Should I have called the police?
August 10, 2013 11:25 AM Subscribe
Should I have called the police? And in the future, when should I?
posted by rawralphadawg to society & culture (26 answers total)
I’ve always felt very safe where I live and there hasn’t been any indication that I should feel otherwise. That said, I’m probably pretty easy to spook and have a pessimistic/fearful attitude toward the world in general. However, since I’ve truly never had anything very bad happen to me, I think I’m usually rational when assessing “danger” or whatever. For instance, my car was broken into and GPS stolen last Thanksgiving, but it was my fault for having a keybox (definitely how they got in) too easily accessible. It didn’t change my view that my neighborhood is safe and I still regularly walk my dog at all hours at least on my street.
I live in a small apartment complex on the second floor with very poorly insulated windows. I hear everything that goes on outside on my side of the complex, and can even hear word-for-word conversations through closed windows if it’s close/loud enough. It being summer, my windows stay open almost all the time, especially my bedroom window which doesn’t present a break-in like others might.
There have been two instances now where I’ve heard something I thought could be worth calling the non-emergency number of my local PD about, but ultimately ended talking myself out of doing so. I know about the bystander effect, and I absolutely do not expect anyone else to have called so I feel a little guilty and uncertain, but I also felt uncertain about the noises being enough to warrant a call.
A few months ago I thought I heard a single gunshot. I didn’t hear any voices and I couldn’t be certain in which direction it came from. I’m very unfamiliar with guns, but that’s what it sounded like to me. I realize it could be a lot of other things, and that’s probably why I didn’t call.
Two nights ago I was woken up around 3:15am by my dog growling very lowly to a noise right outside the building/right under my window. This isn’t unusual or cause for alarm by itself: she regularly growls at car or people noises close to the building or in the hallway. The issue was the noise. It sounded like a distressed/sad whine or wail, but it honestly didn’t sound human or animal to me. It sounded fake, like a baby doll or something, and it was repeated intermittently but the sound never changed. Eventually I heard it move to the other side of the building. It freaked me out because I couldn’t place the noise, it sounds so fake, and my mind immediately jumped to stories/warnings of people being lured outside by the sounds of babies or puppies crying and then being attacked. In those scenarios, it’s always advised to call the police and obviously don’t go outside. I wasn’t going to go investigate, but I wasn’t sure what to do. It REALLY freaked me out, and I lay awake listening for quite some time after that. I didn’t end up calling the police because I was doubting my rationality at 3am just having been jerked out of sleep. To my knowledge, nothing bad actually happened.
I’ve called the police before on obviously drunk drivers, and I would in a heartbeat call if I heard any sounds of violence, but these couple cases really baffled me and I wasn’t sure if they warranted even a “just in case” call to the non-emergency line. But they also scared me, so would a call have been worth it to just set my mind at ease? What do you think?