Neighbors see each other and each other’s children on a near daily basis. Plus “eyes on the street” are an anathema to malefactors.
The push towards suburbia after WW2 turned houses around for private backyard porch living. City dwellers often sat outside the front doors or on the fire escapes and were as good as today’s security cameras but infinitely more personal.
Throw in community policing and instead of a bunch of strangers, you have a neighborhood every bit as communal as small towns.
I lived in both Ghent Square and Ghent. Nice areas both of them. But older Ghent had the classic prewar homes with big front porches with swings and chairs. Maybe we ought to consider the value of seeing our neighbors daily instead of annual block parties and occasional cookouts.
Less “freedom is not wearing a mask” and more “what can I do to help keep my neighbors safe”. With both armed and unarmed community policing and conflict resolvers known to the neighborhood perhaps, over time, respect and trust can replace fear and suspicion.
Just a thought.