It is the start of a new year and, as always, most people think about making a resolution or two for a healthier, safer, more enjoyable life. Some people show real fortitude and stick with those resolutions for a couple months; others manage only a week before they revert to their old habits. Sometimes, it only takes one inconsiderate driver to halt the intention to think happy thoughts.
Several years ago, I made a decision not to make resolutions at the beginning of the year, because it reinforced my sense of failure when yet another resolution went out the window. After some thought, I concluded that making a lifestyle change at the moment that I realize there is an issue is much more effective: There is no delay in starting, and when it comes to mind again, there are positive responses to the impact that change is having on my life.
One way that anyone can make a positive change in the lives of all Gwinnett County residents is to smile and wave at your neighbors. As you mow the grass, collect the newspaper or mail, or drive out of the driveway, make the effort to be friendly to those around you. Not only does this help refocus from the clouds or concerns in your mind, but it builds relationships (perhaps shallow to begin but with deeper sharing over the months to come.)
Smiling and waving is the first step in building a neighborhood watch – an effort to increase community involvement, build positive relationships with local law enforcement, and a great way to get to know the people who live around you. As trust builds, you want to reach out to help the neighbor whose tree fell in the backyard, or bring a meal to a family going through a difficult time, or check on the houses around you while people are away at work or on vacation.
No police department is able to have officers in every neighborhood at every hour of the day, but with the extra eyes of neighbors watching neighbors’ houses and looking out for suspicious activity, the work of law enforcement is greatly enhanced. Sixty or eighty sets of eyes in an area increase the ability of the police to focus on their jobs effectively.
Make it your resolution this year to start a neighborhood watch in your subdivision! For help getting started, contact SafetySmart Lilburn or visit www.safetysmartlilburn.org, Lilburn Police Department (770-513-5100) or Gwinnett COPS program (770-513-5000).