Did you know that Tuesday, May 27th was European Neighbours Day? Well, until a press release winged its way into my inbox on Thursday last, I hadn’t the foggiest.
Anyway, to mark that particular day, the findings of a Red C-conducted survey were published by Top Security which suggests that Munster residents prefer to leave home security details with family or friends rather than neighbours. Nothing too surprising in that, I would have thought.
Such a finding hardly warranted the headline which accompanied the press release, which claimed that: ‘New Survey reveals Munster Residents least trusting of their Neighbours.’ Well, depending on what way one likes to spin stats, it didn’t really say that at all.
Among the working parents demograph, there are many living in the suburban areas of our towns and cities who don’t really know too many of their neighbours.
After all, one is hardly going to share your alarm code with a stranger who might be living two doors away, someone you’re unlikely to develop a kinship with due to working hours.
But getting back to the survey, Red C’s work revealed that 81 per cent of Munster residents “prefer to leave a key or alarm code with a family member or friend than their neighbour”.
Dublin residents surveyed among the 1,000 polled nationwide were revealed as the “most trusting with 42 per cent giving a spare set of house keys to neighbour”.
Alluding to a point made previously, the survey’s findings suggest that “those aged 25 to 34 and those originally from outside Ireland” are more likely to keep home security details in the family.
The survey’s press release writer suggests that this means this section is “most likely not to trust their neighbours” which is a rather unfair description of such an action in this reporter’s view.
However, there is no concealing the increasingly consensual view that this survey’s findings re-enforces that the idea of community in many parts of Ireland is increasingly notional.
“The fact that more than a third of Irish people do not trust their neighbour with their house keys is an unfortunate symptom of modern Irish life,” said Top Security Chairman Emmet O’Rafferty.
“In the 70s and early 80s Ireland experienced a big increase in crime which significantly changed Irish people’s attitudes to both home and personal security- people became less carefree and more guarded. Unfortunately the strong sense of community has all but disappeared from Irish life and this is confirmed by the survey results.”
He continued: “While vigilance is no substitute for strong home security, including a monitored alarm, I would encourage everyone to go out and get to know those living around them. Because when it comes to home security your neighbours can be a great ally.”
Of course it would be beneficial to the lifeblood of any community if more of us, and this is no longer just a city dweller’s issue, knew those living around us better than we do.
Of course, if you’re living in a neighbourhood where several investment homes are rented out, the chances are there’s little to be gained by getting to know a neighbour who’s pretty much ‘here today, gone tomorrow’.
Buy by getting involved in bodies such as local residents’ associations or, if you’re living in a dormitory town, by become an active local citizen; you’re certainly doing yourself a favour. To borrow a movie phrase, it pays to enter a wider ‘circle of trust’.
When it comes to going on holiday, leaving a key with a neighbour has huge advantages over giving it to a sibling living on the other side of the county and no-one can argue with that.
While there’s a semantics debate to be had over the phrasing of this particular press release, there’s no doubt that it revealed some interesting findings. These included:
* Three in four Irish adults (75 per cent) prefer to leave their house keys and alarm codes with a family member or friend rather than neighbours, despite knowing their neighbours
* Those aged over 45 are more likely to tell neighbours they are going away and also to leave a key with them
* Just nine per cent of Irish adults tell their neighbours they are going away for one day but this rises to just under 30 per cent when going away for up to one week
* Another 13 per cent stated setting their alarm and 15 per cent said they notify their alarm monitoring company that they are going away and
* One in three Irish adults (35 per cent) leave their house keys with neighbours, while one in five (22 per cent) have given them their alarm code.