/ Home & Energy

Why don’t we trust our neighbours any more?

Two front doors

Apparently four in ten of us wouldn’t ‘trust’ our neighbours to keep an eye on our homes when we’re on holiday. Is this just another meaningless statistic, or have we really lost our sense of neighbourliness?

Survey results by Legal and General paint a pretty grim picture of this country’s streets and neighbourhoods.

A quarter of us don’t trust our neighbours at all, let alone to watch our homes when we’re away. A little hypocritical when a third of us don’t think we should take any responsibility for security in our neighbourhoods.

And one in five of us wouldn’t bother doing anything if we saw someone acting suspiciously around a neighbour’s home, because of fear, embarrassment, ‘assuming they had a right to be there’ or indifference.

Have things really got this bad?

Is now the moment to start harking back to the ‘good old days’ when cheery neighbours were forever chatting to one another over the garden fence like in everyone’s favourite Australian soap opera?

Presumably this problem of trust is tied up with whether we actually know who our neighbours are, or worse, if we’ve been forced to get to know them too well.

And so the results aren’t that surprising when half of us know more about the daily lives of our favourite celebs than the lives of our neighbours.

Everybody needs good neighbours

I’d hardly say my neighbourly relationships have been of Ramsay Street proportions, but I can’t help think things are more positive on the ground than on paper.

Living in a house that’s been converted into a flat, it’d be difficult for me not to get to know my immediate neighbours. We’re not the best of friends, but our joint effort to do up the property’s hallway has helped us get to know each other.

As did going through the unpleasant experience of living alongside an anti-social, later evicted, neighbour. This, rather than making me less trustful of those living nearby, actually helped to forge stronger relationships with everyone else.

Because, after all, neither you nor your neighbours can depend on Facebook friends to watch your home when you’re not there…


Interesting – Two of my neighbours always ask me to look after their houses when they go on holiday – I reciprocate – BUT – I virtually don’t know the rest of neighbours at all –

They do not speak English – and mainly arrived in the last few years since the EU opened the UK to people from Eastern Europe.

I am sorry to say until the situation is ‘normalised” I wouldn’t trust most of my neighbours farther than I could throw them – ie not at all.

I find this report quite depressing. My neighbours are a big part of the reason I’m happy living where I am. We’ve become very good friends with one set of neighbours, and are lucky enough to be able to borrow things, look after each other’s children and go out socially. We’re on regular speaking terms with at least three other sets of neighbours – they’ll never be great friends but we stop to chat when we see them and would happily help them out when they need it and vice versa. I particularly try to help out the elderly man next door by giving him veggies from our garden.
I appreciate not everyone is lucky enough to be in this situation, and I’m not trying to make myself out to be the perfect neighbour, but you do need to make a bit of effort to get a dialogue going.

40 years ago I knew about 90 % of my neighbours – Now it is less than 10% and that is because 70% have left or died and the new neighbours are NOT interested in friendship. There are a few new ones interested in “neighbourliness” but very few. Just FIVE in 40 years..

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Interestingly more than half of us think nosey neighbours are the best way to prevent burglary – Esure research even says 62% of us want our neighbours to snoop more to make us feel safe at home.

Looks like Neighbourhood Watch needs to expand even further.

steve johnson says:
5 April 2011

Communities can be made or destroyed by what type of developments take place in your area,if councils collaborate with greedy developers the area soon goes down hill.I’m not just saying that from a snobbish point of view.Purely profit driven housing doesn’t make for stable,therefore neighbourly,communities.