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How to be a good neighbour

Being a good neighbour is about much more than keeping the radio down and making sure the television isn’t blasting. Neighbourhoods are about community, or at least they should be. As people are naturally sceptical of strangers and outsiders, sadly neighbours can share this wariness with one another. But in reality, neighbourhoods should be about safety, security, communicating and socialising as well as sharing important information to help protect each other. With that in mind, here is an ultimate round-up on how to be a good neighbour.

New neighbour

If you have moved into a new neighbourhood, it needn’t be a daunting prospect to introduce yourself to close neighbours. A friendly hello while offering help is a good place to start. You’ve probably heard of the term ‘borrowing a cup of sugar’ which was a way of breaking the ice and introducing oneself to a neighbour and most people when called upon love to help and be a caring person. Introducing yourself is a good way of finding out information about the area and if there are any concerns or issues. Likewise, if a new neighbour moves in next door or a few doors down, put in the effort and make them feel welcome.

Coming together & community

In times of need, being able to count on your neighbour is a valuable thing. We all like to help each other, especially those who need it most, so make sure to offer a helping hand to an elderly or vulnerable neighbour. It could be as simple as nipping to the shops to help with groceries and essentials. Coming together doesn’t have to be when there’s a crisis; working on community projects to better the neighbourhood, village or town is always a worthwhile endeavour. All it takes is planning in meetings, communicating, organising and sharing ideas with a little help from community resources and organisations.

Neighbourhood watch

Another great asset of being a good neighbour is building a stronger defence from criminals and burglars. There are many neighbourhood watch schemes and in particular, Our Watch is a great support system that also gives useful information on crimes to look out for. Joining a neighbourhood watch or introducing one to your area is perhaps the most proactive and helpful things you can do for neighbours as it shows you’re invested in helping protect not just yourself and your family, but also others.

One of the main crimes of concern for neighbourhoods is burglary and in the year to March 2018, there were 437,537 recorded burglaries in England and Wales, a rise of 6% on the same period the year previous.

Being a part of a neighbourhood watch scheme can be an effective crime prevention tool. It enables increased surveillance, strengthens community protection, encourages residents to improve their home security and makes people communicate more.

Indeed, if you have a wireless home security system, maybe let your neighbours know that it is in place outside your home. Should the worst happen and someone on your street is broken into, reassure residents that they can use any footage you may have captured and pass it onto the police. Cameras often add an extra layer of security that people simply can’t.

Parking

One of the most common causes of neighbourhood disputes is parking. For you to be a good neighbour, you need to make sure you’re following good parking etiquette and using common sense. It goes without saying that if you have a driveway or garage, use them but when it comes to bigger families and more cars per household, or if visitors come by, cars often take to on-street parking. This can be unfair to neighbours and quickly become irritating, especially if they don’t have garages or driveways themselves.

This is why close communities and building stronger and friendlier connections with your neighbours will help as you are more likely to come to a friendly agreement. For instance, if you know at certain times of the day a neighbour won’t need the space on the street then you could have an arrangement to share on-street spaces that are outside your homes (but not blocking driveways). All it takes is a knock on the door to discuss or kindly check with them on how best to resolve to prevent conflict and lead to better community cohesion.

Noise

If you don’t appreciate a noisy neighbour, then try to be more conscious and considerate about your own noise levels. We sometimes forget or don’t realise how loud we can be and when speakers from all our different devices reach excessive volumes or if we invite people over or host parties, we can let our standards and considerations slip. It’s never a bad thing to pay a visit and let a neighbour know if you’ll be hosting a party and to kindly ask if you can play music a bit louder, as long as you’re not going to be taking advantage of their kindness. Be sensible and respectful, especially if neighbours are elderly or have young children.

Consider the time of day whenever you’re going to be doing a noisy activity. Again, it’s being respectful and using common sense to know that drilling or starting a loud DIY project is best not left to evening hours. If you have a dog or are thinking of getting dogs, be mindful of their training and what investment is needed to make sure they won’t be barking too much and driving neighbours crazy.

Children

If you have children, make sure you teach them boundaries and respect from an early age. Set an example by paying kindness on to your neighbours and let your children follow suit. Depending on their age and maturity, teach them to offer help if neighbours need a hand, like an elderly person who may need some help carrying a heavy bag to the door.

If your neighbours also have children, build up friendly relations so your children can have playmates. When summers bring BBQs or Christmas festivities come along, seeing your children form strong and lasting friendships will be an amazing thing.

Take pride

No matter what your lifestyle and spending habits are, taking care of your home and garden is still achievable. You might not have a conservatory or luxurious water feature like your neighbour, but you can still take pride in your own space. It’s as simple as keeping on top of cleaning and tidying. Your neighbour might have the best decking on the street, but they might also be a little lazy on gardening. Neatening up shrubbery, hedges, mowing the grass and planting flowers is a fantastic way to look after your home and make sure it’s presentable. It will also show you do care for your neighbourhood by taking the time to care for your home and making sure there’s no litter or children’s toys scattered in neighbours’ gardens.

Technology & communicating

We live in an era of advanced technology and communications so we should get the most out of them. Setting up a neighbourhood WhatsApp group is a great way to stay connected and updated with your neighbours and can also be a fun socialising group. There are many apps out there and with social media, forums and even emails, there really is no excuse when it comes to communicating. A WhatsApp group is a great tool if you don’t want to share social media profiles or if people aren’t on Facebook (where you’ll often find local community groups). All it takes is a phone number and everyone can communicate through one group chat on the app. It’s such an efficient and quick way to get ideas and crucial information across or updates to help neighbours or neighbourhood watch schemes.

Home security

As mentioned, being on a neighbourhood watch scheme is a good tool for crime prevention and part of this is to encourage neighbours to look at their own home security measures. Together, you can create a strong defence against burglars or markers. To deter potential burglars who often go out on walks or drives to mark areas and study premises, make sure you have clear professional alarm monitoring. What’s smart and secure about installing alarm monitoring, is that police can be alerted if an intruder enters your home by the self-monitoring system. You will be called the moment of trouble and once there’s been a visually confirmed incident, police will be alerted for you. You can then inform neighbours in group chats straight away to keep the area up-to-date and safer. By setting a good example for high security, neighbours will appreciate and be inspired to follow suit to help strengthen the neighbourhood security and keep criminals at bay.