General Question

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Should I continue to call the cops every time my neighbors argue?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (9805 points ) April 26th, 2011

On a daily/nightly basis my uptairs neighbors fight. These arguments last around an hour or more. I don’t get too upset when it’s during the day, but when it occurs at 2:00 am like it did yesterday, I get very angry. One time I actually sat there and listened to the entire argument just so I could understand what two people could possibly argue so much about. It was shocking. The husband comes home drunk and for no reason starts to pick fights with his disabled wife. He calls her “retarded” and “good for nothing”. She’ll try to say something and he’ll immediately cut her off by telling her to “Shut the hell up right now. You don’t matter.” It makes me sick. I believe it’s gotten violent. I think I have heard her saying “Stop it! You’re hurting me!” Just the other night she was so upset she actually made herself sick. She was vomiting for quite awhile. The whole time he kept talking down to her and disrespecting her.

Besides the fact that my s/o and I have gotten almost no sleep since these people moved in, now it’s upsetting us because the guy is verbally and possibly physically abusive to his wife. I called the cops last night around 2am when they started arguing again but they never did show up. In fact, I watched a sheriff pull into our parking lot and pull out quickly. He never came back. And sure enough, first thing this morning the neighbors were at it again.

What should we do? Keep calling the cops each and every time? Write a letter to the landlord about the noise problem? Isn’t it the cops obligation to respond to domestic disputes? I’m so frustrated with this. I’m going on very few hours of sleep and I’m pregnant. Please help before I go insane!

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27 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Keep calling 911. Tell the cops that you can hear someone being threatened with physical abuse. Call them again if they don’t show up. And do complain to the landlord.

lillycoyote's avatar

Unless you think one of them is in danger, and you mention that you think it may have, but if it’s just loud arguments, I really wouldn’t keep calling 911, the police really have better things to do, in my opinion. I would take the issue up with your landlord. If they are fighting on a regular basis and it is disturbing the other tenants then he can evicting and the sooner you complain to the landlord, and maybe you can ask the other tenants to talk to the landlord too, if the fighting is bothering them, the sooner the landlord can begin the process to evict and they sooner these folks will be gone

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Call 911
Call 911
CALL the landlord too.

Call 911 each time and when the patrol leaves CALL and Ask why the they left the scene when physical abuse is threatened?

It s all recorded.

Kardamom's avatar

Talk to your landlord first, and make sure that you document the times and dates when the incidents have occurred. Tell your landlord to keep your complaint confidential, because you are concerned that the arguing husband will come to your door to cause trouble.

Keep calling the cops every time a new incident happens, but make sure you let them know that when you called the last time, that you saw the cop car pull in the lot, but then they didn’t go to the address. And let them know that you think the husband is hurting his handicapped wife because you heard her screaming and then vomiting.

The reason you want to keep a log of the times and dates of the incidents is because if you feel the need to vacate your apartment, you will need proof that the apartment is not in liveable condition because of the screaming. This will aid you if you have to break your lease, and you should not have to pay any penalty fees for breaking it. The landlord is responsible for making your unit habitable.

You might want to look online for the rental laws for you state with regards to what is considered habitable and under what conditions you can legally break your lease without being held responsible for the penalty fees.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Keep calling. The husband is a loser and could very well do something violent in his drunken stupor.

Facade's avatar

Absolutely. This is definitely worth the time of the police…

lillycoyote's avatar

I guess maybe I didn’t word my answer very well or maybe I didn’t read the details thoroughly, that’s a bad habit of mine. If there is any danger that someone is in physical harm, yes,absolutely keep calling, it is very much the business and worth the time of the police but I have had neighbors that fought constantly, very loudly for hours on end, but I never got the impression that it got physical, and in once case I was living in a 4-plex with paper thin walls I could hear them if one of them was tapping their fingers on the coffee table. Sometimes it doesn’t physical and then I don’t think it’s worth bothering the police with every time. Better to take it up with the landlord and get them evicted because as a tenant you have a right not to have to listen to that kind of thing all night long.

creative1's avatar

Call 911 the next time, explain exactly what you can hear through the floor and they will not just pull in and pull out. I would also let them know the woman who is being abused is disabled so they will actually take things seriously and force him to open the door if he doesn’t.

I called on my downstairs neighbors before, if you tell the dispatcher that you don’t want them to know its you calling they won’t tell them it was you. All they will say is they received a complaint and it will keep them guessing where it came from.

The way I look at it is if you don’t do something and something happens to the wife you will feel responsible because you just sat back and let it go, People in domestic abuse situations usually have a very hard time leaving their abusers, unfortunately it is left to the people around them to protect them from harm.

fyi,,,, in my situation it was the landlords son abusing his girlfriend and I risked getting kicked out by calling but it was worth a life

roundsquare's avatar

If you suspect domestic violence, keep calling 911.

Do not, in any circumstances, confront them yourself. You have no idea what the result will be.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Figure out how to use the record feature on your smart phone, lean it against the wall, and turn it on. Also make a note of date and time. Call 911 like Al Capone voted: “early and often”.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Something I picked up from a similar situation that I didn’t see said yet: do call 911, and when you do you should specifically say, in addition to the domestic violence, that they are ‘Disturbing your peace”. This probably varies from state to state, but If you call to report abuse and the abuser doesn’t corroborate it, the police can’t do shit. And that’s probably what they’ll tell you if you do what @Tropical_Willie suggests, because that was what was told to me.

My situtation: next door neighbors were fighting, incredibly loud. Didn’t help that their door was open a crack. When my SO and I came in to our apartment, we heard really loud bangs and “Open up!” from the guy from inside. Lots of further banging and yelling, and we also know they had a kid. Finally we called to report it. To make a long story short, the scene with the police was ludicrous (the guy even slammed the door in their face and they had to threaten to break it down to get in) and they had to walk away at the end, because the wife refused to do anything. If the abuse is not corroborated, no matter how obvious, they cannot do a single thing. The great policewoman who answered our call specifically said for us to do that if it happened again, so that they would have the power to do something.

But, if you claim they’re disturbing your peace (as they definitely are from the sound of it) they (may, again, it varies) have the power to lock someone up. So, keep that in mind.

roundsquare's avatar

One thing also, if you are pregnant and not getting enough sleep, at least call your doctor. Take care of yourself too.

Bellatrix's avatar

Too often people are afraid of getting involved and turn a blind eye with tragic results. You obviously think this woman is at risk, so never think twice. You are doing the right thing.

john65pennington's avatar

Its the obligation of the police to answer any and all calls for service and especially for domestic violence.

Make another call to the police and ask for a Sgt. to come and talk to you. Explain the situation to him. Also, explain to him about the police coming and leaving.

You will see some action from making this call.

You now have laid the problem directly into the lap of a superior officer and he will have no choice but to act on your complaint.

cheebdragon's avatar

As long as they keep their fights inside their home, the police are unlikely to do anything. You can try speaking to the woman while the husband is gone, ask her if she needs help, seeing her after a fight may also prove whether or not she is being physically abused.
If it gets really, really bad, you can always call and report seeing smoke from a window. This should only be done in extreme emergencys because it is technically illegal and you can only get away with it once. The reason for reporting a fire is that the firefighters have to enter the house to check for fire, if the woman is crying or injured, the police will be forced to at least question them. But like I said, this should only be a last resort if it’s urgent enough.

cheebdragon's avatar

@john65pennington actually, the police are not legally obligated to protect you, and in many states they don’t even have to respond to a call.

Facade's avatar

@cheebdragon So what the fuck are they good for if they cannot protect a disabled woman who’s being abused?

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Facade If the disabled woman asks for help, they certainly can and should. However, if the woman refuses to say she needs help, they cannot. And the way quite a few domestic violence problems run, it happens a lot. It sucks, but the police do not have the discretion to save you in that situation unless you ask or it’s obvious you cannot.

cheebdragon's avatar

@BhacSsylan “In most states the government and police owe no legal duty to protect individual citizens from criminal attack. The District of Columbia’s highest court spelled out plainly the “fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.””
source

@facade I’ve been wondering that for years.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@cheebdragon Interesting. Well, I’ll say that if abused doesn’t speak up they flat out can’t help, while otherwise they should, as opposed to having a duty to. That is… strange, to be sure. Thanks for the info.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@cheebdragon If I’m not mistaken, @john65pennington is a cop. If that’s the case, wouldn’t he know a bit more than most of us on this matter? Just a thought…

john65pennington's avatar

Law or no law, I can absolutely state this: if the police are called and do not respond for whatever reason, the government can and has been held liable for such actions that occured and magnified, because the police did not respond.

Can’t you just see the lawsuits, if the police did not respond say to a homocide in your house or anyones house?

You pay your taxes for government service and this includes police protection.

cheebdragon's avatar

Ahahaha well by all means, please take john’s advice…I’m sure a retired cop is knowledgable on various laws in every single state, I mean, it takes nearly an entire year or 2 to become a cop, surely they know everything. Besides, we all know that cops never lie, so why should we question his word, he’s probably like god.~

Personally, I couldn’t care less what happens to you, so please continue to live your life in fantasy land of sheeple…(lol, “we the sheeple…”). However, if one day you decide to care about your own safety and civil rights, go ahead and google “Police duty to protect” you might just learn something.

cheebdragon's avatar

(Alright I admit that was bitchy, it’s just in my nature, but please dont be offended, it wasn’t meant as a personal attack, I really do want to believe that the police can and will protect you, but after bad experiences, i figured it out the hard way, so I’m just giving you the information that I wish someone had given me.)

fredTOG's avatar

@cheebdragon This is so true ,here are the rulings by the court (sapp vs. Tallahassee, 348 so. 2nd 363, Reiff vs. City of Phila. 477 F.Supp.1262, Lynch vs. NC Dept. of Justice 376 S.E. 2nd.247) look them up if you dare to .

fredTOG's avatar

@john65pennington the government can and has been held liable for such actions , you could not be more wrong .

Marisha's avatar

What a coward to abuse a defenceless, disabled woman. The woman obviously needs help and is probably socially isolated and excluded due to her disability.
I would get a diary, write down the dates, times, and threats you can hear. Keep ringing 911 and maybe get in touch with a social worker or disability action group in your state to get some advocacy for her. They may know how to help the lady. The man is obviously not handling her disability but he has NO right to treat her like an animal. He is being an abuser. She has human rights and while you can hear what he’s saying, it’s what you are not seeing that concerns me..

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