I always try to imagine it back in the day.
Figure there was an expectation among free men that you have the necessary training and skill with your arms to serve as part of the watch, part of the militia. I imagine that training levels were probably poor on a formal organized level (situation dependent) and better among select individuals. Your local government, likely your neighbors had an expectation that you would do your part. Failure to live up to that expectation likely meant a shunning, or at the very least a good talking to.
We have traded freedom from the watch and militia for a responsibility for our personal safety 24/7. No one is watching you while you sleep. No one walks your neighborhood looking for bad guys, at least in the vast majority of neighborhoods. The state is too large, too indifferent. The community no longer is integrated where you know the guy who makes your horseshoes, grows your grain and mayors your town.
The fact that people have this responsibility to themselves, to their families does not register with everyone. Their denial does not mean that it does not exist.
Proxima est Mors, Malum Nullum adhibit Misericordiam