Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 by Michael
The troubling results of a survey were released by Legal & General in the United Kingdom this week… Next Door Strangers. Here’s some expert commentary and sample press coverage. From the summary (my emphasis added)…
A survey of 2,000 British residents, covering a range of ages and geographic locations, revealed that more than one quarter (27%) of us say we “do not trust” our neighbours and most of us (59%) feel we neither have a lot in common with nor share the same values (44%) as them.
The report also found that the majority of British residents don’t know their neighbours’ names and wouldn’t recognise them if they passed them in the street (70%). According to the research, on average, we would only immediately recognise just over one in three (37%) of the people from our street.
British neighbourhoods are divided on values and sense of community and responsibility:
- More than a third (35%) of us don’t believe that we should have any responsibility for the safety or security of our neighbourhoods
- Nearly half (44%) don’t accept any responsibility for the safety or security of a neighbour’s property
- One in four (25%) of us admit we’d do nothing if we saw someone hanging around our neighbours’ home suspiciously, either out of fear, embarrassment or indifference
- The majority (61%) never socialise with their neighbours, not even occasionally
- Half of us (50%) do not even enjoy “spending time with” our neighbours.
In contrast to the traditional view of neighbourly duties, 42% of us would not trust our neighbours with our homes when we are not there and over one in three, (36%) when we are on holiday. 78% of respondents said they do not share keys with their neighbours.
This has clear implications for home security. Our findings indicate that people feel less responsibility for looking out for suspicious activity in their street, which, along with taking practical security measures, is one of the best ways of discouraging burglars.
I’d love to see this survey run in the United States… similar results to be expected? And then to see it run in Front Porch Forum‘s pilot service region… I’d wager the sense of community and involvement is significantly better. Also from the report…
Social networking online is the most modern form of socialising and getting to know people. Indeed, it seems some of the values of neighbourliness have shifted online. Many of us are now more ‘neighbourly’ with people on social networks than with those in our street: 34% of social networkers are ‘friends’ with or ‘follow’ people they’ve never met before on Facebook or Twitter but fewer than one in five (19%) are online friends with an actual real-world neighbour.
Only 8% have bothered to check if a neighbour is on a social network site.
But online tools are also a powerful and popular way of learning more about and engaging with your neighbourhood.