We Could Solve A Lot Of Societal Issues By Befriending Our Neighbors

Go do a police ride-along for a bit and see what you learn.

Ted Bauer

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Probably around early June, I did a ride-along with Fort Worth Police because I was going to be a neighborhood volunteer, cruising and looking for anything off-kilter. I was with the cops for six hours. We almost exclusively got “welfare check” calls, some of which were obviously pretty depressing. No one was dead, but someone had been living essentially in their own filth for two weeks, with no one reaching out to them except whoever called the cops to get the welfare check. That particular house was on a street with 12 houses on each side, so 24 in total. As I sat in the car, I thought to myself: “Couldn’t one of the people in these 23 houses have checked on him before the cops were called?”

That’s a simplistic discussion, without question, and I know people lead busy lives, or potentially some of those houses are vacant or have renters or whatever. I get it. It’s not a perfect argument. But I think about this stuff a lot. In September 2020, I moved to the Oakhurst section of Fort Worth, which is kinda north and east of downtown. I actually wrote an article for a local paper about the neighborhood. The neighborhood has definitely been a strong addition to my life in a time of lots of other bullshit and chaos. I know a lot of my neighbors, I check in on some of the older ones, and there’s a Friday night dinner group which is pretty cool. It’s a good place. At this moment, I cannot and could not imagine living anywhere else.

I probably know 25–50 of my neighbors all-in, which is still a small number when you consider that there’s 750–1,000 people living in the area. So it’s not massive, no. But it makes a difference, yes.

This, however, is not common in America: 1 in 6 people don’t even know their neighbors’ names. Now there’s an argument that “the traditional myth of the American neighborhood has eroded.” 57% of Americans in one survey say they know 0–1 of their neighbors.

So why is this happening?

The culprits I think most people would point to would be:

  • Polarization
  • People lead busy lives and are stressed

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.