During the holidays, when you're traveling and keeping expensive gifts inside your home, it pays to be close with your neighbors.
Wichita's KAKE-TV recently spoke with police about the important role that neighbors play in your "holiday home security." The article sheds light on something that's often overlooked when talking about how to prevent burglary during the holidays: your relationship with the family next door.
This quote from Wichita Police Officer Lori Kimrey, sums it up perfectly:
"It's really, really important to have a trusted neighbor. Trusted neighbors can help keep an eye on your house and report to police any suspicious activity. If they don't know you, they're not likely to call 911. If they have that personal connection with you, they're more likely to have that connection to call 911 because they have a personal interest in you."
Every time you leave your home, there's a risk that an intruder will try to gain entry. There are several ways to mitigate that risk: having an alarm system, putting your lights on timers, and so on. But even with those measures in place, burglars may still want to have a look at your property. A good neighbor can keep an eye on your home when you're not there. And if they spot anything suspicious, they won't hesitate to call the police.
This is the same reason why Community / Neighborhood Watch programs can be so successful. Everyone in the neighborhood is looking out for each other. When an entire community is helping to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, it can greatly increase the chances of stopping a crime before it happens.
This doesn't mean you need to be "best buddies" with your neighbor. You just need to be on good terms. Ideally, you should be close enough that you feel comfortable telling them when you're going away. They don't have to watch your home 24 hours a day. They can simply check out the window once in a while. Even better: maybe they can grab your mail or your newspaper each day, so they don't pile up while you're gone. And the next time your neighbor goes away, you can do the same for them.
At the very least, it can't hurt to occasionally say "hello" to your neighbor and get to know them. But make no mistake: it can hurt your security and increase your risk of burglary if you and your neighbors are total strangers.