Checking in on an Out of Touch Relative Who Lives in Another US State (TX)
March 30, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

What organization or agency in the San Antonion area would I contact to request that they check in on a relative who's not returning phone calls?

I have a very lovely, but very isolated cousin who lives in the San Antonio area. She doesn't do e-mail and trying to get her on the phone (she screens and sometimes won't call back because "who wants to hear my depressing stories") is always a challenge. However she hasn't responded to my Christmas card and 2 attempts to call and leave her a message. Her phone is working and there's an answering machine with the default message. But some other cousins are also worrying about her and we just want to make sure she's ok.

She lives in San Antonio, I'm from Northern California, and the rest of our family lives in Arkansas. I'd like to leave her another message with "please call back because otherwise we're getting worried and are going to have somebody come out to check on you." Which is my question - what agency or authority for the city or Bexas County would we follow up with? We just want to make sure she's okay, especially because she's on her own and frequently prone to getting depressed.
posted by gov_moonbeam to Human Relations (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In smaller towns this is something the local police will do. If they won't do it, they certainly know who will. I'd call the non-emergency number and ask them this question.
posted by jessamyn at 12:22 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Around here, they are called "welfare checks" and the local police conduct them. Just call the police station closet to them, they should hopefully be able to help.
posted by stormygrey at 12:22 PM on March 30, 2012

Seconding the non-emergency number. jessamyn beat me to the paste.
posted by jquinby at 12:23 PM on March 30, 2012

You call 911 and ask for a welfare check.
posted by batmonkey at 12:23 PM on March 30, 2012

Is there a neighbor/friend/co-worker you could look up on Facebook that could tell you if something's awry?
posted by chrisfromthelc at 12:24 PM on March 30, 2012

Is this a cell phone? Can you send a text message instead of leaving a message? Sometimes this is a lower-anxiety method of communication for people who don't like the phone. When I was in the type of state you describe I didn't like to even listen to voicemail so your message may not actually be received.
posted by decathexis at 12:43 PM on March 30, 2012

Yes, a welfare check. Police do them all the time.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:43 PM on March 30, 2012

You guys are great! She has an answering machine, so I know at least the landline for her house (which she owns) is still active. I think we'll be calling again asking her to call back because we're concerned enough to have the cops do a welfare check.
posted by gov_moonbeam at 12:51 PM on March 30, 2012

Oh and then do a welfare check if she still doesn't call back. I'm at least hoping telling her we're thinking of doing it will be enough to make her pick up the phone.
posted by gov_moonbeam at 12:52 PM on March 30, 2012

With all due respect to batmonkey's answer, you should not use 911 unless it is a true emergency. Like jessamyn instructed, this is the ideal situation for which to use of the non-emergency number.
posted by Falwless at 1:53 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

In many jurisdictions, including Atlanta, all calls to police go through 911, it felt weird and it made me very uncomfortable at first, but that's just how it works here.
posted by stormygrey at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2012

The non-emergency number for City of San Antonio police is 210-207-7273. Please do not call a specific substation or 911.
posted by muddgirl at 2:11 PM on March 30, 2012

(also, in case it's not a typo and is relevant it's BeXar County)
posted by crush-onastick at 5:44 PM on March 30, 2012

I have absolutely sent the police out to a friend of mine who lived hundreds of miles away and wasn't answering the phone when she really should have been (it was her birthday and neither her long-distance boyfriend or I could reach her). She lived alone and we were REALLY worried and called the non-emergency police line for her town. The cops went out, knocked on her door, talked to her politely, saw that she was fine, told her to call her boyfriend and best friend, and left. She was mildly pissed but it turned out fine.

I'd suggest giving her a deadline, say call one us back within the hour, or we'll have the cops out to check on you. Also maybe specify that it's not a threat, you just love her and are concerned.
posted by Aquifer at 8:30 PM on March 30, 2012

Also just FYI this same thing happened when I called to have someone check on my mom. I knew she was supposed to be heading home from a trip. I had called a few times over a day and a half to say "welcome back" and the line was busy. The cops went over, knocked on the door. She was there. They said "Your daughter has been trying to call you and is worried" and it turns out that there was a phone off the hook in the house. My mom had had no idea and it all turned out okay. If you've mostly had lousy interactions with cops, this is basically just a very routine thing that they do and is not a cop-type thing where they're trying to get in your business.
posted by jessamyn at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2012

yeah, sorry for putting 911 - non-emergency is better; got too used to the rigamarole of 911 welfare check events during last job and haven't purged the stored data yet, apparently.

yay for her answering machine working. hopefully she'll be in touch once she knows people are worried, but definitely don't be afraid to make the welfare check call if you don't hear anything - as others have said, this is totally routine for officers and they're ready no matter the outcome.
posted by batmonkey at 2:06 PM on March 31, 2012

Good news, she did call me back today. Except it was to chew me out. Apparently my mother e-mailed the other cousin that I'd left a message and said I was concerned enough to call the police. Well, the other cousin did call and ask for a welfare check! At least I assume that's who called because I did not. So she's okay, but pissed that we were "meddling" in her business and that her neighbors had to talk to the cops because she was out of town. Guess I'm off the Christmas card list!
posted by gov_moonbeam at 11:21 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ha, don't feel bad, you were genuinely concerned! Hopefully, everyone can laugh about this sometime soon, too bad but I think Hallmark doesn't have a card for this (but they should).
posted by stormygrey at 8:36 AM on April 2, 2012

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