This week, get to know your neighbor

Neighborliness establishes dialogue, reduces crime and builds communities.

GBy Matt Hill
Guest columnist

getting to know your neighbors is an integral part of living in any community and is extremely beneficial for communities in the long run. Having lived in a surrounding University neighborhood for four years, I have come to see how this relationship can improve an entire community. Benefits that arise from “neighborliness” include establishing dialogue, crime reduction and community building.

The first benefit to knowing your neighbor is that it builds a dialogue. As many of our University communities are composed of student renters as well as longtime residents, open streams of communication are what the neighborhoods need. With a neighborly dialogue established, both sides can share and communicate their expectations of one another. This helps to remove the stereotypes that students are irresponsible “party animals” and that permanent residents are against students. With sustainable dialogue, the necessity to report parties to the police may become obsolete and students are more likely to be considerate of their neighbors.

An established relationship with your neighbor helps to reduce crime. As crimes such as burglary, assault and robbery continue to be major problems for our neighborhoods, knowing your neighbor is a step toward prevention of these offenses. If you establish where your neighbors live and get to know them, it will help to found an informal crime watch aimed at identifying suspicious activity and stopping crime before it happens. “You watch my back and I watch yours” becomes an understood code of conduct between good neighbors.

Last and most importantly, knowing your neighbor builds community that drives us all to live in these neighborhoods. University neighborhoods are unique and varied environments filled with many different people from many backgrounds, which collectively form the communities that we call home. With solid neighbor relationships we will have strong communities that are responsive and fair to all residents’ needs.

This week make the effort to talk with your neighbor beyond saying “hi.” Introduce yourself, chat about life, work, sports, you name it. Just make the effort. You will get a positive response.

Matt Hill is the Marcy-Holmes Student Liaison and a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]