Get social to improve your home security

Why getting to know your neighbours could be your best home security investment.

Our community spirit is alive and well according to the results of our latest home security survey 1. Nearly half (48%) of our respondents want to get to know those living nearby better, compared with just 20% in 2017. 

In fact, many of us rely on those living nearest to us to look after our keys, pets and sometimes even our children. 

Three quarters of respondents agree that knowing your neighbours can make you feel safer and more than a third (36%) said they look out for their neighbour’s home if they are away, even without being asked.

Nick Lisher, Head of EMEA at Nextdoor, the world’s largest neighbourhood website and app, says: “Being a part of your local community can help not only improve your home security, it can have a big impact on how safe you feel in your neighbourhood.

“By building strong local networks and being aware and communicative of your neighbourhood, it’s easier to tackle crime and safety issues as a group rather than as an individual.” 

Getting social

Technology is becoming an increasingly popular way of helping people come together. In local communities, social media use is on the up, especially among the 16 to 24 age group. Here more than half are online friends with those living near to them. 

Of those who connect with their neighbours online, more than a third most commonly interact with them on social media.

While some of the more popular social media platforms might not help with crime prevention, a few sites are aimed at residents’ groups. They won’t reduce the cost of your home insurance, but they will provide peace of mind and keep you up to date on local news. 

Nick continues : "Being connected to your neighbours via social media is a great way to build a stronger sense of community, as well as share crime and safety concerns." 

Mark Fisher from Colchester, Essex  recently signed up to a local networking site to find out what’s happening in his area. He said: “Primarily I joined for home security but I thought the community side of things, in terms of finding contacts like plumbers or electricians, would be useful.

“You are networking with people who live nearby. You can join local groups on other social media sites but this has more functionality as you can add people as emergency contacts should there ever be a problem at your house while you’re out.” 

Nextdoor’s Public Services Platform also allows local authorities, police and fire services in the UK to post crime and safety updates, send out urgent alerts and share critical news and advice .

Safe and secure

Although only 1 in 10 of our survey respondents (10%) had a security-related incident in their home in the previous 12 months, if you’re planning to be away, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Susan Sansom, Head of Operations, Aviva UKGI Claims, advises: “It can be a good idea to ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your home while you are not there. Checking inside for anything unusual like a water leak can also prevent or reduce any possible damage.”

A strong local community can certainly make us feel safer 2, but there are also steps people can take to make their home more secure:

  • Keep doors and windows locked and shut. In winter when the days are shorter and the nights are darker, burglars have the perfect cover. Although they still tend to look for easy targets, with most getting in through an open door or window 3.

  • Buy timer switches for your lights and use them.

  • Fit an approved burglar alarm. Even fitting a dummy alarm will act as a deterrent. 

  • Keep any valuables out of sight and away from windows and doors.

  • Check your contents cover will insure high-value presents you’ve bought or received too.

If you want to help make your neighbourhood a safer place, there are many routes you can take 4. As well as joining a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme you could volunteer for Crimestoppers or find out how to become a Police Support Volunteer

Other survey results 

  • More than half of those surveyed are more likely to move somewhere that has a community spirit 

  • Almost half (49%) of respondents that have been in their property for up to six months wouldn’t consider their neighbourhood safe enough to keep their back door/windows unlocked or open, even if they were inside their homes