Love thy neighbour - but ring the doorbell first, please

Thursday 4 March 2010

Love thy neighbour - but ring the doorbell first, please

  • A third of over 50s are good friends with their neighbours
  • But simply ‘knocking and walking in’ is a distant memory
  • Over 75s receive the most unexpected visits from salesmen, and one in six lets them in without ID

The over 50s still very much abide by the commandment to ‘love thy neighbour’, but are much more cautious of the ‘knock and walk in’ culture in homes of yester-year. Research* by Saga Home Insurance shows that a third (32 per cent) of over 50s know their neighbours well and regularly socialise together, and only four per cent don’t know them at all. Furthermore, friendship and trust appears to strengthen with age - a quarter of 50-54 year olds are close to their neighbours, increasing to almost half (44 per cent) of over 75s.

But when a neighbour pops round for a cup of tea and a chat, the tradition of knocking and walking straight into the kitchen is long gone.

· Three quarters (74 per cent) of over 50s say this is much less common nowadays. Just seven per cent leave their doors unlocked to visitors, while a third (33 per cent) choose to keep them locked at all times.

· The Scots are found to be the most trusting with 14 per cent leaving their doors open, followed by one in 10 (10 per cent) in the North East. Londoners are most careful (two per cent).

Furthermore, Saga’s research finds more than a quarter (28 per cent) of over 50s feel the number of unexpected visitors to their home is on the rise. Worryingly, it is the over 75s - arguably one of the most vulnerable groups - that receives the highest number of unexpected visits from business people: 17 per cent compared to just 11 per cent of 50-54 year olds. While the majority ask for identification first (81 per cent), one in six (17 per cent) admits to simply opening the door and letting them into their home.

Saga Home Insurance recommends keeping valuables, such as rings, watches and personal money out of sight and in a safe and secure place at all times.

In general, the research finds unexpected home visits from friends, family and salesmen increases with age. For example, just over a just over a quarter (29 per cent) of 50-54 year olds’ friends drop in without warning, compared to two fifths (42 per cent) of over 75s’.

Andrew Goodsell, executive chairman, Saga Group, commented: “It is encouraging to see the bonds between neighbours remain strong, but the over 50s are wise to be cautious, especially when receiving unexpected visitors. Always ask to see identification before allowing a salesperson into your home. As a homeowner it is your right to refuse entry if you suspect they might be a bogus visitor.”


Notes to Editors-

* Research conducted via a Saga / Populus poll among 15,688 people aged over 50 between 15th and 22nd January 2010.

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.

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