To Call or Not to Call...
February 7, 2007 2:31 PM   Subscribe

An unknown someone bashed in my garage door last night to the point of knocking it off the track. Should I file a police report, or is it not worth it?

My daughter, whose bedroom is somewhat above the garage heard a lot of banging last night, but didn't want to wake me up. She went to a more accessible (better view out) bedroom and looked out the window, but didn't see anyone or any cars taking off. It's going to cost me at least $60 for someone to come out and see if they can get it back on track and obviously more if the door is damaged to the point of needing to be replaced.

We have a Neighborhood Watch group and I'm going to notify them, but I'm wondering if it's worth filing a report with the police in the event this happens again in my area. I live in an upscale neighborhood and have never experienced any trouble in the 15 years I've lived here.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze to Home & Garden (19 answers total)
For some kinds of insurance, you can't file a claim if you haven't filed a police report. Call your home-owner's insurance agent and ask about that.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:38 PM on February 7, 2007

Why not? It might be good to have some documentation.
posted by perpetualstroll at 2:38 PM on February 7, 2007

(I mean, in cases like this. Cases caused by "acts of God" don't require a police report.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:39 PM on February 7, 2007

for the love of god, don't file a homeowners claim over something like a garage door. They'll drop you when it's time to renew. Call the cops and let them know it happened. There may be a vandalism spree going on. Otherwise, pay to get it fixed and install a motion sensitive light above the garage door to deter future punks.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:43 PM on February 7, 2007

Echoing cosmicbandito. If you're really concerned they'll be back, get an old camera and mount it to watch the yard. Don't even worry about hooking it up; just use it as a deterrent.
posted by monkeymadness at 2:47 PM on February 7, 2007

The worst that can happen is no results. Which is the same thing you'll get if you don't report it.

I'd report it. I've had a few experiences where I've reported something that others thought was "not worth it" and then 6 (or 18) months later I get a call from the police (e.g. when the person is picked up for something else and the cop is looking for previous incidents, or on one occasion the cop that took the report finally had a day where they had no matters more urgent than mine to deal with ). On one occasion this even resulted in the return of what was stolen from me.
posted by winston at 2:56 PM on February 7, 2007

Absolutely file a police report, but fix it on your own. Don't involve homeowners insurance over it if you absolutely do not have to.
posted by jerseygirl at 2:57 PM on February 7, 2007

File a police report, in case something more happens or you need to file for insurance. Also, a lot of cities let you file police reports online, which takes very little time.
posted by acoutu at 2:58 PM on February 7, 2007

File a police report, and take pictures for yourself of the damage. Probably better not to report to insurance, for the reason cosmicbandito says - they'll drop you or increase your rates, so it won't be worth it in the long run.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:00 PM on February 7, 2007

At the risk of sounding like an old Goofus and Gallant strip, filing a police report would make you a good citizen. Accurately knowing where crime is allows the police to better allocate resources to combat it.
posted by grouse at 3:35 PM on February 7, 2007

Don't call your homeowner's insurance agent. Some companies track that and they will drop you just for calling. Seriously. They figure if you called, you're thinking about filing a claim. You're a risk. Bye!
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on February 7, 2007

An additional note, if you don't already have one, consider a motion detector light in the front as a future deterrent.
posted by perpetualstroll at 3:42 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Call the police for sure, and don't involve your insurance company. Every claim is a bad mark against you, and you want to keep that insurance for a real emergency, such as a fire or a burst pipe.

Have you considered that it may not be vanadalism at all, but animal damage? We live right next to wetlands, and deer have done quite a bit of damage of all kinds during winter in my neighborhood. A motion sensor light is a very good idea, I think.
posted by Flakypastry at 4:03 PM on February 7, 2007

Breaking a garage door is often the easiest way into a house. I would call the police, they would know if there's been other incidents like this. But I wouldn't tell the insurance co either.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:50 PM on February 7, 2007

It may be different where you live, however, my boyfriends bike was stolen a few days ago and reporting it was a less then ten minute phone call to the local police station (he was put through to the non-urgent call centre who have systems in place for dealing with these type of reports). It's such an easy, no-fuss thing to do, you might as well report it.
posted by shelleycat at 9:15 PM on February 7, 2007

People are way too afraid of their insurance companies, geez. Makes me glad for USAA.

If I were you I'd tell your daughter to wake you next time! There's a difference between being scared of a bump in the night, and hearing someone trying to possibly break in!

File a report, get a motion-activated (or infrared) light, and check if you're eligible for USAA ;)
posted by jesirose at 9:35 PM on February 7, 2007

From a moral standpoint I think you must notify the police.
posted by tomw at 11:24 PM on February 7, 2007

Also its a good time to train the family:

When something unusual happens, wake the family!
posted by ewkpates at 2:52 AM on February 8, 2007

I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "worth" since it doesn't cost anything and you won't be out anything except a few minutes' time for doing so. Your city may have a limited number of "dispatches" before they start charging you (like they do here) whereby this would probably count as a dispatch, but if you don't request the police often it shouldn't matter because limits are usually high enough only to begin charging people who get 5-6 per year.

Your incident could be one of or the start of a particular spree they're tracking and if you don't, you may be inadvertently aiding the criminals by not filing a potential case-aiding detail. Just tell them about it and file a report. I'm not sure why this is even a question..?
posted by Quarter Pincher at 7:15 AM on February 8, 2007

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