Everybody needs good neighbours: Communities urged to foster the street party spirit to help reduce burglaries.
20 April 2011
As the nation prepares to come together to celebrate the royal wedding, research by Legal & General’s general insurance business suggests more than two out of three (70%) people won’t even know the names of their neighbours. The home insurer also found that just over a third of us (37%) would immediately be able to recognise a neighbour if they sat opposite them at a table.
With 4,000 applications* for street parties already submitted and Mr Cameron calling for communities to get together, people will have a great chance to establish who’s who on their street and build better relationships with their neighbours, which may be very beneficial in protecting their homes in the future.
The results from Legal & General’s Next Door Strangers research** highlight just how much Britain’s society has changed in the 30 years since Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married in 1981. At the time, Britain had a right old knees up with an estimated ten million street party-goers reported to have revelled in events. Now, half (50%) of us do not even enjoy “spending time with” our neighbours.
Even more alarmingly, British neighbourhoods are divided on values, sense of community and responsibility:
- More than one quarter (27%) of us say we “do not trust” our neighbours
- 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 neighbours’ property
Mike Lawler, Direct & Affinity Director at Legal & General’s general insurance business, said:
“The royal wedding provides an excellent opportunity for people to get to know their neighbours and so build up a trusted network of people to keep an eye out for each other. Taking the chance to introduce yourself to your neighbours will help you to enlist the best deterrent in the fight against burglary – a vigilant neighbour.
Although the research showed that a third of us (34%) are happy to be ‘friends’ on social networking sites with people we’ve never met before, we don’t seem to have the same interest in people who are on our doorsteps. Yet having someone looking out for suspicious activity in their street or checking on a neighbours’ property, are both great ways to help to discourage burglars.
If you are attending a street party or away from your home over the bank holidays, don’t forget to secure your home while you are out. The following home security and safety tips from Legal & General, which are also available at http://www.legalandgeneral.com/good-neighbours may help to ensure the safety of your home:
- Use security devices ALL the time.
- Check your burglar alarm works or consider installing one if you don’t have one already. These should be regularly checked in accordance with the installer’s or manufacturer’s recommendations, which normally suggest annually.
- Check window and door locks carry the British Standards Kitemark.
- Lock doors and windows when leaving home, even if it’s only for a few minutes to collect some plates for your street party.
- Make sure your shed and any other outbuildings are secure.
- Don’t advertise your absence. As well as obviously cancelling the milk and papers before you go on holiday over the Easter and bank holiday periods ask a neighbour, friend or relative to push mail through the letterbox so it can’t be seen and to move wheelie bins back into position after collection.
- Prune shrubs and hedges near the property to minimise the cover burglars may use to hide.
- Make sure wheelie bins are secured as they can be used as an alternative ladder.
- Don’t leave valuables in view.
- Don’t let strangers into your home without proof of identity.
Notes to editors
* The Local Government Association: http://www.lga.gov.uk/lga/core/page.do?pageId=17712739
**The survey was conducted by Opinion Matters, an independent pan-European market research agency, between 27 April and 11 May 2010. A total of 2003 people were polled across the UK.
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