Getting to know the people you live around is one of the most important safety steps you can take. Closer-knit neighborhoods generally report fewer break-ins [source: Olsen] because strangers will stick out, and people are more likely to keep a casual eye on other people's security. Neighborhood Watch Programs, started in the 1960s, can be very effective at lowering and preventing crime. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, more than 30 million people in the United States have joined these groups [source: National Crime Prevention Council].
Studies have consistently found that watch programs effectively reduce crime and violence in neighborhoods. The National Sheriff's Association oversees the nationwide watch group organization and offers a number of resources for starting and joining one.
If you rent a house or apartment, you have more incentive to get to know your community because renters are 85 percent more likely to experience a break-in [source: National Crime Prevention Council]. This may be because renters aren't as likely to watch out for one another or have any sort of community watch program.