Most Costa Ricans consider themselves good neighbours, while keeping a distance as a good policy, are the results of a poll by Unimer for La Nacion.
In a survey of 1.200 people across the country interviewed between June 4 and 13 of this year, 65% of the respondents said to not have a bad relationship with with their neighbours.
The warmth between neighbours is more prominent among those over 50 years of age, with a college education and living in rural areas.
The Unimer survey reflects a Tico that is supportive and kind to those who live next door, over half have saying they occasionally keep an eye on each other’s house, while 29% say they do so often.
Conversations about community issues and sharing food is another practice that is common in Tico neighbourhoods. The survey shows that half do so sometimes and 21% often.
The tradition of sharing cooking ingredients and other goods is also present in slums, with 44% of the respondents saying it is an occasional practice and 19% doing so frequently.
However, when it comes to money, most will forget the camarederie and selflessness. 57% of the respondents say they never lend money to a neighbour and only 36% said they do so occasionally.
Peace in Tico neighbourhoods is based on a kind of no-aggression pact: don’t mess with me and I don’t mess with you.
However, that does not mean that every one gets along, all of the time.
Loud noise from music, the screams of soccer games, and children skatboarding in the streets are among the complaints by neighbours that usually end up with calls to 911 and requiring a police response.
Juan José Andrade , director of the Fuerza Publica (police), said that between January 2012 and August 2012, police responded to 23.622 calls generated by some type of noise problem. In 2013, the figure increased to 29.875 calls during the same period.
Andrade explained that in all cases police officials are dispatched to the scene and try to mediate the situaiton. “Every emergency system call is responsed to and every case must be resolved and logged”.
The police director said that the growth in issues between neighbours has required an intensification of training of police chiefs.
Despite the police readiness to respond and resolve, Maria Rosa Ruiz, a neighour of Puente Salas, in Barva de Heredia, speaking to La Nacion said she prefers to stay away from “problem” neighbours.
“When people are touchy, one can hear the screams of the children being abuses or something similar, it is preferable not to get involved or call police, because things can get worse”, said the woman.