Safe airspace, good neighbors
July 12, 2010 7:48 PM Subscribe
We just had a run-in with the neighbors that ended with calling the cops. We stand out in the neighborhood like sore thumbs. If you've been in a situation like that: How can we make this not come around to bite us? Much
posted by supercres to human relations (51 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been living in a (rental) house for two years, in a neighborhood in which the Mrs and I (mid-20s middle-class white people) are distinct minorities. My former roommate went out of his way to talk to the neighbors, but I'm not that outgoing. I don't avoid people, of course; I wave if I see someone as I'm arriving/leaving.
We've had very few problems, considering the city (Philadelphia) and the neighborhood: the house was broken into a few weeks after we moved in (the police said it was kids), and my car window was broken for the change in my cupholder. Now we have bars on the back window (which is well out of view) and I leave nothing of value in sight in the car. Nothing remotely bad has happened in over a year
On several occasions, we've found loose garbage on our fenced back patio. (Fence to the south, our house to the east, and neighbors' houses to the west and north.)
Long story short, today Mrs Supercres caught someone on the roof of the building to the north (a house converted to apartments) throwing garbage bags over and into our back patio, then sweeping garbage off her roof into our yard. (FWIW, I wasn't home.) The first time, Mrs S didn't see the woman, so she had no way of knowing who it was. She called the police. Police came, heard the story, and gave her the number of a community-police liason.
The rain of garbage continued shortly after, and Mrs S saw and yelled at the woman, saying that she'd already gotten the police involved. The woman yelled back, apologizing profusely. Mrs S went back inside, but the woman came to our front door, repeatedly banging on the door and ringing the doorbell. Not wanting to deal with a possibly-irate stranger while home alone, Mrs S called the police again. This time, the cops questioned the woman about why in the world she was throwing garbage off her roof into an empty lot. They also got her information and said they would issue a citation directly to her.
Obviously I don't think we did anything too unreasonable (I mean, who does that?), but I'm a little worried about our stock in the neighborhood. Philadelphia is notorious for its "stop snitching" mentality, which I learned firsthand when our house was broken into. I'm worried that news of this will get around, and manifest itself in ways that impact the livability of this neighborhood for us. I'm worried about consequences ranging from people not saying "hi" to us anymore (I'll survive), to becoming a target for more crime, like vandalism, more window-smashing, or another break-in.
Please quell my fears, or tell me what to do, or tell me to move as soon as possible. (I would prefer the first but would settle for the second. The third is a last resort.) First-hand experience in a situation like this -- dealing with neighbors in "an early up-and-coming neighborhood" -- would be ideal. I don't really want to throw a party for the whole block and make bestest friends (again, not that outgoing). Should I talk to the landlord next door? I don't want to get this woman in any more trouble. Should I let it pass and cross my fingers?
Please don't say that it was ridiculous to call the police in that situation. Not helpful. Hindsight and all that, plus the stress of the moment. What's done is done.
Thanks in advance.