Become a "knowsy" neighbour!
At the risk of dating myself, I’m old enough to remember a TV show called Bewitched. The show had a long list of characters including the nosey neighbour and resident busybody, Mrs. Kravitz. When she wasn’t peeking out her blinds to watch the goings-on in her neighbourhood, she was butting into other people’s business. While she was an annoying and exaggerated character created for comic relief, she may have been on to something. I’m certainly not advocating for spying on your neighbours or inserting yourself where you don’t belong, but there is something to be said for neighbours who know each other.
The Riverbend neighbourhoods are by no means rampant crime hot spots, but they are not immune to thefts, break-ins, graffiti, and other property crimes. Much of it happens at nighttime but some mischief-makers are brazen enough to operate in broad daylight. Whether it’s planned crime (following delivery or work trucks to locations) or crimes of opportunity (rifling through an unlocked car, garage or shed), much of it can be prevented. Locking doors consistently and asking that packages be delivered to depots are great ideas (in fact, the Edmonton Police Service recommends a 9pm routine to ensure everything is locked up), but having eyes and ears in the neighbourhood are also great crime deterrents.
Who are these eyes and ears? They are your neighbours! As your new Riverbend Community League Neighbourhood Watch district representative, I’m asking one thing from everyone who reads this: get to know the people who live near you. Don’t be a nosey neighbour, but do become a “knowsy” neighbour. Learn their names, and if they have kids or pets.
How does one do this? Go next door (both sides of your home) and across the street from your home and introduce yourself to your neighbours. If you’re walking your dog, planting your garden, bike riding or just out and about, introduce yourself to people you encounter. Deliver a card to someone who just moved in. You don’t need to share personal information but letting them know your name, where you live, and who you live with (and learning the same about them) goes a long way in knowing what to expect in your neighbourhood and sensing when something doesn’t feel quite right.
Besides the obvious benefits of having extra eyes and ears in your community, getting to know your neighbours has other advantages – including making new friends, gaining walking buddies, and meeting and getting to know people who live in the great community of Riverbend! So get your Gladys Kravitz on and go meet your neighbours!
We all want to live in safe communities and awareness and participation are great cornerstones for neighbourhood crime prevention. If you have been a victim of crime, please report it to the police. If you have any ideas or questions regarding the Neighbourhood Watch program, I’d love to hear from you.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Eilish Lemieux, Riverbend Community League Neighbourhood Watch Director