Love thy neighbour, or mind your own business?

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cartoon_houseSo last night, well early this morning we were woken at about 2.30am to an argument at our neighbours across the road. The ladies boyfriend or friend or whoever he is, turned up and wanted to see her. There were numerous expletives when she wouldn’t let him in the front door. The yelling went on for what seemed like forever but was probably about 5 minutes.

He lost it at one point screaming at the top of his lungs things that I can’t repeat, but then followed it up by I don’t want to hurt you. Yeah mate, I’m sure she wasn’t scared of you at all.

So I lay there in bed wide awake, with a protective puppy curled up on my feet, and my mind started racing. Hubby mumbled why doesn’t she call the police. And I thought, what if she can’t, what if he’s got in and has a gun or a knife just like the ones from and is threatening her? She has a small baby, probably not even a year old yet, what if he tries to harm her daughter. What if he hurt them and they lay there all night injured. Dramatic, yes. Maybe I’ve been watching too much CSI or seen too many Law and Order promo’s. But these were my concerns at 2.30am this morning nonetheless.

Finally the yelling seemed to die down and we heard another neighbour come and check on the situation with the ‘boyfriend’ replying, sorry mate, and then it sounded like what appeared to be him leaving. And so I hope that is the end of that, and we don’t have a repeat performance for the poor girl’s sake and our street’s sake.

Had it continued or had she screamed or something similar I would have called the cops without a moment’s hesitation. I tried to look out the window to check if she was ok without being seen, but it was a bit tricky. These sorts of situations are so hard and there’s always the question of whether to get involved or not. Like I said he could have easily had a gun or knife. And clearly he was drunk, on drugs, or highly enraged or all of the above. And yes while that does sound dramatic, unfortunately even just through watching the daily news this is now how I think.

What would you have done in this situation? Had it have escalated would you have got involved? Do you believe that as a society we tend to think the worst of people in these situations and are therefore reluctant to step in?

  • Jodie at Mummy Mayhem
    December 9, 2009

    Getting involved in domestic issues is tricky. Our old next door neighbour had a huge fight with his brother one night. There were bottles thrown and raised voices and some not so nice language shouted. We called the police because it went on a bit, and were worried if it scared our boys. We asked the police not to say it was us, or knock at our door.

    We knew a guy who confronted some drunken guy outside his house one night. The guy left and came back minutes later with a knife and stabbed him several times. Fortunately, he survived.

    Food for thought.

  • Ben
    December 10, 2009

    Its an interseting question isn’t it? When do you get involved????

    Ami you said if it had gone on any longer you would have called the cops…what if it had got violent before that point??? do you then feel guilty for not calling them earlier??? or what if you call the cops early and it turns out that there was never an issue and it was just a general arguement that we’ve all had at some stage in our lives???

    Its one of those awful positions that complete strangers put you in, that you have a high chance of getting wrong. However me, personaly i would like to think i was the type of person that stepped in early rather than later. Better off looking like a nosy neighbour, than somebody getting hurt or killed.

  • Ami
    December 10, 2009

    I’m still thinking about this incident 2 days later and I agree with both of you, Jodie and Ben. I’d rather be a nosy neighbour than someone lose their life, but I would only do it anonymously for fear of your example Jodie, that someone would then know where I live and get violent towards me or my family.

    Ben, I do think that maybe we should have called the cops, maybe to deter him from doing it again, and there was definitely an issue, with the language and his behaviour, so there was no worries about calling the cops for no reason.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I can tell you now if there’s a repeat performance, I won’t hesitate calling the cops from the get go.

  • Kerryn
    December 10, 2009

    There is such a thing as too Nosy,

    We have a neighbour who tapes us with a video camera.

    I’d like to think it’s for our safety but in reality they are probably JUST plain weird.

  • Anne
    December 10, 2009

    Just remember if you call the cops don’t turn on any lights in the house. It was a piece of advice that was given to me when I called the cops to the house on the corner as things were getting out of control.

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