LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — In part one of 8 News Now’s story on gated communities and home safety, we found nationally, there are fewer residential burglaries in these neighborhoods and less vandalism, speeding and opportunistic crime.

Other studies found gated and ungated neighborhoods with nearly identical rates of burglaries and car thefts.

One definite downside of gated communities? Slower emergency response times.

“I think it’s critical that you get to know your neighbors,” said homeowner Robert Schultz.

The experts agree.

Two of our local leaders with Henderson PD and Metro highlighted the importance of consistently connecting with neighbors.

“If you know your neighbors, you can refer officers to your neighbors,” said Metro Officer Larry Hadfield, “and your neighbors are really going to be wanting to help and assist us in that investigation.”

Henderson PD Sgt. Chris Holman shared, “It’s amazing how, when I’m outside, and I talk with my neighbors, and I see cars driving by, you know, I often will see somebody that I didn’t know lived in the neighborhood because I’m outside now. I get to recognize that there, or we’ll see something that just doesn’t look right, like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen that car before. Why is that person driving like that?'”

Homeowners, both in gated and ungated communities, can fall victim, simply because of lax behavior. There are basic safety steps you can take right now to keep you, your family and your neighborhood safe.

“Lock the door to your house, lock your car at night, just lock your car,” Holman urged. “Don’t give that criminal the opportunity to take advantage of you.”

Police get into specifics, stressing checking the screws on the front door. You want at least 2- to 3-inch screws in the main door of defense.

“I took steps to lock my gates, and we keep our house locked,” Schultz shared. “I put a security door on my front door.”

One things experts say to stop doing is the, “hey, we’re off to Hawaii for two weeks” post.

“My encouragement on social posts is just wait until after you come back from your vacation,” Holman said.

And instead of telling Instagram you’re out of town, tell a trusted neighbor about travel, deliveries or work being done on your home.

“If you have all those friends in your neighborhood, let them know that if you are going to have anything being delivered to your house, if you’re expecting someone to come over and check, let them know,” Hadfield suggested.

Police also advise taking any valuables and the garage clicker out of the car. They recommend home defense measures and security cameras, as well as registering those cameras through a program, like Capture, which can assist police in catching a criminal.

“I don’t think there’s a difference between a gated and ungated communities,” said Schultz.

Whichever community you live in, it seems much of the safety of family and our home ultimately falls on the shoulders of our neighbors, and us.

“My experiences are as an officer for 20 years now, is that crime can happen anywhere,” Hadfield said.