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By getting to know your neighbors and their routines, and them doing the same for you, a lot of valuable information can be learned. If you become familiar with each other's basic schedules and routines, irregularities become more glaring.
Seeing a strange car in a neighbor's driveway when you know they are not home, or a door or window open when it should not be, could be a sign of something suspicious. Noticing things that are out of place is the most common way for a member of the neighborhood to help local law enforcement stop crimes before anyone gets hurt.
If something seems suspicious it is better to be safe than sorry. Communicating with your neighbors keeps everyone safer. Have a cell phone number for neighbors and call them if you notice anything unusual around their house while they are away. Ask them to do the same for you.
If you cannot get in touch with them you can always ask your local police to do an extra run through the area to make sure security is not compromised.