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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Neighbors calling out other neighbors for not following social distancing rules

Some people are ratting out their neighbors for breaking the rules during this coronavirus pandemic - both to the police and on social media.

SAN DIEGO — You're doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19, but what happens when your neighbors aren't following the same rules? Some San Diegans are calling the police on their neighbors while others are turning to the internet, where social distance-shaming has gotten ugly.

The Nextdoor website was created to make neighbors more neighborly, but check out these recent posts: 

“You're a moron”. 

“Shut up yuppie - you don't get it.” 

“Born with about 4 brain cells”.

“I think we really need to try to be empathetic for our fellow man,” says Dr. Michael Lardon. 

The local psychiatrist said he isn't surprised to see the aggressive behavior. 

“People act out in many ways when they're under extreme stress and we all are under extreme stress right now," said Lardon.

Most of the ugliness seems to center between people who are, and are not, following the orders of government officials to stay home. Police have been out enforcing the rules and said people are obeying verbal warnings. So far, they have not written any citations.

“As a whole, San Diegans are absolutely adhering to the mandate,” said San Diego Police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi. “We're really encouraged by what we're seeing.”

Takeuchi said they have gotten calls from people wanting to report neighbors not social distancing, but he said that following up on all of those calls would be impossible.

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“The police department can't take on 100% of this responsibility," said Takeuchi. "We don't have the manpower, nor do we live in a country where you want officers going door-to-door conducting these checks that people are complying.”

Takeuchi said they are prioritizing calls questioning open businesses. 

“If it is an essential business, for example, an auto repair store - that facility would be allowed to remain open and continue to operate, but if it's a non-essential business, education alone has been resolving those issues,” said Takeuchi. 

Many of these rules are confusing, especially since they constantly change and different cities have different laws, but the one constant is that we're all in this together.

“The bullying piece - I'm not sure that's the way to go,” said Lardon. "You know, maybe [try] a gentle education and a consideration.” 

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