A few decades back, news spread pretty fast when someone new moved into a close-knit neighborhood. Whether it is common curiosity or the warm community spirit, you would make a point of dropping by to say hello - with a freshly baked muffin basket if you were feeling extra generous. The new neighbors were warmly welcomed to the community and you would eagerly await an opportunity to get to know them better.
But in today’s fast-paced urban neighborhoods, you could literally go on for months without ever meeting your new neighbors. A study by Pew Research Centre brings disturbing context to this modern-day social reality. A 57 percent of Americans were found to know only ‘some of their neighbors’, while a mere 29 percent knew ‘most of them’. According to a State Farm report, only 41 percent of people surveyed claimed that they were welcomed into a neighborhood when they first moved in. And it is alarming to note that this trend seems to get worse each year.
With demanding work schedules, more and more people are engulfed in their own busy lives and rarely make the effort to find out who is living next door. Yet, there are many reasons why getting to know your neighbors would have a critical impact on you and your family as well as the entire neighborhood community. Here are our top three reasons, which you should take heed of.
1. Ensuring Safety and Security of Loved Ones
While vacant properties are known to increase crime rates, bad neighbors could equally risk the safety of your family and that of others within the neighborhood. Incidents of domestic violence to theft, drugs and criminal offenses can profoundly shake the everyday lives of a peaceful and decent neighborhood.
Safety of you and your family, especially that of children, cannot be taken lightly in a technology-driven world submerged in unpredictability and obscurity, where distinguishing the good, bad and the ugly is no easy task. Fabricated identities have become accessible to anyone looking to sink into the shadows of anonymity and start a fresh life with a new storyline.
Given the influx of data and statistics, you cannot possibly become overly cautious to protect your family. This is why the importance of getting to know your neighbors cannot be overstressed for ensuring a safe neighborhood. From light-hearted conversations with the new neighbors to slightly more intrusive social media searches, people resort to various means that are accessible to them.
In the recent few years, online background search sites such as Nuwber have also grown in popularity for their affordable, fast and accurate services. These sites are able to access a broad network of information sources and databases including social media platforms and public records to uncover a comprehensive set of details using a simple piece of information such as an individual’s name, address, phone number or an email address. These background screenings could include personal details such as address, property ownership and credit ratings as well as a person’s career history and employer details. They can even provide you with reports on any minor or major criminal offenses, from traffic violations to more serious criminal records so that you can sleep at night with the assurance of a peaceful and safe neighborhood.
2. Sense of Community and Social Belongingness
As people today spend a staggering amount of time engaging with their online communities while growing further apart from real-world interactions, the benefits of one-on-one social engagement is undeniable. After all, the sense of community and social belongingness Maslow speaks about are some of the most fundamental human needs for social, mental and physical wellbeing.
A 4-year study by the University of Michigan covering over 5,000 Americans reports that living in a good neighborhood fostering trusted social interactions could reduce the likelihood of heart attacks and reduce the risk of strokes by as much as 48% in adults over 50 years of age.
A friendly conversation over a cup of coffee with your neighbor can have a more profound impact than you may assume. Supportive relationships and social interactions are essential for mental and physical wellbeing.
Harnessing the many social as well as emotional and physical health benefits of those long drawn out conversations and the neighborly banter is especially important in today’s context where building human relationships has been overshadowed by an urgency to achieve and succeed, and accumulate wealth to live the American dream.
Whether you are borrowing sugar from your neighbor or getting some help to keep an eye on the kids, or simply sharing some home-made cookies, having great neighbors has the potential to extend beyond social support to help build a lasting friendship.
3. Impact on Property Value
The Appraisal Institute reports that your property value can be reduced by up to 10% due to a bad neighbor. The impact your neighbors could have on the property value of your local area is very real, which makes it one of the top reasons for you to find out more about who is moving into your neighborhood.
A decent and peaceful community with great neighbors is a definite boost for real estate value and is one of the top criteria for selecting a house for most people. This is also one of the things you should definitely stress to any potential buyer when you are putting your house in the market.
In a world where people are drawn into their digital worlds with increasingly less involvement in their physical surroundings, breaking away from your sedentary lifestyle and walking out of your front door to have real human conversations and to engage in your community can yield surprising benefits – from safety and security to social support, mental wellbeing and even financial gains.
So, whether you decide to do a more in-depth screening with a background search website like Nuwber or plan to drop by with a bottle of wine for a casual chat, making an effort to get to know your neighbors is definitely a wise choice. Because who knows, spending some time getting to know them better could end up making trusted friends for life.