Who Are My Neighbors?

Know your neighbors
By Ben Hartwig
10 March, 2020

Whether you live in the city or suburbs, in a heavily populated area or a quieter neighborhood, you have surely wondered who lives near you. This may be a simple curiosity, a community-building thought or a question of safety, but a good thing to know. There are multiple ways to go about obtaining this information, which this article explores below.

Online Registries

There are a number of street listing registries available to individuals seeking to understand who their neighbors happen to be. Some are private databases, and some are gathered from public records, such as real estate deeds. Some tools are free, while others require a nominal fee. A good place to start is with a simple online search. Try typing in “find out who lives on my street” or “street listings [name of your town/neighborhood]. You will then see options come up for sites that house related information. The listings that come up as search engine ads are usually those that have a fee, but click into the different options to assess which one offers the type of information that is helpful to you.

The online registries are likely to include:

  • White pages type listings
  • Sex offender registries
  • Real estate ownership records
  • Reverse address lookup services
  • Arrest records

Public Records of Your Neighbors

Public records of your neighbors

These sites and services, combined with public records that may be available at your city or town hall can provide a range of data about your neighbors, including:

  • The names of your neighbors
  • The ages of your neighbors
  • The genders of your neighbors
  • How many people live in neighboring households
  • How long your neighbors have owned the property or have lived at the property
  • Whether any of your neighbors have arrest records
  • Whether any of your neighbors are convicted sex offenders
  • The political party your neighbors belong to
  • Your neighbors’ addresses, phone numbers and emails

Physical Sources of Information

Other sources of information about your neighbors include town hall records, registry of real estate deeds, and local libraries, which have census records from previous years. This information is usually available free of charge, but may take some time to look up.

Defining Neighbors

It is important to give some thought to what exactly constitutes a neighbor in your neighborhood. You might live in an apartment complex, and be largely curious about the people that live in your building, or your floor. You may live on a suburban cul-de-sac where your kids like to play outside, and knowing all the people that live there could be what gives you the needed peace of mind about safety. Even if you live in a rural area, with the nearest neighbor a few miles away, having information about your surrounding neighbors could be helpful. The type of dwelling or neighborhood in which you live can also dictate how often your neighbors change: cities tend to have more people pass through after living for a few years, whereas family suburbs will have people that are more rooted in the community.

Hosting Social and Community Events

Hosting Social and Community Events

If your main reason for wanting to get to know your neighbors is to get more social connections, you may want to consider hosting a gathering. If inviting people to your home is a bit daunting, a block party may be the way to go. If you do choose to host an event at your house, keep the guest list small, so you can interact with people for a while and really get to know them. Gatherings are a great time to ask how long your neighbors have been in the community, who lives with them, and who else they know from the neighborhood.

Organizing a community project, such as spring planting or a neighborhood crime watch is also a great way to get to know your neighbors in a more organic way, while working hand in hand to make your community better.

Having a familiarity with who lives near you can provide you with peace of mind and community support. It helps people, especially children and the elderly find companionship in their daily lives. It sets up people to help one another should someone experience a tough time. Most importantly, it allows you to develop a sense of comfort and a feeling of safety within your community. No matter which method you utilize to dig deeper into who lives around you, it is a worthwhile effort that can improve the quality of your life.

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