What keeps you up at night? Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about some violent crimes that have occurred in my city. There was a drive-by shooting a few days ago that killed three teenagers and I’m grieved that things like this happen. I find myself getting less sleep and giving more of my attention to collaborating for results for some of these local problems.
I know blog experts say you should pick a niche and stick to it, but today I can’t help but take a little detour from the appraisal realm to talk about the importance of building community to reduce crime. Okay, technically speaking, safer neighborhoods tend to have higher property values, so maybe I’m still somewhat on topic.
I think it’s easy to look at violent crime and see the usual suspects like gangs, guns, and drug-use, but there is often another culprit. Yes, isolation is a very great danger in our communities, yet it seems like the American ideal (at least on the west coast). We purchase real estate and often tend to drift into the backyard to actualize our yearning for privacy and exclusivity. There is nothing wrong with that of course, but when our normative practice as a community is to withdraw and no longer talk to each other or think each household has a responsibility to the community, we are setting ourselves up for some problems. Having good communication is the foundation for a strong neighborhood, so when communication sloughs off or hardly exists, a neighborhood is destined to have crime take over and property values dwindle.
By the way, here is an advocacy campaign I’m helping to put together. I’m not looking for kudos nor am I bragging in any way either. This is very real to my world right now, and I welcome any locals to please get involved. News 10 actually interviewed me today about this effort. Together we can make some changes, but change will never happen without intention.
I would never blame something like a shooting on silent neighbors, so please don’t get me wrong here. I simply think that when tragedy strikes, it’s a good reminder for each of us to embrace a vision for the community by intentionally contributing to neighborhood life in very simple and practical ways. This can sound overwhelming, but improving a neighborhood really boils down to things like saying “hi” to neighbors, picking up litter, taking walks around the block, keeping the lawn mowed, grilling burgers with the family next door, waving to passersby and reporting suspicious activity. These are only mundane practices in life that require little time or skill, but they can have a very real impact on the community – if they are practiced or not practiced.
If isolation does not help boost safety or property values, why is it so readily embraced in our society?