, make sure you use these nine tips.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- 1. Look Through the Local News
- 2. Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbors as Soon as Possible
- 3. Attend PTA and HOA Meeting
- 4. Use a Neighborhood Social Networking Site
- 5. Talk to Local Friends
- 6. Get Involved as Soon as Possible
- 7. Let Your Kids Be a Lead
- 8. Use a Public Search Engine to Check on Neighbors
- 9. Create Your Own Neighborhood Groups
1. Look Through the Local News
Before you actually move, and even before you decide on a neighborhood to move to, you should have a look through the local news networks to see what’s generally considered newsworthy.
Places that are safer will often have more stories about unexpected good things happening or just strange stories in which no one gets hurt. If you see a lot of stories focusing on crime — especially violent crime — rethink your moving decisions.
2. Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbors as Soon as Possible
A surprising amount of people aren’t actually friends with their neighbors, and many of them don’t even know their neighbors’ names. Especially if you live in a suburban area with lots of homes, it’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors.
Not only does this make you feel like a part of the community, but it also means that people are more likely to clue you in if they’ve seen something suspicious or dangerous around your home.
3. Attend PTA and HOA Meeting
If you’re a parent, make sure you attend the PTA meetings at your children’s schools. Those teachers are going to be an important part of your children’s lives, which means you need to get to know them. They’re also leaders in the community: they know other children in your area, so they can let you know if your children are having issues socializing.
If you have an HOA, make sure you attend meetings with the association. Sometimes, these meetings are mandatory, but for some HOAs, they’re just open to anyone who lives in the neighborhood.
If you attend the meetings, you get to be an active member of the community. Your neighbors will likely respect you more and will get to know you a little better. It’ll also allow you to make decisions that affect the rest of the neighborhood.
4. Use a Neighborhood Social Networking Site
Social networking sites that span the entire internet are very popular, including NextDoor. They’re a good way to connect with people from around the world, whether they do live in your area or they’re halfway across the world. However, in the last few years, neighborhood social networking sites have also popped up. These sites allow you to connect exclusively with people who live nearby.
You can share information, put up items for sale, warn about suspicious behavior, and more. It’s also a good first step to getting to know your neighbors if you don’t like introducing yourself out of the blue.
5. Talk to Local Friends
If you’re moving from one area of a city to another area of the same city, your existing friends may know more about the area you’re moving to than you do. Some of them may have also lived in the same general neighborhood, or their friends may have lived there.
If you ask around in your current friend group, you may be able to get information on areas that you should avoid versus areas that are actually safe and good for families.
6. Get Involved as Soon as Possible
Don’t wait until you’re completely settled to start associating with your neighbors; jump right in as soon as you can. When you start getting involved in neighborhood activities, your neighbors will see that you’re excited to live in the neighborhood, and that can foster a sense of community as soon as you move in.
This doesn’t have to mean that you immediately become a leader in the HOA, either. You can just start talking to your neighbors when they’re sitting on the porch, help your kids start playing with other kids in the neighborhood, or just be friendly with the people who live nearby.
7. Let Your Kids Be a Lead
Obviously, when you’re new to an area, you want to make sure you’re accompanying your kids at all times. You shouldn’t just let your kids wander around without any adult supervision. However, the very fact that you should be with your kids at all times can actually lead you to some new friendships.
If there are other parents in the area, talk to them about getting your kids together for a playdate. Ask about carpooling to an educational event. You already have one thing in common, and that one thing can open the door to becoming genuine friends.
8. Use a Public Search Engine to Check on Neighbors
There’s a lot of information available publicly about the people who live in every city across the United States. Some of that public information includes criminal records. People search engines conglomerate all that information, making it easy to access without actually going through the hassle of looking for it on your own. It’s also very accurate.
This is all publicly available information, which means you’re not using shady resources to find out whether or not your neighbors have committed violent crimes. In fact, you could go to your local public records offices, sheriff’s offices, and other legal offices and get all that information. It’s just very time-consuming and can be expensive because of filing fees.
Public search engines give you all that information but bypass the expenses and time. Essentially, they very quickly let you know who’s safe and who’s not, with information about people in your area that have been arrested and convicted of violent crimes and sex offenses.
9. Create Your Own Neighborhood Groups
Once you’ve gotten involved a little bit in the community, start creating your own groups in the neighborhood. You could get together a quilting circle, organize a potluck, or start a book club. By taking a leading role in the community, you’re showing your neighbors a strong character.
Not only do you have good ideas that can enrich the community, but you’re willing and able to take action to institute those ideas. It takes more time and effort than some of the other things here, but it can result in strong friendships and great connections that will keep you safe and enrich your life.
Safety may be something that worries you as you’re getting ready to move into a new neighborhood. Although it’s true that safety is a big component of scoping out a new neighborhood, it’s possible to make sure that you’ll be safe before you even sign the lease. Don’t go into your new neighborhood without paying attention to your safety and the safety of your family members; use these tips to stay safe in your new neighborhood.
This is a guest post.
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