Everyone knows that it’s good to have neighborly neighbors keeping watch out for thieves and other signs of danger in the neighborhood, but sometimes they can take things just a bit too far.
For example, if you see someone speeding in the neighborhood or failing to clean up after their dog has done its business, would you rat on them?
A survey by SafeHome.org, a resource and research firm that’s focused on neighborhood safety and security, quizzed more than 1,000 Americans recently to find out what they will, and won’t, tolerate from their neighbors.
The survey found that almost one in five respondents admitted to doing illegal activity of some kind within or near to their residence. And 22% of that number said they had been caught doing it by their neighbors. Some were reported to the police, but in most cases their neighbors would look the other way.
The most common offense was drinking in public, which 20% of respondents admitted to doing. Of those, 9% reported that their neighbors called the police on them. Other common offenses included speeding in the neighborhood and smoking weed, with 18% and 17% of respondents admitting to those particular deeds but their neighbors didn’t seem to fussed, with just 6% and 4% being reported on. More concerning for neighbors appears to be people who create lots of noise. Of the 11% of people who admitted to violating noise ordinances, more than a quarter were reported to the police.
Altogether, 15% of respondents said they had called the cops on a neighbor after seeing them break some kind of law, the survey showed. The 38% of neighbors who reported overlooking an offense said they did so because it doesn’t bother them. But 18% said they overlooked the problem even though it did bother them, because they didn’t want to upset their neighbors.
As to which offenses neighbors were most likely to report, property theft and property damage were top of the list. The survey found that 58% of respondents would likely call the cops if they saw property theft, with 31% saying its unlikely and 11% undecided. Drinking in public and illegal parking are the least likely offenses to be reported, with just 27% of respondents saying they’d be likely to call the cops over that.
SafeHomes said the survey results show that most neighbors are relatively forgiving of their neighbors when it comes to committing more trivial, non-violent crimes.
“While most will forgive things like drinking and smoking in the vicinity, property theft and damage will likely have you dealing with concerned neighbors or even the police,” it said.