Be a grouch, be a victim - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Be a grouch, be a victim

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

No one wants to be a crime victim, so how do you stay safe?  Be a social butterfly.

Getting to know your neighbors isn't just for building friendships anymore.

"Law enforcement can't do it alone.  It has to be a community effort," said Terry Thurman, assistant chief of the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable's Office.  "It's real important that you know the neighbors and share activities, share information."

If you don't get to know your neighbors, it's the same as giving the other team an advantage.

"If your neighbor knows you don't own a pick-up truck but they see one backed up to your house, they will know to call you, call local law enforcement," said Thurman.

Yvonne Gunter has lived in her home for 22 years and does not know her neighbors, but she used to.

"Years ago, it was standard for people to know their neighbors," said Gunter.  "It was standard.  It was friendly then.  Now, I don't think so."

"I've been here 15 years," said Michael Beall.  "Jack's been here a little bit longer.  Jack lives directly across.  Jack has adult sons.  Michael lives over there.  We went to rival high schools.  This is a new move in here.  They just came in from New Mexico."

Beall clearly knows his neighbors.  On this "National Night Out", it's a great time for you to get to know yours.

"I was taking a walk last night and somebody was passing out this flier," says David Fang.

Thanks to that "National Night Out" flier, Fang met his neighbor across the street for the first time when he introduced himself and asked if she would be attending.

"I know the purpose is to prevent crime.  If the neighbors know each other, they can watch out for each other," said Fang.

The key to getting to know your neighbors is to make the first move.  

"Chit chat and email each other," said Beall.  "Getting to know your neighbor is just basically old school.  It's how I grew up."

"National Night Out" is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Assistant Chief Thurman said it's also important for business owners and workers to get to know their neighbors.  

As for Beall, he won't spend this "National Night Out" meeting new neighbors, but you will often find him outside giving tips to youngsters.  

"Jason lives right there," he said.  "He's not married yet.  He has a serious girlfriend.  I look out for the kids, you know, giving them advice on how I grew up and how I've been together 21 years with my wife.  I tell the young men always say good morning (to their wives).  Don't wake up mad or go to bed mad."

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