Co-op Insurance survey suggests ways to keep neighbourhoods safe

The research also pointed out that more could be done to strengthen relationships to create close-knit communities.

A new report by Co-op Insurance and charity Neighbourhood Watch revealed that communities across the UK are working together to keep their neighbourhoods safe.

However, the research also pointed out that more could be done to strengthen relationships to create close-knit communities.

The report – A Neighbourly Nation: Through the Keyhole – is based on a survey of 2,000 households conducted on behalf of Co-op Insurance by Atomik Research.

According to the survey, half of UK homeowners know most of their neighbours by name (54%), while 29% trust them with their key. Around 98% of people think they are good neighbours and almost a third (30%) say they get on better with neighbours now than they did five years ago. However, two in five people in Britain (45%) have had a disagreement with their neighbours.

The study also shows homeowners and renters have different relationships with their neighbours: while 16% of homeowners admit to complaining to their neighbour, only 8% of those renting do so.

Common causes of neighbourly disputes include noise (10%), parking (9%), music (8%) and barking dogs (8%). More than a quarter of UK homeowners and renters have had a party and played loud music after 11pm (28%).

The survey found that 31% of UK homeowners and renters would go outside to check all was okay if they heard an alarm and 26% of people would look out of the window to see which house or car an alarm was coming from.

The report suggests “more can be done to strengthen meaningful relationships that form the foundations of a close-knit community”. Only one in seven people (15%) have invited their neighbours over to their home and almost a quarter (24%) think they are a good neighbour because they keep themselves to themselves.

Caroline Hunter, head of home insurance at the Co-op Group, says: “It’s wonderful to see that so many people are helping their neighbours out on a daily basis and many consider themselves to be friends, but perhaps there is more we could do to really get to know the people living nearby.

“Increasingly, we all lead busier lives, and while often we think we are being good neighbours, how well do we really know our neighbours? For those who want to, taking a little extra time to build meaningful relationships with those around us, can help to strengthen our communities and make them safer places to live.”

David Huse, OBE, chair of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, said: “Being a good neighbour has huge benefits and makes your community friendlier and safer too.

“By looking out for your neighbours, watching out for those who are elderly or vulnerable and sharing crime prevention advice you can help keep you and your neighbours safe and your homes secure.”

Responding to the survey’s findings, Co-op Insurance invited members to answer a series of questions to see what makes a good neighbour. Traits of a good neighbour mentioned include looking out for each other and keeping an eye on a fellow neighbour’s house, being sociable and friendly, being helpful, kind, caring and respectful.

Co-op Insurance has also created a Good Neighbour Guide. Already, 2.3 million households in England and Wales identify as members of Neighbourhood Watch – the largest crime prevention community in Britain.