Good Neighbours?

William JordanUS Elections Editor
May 14, 2013, 5:11 PM GMT+0

Nearly seven in ten Britons know the names of at least three of their five closest neighbours, but most don’t feel confident they would know if something bad was happening next door

Recently a man of 52 in a suburban area of Cleveland, a large American city, was arrested in relation to the kidnapping, rape and decade-long captivity of three women. The women were discovered on May 6th, when two neighbours heard one of the women shouting for help from inside the man’s house while he was away.

A new YouGov study today reveals that neighbourliness in modern Britain seems to be surviving surprisingly strongly.

The study reveals that 69% of those who can say know the names of at least three neighbours, and almost half (47%) speak to three or more regularly. However, a majority (54%) still think they might not know if domestic violence or other abuse was taking place next door.

The most important factor for how well Britons know their neighbours is age. Less than a quarter of voters aged 18-24 speak regularly to at least three neighbours, compared to more than six in ten (62%) of voters older than 60 who do.

Also distinctive was whether or not the voter in question lives in London. Nearly two thirds (63%) of Londoners don’t speak to more than two neighbours regularly. The most neighbourly region was Scotland, where a majority (52%) talk with at least three neighbours.

The new research also suggested that urbanization has a negative correlation with neighbourliness: while fewer than four in ten city-dwellers talk to three or more neighbours, almost half (48%) of those living in suburban areas and a majority (55%) of villagers do.

However, the survey also found that most Britons (54%) still think they would probably or definitely be unaware if domestic violence or other abuse was going on in a house nearby.

Only 36% think they would know if such crimes were taking place next door.

See the full poll results

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