Our Northwest

Homeowners feel safer in their 'hoods than renters

Wednesday, March 25, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

Do you know all of your nearest neighbors? I don't.
   But I know far more than in my early adult years, when as a renter I knew few of them. And that pretty much matches the results of our latest PEMCO Poll.
   PEMCO learned from 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents that renters worry more than homeowners do about the safety of their neighborhood. Six out of 10 homeowners are not concerned about neighborhood safety, and they're twice as likely as renters to know most of their neighbors.
   This suggests a correlation between knowing your neighbors, trust, and feeling safe.
   Homeowners (54%) also are more likely than renters (29%) to tell their neighbors when they'll be gone, like for a weekend or vacation.
   We also learned that whether they rent or not, people age 55 and up are more likely to tell their neighbors when they'll be gone, 60% versus 38% for younger people.
   That could be because older folks are more established in their neighborhoods. People 55+ have lived in their homes 16 years on average, while residents under 35 have been in their homes just five years.
   When my wife and I leave town, we let the next-door neighbors know. They keep an eye on our place, pick up our mail, and collect the morning Seattle Times (yes, I'm old-school and still like to read a newspaper over breakfast) from our porch, rather than leave it as a tell-tale signal to crooks, “Hey, look, we’re gone!”
   And when our neighbors leave town, we reciprocate.
   The family next door to us fits the description of a good neighbor. Our poll asked Northwest residents how they classify their neighbors as either "great" or "bad." We were told that great neighbors are helpful, trustworthy, reasonable, and keep a respectful distance.
   Bad neighbors host loud parties with many guests, aren't trustworthy or respectful, have noisy or wandering pets, and don't take pride in maintaining their homes and cars.
   Here's hoping you live next to great neighbors.

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