Are your neighbours murderers? A slightly alarmist title but I think it's justified. Have a read about Khyra Ishaq and Victoria ClimbiÃ©. Two young children who starved to death. Not as a result of displacement, war or famine; not even in a nation famed for those things or neglect. They died in the UK in this decade. If the article is too long for you to read here's a precis: Victoria was sent to England from the Ivory Coast. The idea was her aunt would provide her with a better life. She was tortured and then murdered at eight years old. Her aunt believed she was possessed. Khyra lived with her mother, her mothers' partner and various other children. At seven years old she died of starvation. Neighbours reported that the kids had eaten bread they'd thrown out for birds. Two extreme cases and according to a UK charity not unusual. Demographics have changed over the years, we are so often busy at work all day and come home to flop in front of the TV. I'm sure some areas so have more of a community spirit where neighbours are more involved with each other, but this seems a long way from most of our lifestyles. What constantly surprises me is the lack of social services' involvement in these cases. How can they not do a simple follow up? Over-work, too few trained staff, fear of the people they're supposed to investigate. Is this a result of cutbacks or an increase in child abuse - or an increase in the report of child abuse. While some of those reports might well be down to the nanny state - "Oh no little boy got a little smack on his butt for being naughty" - are we all turning into such uncaring bastards that we are oblivious to crimes like these? This isn't a debate about what is and is not abuse; I think we can all agree beating an eight year old with bicycle chains would count. So how well do you know your neighbours? The lady three doors down from me could be a raging alcoholic, my next door neighbour might be a child molester. Do you believe you'd spot something like a Khyra or Victoria next door to you? I'd like to say I'd notice, but in honesty I probably wouldn't. Providing the locale is quiet, I tend not to bother too much.