Should we trust each other?

Do you trust your neighbor? Your co-workers? The employee swiping your credit card at a store or restaurant? Members of your local government? Drivers on the road?

A new poll by the Associated Press conducted last month found that only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted, while nearly two-thirds of respondents believe “you can’t be too careful.”

Social scientists, according to an AP story, are concerned by this trend. A society full of distrust makes everyday compromises more difficult, makes politics more complicated and creates citizens unwilling to even offer the simplest of help to one another, such as helping someone stranded on the highway.

As society becomes more dependent on electronic methods of paying at stores, online shopping and other technology that doesn’t require actual interaction with other humans, distrust will continue to grow.

Certainly not everyone feels that way. Residents of small towns across the nation generally still know their neighbors and stop to help someone stranded by the road or someone needing vehicle assistance. Still, changes are evident.

In North Dakota, where some residents of small and large cities have in the past not felt the need to lock their homes or vehicles, growing populations in some cities have begun to erode those attitudes. That’s not to say residents of Minot or Burlington don’t trust anybody. We still believe that a vast majority of residents are trustworthy. But like the majority of responders to the AP?poll, we also believe you can’t be too careful nowadays.